Guest Column: Cancel Culture ~ To ostracize or not?

Credit: Elijah O. Donnell.

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor

Cancel culture or the collective canceling or ostracizing of a person, place, idea, belief or thing, even if it’s on the internet, supposedly creates a sense of togetherness. It says, “we are all in this together as we are able to discern what is correct language and behavior.”

Revisionism occurs and what is acceptable within the context of the existing moments may change in a year from now. Thinking does change within a context, be it religious, social, political and so forth.

Cancel culture from my perspective is inclusive to a kind of warped sense of solidarity, at least among the people who are doing the canceling.  How perilous is that path once taken? Who and what will be next?

I have canceled checks, subscriptions, memberships because they no longer suited my lifestyle or, as in a canceled payment, there was an obvious reason for doing so. But cancel culture?  How do you do that?

An aspect of the Universe (Second Law of Thermodynamics) speaks to the idea whereby once something is created (e.g., energy) it continues to evolve and is eventually wasted and degenerates into something unrecognizable from its original form – in my humble opinion.  In other words, the energy placed into cancel culture like other fads eventually die out, whether they be people, places or things………it’s no longer a thing to do, a place to go, or a person who no longer is a part of your life, not because you, along with others, demand them to dissolve, but because they no longer serve us.  Knowing the reason really doesn’t really matter, if it’s not a life-or-death situation, in the big picture.

I read, recently, that the cancel culturalists want to cancel rap singer Eminem, because the lyrics of his songs are distasteful. How does that happen?  He doesn’t cease to exist, does he?  Maybe music tastes have changed, and that’s ok, but how does one just cancel him? He is still among the living, he made millions with his lyrics because that was what was popular.  He had and still has a large following.

Cancel Disney, cancel Dr. Suess…….the notion of a “cancel culture” is very controversial. Ostracization has reshaped itself over the centuries. What one person might see as being canceled for controversial statements, another might see as being held accountable for offensive or harmful views.  At one time the term was used to make fun of one’s own actions, now it’s become a politically correct term.  So, does that mean we can finally cancel that cast of characters that cling to negative, self-defeating behaviors that pretend to represent us?  Or, at some point do they get to cancel us………???