When Your Childhood Offends

Recently, there has been a take-down of some of the classics that we 80’s children grew up with. Let’s recap. Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving is an obviously display of racism. Rudolph, with the Island of Misfit Toys, glorifies being a bully. An iconic song from Little Mermaid disregards consent. (Let’s be fair here: you could argue that the original story glorifies suicide. Horrifically violent suicide.) There’s probably more but honestly, I don’t care. Honestly, I think it’s a little ridiculous and people obviously have way too much time on their hands. I think this has less to do with the culture becoming newly “woke” and more to do with the culture just likes to complain a hell of a lot more.

Everyone’s interpretation is different. I’m a person that feels that if you are offended by something, you have every right to be offended. Do I think these things can be a little silly at times? Sure, there seems to be a lot of insanity. Does that mean everything needs to change? Depends. It all depends on the offensive thing in question. I have an excellent example of what I mean. One Christmas, someone I knew got a set of stuffed animals based on the Island of Misfit Toys. The said person in question watched this stupid show all of the time. Was the gift made in jest as well as because they genuinely thought he’d like the gift because of his fondness for the show? Yes. Did the recipient of said gift get offended and pissed off for the rest of the holiday season, and still seemingly holds a grudge over this? Oh you can bet your butt on that one.

When news broke out about this iconic classic now being offensive for it’s treatment of the outcasts, was he the first in line to agree with this move? Nope. It was suddenly “what’s so offensive about this movie?” and complaining about people being snowflakes. His mind didn’t change on whether or not the gift was originally offensive, but suddenly the media that he favors told him that being offended over this show was stupid. He was simultaneously offended and not offended over the same exact thing.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have the world just cater to your every offense. There are certain things that will always be offensive. I am someone who isn’t easily offended, but I know where that line is and I am very careful not to go too far over it. Being offended for the sake of being offended because someone is telling you that it is offensive? That’s not how it works. Now if say Santa was doing the Hitler salute and talking about mass genocide, that would be offensive. That would obviously make the show something that we should just forget about. But in Rudolph, the outcasts save the day. There’s a valuable lesson in there. Sure, these characters were bullied. Sure, they could have told everyone to screw off and not save the day. But they overcame, they refused to go low, and they came out the heroes in the end. It isn’t about encouraging bullying; it’s about overcoming it and becoming a stronger version of yourself without caring what those other people thought of you. They were wrong. You are still awesome. That’s the moral of the story. (I should point out that I despise “Rudolph”, “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown” and anything Christmas or Disney related, so this is a completely unbiased perspective on this.)

It’s all about perspective though, isn’t it? It’s how we interpret what we see and read. That’s the big problem with religion. Not one group of people interpret the bible (or any other divine text) in the same manner, which is why you get so many sects of the same broad group of religions. Because racist homophobes want to interpret the bible in a manner that rationalizes their hate, doesn’t mean the bible is bad and everyone who reads it are terrible people. It just means the ones who interpret it that way are, and the same goes with every other religion out there. A classroom could read a book, and everyone in the room including the teacher may not exactly agree on what they took away from it. Because it’s perspective.

Instead of telling people how they should think or feel, maybe we should listen more. As the saying goes “God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason”. I’m not sure why people are so hostile to each other; to the idea of having a reasonable debate on a topic that doesn’t result in a screaming match. You’d be surprised at what you could learn from another perspective.

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