Modern society’s hypersensitivity has reached an unprecedented peak. Emanating from an era of escalating political correctness, cultural cleansing is actively seeking new victims to suppress. Classic songs, once cherished for their timeless appeal, now find themselves under scrutiny, potentially the next targets of this ever-expanding purge. So, brace yourselves for the possible demise of beloved anthems, as the ceaseless march of cancel culture continues.
“Summer Nights,” a cherished classic by the cast of Grease, is one such song under the critical lens. Critics argue that a seemingly innocuous lyric insinuates date rape, prompting many to deem it inappropriate. The contentious lyrics, “Tell me more, tell me more / did she put up a fight?” depict, as critics contend, John Travolta’s character as a predator hunting an unsuspecting victim in an otherwise innocent summer story.
In the same vein, Tom Jones‘ iconic 1968 recording “Delilah” is also facing censure. Despite having been played innumerable times, some argue that its lyrics subtly encourage domestic violence, stirring the wrath of the cancel culture.
The questionable lyrics – “I crossed the street to her house, and she opened the door / She stood there laughing / I felt the knife in my hand, and she laughed no more” – have been a point of contention, even for the Welsh Rugby Union, which has repeatedly faced calls to cease using the song.
Next on this expanding list is Band-Aid’s 1984 classic, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” This beloved Christmas anthem could potentially be axed for perpetuating what critics label as the “white savior mentality”. The lyrics insinuate an ethnocentric worldview, suggesting that regions like Africa might be oblivious to the concept of a white Christmas, and reinforcing a simplistic and negative stereotype of the continent.
Queen’s quintessential rock anthem, “Fat Bottomed Girls,” dating back to 1978, is the latest potential victim of this crusade. Critics argue that the song promotes ‘fat-shaming’ and implicitly alludes to child sex abuse. The contentious lyrics are:
“I was just a skinny lad / Never knew no good from bad / But I knew love before I left my nursery / Left alone with big fat Fanny / She was such a naughty nanny / Hey big woman, you made a bad boy out of me.”
Despite Brian May, Queen’s guitarist and writer of the song, clarifying that the song celebrates women of ‘substantial girth,’ the cancel culture critics interpret the song’s ‘hidden meaning’ as promoting ‘child abuse.'”
This relentless march of cancel culture, targeting revered classics for containing ‘unacceptable’ references, presents a question: How far will society go in rewriting our cultural heritage in the name of political correctness? The imposition of modern values on past works threatens to strip our cultural legacy of its authenticity, leaving us with a sterilized, monotonous culture devoid of the vibrant nuances that define humanity’s diverse experiences.