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Hits from the recent past that could NEVER survive in today’s PC culture

Zachary Leeman
Zachary Leeman

is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman

is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman

Hits from the recent past that could NEVER survive in today’s PC culture
Putting past art under the spotlight of today’s ever-changing woke standards can show us just how ridiculous political correctness has gotten in today’s digital age.

Today’s world of constantly moving goalposts for woke standards has introduced the phenomenon of putting art of the past under the microscope of today. This has led to classic literature being injected with blackface in the name of inclusivity and classic songs like ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ being redone for audience’s new sensitivities. 

While the sights of the triggered have been set mostly on creations by folks long dead and buried, it’s only a matter of time before social justice warriors work their way up and land on pop culture that made its impact just before the world turned its attention to hashtags and cancel culture.

These songs from the late 1990s and early 2000s, for instance, could never survive in today’s ultra-sensitive atmosphere and it would not be a surprise to see any of the artists behind them put on today’s digital chopping block and forced to apologize and make amends.

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Why Don’t You Get a Job (1998) by The Offspring: In a world where the stigma around government assistance has disappeared and politicians regularly find followings by offering just about everything for free, a song telling someone to find gainful employment and stop mooching off of someone else would likely be labeled hateful, alt-right trash.

In 1998 though, ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job’ was a catchy tune by The Offspring plugging into the frustrations of working class folks struggling to not only feed themselves, but someone else just looking for a free ride and masking it in the guise of a relationship. 

You probably won’t see a song like ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job’ find mainstream success today, but it was one of The Offspring’s big hits. 

Where the Hood At (2003) by DMX: Hip hop music has always been held to different cultural standards as far as lyrics go, but even a song like ‘Where the Hood At’ would have a tough time existing today.

The 2003 tune was one of DMX’s many hits as a recording artist, but the lyrics are a tad iffy and have been called homophobic by some since its release. 

“Last I heard, y'all n****s was havin sex, with the same sex. I show no love, to homo thugs. Empty out, reloaded and throw more slugs. How you gonna explain f***in a man? Even if we squashed the beef, I ain't touchin ya hand,” the rapper spits in one of the song’s many questionable verses. 

Though he hasn’t been completely called out for the song in recent years – he continues to work and appears in the theme song to the recent Epix series ‘Godfather of Harlem’ – people have certainly distanced themselves from this hit tune. When Bernie Sanders was running for president in 2016, an edited video went viral appearing to show the song playing at a rally. Sanders’ camp had to officially disavow any connection to the song after folks expressed outrage over the “homophobic song” being played.

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Stacy’s Mom (2003) by Fountains of Wayne: An innocent song about raging hormones and a confused teen falling in love with his girlfriend’s attractive mom may have had a chorus that was on everyone’s tongue-tips in 2003, but it’s difficult to see how a song like this survives in a post #MeToo arena where phrases like ‘male gaze’ and ‘patriarchy’ are the centerpieces of daily think pieces. 

Some outlets have actually called the song sexist in recent years, but it’s mostly been left alone as a piece of pop culture that just belongs to a different time. 

‘Stacy’s Mom’ was a major hit for a reason. As much as today’s bubble-wrapped culture likes to pretend there is one standard of behavior we all need to meet, almost any male or female can relate to being caught in the midst of teen angst and having an older crush. In 2003, that crush just happened to be Stacy’s mom.

Ur So Gay (2007) by Katy Perry: Musician Katy Perry may be one of culture’s queens of woke today, but one of her hits at the start of her career was titled ‘Ur So Gay.’ The smackdown of an ex uses ‘gay’ as a negative adjective and includes oh-so creative lyrics like, "You're so gay and you don't even like boys" and "I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf while jacking off to Mozart."

Today, Perry is rewarded with glowing New York Times articles about her new-found wokeness. She has defended the song against critics who call it homophobic by claiming the song is “about my ex wearing guyliner and taking emo pictures of himself in the bathroom mirror,” and urging the listeners to “read the context of the song and decide for themselves.”

Perry’s politics – she campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has become a vocal supporter for the LGBTQ community – have likely saved her from taking too much flak for a song like this, but you can bet if a more right-wing musician like Kid Rock dropped a song with such a title and then hid behind the defense of “context,” there’d be Twitter mobs grabbing pitchforks. 

Thong Song (1999) by Sisqo: If you know the name Sisqo, it’s more than likely because of his one major hit as a recording artist, ‘Thong Song.’ The title alone would have social justice warriors typing furiously away on their phones today. 

What is such a song about? Well, thongs. That’s it. Sisqo doesn’t go too deep in this one. “She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck. Thighs like what, what, what. Baby move your butt, butt, butt,” is a sample of the lyrics. 

The song has been called sexist in recent years, but Sisqo still tours with the signature hit being his main draw and he even released a sequel of sorts in 2017. A love song to thongs and the women who wear them likely wouldn’t find the same success today. But back in the day, Sisqo’s surface-level fascination with underwear built a career. 

The fact that so little past art can meet the increasingly high demands of today’s woke culture is another sign political correctness is a beast that can never properly be fed. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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