Latest To Be Canceled: “Captain Underpants” Spinoff Book
Cancel Culture comes for another in 2021, this time its a graphic novel for kids.
In 2021, we've seen Cancel Culture come for things we did not expect. From Dr. Seuss to Looney Tunes, no one was safe. Cancel Culture started as a noble gesture, and actually has its place. People like Harry Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Jeffery Epstein, and alike are all the exact example of what Cancel Culture should be about. When it came for them, it was powerful...which is exactly why it got weaponized.
Now Cancel Culture has been turned into the tar-and-feathering of the internet. Anyone who doesn't agree with the Tumblr crowd must be canceled. Even if its just for opinions on highly debated topics. When it comes to overly racist, criminal, or well...like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said "I know it when I see it". Meaning when something is so obviously in need of being "canceled" we all get it.
But that's not where we are now. We're in this weird space of "pre-canceling" people due to "Cancel Culture". We're in a weird Minority Report world where publishers and producers are canceling things before anyone even muses online that something should be canceled.
Next up in that fight, is a spinoff of the wildly popular kids story ‘Captain Underpants’.
The newly "canceled" book is actually called The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, which is being canceled for "passive racism" according to the publisher. The book was actually released by Scholastic, who are the same ones canceling it today.
But this one is a little interesting. Because not only are they deciding to not publish it anymore, they're canceling all order, and apparently they're looking at libraries too. In their statement, Scholastic mentions libraries specifically:
“Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”
But taking them out of libraries might not be the strangest twist of this whole thing. It might be more about the author, David Pilkey, and his original intent of the book. The author posted a video on Youtube with an apology. In that apology, he talked about why he created the "passive racism" in the first place, and it's the opposite reason for why it's being canceled now. Pilkey said in his apology that the intent of the original content was to:
“showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.”
Those things, the things he's being blasted for now, appear to be all of the things you'd want to gain through "cancel culture". But this wave of "cancel culture" isn't about what Pilkey was trying to showcase...diversity and equality. This perverse twist on "cancel culture" is about power and influence. It's about seeing who and what you can destroy through the power of the internet.
Going back to the Supreme Court's "I know it when I see it" explanation, shouldn't "cancel culture" be about intent? Shouldn't the purpose of the work serve as the rationale for it's existence? The fact that the intent of the author was to showcase the things he's being canceled for matter?
Again, there's a time and place to "cancel" someone. But its a powerful tool that can bring heavy damage. This should be used rarely, and responsibly. Right now, using it on "Captain Underpants" just doesn't seem like a responsible way of using it.