Enough with cancel culture.
Defined as “a form of boycott in which someone, typically a celebrity, has shared a questionable opinion or has had problematic behavior called out. That person is then “canceled,” which essentially means they’re boycotted by a large number of people, sometimes leading to massive declines in the person’s fanbase and career”, cancel culture is quick to rush to judgment, all with a “holier than thou” smugness coming from the attackers, as if everything is black and white and they themselves have no regrettable actions in their pasts.
Recently, we’ve had the Don Cherry and the Jess Allen affairs. First, Cherry’s “you people” rant, seemingly directed at the GTA’s immigrant population, expressing his dismay with the lack of poppy popularity this past Remembrance Day.
And then The Social’s Jess Allen’s attack on Cherry and her experience with hockey players as “white boys who weren’t … very nice … not generally thoughtful and … often bullies”, which was quick to draw an angry response from Canadians across the country, likely most vehemently from those hockey moms who might happen to watch her show.
Cherry stubbornly refused to apologize and was dismissed from his weekly gig on Coach’s Corner, after over 30 years as a national icon. Allen was able to hold on to her job, but not after she and her network, CTV, apologized and back tracked on the comments. Allen will undoubtedly think twice before she dare express a controversial opinion again.
Rather than the “trial, judgment and sentence” that takes place in today’s social media spotlight in about 24 hours after an action is brought to light, and often without any further comment or input from the now “cancelled” person, how about letting some time pass for some much needed calm debate and sober reflection? Wouldn’t it have been instructive to have Cherry and Allen interviewed together on an hour long program after this firestorm and let them explain themselves in a meaningful dialogue, something a lot more reflective of their views, beyond the original 30 second soundbites on live TV that landed them in cancel culture prison? Whatever happened to free speech and civil discourse?
In the midst of 2019’s ugly cancel culture, it was so refreshing to hear Barack Obama’s recent words of advice to today’s young people and aspiring activists, “this idea of purity and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy, there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you. …(Calling people 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”.