WASHINGTON. Mickey Mouse took a deferential knee with The Walt Disney Company’s announcement that its Splash Mountain theme-park rides in California and Florida will be re-tooled. The ride tells the story of Br’er Rabbit’s adventures escaping antagonists Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox. The story is based on the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South,” starring James Baskett as Uncle Remus, who tells a series of fables. The movie is a very early victim of the cancel culture.
The film, a blend of live-action and animation, has not been in theaters since 1986. Because of the film’s unflattering depiction of African-Americans, it has never been released to the video or DVD market in the US.
According to Disney spokesman Michael Ramirez:
“The retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.”
Take ’er easy there, pilgrim
Meanwhile, a short fifteen miles from Anaheim’s Disneyland, John Wayne Airport finds itself in the crosshairs of cancel culture’s social justice warriors. The Democratic Party of Orange County passed an “emergency” resolution calling on the OC Board of Supervisors to “condemn John Wayne’s racist and bigoted statements” and remove his “name and likeness… from the Orange County airport.”
Will the Cowboy and Indian movie genre be sent to the cutting room floor? Should it be?
While the examples of cancel culture above center on those whose words and attitudes injured feelings, what about those whose actions ended lives?
Our German scientists
At the end of World War II, the technological worlds of the Axis and Allied powers collided in the visage of one man; German rocketeer, Dr. Wernher von Braun. A Nazi Party member since 1937 Braun’s explosive supersonic rockets killed 2,754 Londoners, wounding 6,523. The man who, along with his fellow scientists, presided over the brutal deaths of some 20,000 slave laborers tasked with building superweapons at the Mittelbau-Dora factory near the Buchenwald concentration camp and the underground Mittelwek factory at the Peenemünde weapons research center.
When America launched its first artificial satellite into Earth orbit (Explorer 1) on Jan. 31, 1958 – three months after the successful Sputnik launch by Soviet Russia – it did so with the aid of von Braun and 120 other German rocket scientists smuggled into the United States after the Second World War.
They were part of a US intelligence program called Operation Paperclip, which eventually brought 1,600 of Hitler’s top scientists to American shores.
In 1996, one of these scientists, Arthur Rudolph – a close associate of von Braun on the V2 rocket and Apollo programs – resigned from NASA and “surrendered his citizenship rather than face Justice Department charges that he had brutalized slave laborers at a Nazi rocket factory during World War II,” the New York Times reported.
Author Michael Neufeld in his book “Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War,” notes that wartime memoranda between Rudolph and von Braun concerning the increased use of slave labor to accelerate production of Hitler’s V2 rockets indicates…
“… he [von Braun] may have been guilty of a ‘crime against humanity.’”
A moon-bound rocket’s red glare
At a 1953 Astronomical Congress symposium in Zurich, Switzerland, von Braun submitted a paper on the efficacy of rockets for taking men to the moon.
But scientists in attendance were skeptical when considering “returning the top stage of a manned vessel safely to earth,” said the New York Times.
Sixteen years later, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped upon a dead, airless landscape to imprint his boot treads on the moon’s powdery surface and plant the American flag.
Sin and sinning sinners
With Wernher von Braun’s sordid background in mind, should America erase the accomplishment of the Apollo 11 moon landing from history? Further, should we extinguish the eternal flame above President Kennedy’s grave for his non-inclusive and the sexist challenge of “landing a MAN on the moon and returning HIM safely to the Earth”?
Our imperfections condemn us all.
The New Testament tells of a woman who was condemned for adultery. And religious authorities (the Pharisees) ruling she must be stoned. When these officials asked Jesus Christ whether this cancel-culture verdict was proper, he said,
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
The story says all who heard this felt sudden qualms of conscience and sheepishly left the scene “one by one.”
Even the Pharisees.
The assumption of the story is that sinners are capable of transcending their human deficiencies. We can recognize our transgressions, and “sin no more.” Such is the nature of redemption.
Cancel culture Pharisees
Modern Pharisees were early advocates of cancel culture. Then, as now, blind to their own failings while seeking to annihilate all memory of those they see as beyond the pale.
That’s because they’re burning hostility renders them incapable of compassion. And that makes them bad moralists. Because, as Arthur Schopenhauer observed,
“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
Lead Image created by the writer using Free Clipart from http://www.clker.com/clipart-173458.html