I don’t mean to suggest “cancel culture” is a meme — especially after I fessed up not to understanding what a meme is.
I understand the meaning of the word “cancel.” And I understand the vague meaning of the word “culture.” But when you smack them together, uh uh. I believe the sense of the phrase is, when someone says or does something another person does not like, the other person builds via social media a movement to wipe the offender off the map.
To me, it sounds like girls’ cliques in junior high school. I’ve heard painful stories from girls who, without any explanation or even any sense of reason, became pariahs to their entire group. I’d guess this also happens to boys, although I haven’t heard their stories.
One thing I am beginning to understand is that “cancel culture” pertains primarily to social media. But even people blocked from one thing or another aren’t “canceled;” they’ve simply lost a lazy way of communicating. They can still publish books, they can set up rants on video, they can con people out of money. They can get up on the Speaker’s Box in Hyde or Another Park.
In short, they can express themselves. At length, if they so wish.
I’m not nuts about blocking individuals’ access to any communication medium. I am irritated at the paranoid theory that bad guys have to be “canceled” to protect me from being influenced by them. I personally resent the condescension, the unspoken conception of me as brainwashable.
Certain “Cancel Culture” mavens have cast themselves as my Saviors. They’re not; I don’t have Saviors; I don’t even have one Savior; I have me. And I don’t have to pay attention to people who express vile ideas, wherever they appear. Social media, TV news shows, op ed sections of newspapers, blogs…
But I want those vile idiocies out there. I want to know that there are such thoughts.
I am not emotionally averse to dismissing racist teachers, government officials and white supremacists from the military or police forces; they can do potential damage to vulnerable people of all ages. They offend our majority adherence to and research into the full, complex facts of history, science and mankind.
Kick ’em out, bounce them, fire them, vote them out.
But let’s not slap gaffer tape over their mouths. We can’t figure out what we should do about them if we don’t know whom we have to do it to. Or why.