Ignorance is no longer bliss. Now, it is almost deadly. Highly influential celebrities will inevitably succumb to the disease that is known as “cancel culture”. Most people acquire the disease through – as Sheel, a 15-year-old puts it- an uncovered “action of theirs in a time where it did not go against the current standard”. The symptoms are simple; a rapid drop in social media followers; a drastic spike in comments; your name trending on Twitter; and a hashtag, brandishing your name with an added “isoverparty”.
Now. What’s the cure to this to disease? Though limited, you have some potentially effective treatment options. One, you can apologize to the public sincerely, blaming your indiscretions on your ignorant, privileged past in a screenshot typed in the notes app on your IPhone. You’ll sit back and feel optimistic. However, the feeling will fade when you see your hashtag used more and more, now attached to assumptions that your apology was insincere.
Two: you wait for the storm to pass- hospice care. Your career is dying. Might as well be comfortable.
Option three entails a two-step process: One, you apologize- not on the notes app on your IPhone- in a public, but not tooself-deprecating way. This isn’t your pity party. Instead, you’re going to pity the oppressed. Donate some money, start a foundation, just do better! Though, this may not patch up the holes in your supporting demographic, it seems to be your best option.
Cancel culture is about not social exile- but rather, holding celebrities accountable. People believe that refusing support is accountability enough. This new idea drives people to ditch celebrities in the name of progress, and it’s obvious that the idea of progress and what is socially right has changed. The currently ruling millennials and Generation Z are known to be “more prone to being ‘sensitive’ or more reactive to things that could be seen as problematic or offensive”, says H. Huynh, a 16-year-old. Social media is now hyperaware. Now, this is both good and bad. While the internet is now more aware of discrimination and adversity, the only solution they know is “cancelling” the perpetrator.
TLDR; The internet doesn’t plan on making celebrities repent- they’ll just punish the perpetrator until they’re forced to.
The internet and cancel culture thrive off of – according to K. Tran, a 16 year old- “a band-wagoning effect that most likely results in unfair responses to an action where [it] is not necessary”. Mob-mentality for short. The internet essentially cuts off the cancelled in a mob-like fashion, rapidly unfollowing, un-downloading, and un-liking. So quickly, that some cancellers may not know why they’re cancelling their favorite rapper Cardi B in the first place, – is it another date-rape accusation? Or another homophobic comment? #CardiBisoverparty is created. They tweet about her with the hashtag. The people who don’t know about Cardi B see the hashtag and begin to wonder ‘Who is Cardi B?’, making her even more popular. The attempted execution ends with more people on her side than before- people forget why she was cancelled in the first place, her music still charts. All is good.
TLDR; Cancelling is ineffective. Celebrities just end up more popular than before.
What does this mean for the cancellers? Most of then go back to listening to her music and refollow her on social media. The remainder, who still stand by cancelling her, preach a doctrine that falls on deaf ears.
What does this mean for the cancelled? Against cancelation, resistance is futile. Most just ignore their attempted murder and let the cancellers sit in self-pity. Some try to apologize, but that only makes it worse in the process. It’s easy to see that cancelling is no longer about social change. But, as stated perfectly by 16-year-old Anne, is an ineffective way of “trying to weaponize past indiscretions to damage someone’s current status”.
The solution is simple- make cancelling frugal. Canceling is cancelled. Forgiveness should be given where it’s due and withheld where it’s not.