Marilyn wasn’t cancelled after all

Forever Marilyn statue downtown Palm Springs
Forever Marilyn was located downtown Palm Springs from 2012-2014. She’s back!

After watching cancel culture go after the Marilyn Monroe statue in Palm Springs, I learned something interesting. A local TV station, KESQ TV, took a survey of residents on their opinion of the 26-foot statue unveiled last night downtown Palm Springs amidst supporters and protestors.

Here was one of the questions:

“The statue will be a fun and free attraction for visitors and residents of Palm Springs.” The answers came back with an overwhelming 86% agreement vs 12% disagreement.

Survey shows what residents think of ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue’s return to Palm Springs

Isn’t that interesting? Despite protests and voices against the statue — because some think it’s misogynistic and sexist — most people don’t agree and find it fun and something they like. It makes me believe that the voices wanting to get rid of our past, cancelling Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head, Gone With the Wind, etc. are only aa handful of people. They are not the majority. But they are very vocal and often win out. I see a lot of our corporations being afraid of being canceled and they cave under pressure.

Here’s another question from the survey:

“The statue is offensive and should not be displayed in our City.” The survey ended up with a 13% agree to 83% disagree ratio among those who participated.

Here’s a video from the unveiling yesterday with protestors and supporters:

What are your thoughts about cancel culture? Do you think the people wanting to get rid of our past are in the majority? Or are they a small group of people?

Who wants to cancel Marilyn?

Marilyn Monroe downtown Palm Springs.
“Forever Marilyn” is being unveiled this weekend amidst protests.

There’s a big brouhaha in my old hometown. The statue called “Forever Marilyn” will be unveiled Sunday evening in downtown Palm Springs, Calif. The 26-foot Marilyn stood near the same site from 2012 to 2014 — and nobody objected. In fact, it was quite the tourist attraction.

Now there’s a protest being organized by Palm Springs’ very own Trina Turk, the famous designer. There are women’s groups from as far away as Los Angeles planning to protest the statue. Good luck to them — the temperature in Palm Springs was 123 degrees yesterday!

What changed from 2012 to 2021 that made Marilyn Monroe controversial?

According to an article in The Desert Sun, the local Gannett paper, “A protest in opposition to the installation is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Museum Way between Museum Drive and Belardo Road, according to a Facebook event created by the Women’s March LA Foundation.” Here are some excerpts from the article:

The foundation’s chapters from the Inland Empire and Riverside along with local organizations are coordinating on the protest, which is meant to “voice our dissent to the statue being installed on Museum Way,” according to Trina Turk, co-head of a participating group called the Committee to Relocate Marilyn.

The installation has been the subject of controversy for months. Some have voiced opposition to the statue’s planned location on Museum Way, while others have decried its general presence in the city as misogynistic and antithetical to Palm Springs’ values. 

Meanwhile, supporters say the statue will drive tourism to the city following months of closures for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts — the hotels association organization that bought the statue and is organizing Sunday’s event —  said the its prior installation in the city from 2012 to 2014 brought “millions and millions of dollars in publicity” and “immensely helped all the businesses in downtown Palm Springs.”

A group under the name “Me Too Marilyn” held a protest against the statue in May. That group’s leader, former Palm Springs Art Museum director Elizabeth Armstrong, has called the statue “hyper-sexualized” and said the Palm Springs City Council did not solicit enough public input before deciding on the Museum Way location.

From ‘Forever Marilyn’ to be unveiled Sunday; protest planned by Women’s March, other groups
James B. CutchinBrian Blueskye Palm Springs Desert Sun

I don’t believe Turk is the one calling for Marilyn to be cancelled. From what I’ve read, her objection is the location. But others think the statue is sexist and misogynist. They don’t want the statue to be up period. For example, the former director for the Palm Springs Art Museum Armstrong is upset because she thinks it encourages “upskirting.” She said the statue will literally be mooning museum visitors.

What are your thoughts about “Forever Marilyn?” Do you think it’s sexist and misogynist? Or do you think it’s a blast from the past of pop culture? Should Marilyn Monroe be cancelled? What are your thoughts about cancel culture?

After Dr. Suess, who’s next?

This was the first children’s book published by Dr. Seuss,  Theodor Seuss Geisel

As a baby shower gift, we received a large compilation of Dr. Seuss books in one heavy volume. My husband loved Mulberry Street and read that nightly to our son. I think the attraction to the story was a young boy with a vivid imagination coming up with a story to tell his dad. It was a father son story.

Today I learned the book will no longer be published and Dr. Seuss is banned from many schools altogether. This cancel culture is taking the joy out of simple pleasures. The banning is because of racial overtones or is it undertones? I can’t keep up.

I long ago sent that volume of Seuss books to our local thrift shot benefitting Angel View Crippled Children’s Homes. I regret it. I’d like to read the books again and see what’s so offensive. I don’t remember anything except little squiggly hairs on creatures that weren’t quite human or animals.

I remember the first books I read. “One Fish, Two Fish,” and “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Cat in the Hat.” I was so proud to be able to read on my own.

I went on Amazon this morning and there was one copy of Mulberry Street left. For a hefty price of over $20. I then clicked onto ebay and found the book being sold for as much as $140! Oh well.

I’ve read that Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird have been banned from schools. I googled book banning and learned of lists of books that have been banned for decades from people from all sorts of points of views. My opinion is strongly against any and all book banning — by anyone for any reason. At least I can’t think of a reason why I’d support banning books. Here’s a list of banned books through the years along with the reasons.

 

And To Think I saw it on Mulberry Street

by Dr. Seuss

When I leave home to walk to school,

Dad always says to me,

“Marco, keep your eyelids up

And see what you can see.”

But when I tell him where I’ve been

And what I think I’ve seen,

He looks at me and sternly says,

“Your eyesight’s much too keen.”

“Stop telling such outlandish tales.

Stop turning minnows into whales.”

Now, what can I say

when I get home today?

All the long way to school

And all the way back,

I’ve looked and I’ve looked

And I’ve kept careful track.

But all that I’ve noticed, Except my own feet

Was a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street.

That’s nothing to tell of,

That won’t do, of course….

Just a broken-down wagon

That’s drawn by a horse.

That can’t be my story. That’s only a start.

I’ll say that a ZEBRA was pulling that cart!

And that is a story that no one can beat,

When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

The beginning of “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” by Dr. Seuss

Cancel culture and the right to freedom of speech

I wrote this more than six years ago. I can only say with the current “cancel culture” things have only gotten worse. The movement against freedom of speech and censorship has expanded from college campuses to social media and beyond.

 

Cherry blossoms at the Quad University of Washington

My alma mater. Springtime at the University of Washington, Seattle.

I worry about my kids and the world we are leaving them. I especially worry about how their ideals are so different than mine, when I was their age.

For example, I wanted to have a successful career. I was interested in getting a job. Eventually get married, buy a home and raise a family. Not that I wanted that at age 19 or even 22, but it was in the back of my mind.

Frosh pond at the University of Washington.

Another view from the UW.

I was a journalism major. My internships were at local newspapers and I spent one quarter at the state capital as a legislative reporter. I valued the written word. As an avid reader and writer for most of my entire life, I value freedom of speech and believe we are one of the few fortunate country’s in the world to enjoy this right. We have friends who immigrated from Eastern Europe. They told us how books were illegal in their country. They would smuggle photographs of each page to read and share with friends.

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Washington State Capitol with Mt. Rainier.

Washington State Capitol Dome with Mt. Rainier

I’m so surprised that our kids do not appreciate this right.

Did you hear that? Freedom of speech, which is our first amendment right, is not a favorable thing to a growing number of our college students. There was a recent Pew Research poll that tracked opinions about freedom of speech. Forty percent of students believe that our first amendment is outdated and that the government should have the right to censor our speech if it’s offensive to minorities.

“Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Read more here about the document called the Bill of Rights. 

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I was a young child in the 60s when protestors were taking over college campuses, bombing buildings and burning flags. They were protesting the War. They believed in freedom of speech.

You don’t have to agree with the words being said. You don’t even have to like it. You can hate it and find it offensive. But, don’t censor or silence it. It seems that our college campuses have become microcosms of group think where no dissenting point of view is allowed. If someone speaks out with a contrary opinion, they are shouted down, silenced and excommunicated.

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It’s very scary to me that the foundations of our country are not respected or valued by our youth. I’m hoping they outgrow this attitude as they enter the world, get jobs and raise their families.

Red Scarf Girl bookcover

A must read in today’s world.

There’s a book I read when my kids were in grade school called Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang. It’s a true story and eerily reminds me of what’s going on today with our college students.

“In 1966, Ji-li Jiang was twelve years old. An outstanding student and leader in her school, she had everything: brains, ability, the admiration of her peers – and a shining future in Chairman Mao’s New China. But all that changed with the advent of the Cultural Revolution, when intelligence became a crime and a wealthy family background invited persecution or worse.”

It’s a well written book and the story is one we should think about today.

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Here’s a story from 12/9/2015 that brings up some of the issues on campuses I’ve been reading about: Importance of Free Speech on Campus .

Here’s an opinion piece from the LA Times that addresses the issue of freedom of speech with numbers.

Here’s a couple blog posts I’ve written on the subject:

Is Freedom of Speech Dead On American Campuses

Are the Right to Party and the Right to Free Speech at Odds at UCSB?