The streaming service Hulu has yanked an episode of the ‘80s sitcom “The Golden Girls” because Rose and Blanche appear in blackface – except they don’t. The two ladies are wearing mud masks on their faces, just like women (and some men) of all races have for centuries.
When a black character walks in on them, they’re embarrassed and insist they’re not wearing blackface, which shows that the writers were aware even then that blackface was offensive. But of course, trivialities such as accuracy, intention or context mean nothing when you’re competing to see who can find the next thing to be faux-offended by, or when you’re panicking in fear before the phony outrage of the cancel culture brats.
But there’s a larger point that makes what Hulu is doing seem even stupider, if that’s possible. Most people forget now, because “The Golden Girls” is so beloved by multiple generations for its humor, its cast and its wonderful characters who seem like family, but in its day, it was one of the most “progressive” shows on TV. Creator Susan Harris (who wrote the landmark abortion episode of “Maude”) filled the show with liberal messages that were on the then-cutting edge of what was allowed on prime time
Blanche, of course, was the poster girl for recreational sex, but the show also touched on adultery (Dorothy’s husband left her for another woman, and she later had an affair with a married man) and sex among senior citizens. Blanche’s single daughter wanted to get artificially inseminated, a lesbian had a crush on Rose, Dorothy’s brother was a transvestite (the girls also accidentally hired a transvestite band for a fundraiser), a male character confessed to having had a sex change operation, and Blanche’s gay brother showed up with his partner to announce that they were getting married.
This was well before “Friends” aired the first lesbian wedding, although that show made sure to put a thumb in the eye of Christian conservatives by casting Newt Gingrich’s lesbian sister to officiate and say that “nothing makes God happier than when two people – ANY two people – come together in love.” (I’d cite the Bible chapter for that, but I can’t find it.) “Friends” also included Kathleen Turner as Chandler’s trans dad. In the same way, “Will & Grace” is often lauded for using the sitcom form to promote acceptance of gays and “soften America up” for accepting same-sex marriage.
Even in the “Golden Girls” episode that Hulu is pulling, the storyline was about Dorothy’s son marrying a much older black woman and everyone having to overcome both racism and ageism.
But here’s that larger point I mentioned: The left always eat their own. The creators of “Golden Girls,” “Friends” and “Will & Grace” thought they were brave pioneers of tolerance for including all those liberal messages in their shows. Yet all three are now under fire from intolerant leftists: “W&G” for promoting swishy gay stereotypes, “Friends” for homophobic behavior by the men, and “GG” over a “blackface” scene that really isn’t. Instead of honoring them for pushing the envelope in an earlier time, leftists attack them for not living up to current standards that might not even exist if it weren’t for them. They demand that those shows be edited or yanked, just like they demand that statues be smashed or books be burned or bowdlerized – and by the way, the big streaming services are already doing that with some e-books.
In social justice warrior land, there is no honor or respect for those who went before. There is only ruthless judgement and condemnation for not meeting a standard that changes almost hourly. If you give into it, it’s like trying to appease the sharks circling your life raft by cutting off a finger and tossing it to them. The taste of blood will only make them all the more ravenous. It’s better just to give them the finger from your boat and preserve history the way it happened.
This is why my house is stuffed to the rafters with real books, LPs, CDs, DVDs, files on hard drives, singles, VHS tapes, cassettes, 8-tracks, Play-Tapes, etc. etc. If you have to rely on streaming for anything, then you don’t really own it.
Incidentally, for a great lesson in how to react to the SJW mob and how not to, look at Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel. Former partners on the raunchy comedy series “The Man Show,” Carolla refused to knuckle under to the mob. He started a very popular podcast so the networks can’t censor him, and he’s become a defiant champion of free speech. He’s often vilified, but he is never censored or silenced. And he has a new book out on that very subject called “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal” that’s sure to be a best-seller. (Warning: contains rough language that he refuses to self-censor.)
Meanwhile, his former partner Kimmel has tossed in his lot with the leftists. His once-funny late night show has become just another Trump-bashing snoozefest, and he’s as likely to deliver a teary lecture on some hot button leftist subject as a comedy monologue. But all that virtue signaling gained him zip: when it was revealed that in long-ago comedy bits, he’d worn blackface and said the “n-word” while impersonating black celebrities, he was forced to take a break to “spend time with his family.” He’s now playing the liberal martyr by blaming his problems on evil right-wingers digging up his old material. But it’s not right-wingers who are demanding his head for comedy bits he did 20 years ago. All they’d like from him is for him to be funny again. It’s the leftists he sucked up to and who will turn on him on anyone else in an instant if they smell any deviation from accepted groupthink.
My advice to him would be to spend less time interviewing boring leftists and more time with Adam Carolla.