Seaton: Of Matts and Mermaids

“Cheap Heat” is a professional wrestling term used to describe a throwaway remark or action by a performer that requires little effort and is guaranteed to elicit a negative crowd reaction. Examples of this would be wiping one’s ass with a Josh Allen jersey in Buffalo or reminding the fine people of Jacksonville their football team’s never going to win a Super Bowl.

The use of cheap heat by conservative commentator Matt Walsh on his Daily Wire Plus show is especially galling, considering Matt’s schtick would fit right in if he were a heel wrestling manager back in the territories. I’m talking specifically today about a clip my mean-ass editor assaulted me with Wednesday night where Walsh took issue with Disney casting a young black girl in the lead of the live-action “Little Mermaid” remake.

It wasn’t “wokeism” or “over-representation” that bothered Walsh. No, Matt took issue with the fact casting a dark-skinned mermaid wouldn’t be “scientific.” According to Walsh, real mermaids would “scientifically” be more likely to have translucent skin.

Now before the Sweet Baby Gang comes in hot to the comments and tells me Matt was being sarcastic, I get it. He’s got a deadpan delivery that tends to make people question when he’s being serious and when he’s joking. Still, going to the “unscientific” route is pretty low hanging fruit if you’re going to make jokes about a female lead’s skin color.

I say it’s low hanging fruit when I should say it’s imaginary fruit. Because mermaids, like that imaginary fruit I just mentioned, aren’t real. Therefore making any sort of argument about how science would dictate a mermaid’s skin color makes you look like an idiot.

Mermaids are creatures of fiction. They are basically subject to the whims of whoever cooks them up in their imaginations. In the animated film, someone dreamed Ariel was a ginger. This will be a different take. Both can have equal merit without a grown man with children bitching about either one.

Speaking of the fantasy genre, it requires a certain suspension of disbelief if it’s going to make any sense at all. Which if you stop and think about it, “The Little Mermaid” is devoid of any sense entirely. It’s a story of a half human, half fish hybrid who’s so dense she can’t recognize a fork when her father wields one for a weapon. The hybrid creature falls in love with a human prince, so she makes a deal with a morbidly obese sea witch who has tentacles for legs to give her human legs in exchange for the fish-human’s voice so she can attempt to woo her prince by…sign language and batting eyes? I think that’s the plot.

I also probably ruined “The Little Mermaid” for many of you by referring to Ariel as a half-human, half fish hybrid seeking sexual relations with human beings. If that is the case, I only slightly apologize. You should’ve known my mind was in the gutter when I started this post.

But back to Walsh. This sort of cheap heat is meant to garner a reaction from conservatives, who will snarl and go “Goddamn right that Little Mermaid is too woke! I’ll never let my kids watch that crap!” as well as leftists who will scream about how Walsh is an intolerant bigot who can’t see how representation is important to people of color.

Either way, Matt sells more books and DW+ subscriptions, and keeps his name in the press. And you fall for it if you allow yourself to get taken in by his remarks.

It’s also either intellectually dishonest to pull a stunt like this or Matt can’t remember what he said a couple of years ago about Charlize Theron not being allowed to play a transgender man in a movie I think never got made once the Twitter mobs pointed out she wasn’t an actual transgender male. At the time, Matt said the point of acting was to pretend on stage or screen to be something one was not. Not allowing Theron to play a transgender male defeated the point of acting altogether, according to Walsh. So this latest off the cuff remark is either laziness or intellectual dishonesty. Either way, I’ve got to ding him for it here.

Plus, if Matt’s actually upset about the live action “Little Mermaid” having dark skin, I have news for him: it’s two button pushes away on Disney Plus to get to the original. Or he can have his kids watch that DW+Kids content his bosses have spent over a million bucks on creating. Options are a thing, Matt, and they’re great to have!

Matt, on the off chance you Google your name and read this, I want you to know that I’m just disappointed. You’ve got an amazing gift to poke at cultural beehives to the point where people start copying your act in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. You can do so much with your platform in Nashville to hammer away at the sacred cows the left holds so dearly, and when you do use that platform you manage to get some really effective results.

It’s just beneath you to make side jokes about an actress’s skin color not being “scientific” enough to play the part of an imaginary sea creature.

And to steal a line from Walsh himself, for the crime of using “cheap heat” in a manner pro wrestling fans can see a mile away, Matt Walsh is officially canceled.

Happy Friday, everyone! No matter how your week’s been, at least you’re not a self-professed middle aged crazy man on the Internet trying to allegedly pick a fight with a media personality!

We’ll see you next week!

And Matt: If you’re ever in my Scruffy City (we’re about 3.5 hours away from your Nashville offices), the BBQ is on me, and I’ll even be a good host and take you to the good local spot, not some garbage chain joint.

28 thoughts on “Seaton: Of Matts and Mermaids

      1. Guitardave

        The weird timing in this tune makes a lot more sense if it’s simultaneously consumed with a small handful of ‘shroms and chunk of hashish… or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

        Reply
  1. JMK

    > I also probably ruined “The Little Mermaid” for many of you by referring to Ariel as a half-human, half fish hybrid seeking sexual relations with human beings.

    On the other hand, there are probably a number of people who read that and can’t wait to watch. You’re still the bad guy though, since the reality won’t match the build up you’ve given them.

    > I’ll even be a good host and take you to the good local spot

    Dead End?

    Reply
    1. CLS

      Hamilton was actually good.

      This, like every other live action remake Disney’s done, is most likely going to be godawful on the merits.

      Reply
  2. B. McLeod

    In early Disney, the characters were commoners and blacks were amply represented by Julius the Cat, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey and Minerva (“Minnie”) Mouse. Radio, of course, was still the dominant medium of the time, so in Scotland and parts of Canada, Mickey and Minnie were widely referred to and discussed as “Mickey and Minnie Moose.” Had you not been out to the cinema, you knew no better.

    The “princess” thing began to creep into Disney late in the 1930s, with Snow White. Again, in the 1950s, with Sleeping Beauty. These were basically adaptations of old world stories in which princesses were an element. By the present day, it has become simply a Disney cliche, slipped into made-from-whole-cloth stories as a mechanism to help sell merchandise to little girls. Extending this merchandising mechanism to target black children is scarcely a victory for the woke. The very concept of princesses is incompatible with any concept of equity or equality, as it rests on the premise that select individuals are created superior by birth. The Disney princesses are inculcating children with this premise, which is rationally at home only in societies committed to elitist or absolutist rule by theoretically high born persons over commoners.

    Reply
    1. CLS

      Okay then. I appreciate you coming to tell me that Disney, one of the largest companies on the planet marketing directly to kids, is trying to do the same thing for young black girls.

      I never would’ve guessed that Disney of all companies would shy away from a cash grab until you explicitly told me so.

      Reply
  3. Anonymous Coward

    My theory is that mermaids are localized to the predominant population. Thus a Bay of Bengal mermaid looks like a Bollywood actress and speaks Hindu while a Puget Sound Mermaid looks Makah and speaks Chinook. This covers merfolk diversity and still provides a basis to criticize lazy representational wokeness by Disney. The source for The Little Mermaid is Danish so Ariel is a Baltic or North Sea mermaid and should look Scandinavian. If Disney wants a dark skinned mermaid, make the effort to create an original setting and story line rather than a lazy find and replace. At this rate some idiot is going to remake The Fast Runner with Megan Thee Stallion cast as Atanajuat.

    Reply
    1. CLS

      You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into making sense of something that makes no sense to begin with.

      I salute your efforts in that department.

      Reply
    1. CLS

      Yeah that’s reserved for our Cultural Ambassadors, who came with some rather interesting material today.

      Great stuff, Dave and Howl!

      Reply
    1. CLS

      Not necessarily. A cheap shot can be used against a single person.

      Cheap heat can involve a cheap shot, but it’s directed at a crowd.

      Reply
  4. Patrick

    Here’s why he said that.

    In real life the reason people are upset isn’t that “a mermaid” is black. It’s that they cast a black actress for Ariel, specifically. A named character with an established appearance that is iconic for a lot of fans because Disney has poured millions of dollars and decades of effort into branding this character so extensively that we all know her appearance better than that of our own mothers.

    That’s not a crazy reason for people to be upset. Fans get upset when you change stuff they’re fans of. It’s a very human and unsurprising response.

    So the dominant move for some people is to claim that the real reason people are upset is because they don’t think mermaids, a fictional concept, can be black. How stupid! They’re not real! They can be whatever color we say! Hurr hurr, this must be a cover for racism, their real motivation.

    So liberals won’t engage with anyone who is specific about this being about Disney’s Ariel, a named character, and whether she looks like her canonic self. But they WILL engage, eagerly, with anyone who makes it about mermaids generally.

    Which is great if what you want is attention.

    He had to make that argument. Specifically. Not any other argument or attention seeking argument. I believe he literally looked at woke talking points and decided to take the position he knew they wanted to yell about. specifically.

    Disney wants free publicity and an excuse why yet another live action remake is bad. Liberals want to call conservatives and society collectively racist. And Matt Walsh wants attention. Everyone gets what they want.

    Reply
    1. CLS

      Wow.

      Congratulations. You’ve inspired me to come up with a new word today: “Commentsplaining.”

      “Commentsplaining”: the act of responding in the comments section of a blawg post explaining a concept or point the post author explicitly discussed.

      Here’s how it’s used: “Patrick commenstplained to Chris how Matt Walsh used the new Ariel’s skin color to get attention from leftists and conservatives alike even though Patrick, if he’d actually read the post, would see Chris already discussed this point in detail.”

      And I realize I’m the dumb jokes guy around here, but I try not to insult my audience’s intelligence, so I saw no reason to make the very obvious point that fans of just about everything really get riled up when people make drastic changes to stuff they love.

      Fucking hell.

      Reply
      1. Patrick

        I think my post added something about the specific nature of the interaction, in that it isn’t just attention seeking in general but rather a literal and conscious effort to recognize that the other side wanted a very specific straw man and then to be that straw man, but maybe I didn’t explain well enough. I can try again.

        So it all starts with

        (1/32)

        Reply

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