Ah, for the good old days when people used to squabble in jest.
“You say potato, I say pot-ah-to.”
Those were part of the lyrics to the aptly named song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” that could serve as a light hearted official ditty for today’s cancel culture flash mobs brought to you by the shallow thinking world created by communicating in 144 characters.
For those unfamiliar with the song, it is about a couple lamenting how their romance has gone flat by pointing out how they pronounce words differently.
At one point they conclude “it looks like we two will never be one” and that “something must be done” so they opt to “call the whole thing off.’
Before we go on with the song, I’d better make some disclaimers before I open myself to being swept into the mass grave for not being politically correct that those committed to playing cultural genocide are eager to fill by reprising the role of Mao’s youthful Red Guard.
I’m afraid the song was sung for the most part by those of the opposite sex defined narrowly as male and female as opposed to the 50 plus ways Facebook encourages one to check to describe their gender.
I admit that the song is not inclusive of those who are asexual. Nor does it necessarily celebrate those that identify as binary. I apologize profusely if referencing the song makes me a gender bigot.
And yes, I am at great risk of offending someone, I’m sure, because the song was written by George Gershwin. He is a man who screams political incorrectness for not just being a man and one that is Caucasian but by simply not being a part of the current century and failing to fill his portion of the Great American Songbook with underrepresented cultures.
Since I haven’t checked on the latest decrees of the self-righteous keepers of the cancel culture channeling Salem circa 1692, I’m not too sure it is OK to reference Gershwin. Rest assured I’m sure there is some lyric that he wrote, some comment he uttered, something that he did that would earn the wrath of those who grasp smartphones more than they ever shake hands.
Why be friendly with someone who doesn’t fit perfectly in your view of the world when you can dismiss and damn them by tapping your indignation out to the world two seconds after you encounter them?
I really wish I am digressing.
Unfortunately, I’m not. The premise of the 1937 song was the pretense to a falling out that ultimately did not happen in the movie “Shall We Dance.” Fred Astaire, by the way, played an American ballet dancer who falls madly in love with a famous tap dancer by Ginger Rogers. In today’s woke world Astaire would run the risk of being accused of misappropriating the role of a male ballet dancer in some corners of today’s society.
The plot brought two practitioners of wildly different dance — classic ballet and modern jazz dancing— together. They did so by ultimately celebrating their differences once they stopped trying to “cancel” the other’s passions and differences out.
The desire to level the playing field as well as not make people suffer any affront, imagined or otherwise, to their sensibilities isn’t about bringing people together. It’s about pounding them into submission.
It has led us to see things that aren’t there. And the self-righteous zeal will end up doing the same thing that people did to the modern equivalent of politically incorrect people back in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials or in China where upwards of 20 million people were literally cancelled for being culturally incorrect.
This leads to half-baked crusades and pre-emptive self-immolation on the pyre of political correctness.
Hasbro is the latest example.
Dropping the mister is supposed to make the Potato Head inclusive for kids.
Have you taken a look at a Mr. Potato Head? The same shaped potato is used for Mrs. Potato Head or is that Miss Potato Head or Ms. Potato Head?
Most kids — including back in the Stone Age when I had a hand-me-down Mr. Potato Head — aren’t thinking about gender roles. They are thinking about having fun. And usually that means mixing up female and male features to be silly.
That’s why Hasbro has it all wrong. Mr. Potato Head may have been the first transgender toy. And it’s not because it was marketed and packaged that way, but because kids created a transgender potato on their own.
This sounds silly, doesn’t it? That said, it is no more silly than what Hasbro is doing.
And since they opened the door, let’s talk what’s really wrong with Mr. Potato Head and the politically incorrect folks at Hasbro foisting their views of potatoes on young minds.
You ever notice Mr. Potato et al are all “white” potatoes?
Why isn’t Hasbro celebrating red potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, or sweet potatoes? Talk about white privilege.
There are some series discrimination questions here. How does Hasbro expect anyone to accept red potatoes when they cater to the white potato that dominates everything from the deep fryers at fast food joints to the deli section?
And why is Hasbro forcing potatoes to comply with their view of the world?
Everyone knows potatoes have eyes all over the place and not in the same general area as Homo sapiens. Yet Hasbro persists in marketing, movies, and packaging to depict Mr. Potato Head as if the only eye placement that is acceptable is that of a human and not a potato.
It’s pure unadulterated body shaming. Hasbro should be celebrating potatoes instead of enslaving them and forcing them to fit into the Eurocentric view of the world.
Worst yet, Hasbro is probably responsible for the marginalization of real potatoes. Ever notice how people in grocery stores will rummage through potatoes and toss those aside that have eyes protruding, have a less than perfect shape, are splattered with black marks and have a slight smell? It’s clearly from subtle indoctrination people got as a kid playing with Mr. Potato Head.
Hasbro is guilty of giving potatoes the “Barbie and Ken” treatment over the decades instead of making Mr. Potato Heads that look like imperfect potatoes.
Perhaps it is time to update “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
How about “you say potato, I say a sexist, body shaming, white male spud.”
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Journal or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org