‘Cancel Culture’ Has Been Canceled

 Notable celebrities

Notable celebrities “canceled” in this past year including Jimmy Fallon, J.K. Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres, Shane Dawson and Gal Gadot. Labeled for reuse by Creative Commons.

Cancel culture has become a form of modern art. 

All too often we see a high-profile individual make a mistake, the general public seizes on that blunder and effectively renders that person “problematic” and “canceled.” We live in a time where a new #canceled trends on Twitter every other week. 

To many, cancel culture may appear to be a modern phenomenon. However, precedence suggests that cancel culture has been around for ages, perhaps since society forced Hester Prynne to don a red ‘A’ in The Scarlet Letter. It seems culture has not changed much over the years and public shaming is still considered a suitable punishment. 

There’s good reason, however, that people have labeled public humiliation, and thereby ostracization, as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

“It can go way too far,” sophomore Langston Ball said.

Within the past few years, cancel culture has come into the global consciousness. America has sparked cancel culture around the world, and people are being canceled in places like South Korea, Brazil, and the Netherlands

With that international wave of canceling, however, comes another wave of public discontent.

Ellen Ge, a sophomore at the Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, thinks that most people have grown to be sick and tired of cancel culture. 

“Can cancel culture spice it up, already?” asked Ge. 

“Cancel culture has turned into building someone a platform just to tear it down,” said Summer Valdez, a Thomas Maclaren sophomore. 

Air Academy students echo this same sentiment, with sophomore Ivan Kunec having doubts about the effectiveness of cancel culture.

“It doesn’t solve anything,” said Kunec.

In March of 2020, and at the start of the pandemic, society “canceled” actress Gal Gadot, who posted a video of her and other celebrities singing the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. The general public immediately labeled Gadot as horrendously out of touch with the real world, as documented by The Hollywood Reporter

But, just how scandalous was Gadot’s video? Did the actress make a simple social faux pas or an offensive mistake so severe that no one should ever watch her movies again? 

For the most part, Gadot’s career escaped unscathed, with most choosing to believe she had no negative intent. 

“I think cancel culture is way too soft,” said sophomore Evan Scherr.

Therein lies a major problem with cancel culture. Often, society “cancels” people for seemingly small, inconsequential, or altogether false reasons. 

“It’s really stupid,” said Air Academy sophomore Kaitlyn Hoover succinctly. “People [are] canceled for anything, but when it comes to in-real-life problems, no one cares…People will tear down anyone if they get the chance.”

However, not everyone who is “canceled” is unproblematic.

Social media “canceled” YouTuber Shane Dawson this past summer over past racism and antisemitism, along with other misconduct that resurfaced. 

Sophomore Ashe Foxe said it best when she summarized cancel culture as “… toxic but sometimes for genuinely bad people.”

Valdez agreed, stating, “Some people genuinely don’t deserve platforms, but cancel culture has taken it too far.” 

Arguably, Dawson was an influencer who no longer deserved a platform. The problem with canceling everyone, however, is that the significance is completely lost for those who may truly deserve to be canceled. 

There is also a clear inability for forgiveness within cancel culture. 

“People refuse to allow others to grow and assume our former selves are what we are currently. Half of the time, the people canceling aren’t even educated on the topic themselves,” said Ge. 

“‘Monkey see, monkey do,” continued Ge. “If ten years ago it was socially acceptable (and common) to say a slur, how would anyone know better?”

The biggest problem within cancel culture is that it leaves little room for human dignity. No matter how horrendous the crime, everyone deserves a fair trial and an unbiased jury, which cancel culture makes no allowance for.

Yet, many people seem to have already acknowledged the shortfalls and damages of cancel culture. While cancel culture may still be prevalent online and on social media, for the most part, people have already “canceled” cancel culture.