Publisher’s Perspective

Chad Koenen

I began questioning my sanity last Tuesday afternoon as I attempted to make the close-to 130 mile newspaper delivery route from Henning to Wolf Lake, Detroit Lakes and everywhere in-between. As I was driving all of 15 miles per hour on Highway 10 near Frazee, my phone began to ring as my family was able to check up on me as I navigated what I hope is the last snow storm of the season.

The roads last week were terrible. However, having access to a cell phone should a person go in the ditch or not be able to make the trek home, provides a certain level of comfort. After all, just 20 years prior if a person needed help on the road they wouldn’t have been able to call for assistance from their vehicle—they would need to find a passerby or walk to house or business and hope the person they are trying to call is around a phone. 

My freshman year of college I made the stupid decision to drive from my home in Wheaton to Fergus Falls in the middle of a snow storm. Now if you have ever driven on those flat roads in the dead of winter you would know how truly idiotic that decision was on a late Sunday night (keep in mind very few people had cell phones 23 years ago). 

I was convinced my car, which was a 1994 Plymouth Duster with far-too-large of an engine for such a little vehicle, could make it through just about any snow drift. Since Highway 210 was closed, I had to take back roads to my destination. Unfortunately I had car trouble in Tintah, Minn. and my car stalled in town. Fortunately, after a brief walk through town I was able to find an open bar and used the phone to call my parents who were able to come and pick me up (I did have to give the bar tender $5 in order to make a long distance call). I’m not sure what would have happened had they not been home at the time. 

Today, we could simply give our loved ones a call and let them know where we are located (which in some cases may cause more fear and worrying but at least they would know we are safe).

Friends is apparently evil 

It’s official—I can no longer keep track of who popular culture has decided to cancel. 

Recently I came across an interview that Jennifer Aniston gave regarding the “sensitivity” that currently surrounds comedy that didn’t exist 30 years ago. 

Apparently, a group of people have decided that some of the comedy from the hit TV show Friends, in which Aniston starred in as Rachel Green, was offensive some 30 years after originally airing on TV. During a recent interview, Aniston hit the nail on the head when she said that in the past people could joke about things like being a bigot, for example, and have a laugh. She said it wasn’t necessarily about a bigot, per-say, but was about educating the public about how ridiculous people were. She said today, comedians are no longer allowed to do that.

A similar controversy has also surrounded another hit 1990s show, Seinfeld, in which a number of episodes have been deemed offensive by today’s generation. 

Last week we also learned that composer Alan Menken changed lyrics in “Kiss the Girl” so Prince Eric does not “force himself” onto the title character in “Little Mermaid.” In case you didn’t hear, a live action remake of the hit 1990s animated movie will premiere on May 26. 

According to an interview Menken gave to Vanity Fair, which was published on March 31, the lyrics were changed after a concern was raised that Prince Eric would, in any way, force himself on Ariel when a talking lobster encouraged him to kiss his newfound love. 

He also changed lyrics in the song “Poor Unfortunate Soul,” the song in which Ariel gives her voice to Ursala in exchange for the villainous octopus to turn her into a human. According to Menken, lines were changed in that song as some people felt the song, as originally written, could give young girls the impression that they shouldn’t speak out of turn. 

According to Vanity Fair, Menken didn’t elaborate on how the lines in the songs were altered for the new rendition of the Little Mermaid. 

Apparently people don’t have anything better to do these days than to get offended by a TV show that aired 30 years ago. Comedy and pop culture changes over the years and some things that were discussed a number of years ago may not have been considered taboo, and vice versa. 

What’s next, are a group of people going to get together and try to cancel Little House on the Prairie because Pa didn’t handle the town drunk in the right way?