We try to avoid talking about culture war/woke shit on the website, for obvious reasons, but if you’re like me and have young daughters who made you watch The Little Mermaid seven hundred times, then here’s a story for you.

From Zack Scharf at Vanity Fair:

“Prince Eric will not be forcing himself on Ariel through song in Disney’s upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid,” directed by Rob Marshall. Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for the 1989 animated movie, returned to work on the 2023 live-action remake and updated some of the song lyrics so they wouldn’t be outdated when it comes to consensual relationships.

“There are some lyric changes in ‘Kiss the Girl’ because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel],” Menken recently told Vanity Fair. “We have some revisions in ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice.”

Okay first things first, because context is important:

If you’ve never actually seen the movie, Arielle rescues Prince Eric from a shipwreck and then becomes fascinated with him and the human world. She cuts a deal with the villain, Ursula, gives up her voice, and then is provided a three-day window in which Eric has to kiss her, or else she becomes Ursula’s prisoner.

The entire point of the movie is that she’s trying to get him to kiss her, so that Arielle turns into a human and they fall in love and live happily ever and blah blah blah. She literally has no voice and she’s trying to get it back. That’s why Sebastian the crab is urging Prince Eric to kiss her, not because he wants Eric to be a creeper, but because that’s what defeats the bad guy and saves the good guy.

With that for background, when you look at some of the song lyrics in a vacuum, they do look a little bizarro-lecherous, like this passage specifically:

“Yes, you want herLook at her, you know you doPossible she wants you tooThere is one way to ask herIt don’t take a wordNot a single wordGo on and kiss the girl”

Seems creepy, yes, but there’s wordplay going on here. When the crab says “it don’t take a word, not a single word,” he’s not telling Eric to just go for it without consent. It’s a reference to the fact that she traded her voice and literally cannot talk.

Plus, when you actually watch the scene, they both lean in to kiss, and then HE pulls back. SHE then GRABS HIS HAND and pulls him towards her. Eventually Eric starts leaning in again, and she then does the same, so the idea that he is “forcing” himself upon her in any way is actually totally fucking comical, because the non-kiss (they are thwarted by henchman eels) is preceded by two full minutes of indecision and waffling on both sides.

The powers that be just want to elevate the message of consent, which is fine. It’s important for young girls to understand this, and the changes are being made with good intentions. The problem here is that the tweaks don’t fit within the context of the plot and the scene itself is hardly controversial. You’re essentially solving a problem that doesn’t exist, which is the crux of “woke” culture wars in 2023. Sometimes things are absolutely insensitive and outdated and need to be changed, but this movie and these lyrics do not require updating.

Anyway that’s all for now, let’s get it back to sports. I can’t believe I wrote 631 words about this, but shit drives me crazy.