Is Cancel Culture a Good Thing?

  • Thread starter JodyBuchanan
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JodyBuchanan

JodyBuchanan

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  • #1
There are so many stupid names for things out there, but I think this may take the cake. I always wonder who makes these things up. "Cancel Culture." Yes, that's what we're dealing with today. It's basically when a group takes notice of a person's or organization's stance or opinion on a particular topic and attempts to "cancel" them if it's something the group disagrees with. What's cancelling? Well, that's when the group at hand attempts to discourage support for the individual or organization themselves or their work. There's another phrase for cancel culture as well. It's "Callout Culture." This is when those on the internet disagree with something or someone and they "call them out" for it. For example, let's say a prominent actor voices his support for Donald Trump and says he plans to vote for him in the next election (you know, like 60 million other Americans did). A group of paid Twitter personalities and zombie accounts would find this objectionable and then go off to learn details of this actor's life and try to bankrupt him by threatening prospective employers and the like. Yes, this is the world we live in. This is what social media and the internet has led us to.

The question is, is cancel culture a good thing for individuals and society at large? I'll be taking the negative view for this issue in today's debate and I welcome any counter views.

Cancel Culture Equals Online Bullying - The Violence and Threats Can Actually Become Worse Than the Original Alleged Offense

It's all fine until it happens to you. I actually had the unfortunate experience of being targeted by an online lynch mob over a misunderstanding. I own and operate a food blog and apparently, a restaurant with the same name as my blog did something that the mob disapproved of. Well, the mob didn't like it, looked the name of the restaurant up, found me, and began posting horrible things on my Facebook page. They also emailed me threatening messages. And I didn't even have anything to do with it. I actually had no idea what was happening until I did a little research. That's when I decided to fight back and tell these people off to put them in their places.

Comedians have to put up with this sort of nonsense all the time. These folks have been telling jokes about different types of people since the dawn of time. I suppose it wasn't only until recently that a certain type of person began becoming offended. It seems that the type of person who gets offended by everything can't even walk down the road without having imaginary insults hurled at them. Everything bothers them. They have no ability to laugh at themselves, like the rest of us do on a daily basis. Again, they're offended by everything and nothing at the same time. Thin skinned, if you ask me. So anyway, it's no secret that comedians have been targeted by the mob. Many have lost their jobs and aren't asked anymore to do acts at any clubs. They've lost their livelihoods because of some jokes the powers that be have decided are no longer allowed. Freedom of speech? Not anymore. Sure, it's not illegal to say something these days, but you might just lose your source of income.

So, what is it exactly that offends people? What is it that you can't say? No one knows. It hasn't been determined yet. Does that sound dangerous? You bet it does. If I say that a rock is blue today, things might be fine. If I say it tomorrow though, some person on Twitter might hunt me down because of some perceived oppression and attempt to ruin my life. Do you think you're safe? I wouldn't count on it. If this is the type of culture that's permitted for some today, it just may be permitted for all tomorrow. So you better be careful of what you write online and protest for because those views, while seemingly popular may come back to bite you when they're not.

The worst part of the whole thing is that the mob rarely takes context into account when they choose to do their online bullying. Who is it that said the statement? What are they up against? What is their life like? Who cares. Let's rip em' to shreds. Let's make it so they can't support their family anymore. Do they have an illness? Are they handicapped? Do they have mental problems? Who cares. Let's take them down. Act now and ask questions later. The whole thing sort of reminds me of the prison industrial complex. Let's get em' in jail as opposed to finding out the complexities of their lives. Let's lock em' up instead of finding out their motivations, understanding them, and offering education and rehabilitation. What a terrible scene.

Do you think these attacks on so called offenders help at all? No, they don't. Oftentimes, once someone is attacked like this, they recoil into their little holes, never to be seen or heard from again. This is the very thing the mobs used to do in town square. They'd find witches and perceived criminals and burn them at the stake and hang them. Real nice. Most of the townsfolk had no idea who was being incriminated. They simply loved the feeling of being in power as the judge, jury, and executioner. Once a person has been targeted due to something they said or believed, much of their self worth dissipates. They lose their self-confidence. They may even stand up to fight, doubling down on their position and not learning anything from the situation.

There's this thing out there called mob mentality, where there's sort of a feedback loop. One person thinks one thing, they express that thought to someone else, and the same thing continues to happen until everyone has heard about it. Then, since everyone is in the know, they begin feeding the same types of thoughts back to each other until a feeding frenzy occurs. This is what happens online when someone or a group is targeted because of a perceived wrongdoing. The frenzy actually gets to heights where death threats occur and someone's life has been torn apart. Whatever the alleged crime, the punishment is oftentimes much worse.

This entire situation isn't sustainable. It's been said that individuals take on antisocial behaviors when they're hidden behind screens. They can't tell true right from true wrong. They're more likely to target someone when they can't see the consequences of that targeting up close, which can be destructive. They become the very cyber-bullying type of character so many of them proclaim to abhor. They can't connect their behavior to social norms, morals, ethics, proper punishments, sanctions, or much of anything else when they're so geographically distant from their target and when they're behind a screen. And this isn't even mentioning all of the PTSD that occurs when someone is cyber-bullied or engages in cyber-bullying. Yes, it's true. Both parties suffer from this type of activity.
 
JodyBuchanan

JodyBuchanan

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  • #2
Call Out Culture Doesn't Even Work

If you engage in call out culture and think you made a change, you're dead wrong. All you did was cast a stone in a certain direction and sit back in your own glory. You might think that President Obama enjoyed calling people out. As it turns out, not so much. Take a look at this. Here's what he once said: "Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out… That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do." I totally agree with him. It's not to difficult to sit on your perch and judge others for their views and beliefs. But really, if you don't want to hear theirs, they certainly don't want to hear yours either. So why do you offer them?

Even Black Lives Matter is against this sort of lazy pseudo activism. They claim that calling people out and badgering them online is akin to a waste of time. They say that if you're looking for real change, you're going to have to put a lot of boring hours into it. It's not about feel good and feel powerful one-offs on the internet. It's actually about hard work in the real world.

Lots of left leaning organizations have "called out" those you call out others. Call out culture has been described as simple blaming and shaming. There's a debate going on in regards to whether or not call out culture even accomplishes anything worthwhile, other than giving the person who's doing the calling out a short term release of feel-good power tripping. Lot's of left leaning individuals have concluded that cancel culture doesn't achieve the goals they're after. They don't see the change they desire. Personally, I think it's a weak tactic built upon a weak foundation. If you want change that you don't have to coerce people into accepting. simply offer a better alternative. The public isn't stupid. If they see something that's allegedly evil, and if they're not evil themselves, they'll go with a different choice. They don't need all the virtue signalling that goes on out there to educate them about good and bad. But no, those who call out others don't have anything better to offer. All they've got is a big soap box called the internet.

Could it be that cancel culture is actually having the opposite effect that those who call out others desire? Look at Louis CK. He was cancelled and when he decided to come back, he sold out all of his shows. The same thing happened with R. Kelly, Kevin Hart, and Micheal Jackson. Either cancelling someone and putting them in the news makes them more popular than ever or the public actually doesn't care about cancel culture's interpretation of virtue. All the more reason to stop the signalling we're all getting so tired of. We don't need more big sisters out there telling us what do to, where to shop, who to listen to, and who to like. Thanks but no thanks.
 
JodyBuchanan

JodyBuchanan

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  • #3
Cancel Culture is a Slippery Slope That Leads to Intolerance

Have you ever noticed that those who preach tolerance are some of the most intolerant people on the planet? "We need tolerance! Let's have that conversation! Get out there and vote! Let's love one another! Black lives matter!"

Really? Do the people who exclaim these sorts of things truly mean what they say? Let's see. Are they tolerant of Trump supporters? No. Do they want to have that conversation with Republicans? No. Do they want right wingers to vote? No. Do they love Donald Trump? No. Do black lives matter if those blacks are conservatives? No. I've never heard of so many meaningless platitudes in my life. Everything these types of people say goes in one ear and out the other with the general public. We regular people can only listen to them for so long. Really? Tolerance is what they want? How tolerant are they for trying to destroy someone's family, career, and reputation over a belief or sentence or two? Goya once supported one of Donald Trumps initiatives that would have made the lives of Latin Americans better. How did the left react? Well, of course they boycotted Goya and attempted to destroy the company. That effort backfired on them and made Goya even more popular than it ever was.

Answer me this: what kind of tolerance is built upon destroying the lives of others for having differing opinions than yourself or your group? I thought the world was built upon our differences. I thought those differing opinions were what made us better as a people. If I had to think of one word that described the utter destruction of a person or group that thought differently than another, that word would be totalitarianism. And really, this type of thing has no place in our society, so perhaps we should begin calling out and cancelling those who do just that.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all take an initiative from the left's playbook and actually follow through on it? Think about the word inclusivity for a moment. What does that mean? It means that just because someone looks differently, thinks differently, or acts differently, they should still be included in whatever you or others are doing. Perhaps instead of cancelling people, we should be embracing and listening to them. If their ideas are truly as horrid as they're made out to be, people will be disinterested in them. There needs to be more of a trust in the intelligence of the average Joe. We don't need random people out there shoving "proper" ideas down our throats. Dictators and supreme rulers have tried that very tactic in the past and it's never seemed to work very well.

We should all have the liberty to speak and think whatever we want without the fear of retribution. If we have people calling us out and ruining our lives over thought and speech today, what's in store for us tomorrow?
 
CraigHardy

CraigHardy

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  • #4
Whether I agree with this position or not, I'd be happy to take the affirmative view on the issue of whether or not cancel culture is a good thing. There are pros and cons to every issue and this issue is surely top of mind for many people, especially in today's world. It seems as though we're more connected than ever, which is definitely having ramifications throughout society. I'm actually not sure if all this connectedness is such a good thing. From what I've seen, giving humans the ability to voice their opinions so easily has had some detrimental effects. What I can't figure out is whether we simply need to grow into this new capability or whether we really are just a bunch of jerks. Time will tell.

Nevertheless, here goes.

Sometimes People Need to be Called Out - Now There's a Method for the Disenfranchised

Let's face it, various things have been going on for countless years and nothing has been done about it. Let's talk about harassment in the workplace for one. Pretty much forever have both women and men taken advantage of their same sex as well as the opposite sex subordinates. In Hollywood, sexual favors have been traded for parts on TV shows and in movies. Many of these alleged abuses remained open secrets among those who were and still are connected in that part of the country and the MeToo movement squashed some of that type of behavior. While it's been said that those who were on the receiving end of the sexual advances were rewarded by getting the part, it's also been said that there was outright abuse where the only beneficiary was the perpetrator. Can anyone really say that call out culture hasn't at least shined a light on some of these types of activities? I think not. Call out culture has utterly transformed Hollywood for the better. Perhaps the courts as well as the various human resource department will now take these types of situations seriously. If they don't, the victims now have someplace to turn to call their perpetrators out. It's called the internet and social media.

If you think about it, there were far too many coverups before victims were granted the ability to share their stories online. The rich and the powerful have been getting away with bad behavior for centuries and longer. They had the clout to have others turn a blind eye and many police jurisdictions simply didn't pay any attention to accusers. What happened instead? Well, we as a society elevated the accused to even more powerful positions in politics, business, and media. Accusers have been branded as liars and crazies. They've been deemed as disposable. Are these people disposable anymore? Not a chance. These people now have voices and those voices are heard. The rich and the powerful are running scared, as they should be. Think Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. They're both in jail for their many alleged abuses. Their victims were heard and proper steps have been taken to hand down justice. Can you imagine if these two men's crimes had never been heard? Can you imagine what would be taking place right now if no one had ever "called them out?" They may still be up to their own games and living perfectly good lives.

Did you know that since the MeToo movement began, there have been 201 powerful men who have lost their careers or positions in their organizations? Seven of these men have been convicted of crimes and five others have been charged. Many men have simply been called out and have stepped back out of the limelight for some time. Much of this activity was a direct result of being called out on social media.

The problem isn't necessarily that victims of these types of abuses don't have a voice at all. It's that they aren't nearly as powerful as the accused. When a powerful person has traditionally been accused of an abuse or a crime, they have the wherewithal to pay top notch lawyers to manipulate the legal system. There have even been payoffs, or settlements, to make the problems go away. These are all too common. Today though, instead of these activities being tried in the legal courts, they're tried in the court of public opinion, which is apparently just as effective.

But beyond sexual abuse, call out and cancel culture has also been used to seek and attain justice for other issues. Think about the Black Lives Matter movement. No one can say that innocent black men haven't been killed by various police officers, whether it be by mistake or for other reasons. The Black Lives Matter movement is now global and it's forcing an almost nationwide retraining of police officers to better handle inner city and racial tensions.

While cancel culture has certainly been abused, it's also an effective means to have voices heard that may otherwise never have been.
 
CraigHardy

CraigHardy

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  • #5
Regular People Finally Have a Voice

Like it or not, the average Joe now has a voice. He can speak up to point the finger at inequality when he sees it. There was once a time when only those who were powerful enough to garner media attention were able to get their words out. Now, all you need is a Facebook or Twitter account.
 
CraigHardy

CraigHardy

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  • #6
Boycotts Have Gone Global

Let's say that you feel you've been wronged by some sort of an organization. Perhaps a retailer or an insurance company. Years ago, all you'd be able to do is call upon your state's consumer protection agency to help or to simply boycott the organization by yourself and not patronize them any longer. Today, you can put the issue out to the public and let them decide what to do. If the offense was egregious enough, some sort of consensus will occur and perhaps a boycott will form. If the offense had to do with some sort of social justice, a frenzy will likely follow. The business or organization will be deprived of attention, currency, and livelihood. The organization will be held accountable. For many, that feels very good after centuries of facing power structures such as the ones that have existed for so long.

For many, the best and most effective form of protest is to refuse participation. Can you imagine if the public became so tired of listening to politicians lie? Or if they became exhausted from living in a swing state and receiving dozens of political mailers in their mailboxes every day? What if a powerful social justice group targeted an innocent man for an alleged social justice infraction? Instead of these individuals being forced to deal with these things alone, now they can go to social media to air their grievances. They can "call out" the political structure and refuse to donate and to vote. They can tell others about all those political mailers and take photos of them to distribute online. They can let everyone know that the very same politicians who claim to be environmentalists have cut down the equivalent of forests of trees to send their messages to the voters. And finally, for those individuals and businesses who have been wrongly targeted by social justice groups who claim to doing good, but are actually bent on ruining lives, those whose lives have been ruined can now vent their frustration on social media to shine light upon those powerful groups. What a wonderful thing.

The best action to take when a large and powerful organization wrongs an innocent person is to tell as many people as you can about it. Boycott the organization. This type of thing has been going on since the 1950s in the United States of America and should continue. The best part of the online calling out and boycotting movement is that it cuts both ways. Those who lean right on the political spectrum can now call out those on the left and vice-versa. Boycotting, cancelling, and calling out isn't a one way street. We're so used to the left calling out pretty much everyone. With the advent of this type of public discourse, the right now has an amplified voice as well. Everyone will see how it feels to have their activities brought to light. Now that's a great thing.

Another wonderful development of cancel culture is that both brands and consumers have amplified voices. What we've seen over the past few years is the calling out of brands and businesses by consumers who may have been in the wrong. Sometimes, an individual may feel as though they've been wronged by a company, but they really weren't. Perhaps they misinterpreted something. And because of this misinterpretation, an online boycott was created by calling out the brand. We'll, if it can be determined that it was in fact the consumer who was mistaken, the brand now has the power to "call out" the individual on social media. The brand can shine some light on the individual's actions. Perhaps the individual is employed by the grievance industry and goes around making trouble all day. If something like this is discovered by the brand, it can be discussed on social media. Names can be named like never before. In the past, restaurants have been "called out" for the simple reason of having a person or persons dine there that a political party may not like. The restaurants have been called out for serving them and they've been boycotted as a consequence. Today, with technology being the way it is, the restaurants can finally fight back. Small mom and pop shops. Mid-sized and Main Street businesses that were harmed by these frivolous boycotts can now turn to the internet to call out the individuals who initiated the frivolous boycott. The best part about all this is that the truth will eventually reveal itself. Boycotts and counter boycotts are dangerous things and it's sometimes best to bring all of the facts out into the open.

On top of all this, large companies and brands are taking advantage of cancel culture to boycott one another. We've all heard of how over 800 big companies have boycotted Facebook and have stopped their advertising because of Facebook's stance on not censoring free speech. This certainly was detrimental to Facebook's bottom line. The thing is, advertising on a platform as large as Facebook's is certainly valuable to countless brands around the world. Facebook now has the opportunity to boycott these brands back. Facebook can call attention to how these big companies that initially boycotted them were doing something akin to engaging in a form of blackmail. If Facebook didn't agree with the speech policies of these companies, the companies would try to put Facebook out of business. In today's world, the best thing for Facebook to do is to engage in cancel culture and to shine a light on this situation. And perhaps Facebook can cancel the advertising accounts of these large brands. Perhaps the consumer would like to know that Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Ford don't value and cherish free speech as so many millions of Americans do. Now that's cancel culture at its best!
 
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