Deep within the holiday season, it always seems that an old classic is canceled and that people call for it to be pulled for having outdated ideals. From “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” once a work is noted for lacking modern social etiquette, the response seems to be “pull it,” rather than “preserve it” and leaving it to the discussion of those watching. Historical context is often ignored and, rather than revel in the progress made, outrage is opted for.
If minute details or small pieces aren’t deemed acceptable by modern standards, people assume that the whole piece should be tossed. This then brings back the age-old argument/question of whether the integrity of an artist can be trusted if they produce works with questionable aspects. When looking at a period piece, as many of us do around the holidays, the notion really no longer becomes about the producers, but rather a statement of time and its effect on society.
We’ve come a long way, and we’d be lying to ourselves to say that we haven’t. That doesn’t mean that we need to abandon everything that shows our progress, especially if there is a good underlying message.
In a holiday favorite, the takeaway must be that a conversation starts rather than ends. Negative depictions are to be discussed amongst people rather than shielded from them. More is to be gained by the exchange of ideas in response to the art in question than from a cut and dry ban of the work.
This time of year, many of us are spending time with our families and sharing these experiences in true holiday fashion. Fond memories of Christmases past and nostalgic ties to some of these works may still exist in spite of our modified values, and therefore must be left up to those who take issue to spark interaction about it. If the immediate response is censorship, we bypass this entire process of improvement as a society and silence ideas that may have been offered had the piece been allowed to air.
We too often forget that it is acceptable to be offended.
In no way does this mean we should defend racist, sexist or other questionable content whatsoever. That said, an attempt at eradicating the song from society’s memory may include the cessation in airing “Elf,” a popular Christmas favorite containing a version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and boasting high tune-in rates around the month of December. The moral of the story here being that runoff effects will occur if we dismantle existing images of culture rather than simply improving upon future works when we make them.
This year, as we relax in front of our family room TV’s or record players, let us not be grinchy and steal the promise of a better tomorrow from our neighbors by censoring widely loved material. ‘Tis the season to comment rather than cut.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.