Deciphering The Meaning Of Cancel Culture

By Ben Hamill - July 29 2020

Deciphering The Meaning Of Cancel Culture

The internet is awash with a new piece of terminology. And even those who claim to understand its meaning seem to be largely straddling the fence of confusion as to a proper definition the rest of us can get our heads around. It’s called cancel culture and as is the case with many open-to-interpretation ideas, it seems to mean different things to different people, and in some cases even many things to many people.

Americans are either for it or against it in equal parts, with a select few openly admitting to either having never heard of the term or not knowing what it means. A few others yet claim not yet to have formed an opinion either way. And so, the question begs: is cancel culture even real?

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Mob Rule Or Social Justice?

Author and journalist George Packer describes cancel culture as a chorus of voices trying to silence a point of view they either don’t agree with or find outright offensive, by discrediting the person who voiced that point of view. The problem is that this discreditation is so extreme that it ends up completely destroying the reputation of the individual who has “given” the offense. And its often in such a severe manner that he or she is unable to continue making a living.

And it has nothing to do with the due processes of the law, either. Consider, for example, the following two groups: Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby vs. Charlie Rose and Kevin Spacey. Weinstein and Cosby are unable to work because of their status as convicted sex offenders and the practical challenges associated with being physically in prison. Charlie Rose and Kevin Spacey, on the other hand, are no more than alleged sex offenders. And yet, Rose is considered unemployable since allegations of sexual harassment and abuse started to surface in 2017, and Spacey hasn’t made a film ever since he was charged with having sexually harassed a male masseuse at his home in Malibu. Spacey hasn’t starred in anything since 2013.

Stuck On Repeat

It’s blatantly obvious that the very problem with cancel culture is that it’s not at all objective. And anything open to interpretation is very much a biased type of deal.

Combine this with the loopy and circular nature of debates, with those opposing intolerance often getting dangerously close to becoming guilty of intolerance themselves, and what you ultimately end up with is just another totalitarian concept not deserving of being told the time of day.

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