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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Canceling, Cancel-Culture or Canceling Those Who Wish To Cancel, Cancel-Culture

Canceling, Cancel-Culture 
Canceling Those Who Wish To Cancel, Cancel-Culture
Chris Hensley
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2020-07-25-at-9.48.57-pm.png
Jeffrey Czum - Pexels - March 25, 2020

There is considerable volume of debate about a new phenomenon that has occurred on a large scale, towards the more recent years of the Information Age. We all have direct access to large groups of people and the ability to create a big wave directed at corporations and family members. This has given the common person the power to make statements regarding peoples or places. Now if someone says or does something that seems at all aggressive to you, if you have enough support, you can sentence them in the court of public opinion. This is especially dangerous, if what is being cancelled is something that is Scientific Research or Data. In some regards it reminds me of the accusations made about heresy, in a distant chapter of Western Civilization. I searched online for a definition of this new (or new take on a) power and could not find one that is relative. This encouraged me to create one based on my observations:
When, due to circumstance, you are granted a (typically, temporary) opportunity of leverage based on the emotional attachment of the respective circumstance in question, and you use this power, genuinely or disingenuously, to do as much damage to someone or something's career, social life, or personal relationships. The intention of this action is to apply a societal pressure to a victim’s employer, friends and family to label the victim as immoral.
Hensley, C. (2020). Cancel Definition -
Recently, there has been a large-scale debate amongst journalists on the ethics of canceling. An open letter was published in Harper’s Magazine, with a lot of respected professionals promoting the importance of a diverse market place, and the essential role that the concept of free speech has in a democracy. There was a response to this letter, published on the The Objective. Although the response was fair in some regard, it is important to note the amount of ad hominem and other logical fallacies they used in response. Something I found quite odd, in response to an Open-Letter pointing out the dangers of "cancel-culture," is the disclaimer that they added at the end:

"Many signatories on our list noted their institutional affiliation but not their name, fearful of professional retaliation. It is a sad fact, and in part why we wrote the letter,"  
A More Specific Letter on Justice and Open Debate - The Objective (July 7th, 2020)
This seems to be evidence that there is big problem with cancel culture. Perhaps it is not what is being said, but who is saying it. It is also important to note that this is the second time that people have tried to cancel J.K.Rowling. If you recall, she has been in a never-dying battle of cancellation for more than a decade with members of the (remember, heresy?) Catholic faith. It would be interesting to see how many people from both letters supported her against that charge, back when Harry Potter ruled the literary world.

One of the individuals who signed the original Harper’s Letter, is someone who has experienced ample criticism from almost every political leaning in the country. It seems fitting to end this with a quote by him:
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....” Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

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