Cancel culture, possibly one of if not the biggest miss use of social media. Where people lives can be terminated in a matter of minutes. With the rise of social media, the world is more connected than ever, people from all over capable of communicating as if the other person is simply across the table from them. Along with this kind of tech comes a new profound power. The ability to cancel (a form of shaming) anyone for saying/doing something the public doesn’t agree with. With this kind of power the people could use it for good in order to help bring change. But instead we use it to burn normal people’s lives for nothing more than shits and giggles. Instead of bringing change like we could, we’d rather destroy the lives of relatively innocent people for what, social justice? Please tell me what does the destruction of people’s lives do that help make that person better?
Short answer it doesn’t, and its there isn’t an exact group that is targeted either. People don’t only go after the Klansman, or neo Nazis. They’ll target anyone for any reason. Hell you can go from the canceler to the canceled with the snap of your fingers. A perfect example of this was from a NPR podcast called “The callout” a punk Rockstar named Emily. she was a member of a hardcore punk band in Richmond Va. Well one day she received news that her best friend was accused of sending unwelcomed sexual pictures to a woman. Now her friend of course denied these allegations, however Emily didn’t buy it and in an act of social justice took to face book to denounce her ,now ex bestfriend, as an abuser. ” I disown everything he has done. I do not think it’s O.K…I believe women.” Through her “righteous” acts her former friend basically lost everything, kicked from the his band, forced to leave the punk scene, Emily even heard rumors that he was fired, evicted, and forced to move to a new city. In one swift move she destroyed everything that man had for not even the actually doing it but rather the allegation of it. Think of that, a destroyed life over the accusation of a photo, and as his former friend suffered she prospered fronting her own band. But as fate would have it her actions of canceling would come back to haunt her. A few years later she would get exposed for posting an emoji (I shit you not) in a group chat as a response for a indecent picture of a highschool student back when Emily was in highschool, nearly a decade ago. Just as she denounced her friend a few years before people came after her. She was kicked from the punk scene, her friends left her, and she was forced into hiding for months. As for her canceler? He was a man named Herbert who when interviewed described calling her out” a rush of pleasure, like an orgasm.” Then when asked if he cared about what Emily went through after he cold heartily responded” ..I literally do not care about what happens to (her) after the situation. I don’t care if she’s dead, alive, whatever”
Think about that for a second. When someone does something that is deemed unacceptable by society. We take everything from that person, burn them at the stake then leave them buried in the ashes, and for what? The feeling that what was done somehow bettered the world? Or perhaps its the idea of oppressing the oppressors, or maybe, us as society take these interactions as an excuse to dehumanize these individuals since in these situations we are capable of getting away with whatever we say about them since they are at fault for their cancelation. But why do we dehumanize these people? Their people all the same just like you and me. The only difference is that they said or did something not socially accepted. But its through these action we find it acceptable to trash them. But does it make the people who cancel them any better? Especially like in Emily’s situation. She basically stabbed her friend in the back in the name of Social justice only for the same blade to be turned on her. She experienced both sides of the spectrum so tell me does that mean she was ever justified to be the one that destroyed her friends life if it was only a matter of time before spotlight turned to her past discrepancies? The overall answer to all these questions should ironically be another question. What gives us the right to play Judge, Jury, and executioner with people lives?
While true that these canceled people have said or done some really shitty things that are clearly not ok in today’s world, there is really one difference between us and them. They were caught doing their act. To sit here and say that anyone in their life has never said or done something deemed socially unacceptable is frankly bullshit. We as people are prone to screw up, that is what comes with developing as a person. But for a majority of us these incidents aren’t put online, they aren’t exposed to the web for all to see and judge, also its important to note that even though these people messed up, they are still people, with thoughts and dreams, and feelings. For when we ignore these facts we can truly became inhumane in our actions
In January of 2017 a 68 year old women stole a wallet in a shop. Not known to her she was recorded on the shops security cam. To which the film was broadcasted on a crime program. Eventually the women turned herself in but despite that that film was posted onto a media-hosting platform, which then went viral. The followers of the platform went out of there way to harass the women including a public comment section in the paper. Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore and shortly after committed suicide. The incident to say at least “.. exemplify the social harm inflicted by shaming through digital media.” This sadly, yet perfectly shows the horrible problem of cancel culture. That people find it perfectly acceptable to dehumanize someone to the point of death. Then to carry on, not giving a care for the consequences of their decisions. Its through these actions that we become worse than the people we cancel.
Brooks, David . 2019. “The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture.” New York Times, January 14. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html.
The callout. (2018, April 13). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2018/04/13/601971617/the-callout
Trottier, D. (2018). Coming to terms with shame: Exploring mediated visibility against transgressions. Surveillance & Society, 16(2), 170-182. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fscholarly-journals%2Fcoming-terms-with-shame-exploring-mediated%2Fdocview%2F2138979618%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605