Cancel Culture

It is ironic how cancel culture is thrown out there derisively, calling out those who dare to expose injustice, misogyny, systematic racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Isn’t publicizing their hatred for cancel culture effectively doing just that, trying to cancel a culture of activism? Since this is a fairly new battle cry for the right, I needed to do a little research on how this came about. I wanted to know the difference between boycotts, doxxing, shaming people into political correctness, or other forms of activism that have been used for years. In some instances a form of this has been around for centuries. Is the battle cry against cancel culture the newest way to combat what started to become effective? Here’s what I learned.

Apparently, “calling out” people on their bad behavior which led to boycotts, embarrassment, turning a person into a social piranha wasn’t enough and “cancel culture” was born. Doxxing was a way to find those reprehensible souls, and social media became the preferred avenue. Trolling was another way to cause angst and harm. But calling people out, boycotting, and other forms of making their misdeeds was not enough. Nor was an insincere apology and cancel culture was born. Calls for cancelling programs, books, TV shows, movies, or resignations of high profile deeds or people became more prevalent in the last decade.

The earliest use of the phrase that I could find appeared on Twitter from Myles McNutt, a TV critic and assistant professor at Old Dominion University, who coined the phrase in February 2014 to refer to the cancellations of TV series. He didn’t get a whole lot of press or likes on his tweet. Many people link the #MeToo movement with cancel culture. Celebrities seemed to propel the term into the mainstream around 2017 and it really gathered steam in the latter part of 2018 with a spike occurring according to Google Trends Data.

If meaningful social change occurs with cancel culture, I’m all for it. I’ve often advocated for boycotting and other methods to spur action, but I am very worried that whatever is done to call out bad behavior will somehow be turned into something negative because those in power do not want the light shined too brightly on them when they behave badly. We also need to be very careful about labeling certain things as cancel culture and spreading lies like the ones that have been going around about six Dr. Seuss books and Mr. Potato head. People who don’t want you to look too closely at their behavior, will often try to get you to examine something else to keep the bright lights off of them. Don’t let them! Facts first.

I’m not bothered by cancel culture as long as the facts and information are vetted carefully. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. But, cancel culture is not the only way to seek needed change. We have many tools in our toolbelt. Of course, as a writer, my favorite tool is writing subtext into my books. If you want to check that out, you know the drill, click the links below! By the way…just to let y’all know…coming soon is my newest book, Sculpting Her Heart. Look for it on April 1st.

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