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How do we think about cancel culture? Show more Show less
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In June 2020, cancel culture claimed its latest victim: the popular children's television show Paw Patrol. People claimed that its protagonists - animated dogs who operate as police in a fictional universe - were being derided. These pieces said critics saw its positive portrayal of law enforcement strengthened a culture of deference to the police. Headlines around the world stated cancel culture had gone mad. But none of this was true. What began as a joke about cancel culture had grown into a conspiracy tearing across the internet. This crisis underpinned the bigger picture: anyone can be cancelled, and it has gone so far it can reach the international news without questioning. In recent years, the practice of withdrawing support for public figures who hold controversial views has exploded. And not just amongst the cartoons. Michael Jackson, JK Rowling, Louis CK, Woody Allen: the list of its celebrity victims is growing. The boom has divided opinion. Some believe it is a form of online activism that helps the marginalised hold the powerful to account. Their opponents see it as a devastating attack on civil liberties. So, what are the pros and cons of cancel culture?

There's no such thing as cancel culture Show more Show less

Demanding better from people who have sizable platforms and a wide influence is not silencing them. It is an effort from those who have been accused of harmful behaviours, or people who sympathize with their harmful attitudes, to silence the people who call them out. It is an attempt to shift blame and make people who stand up for themselves and others seem like theyre the ones causing the issues. Clearly this is an effective technique for deflecting accountability
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'Cancel Culture' needs to be properly defined

The way in which this phenomenon is argued, tends to be diluted down to the point where it's rendered frivolous. A proper description needs to be determined if we are to take it seriously.
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The Argument

There is an ongoing dispute by all sides as to how to define this cultural phenomenon. We have an extreme view on one side that denies it exists and is merely a shield with which to avoid legitimate accountability by people of 'privilege' (which can define a wide group of people depending on the circumstances). On the other side, we have those who claim that any and all criticism levelled at them is a form of oppression and should be condemned. Thus you have those who deny that 'Cancel Culture' is even real. One can describe “cancel culture” as a situation in which a person is subjectively aggrieved but the legal route is not an option. As a result, repercussions are sought through shaming or ostracism taking the form of a type of “erasure” towards the 'offender', whereby the 'aggrieved' does not wish to be reminded of the 'offender’s' existence. The 'aggrieved' demand that those in their periphery follow suit by: a) not mentioning the 'offender's' name online (or when they do replace some letters with asterixis). Or b) ensuring that if the 'aggrieved' and those willing participants to his/her cause are "exposed" to this person unintentionally via another medium, then they are to declare that medium is guilty of committing an offence to the 'aggrieved' and must face similar repercussions to the 'offender' unless they “repent”. Therefore, sending a signal to other mediums warning them to not have any reference of the 'offender' so the 'aggrieved' does not have to be reminded of them in their day-to-day life.

Counter arguments

Premises

Rejecting the premises

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 25 Nov 2020 at 19:25 UTC