Let’s Stand Up for Pepe

So now it’s Pepe Le Pew. Of all the ridiculous accusations that anyone could throw at an animated cartoon character, Pepe has been “cancelled” because some fool, with waaay too much time on their hands (and prone to overthinking all kinds of minutiae) has alleged the loveable little skunk “normalises rape culture” via his heady passion for a cat he thinks is a lady skunk thanks to a randomly acquired white stripe down her back.

If you are spewing profanity right now, then we are on the same page. I am spewing swear words I didn’t even know I knew as I am writing this, because I cannot fathom why some people crave finding offence where it doesn’t exist.

I loved everything about the Pepe Le Pew cartoons; the quaint French scenes, all the ways the cat could manage to acquire that white stripe, and the antics in general. But what the wowsers are deliberately avoiding here is WHY she really objected to Pepe’s passionate pursuit. It was not his amour that set her to flight, but his distinctive odour, represented by that shadowy wave from the tip of his tail, trailing in his wake. This was made as plain as day. in those cartoons and that’s how kids viewed it. Not sexual aggression, it was all about the whiff. End of story.

But Pepe is not the first to attract baseless criticism. Some years ago it was Tom and Jerry. “Too violent” carped the censorious minority who also had  Noddy in their sights. “And it so is!” claimed the sister of a close associate of mine. “So tell me” he queried “are they acting out what they’ve been watching on each other?”

“What?” she spluttered “No! Of course not!”

“So what does that tell you?”

But a surprising number of parents did believe it, without really thinking about it, and started turning off Tom and Jerry and any other cartoons they sought, in vain, to find fault with.  And that’s how easy it is to get people onside with stupidity.

And look what happened to Barbie!  She was castigated for propagating “body image issues” in young girls. I watched a documentary on this subject where some little girls where brought in to discuss Barbie. Yes, they agreed, she was “sooo beautiful”. They just loved everything about Barbie, but when the woman who was making the doco asked them if they wanted to look like Barbie when they grew up, they looked at her like she had two heads. “But she’s a doll!” said one. “Why would someone want to look like a doll?” chimed in another and the rest of them had similar responses. Bingo!

I had to give the woman ten points for trying though. She phrased the same question several ways to try to coerce them into agreeing they felt pressured, thus intent on starving themselves almost to death and having lots of cosmetic procedures so they could look like a Barbie doll when they grew up, but the kids weren’t having any of it.  They also rejected the PC “real women” version of the doll in favour of the original glamour puss. Well…duh!

And now Pepe Le Pew is accused of “normalising” sexually predatory behaviour, hence his trip to the cutting room floor in Space Jam 2, and I am deeply offended.

It’s cancel culture run amok.


The Bunny’s Link to Easter

I know it’s only February, but I figured if the shops can start stocking Easter paraphernalia from the second week of January, I’m not really being premature in bringing this up now.

And what’s prompted me to do so is the number of people who are questioning the rabbit’s relevance to Easter, especially here in Australia where the quest in on to replace the Easter Rabbit with the Easter Bilby (one of our native animals and currently on the endangered list). But cute as the bilby is, it has no connection to the Easter tradition. What is really surprising though is the number of people who have absolutely  no idea how the bunny (or even the eggs for that matter) came to be associated with Easter in the first place and those who have decided to look into it have restricted their research to the Bible! No disrespect to the Good Book, but you won’t find the connection there because the rabbit, the eggs, and the celebration of spring predates the Christian associations with Easter by centuries.

The early Christian church did much to stamp out the old pagan religions and their festivities, and one of it’s methods was the deliberate act to obliterate them via dumping Christian saints’ days and/or other church celebrations smack bang on the same dates as popular festivals celebrated on the Celtic and Old Norse calendars. The Christians ones stuck, but the older celebrations persisted and are still celebrated today amongst like-minded people throughout the world.

Which brings us around to the bunny.  Prior to the Christian celebration of Easter, with it’s focus on the death and resurrection of Christ, was the much older festival of Ostara,  which celebrates the Spring Equinox. After the long hard northern winters, the first day of spring was greeted with much joy and Ostara was all about rebirth, fertility, and ritual to ensure good fortune and fruitfulness in the things that mattered; like crops and livestock, pregnancy and childbirth, and nature awakening after its long winter sleep.

Central to the celebrations of Ostara was the goddess, Eostre, and her companion pet, a hare. Obviously not of the average garden variety, this hare did something remarkable and laid an egg, a beautiful multicoloured egg,  and from that moment on,  brightly painted eggs (some real, some made of wood or other materials) became popular gifts to present to family and friends to bring them not only general good fortune,  but to also wish them success with the sowing of  crops, fertility with their herds and baby luck for couples hoping to conceive.  Hence the Festival of Ostara being the celebration of all things spring (even though it falls in autumn here) and the hare/bunny having a majorly traditional role in the event.

I hope this clarifies the role of the Easter Rabbit now,  and why he is known world wide as the figure who delivers the eggs.  He is an old, old tradition that predates the Christian story and to be honest, I doubt he’s on the way out. The bilby may eventually become an Easter presence here in Australia, but I don’t think it will usurp the bunny any time soon.  Probably not at all, and I’m glad of that.  The bunny has the historical connection.  And what’s wrong with the bunny anyway?

Nothing as far as I can see.