Canceling cancel culture


Jenny Loveland

As cancel culture has permeated the internet, users have noticed how the culture creates hostile conditions for discussing issues. While cancel culture does not maintain a monopoly on promoting disrespectful internet arguments, it exacerbates the issue. “[Cancel culture is] not even giving a healthy ground for a debate or a negotiation. It’s just saying, My way is right. I don’t care what you say. I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what you believe. I’m not taking any of what you’re doing into consideration. It’s all self-centered,” art teacher Karrie Arana said.

Jenny Loveland, Copy Editor

Although the term “cancel culture” entered popular vernacular relatively recently, people have pressured one another into conforming to societal ideals as long as humans have interacted and attempted to influence one another. With the rise of modern-day technology, this pattern has transferred onto the internet, permanently shaping the landscape of social platforms such as Twitter. Leaving aside the ethics of forced social conformity as a whole, cancel culture as seen on social media comes with inherent problems.

J.K. Rowling’s cancellation stands as the most obvious example of cancel culture’s ineffectiveness. Although she received significant backlash and cancellation for transphobic tweets in 2020, the famous author’s net worth of one billion dollars remains intact. Despite the massive outrage that her tweets sparked, “Harry Potter” remains one of the most well-known series ever written and converted to film. Rowling’s mark on popular culture stands. Ultimately, the author’s view on trans issues appears unchanged, and attempts to lessen her affluence and influence by canceling her did not stick.

“I think people deserve to be held accountable for their actions, especially ones that put others in danger, and I think that [cancel culture] allows society to see people for who they are and the mistakes they have made, but I don’t think ending peoples’ careers provides any justice. It’s public humiliation and leaves no room for growth. Instead of wanting to educate oneself, people are focused on maintaining their images for others’ approval,” magnet junior Mya Conner said.

This unwillingness to accept change and growth as a necessary and healthy part of life for everyone sits at the root of why cancel culture lacks effectiveness. With the growth of the internet, people have gained the ability to join with those who share similar views from across the world. This connection has benefitted millions but can also lend itself to a mob mentality where people follow figureheads without critical thought.

“Especially when you’re thinking about celebrities, celebrities have this privilege, and they’re all on this pedestal, right. They’re all on this pedestal and everything they do and say is exaggerated and also emphasized. It’s contagious. So if you really love a certain celebrity because of the music and you just really liked their music, you might be swayed because of your affection for that musician,” art teacher Karrie Arana said.

Although cancel culture does not always originate from this place, anyone that promotes hating and harming others remains accountable for their actions, little evidence shows that canceling provides anything other than trite apology videos. Especially when the motivation for canceling someone stems from relatively minor infractions, cancel culture only fuels the polarization and hatred that divides society.

“I think that canceled culture initiates hatred. I think that, yes, there are issues and opinions that [when] set against a moral background, there is a difference between obviously right and wrong, humane and inhumane, but I do believe that we should have the freedom to talk about important issues… Ultimately, is it a humane way to treat someone? No. I mean, I don’t think so,” Arana said.