The inconvenient truth is: the liberal logicians are right. But while they think pointing out how far down the slope we’ve slid is a rebuke that will get us to unseat our heels from the earth, in truth it’s a call to greater resistance. Thanks for the heads-up guys—when we’re done with Cuties, perhaps we can shame beauty pageants out of existence. And criminalize pornography. Maybe even prosecute Snapchat executives for abetting the transmission of kiddie porn. The sky’s the limit when a citizenry wakes up to realize the First Amendment isn’t the only component of the Constitution, that there’s all that preamble business about promoting the general welfare. It turns out there’s no law that requires us to accept chunks in our milk glass just because the carton has “Art” on the label. What a countercultural epiphany, and not a moment too soon.
In a 1990 Saturday Night Live skit called “Bad Decision Family,” a father played by Tom Hanks takes a sip of milk, screws up his face, and declares it sour. He then passes the carton around the dinner table for everyone to have a taste. The joke escalates as each family member sniffs spoiled fish, sits in a chair with a protruding nail, and eventually tumbles down the basement steps to confirm that a stair was indeed loose.
I’ve never pondered what happens to a fictional character when the act is completed, but now I’m wondering whether everyone in “Bad Decision Family” became a culture critic. Let’s cue a new scene: in what’s now labeled a Netflix “marketing misstep,” an innocuous poster for the film Cuties is replaced with one revealing that its child actors, if you watch long enough, will eventually twerk and grind in skin-tight clothing. A great many of us reacted to this the way humans do when we smell something foul.
This instinct vexes our social betters. “HAVE YOU SEEN THE FILM?” tweeted Wrap News CEO Sharon Waxman at some prominent Cuties critics. “I’m guessing you have not.” Attacking a Canadian MP who had criticized the movie, Globe and Mail writer Barry Hertz tweeted: “I am willing to bet that Erin O’Toole and others who are pushing an anti-Netflix crusade over CUTIES haven’t bothered to actually watch the film.”
As thousands cancel their Netflix subscriptions, we find ourselves in a modern-day reboot of “Bad Decision Family,” only now a coven of smarmy Vox culture geniuses circles the table, haranguing anyone who turns up his nose. How do you know it’s bad unless you taste it for yourself?