It's Almost Like They're Still Getting Away With Stuff...
Cancel culture has gone absolutely crazy.
You can't say anything these days without "triggering" a bunch of SJWs to get together and collectively cancel you. I mean, that's the contention of half the comedy specials on Netflix, so it must be true. They will dig through past comments and behavior to find any excuse. Even after you're dead, you can still get canceled! The whole situation is getting so out of control that it's getting hard to keep track of who is and isn't canceled, so here's a helpful guide to remind you of some of the celebrities whose cancellations may have escaped your notice.
All 4 Women
Everyone knows Mark Wahlberg as the star of the Ted films, and Mel Gibson's son in Daddy's Home 2, but did you know that in his teen years, he was also the perpetrator of a string of brutal, racially motivated assaults, and that he has never acknowledged the racial component of his violent past? But who hasn't permanently disfigured and partially blinded a man while shouting racial slurs? Still, as a result of this normal, not-at-all upsetting history, Mark Wahlberg was officially cancelled in February. Since then, Wahlberg's once flourishing film career has collapsed to the point that he is only starring in five major motion pictures currently in production.
What a normal-looking couple
Jerry Seinfeld made himself a target of cancel culture when he called out college kids for not laughing enough at his brilliant "gay French king" joke, but what really sealed the deal was the fact that, at the age of 39, when Seinfeld was the star of America's favorite sitcom, he was also dating a seventeen-year-old high school student named Shoshanna Lonstein. And yes, he absolutely looked like her awkward father in every picture they took together, but what man in his late thirties hasn't spent some time outside a high school looking to pick up chicks? Unfortunately for Jerry, the cancel cops got a hold of this info, and officially blacklisted him in August, resulting in Netflix only paying an estimated $500 million for the streaming rights to Seinfeld.
Speaking of men and teenage girls, did you know you can be cancelled just for defending someone? That's what happened to Whoopi Goldberg in response to her 2009 comments on Roman Polanski, in which she said of Polanski's 1977 crimes "I don't think it was rape-rape," despite the victim's testimony that she continuously resisted his advances as Polanski gave the thirteen year old alcohol and drugs, and proceeded to rape her.
As a result, Donald Trump Jr. headed the team that cancelled Whoopi last October, which is why she has since appeared on The View only 5 days a week. Goldberg joins the ranks of Quentin Tarantino and a host of other prominent Hollywood figures whose careers have been absolutely tanked by impassioned Polanski defenses that are not at all indicative of a horrible culture that values talented men too much to punish horrifying crimes. Besides, it was only 8 years after Sharon Tate's murder! You can't be held accountable for anything you do in the decade after a loved one dies, even raping children!
Remember when people used to really idolize John Lennon and The Beatles? Their music used to be really popular, and people would even say mean things about Yoko Ono, blaming her for breaking up the band, not anymore. That all went out the window in July of last year, when a Twitter user reminded the world that John Lennon was a serial abuser, and then cancelled The Beatles. Sure, Lennon abused multiple partners, and at least one of his sons, but ever since Lennon was struck with the same post-mortem cancellation that Michael Jackson received, his solo music and The Beatles' entire catalogue have dropped completely out of cultural relevance, and is now valued at only around a billion dollars. "Imagine" that.
Footage recently resurfaced of Drake from a 2010 concert in Denver, in which he brings a girl onstage to dance with her, then takes the opportunity to drape his arms across her chest and kiss her neck before asking her age. When she answers that she's 17, Drake reacts as any 23 year old would when coming to terms with the fact that his behavior with an underage girl was suggestive and inappropriate. He says, "Why do you look like that? You thick. Look at all this," and follows that up with, "I like the way your breasts feel against my chest." Cool.
At any rate, that was nearly a decade ago, and Drake was pretty young himself, there's probably no reason to look further into the now 33 year old's tendency to befriend teenage girls who he ends up dating once they're of age. That's what the people who cancelled him in January—resulting in him being only the fifth richest rapper on earth—want you to focus on. They want you to be concerned about his friendship with Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown but let's just talk about his grooming habits instead.
On second thought, maybe the hysteria over "cancel culture" attacking any and every tiny misstep is a little overblown. Sure, Kevin Hart didn't get to host the Oscars, but he definitely still has a career, and James Gunn's brief cancellation was revoked. Maybe it's justified to call people out when they screw up, to push for apologies for minor offenses, and to stop giving money and awards to people who've done truly monstrous things. Maybe cancel culture should actually be going a lot further...
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While it's impossible to deny The Beatles' talent, why, after all this time, are they still the world's favorite band?
Today, September 27th, marks the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' final album, Abbey Road.
The iconic project—whose cover bears the even more iconic image of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr striding across Abbey Road in London in 1969—received mixed reviews upon its release, but it's ultimately remembered as one of the best albums ever made.
To celebrate the anniversary, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited at the famous Abbey Road Studios, where they were met with hordes of frantic press and fans. A reissued version of the album was also released today, featuring a new mix by Giles Martin from the original master tapes produced by his father, George Martin. The reissue, which will undoubtedly sell millions of copies around the world, also comes with 23 demos and alternative recordings of songs produced for Abbey Road during the original recording process.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are reunited at Abbey Road StudiosGetty
Not only do fans love to honor The Beatles on days of commemoration, they also continue to consume their music in record numbers. Every member of The Beatles, living or dead, continues to earn millions of dollars in royalties each year from the sale of music released as early as the '60s—music that's still being bought, streamed, covered, and inserted into movies and TV, with unprecedented regularity. In fact, all these years later, we still haven't seen a musical phenomenon consume the American consciousness quite like The Beatles, who sold 177 million albums in the USA alone, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
For a western audience raised on music inspired by The Beatles, their music is melodically pleasing, lyrically creative, and extremely listenable. From "Yellow Submarine" to "Blackbird," they manage to create tableaus through music and melody that have lasted in society's memory: images that have seeped into countless other works of art across mediums. But that doesn't mean their music is any more special than that of their contemporaries, or any more culturally significant than music that's been made since. Yet, is there any other band, active or disbanded, whose every landmark anniversary is met with this level of commemoration, whose every 50+ year-old song is still at the forefront of people's minds? In short, no. While it's impossible to deny The Beatles' talent, why, after all this time, are they still the world's favorite band?
One of the first pictures ever taken of the band
Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said of The Beatles' longevity, "It's remarkable for a band that stopped recording in 1970, they still have such interest." He attributes their popularity to their timing: They were the first in their category and came to represent a moment in time. "They represent the British musical invasion and the change in music that came with it," he said. "We've had other moments, like with Pearl Jam and Kurt Cobain, but nothing like the Beatles did for their time. They were a transformative band, and that has longevity." This is undoubtedly true, but there have been other transformative artists before and after The Beatles reigned, but not even Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, or Dr. Dre are honored with quite the same fervency The Beatles continue to inspire.
One of the last photos ever taken of the four band members
Many argue that the staying power of the four lads from Liverpool can be attributed to the way their music holds a mirror up to an era we long to revisit: an era of conflict, sexual revolution, social movement and, most of all, hope for better things to come. Others believe that we can credit John Lennon and Paul McCartney's partnership with the birth of modern songwriting, and it's that ability to set a story to music that continues to enthrall. Still others think it's the cult of personality surrounding the members of the band themselves that continues to draw us in, a fascination that was only heightened by John Lennon's dramatic, untimely death.
Most likely, the answer is less concrete, something more poetic, like answering the world's brokenness with the simple invitation to "Come together, right now. Over me." Maybe our fascination with The Beatles is simply a result of the innate human desire to share things with other people, to find something—anything—we can all agree on. Maybe we still love The Beatles because, in a divided world, it's what we have in common.
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Steven Van Zandt is sick. While he recovers, let us pay our respects.
In 2004, music was on the verge of a full-on shift towards pop.
Chris Brown and Rihanna were both set to release their debut's within the year, and thanks to bands like All American Rejects and The Fray, a more melodramatic, pop-infused sound had permeated rock music. Steven Van Zandt, the actor, songwriter, producer, activist, and legendary musician was emboldened by this change. "That was the beginning of the war," Steven Van Zandt told a New York Times reporter in 2004. "How could our culture have gotten to the point where we have a format for everything except rock 'n' roll?"
This awkward Van Zandt interview is everything www.youtube.com
Van Zandt has maintained the same flourish and colorful swagger since he was a teenager. His fashion, much like his career, is that of a cultural chameleon. He has continued to find creative ways to remain part of the conversation both musically and otherwise, often doing whatever it takes to stay relevant, all while dawning his signature silk headscarves and an endless range of tie-dye button-ups, eye shadow, and antique, rustic jewelry. He wanted to host a two-hour radio show dedicated to Garage Rock in 2004, but because of the social climate, syndicators had no interest. As a response, Van Zandt started his own radio show, "Little Steven's Underground Garage," and distributed it himself. He employed a small staff and pushed the show out of his actual garage.
Two years later, the show was playing across 136 stations, with Van Zandt becoming an executive producer of three channels for Sirius satellite radio, including one for garage rock. Then, in 2004, he created and hosted the "Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival" on Randalls Island, with headliners including Iggy and the Stooges and The Strokes. Van Zandt almost single-handedly revived garage rock in a time when the genre's mainstream popularity had severely waned.
Little Steven on Letterman www.youtube.com
"You're responding emotionally to something," Van Zandt said of rock and roll's importance. "Bits of information come through, so, suddenly, you find yourself learning about Eastern religion [from the Beatles] or about orchestration. Learning about literature from Bob Dylan."
In 2007, Van Zandt started a program called TeachRock through his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. It was the first-ever "School of Rock," with lesson plans such as "The Birth of Rock," "Songs That Defined History," and "The Indians That Rocked The World," offered for free to educators for grades K-12.
Van Zandt has been a musical trailblazer since his youth. He met Bruce Springsteen when they were both teens in New Jersey, and they hit it off right away. "If you had long hair, you were friends. If you had long hair and you were in a band, you were best friends – which was the case with us," he told Rolling Stone. Springsteen was Van Zandt's best man at his wedding, and he has been an integral part of Springsteen's recording processes. During his Born To Run sessions, Van Zandt casually stopped by to help Springsteen with a few songs, and, on the spot, created the funky horn arrangement that defines "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." To this day Van Zandt is an imperative member of Springsteen's E Street Band, only stepping away a handful of times for even more badass obligations.
Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (The River Tour, Tempe 1980) www.youtube.com
He took a break from the band in 1984 to create Artists United Against Apartheid, a group created with producer Arthur Baker to protest Apartheid in South Africa. The group curated the compilation album Sun City with the help of 52 other musicians. It was one of the first musical collaborations of major recording stars intended to support a political cause. The project raised over half a million dollars.
He then took another break from music in 1999. David Chase, who was beginning to cast The Sopranos, had seen Van Zandt induct The Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Chase thought Van Zandt's speech was hilarious and that he was a natural-born actor. Despite his lack of acting experience, Chase called him up and asked him to play Tony Soprano. "HBO said no," Van Zandt said. "They were like, are you nuts?" So instead, Chase cast him as Tony's right-hand man Silvio Dante. Van Zandt dominated the role and was able to star alongside his wife, Maureen Van Zandt, who occasionally played Dante's wife, Gabriella. From there, Van Zandt began an unexpected career in acting. While dabbling in a few other projects, Van Zandt eventually went on to co-write, produce and star in Lilyhammer, Netflix's first-ever original series. "On my first promotional tour, I had to explain to people what Netflix was," Van Zandt said of the show. "I was like, 'Well it's kinda like Blockbuster but they're makin' their own stuff now."
The Sopranos - Silvio Calls Out Tony www.youtube.com
Whenever there's a cultural shift, Van Zandt is at the forefront. In every sense, he is an embodiment of rock and roll. He was married to his wife by Little Richard while Percy Sledge sang "When a Man Loves a Woman;" he is best friends with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr; he manages his own record label and created the first two original music channels for Sirius XM radio.
When a cultural figure has loomed so large for so long, it's especially heartbreaking to see him begin to succumb to the consequences that come with having such a packed schedule for so long. Earlier today, Van Zandt was forced to cancel a majority of his current tour due to sinusitis, and he was absolutely crushed by it, to say the least. The 68-year-old has never canceled shows before, and for someone so passionate about music, it's a heartbreaking thing to see. This journalist frankly hopes Van Zandt is being cared for by God himself, lying on a cloud, as Iggy and The Stooges reunite and play unreleased B-sides from their Fun House days. Van Zandt is a pioneer and a hero. Get well soon, Little Steven, rock and roll needs you.
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