Do Words Mean Anything Anymore?

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I was watching a “children’s cartoon” the other day and was surprised to hear the words “Lucifer” and “fag” used by the childish characters on the screen. I thought I might have misheard, so I rewound and listened again. Yep, that’s what I had heard.

Now, before you can suspect that I was watching one of those monstrosities on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim”, I must point out—in the spirit of full disclosure—that I was watching the 1967 classic “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown.”

No, I’m not kidding. Now, you’re thinking I’m either making this up (not me!!) or was on some severe cold medicine.

In the story, Charlie Brown and his friends are looking forward to their summer vacation, only to find out that Lucy has signed them all up for summer camp. When they get there, the boys are challenged by the girls to some friendly competition—in sports like swimming—and soundly beaten. This leads to a fit of depression on the part of the boys. So they go off by themselves to drown their sorrows in a campfire. But the girls find them and try to cheer them up by singing “Pack Up Your Troubles”.

You get it now? Recall the words of the song, “Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and smile, smile, smile! While you’ve a Lucifer to light your fag … “

OK, now some of our modern readers are really in a panic, thinking that good ol’ C. M. Schulz and gang slipped in a pejorative reference to homosexuals and a dance with Satan into an innocent little children’s cartoon. I allay those fears by pointing out that—in the context of the fairly ancient song—a “Lucifer” was a matchstick and a “fag” was a cigarette.

Well, now, some of you are having heart attacks as you read about a cartoon full of large-headed 8-year-olds singing about the joys of smoking. In the mindset of early twenty-first century “adults”, it’s worse to be a smoker than a homosexual.

And let’s not forget that the kids were having a campfire by themselves. Where were the adults?!?! Where was the EPA?

There’s no way that cartoon special would get made now-a-days, at least not with that song still in there. If the Schulz Foundation even tried, there would be so many lawyers from anti-smoking and anti-defamation leagues parachuting onto their lawns that they wouldn’t be able to see the sun. Before they knew what had happened, the 9th Circus Court of Appeals would be demanding that Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty and all the rest of the gang be appearing in commercials about the dangers of smoking and appealing to children to be “tolerant”.

You think I’m exaggerating, but we live in a culture where the President just accepted an award for transparency in secret. What a stupid world we live in, huh?