Tuesday, July 7, 2020

CANCEL CULTURE




You've seen the phrase, you know what it means. Every week someone previously beloved is  declared to be no longer worthy of our affection. Or every other day on rare slow weeks when Trump has not said/done anything especially idiotic to occupy our outrage (or defense mechanisms for anyone reading this who happens to be Team MAGA, but chances are that I've sufficiently alienated Trump fans with previous posts). On Twitter I typically need to scroll through a score of uninformative tweets until finally finding one that reveals what it is that a celebrity is being cancelled for. Not that these cancellations are unanimous of course. Sprinkled in with the condemnations are usually statements in defense of the famous person who has been put on cyber trial for some crime du jour. Depending on the seriousness of the matter at hand, being cancelled by the citizens of social media can have major real life repercussions. Jobs and/or endorsements are lost. Celebrities are demoted from B list to D list. Highly anticipated movie or album releases end up as flops. All because someone who was given the wonderful opportunity to say nothing at all on a subject and remain revered, instead chose to open their mouths and insert feet.

I've written here in the past about some noteworthy cancellations back when they didn't come at quite so fast and furious a pace. There was the time John Mayer said something real dumb, for example. Since then I've decided that Mayer is a genuine talent whose music I enjoy. Since I'm usually able to separate art from artist, I didn't proceed to remove John from my Spotify list of music listened to when I'm in the mood for something mellow. Another example is when Don Imus (who I wasn't a fan of and didn't grow to become one) insulted members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team. His career never recovered. Since then he has passed away. I won't dance on the man's grave. I think John Mayer was basically trying to be too clever for his own good and probably has some redeeming qualities to go along with his arrogance, but Imus isn't someone whose particular brand of hate I will miss.

If I tried to write a blog post about every one who did something to earn cancellation in 2020 I would have little time left over for anything else. There is a whole new category of celebrity now courtesy of YouTube and TikTok channels that have earned certain individuals millions of followers...and dollars. That means a whole bunch of new people who can do something on any given day to move from the internet's Nice List to the Naughty List. Many of these people I've never even heard of until the day they do something to get themselves cancelled. So rather than writing at length about each instance, I observe the blur of fumbling humanity and do my best to keep up...or to ignore. Depends on my mood. Once upon a time I proclaimed that the bar to be considered a celebrity had been lowered too much. Since then the bar has been discarded altogether and I no longer bother to complain about it.

As I see it there are two categories of behavior that get celebrities cancelled, and they are not on equal footing. The first category is saying something that fails the political correctness test, expression of opinion that insults or expresses intolerance towards a particular group of people. The second category is reprehensible action. Apologies may be expressed in both cases (some done so insincerely that a person earns an extra cancellation for their apology over what warranted the first one) but I'm far less likely to forgive somebody for doing something terrible than for saying something that ruffles my feathers. Words and Deeds do not each carry quite the same amount of weight on my scale. Mayer and Imus are examples of the first cancel category. In recent days J.K. Rowling has entered it. I have no idea what effect this will have on her book sales. But since she has already sold enough copies to become a billionaire, if she fails to sell any more Harry Potter tales her tax bracket is probably set in stone at this point. 

Examples of people who ALLEGEDLY fall into the second category include Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Chris Brown, and R. Kelly. For them, my rule about separating the art from the artist still applies. I cannot claim to have done a 100% boycott of any of these men regardless of the degree to which I believe they are guilty as hell. Does that mean I haven't actually cancelled them along with the rest of the internet? Does lack of true cancellation imply endorsement? Is endorsement enabling? I don't believe so, though I suppose it is a slippery slope. To cancel or not to cancel, that is the question. Does the answer even matter for those who somehow are cancel-proof? I'm certainly not the only one who still listens to music by R. Kelly or Chris Brown or Michael Jackson or a ton of other artists who ALLEGEDLY failed at some point to be upstanding citizens. I'm pretty sure people are still watching Woody Allen movies. Syndicated episodes of The Cosby Show were taken off the airwaves for a while (which punished a bunch of other actors from the show who did nothing wrong) but I believe it has since returned. Trump isn't the only one who improbably manages to weather every self conjured storm. Hell, O.J. Simpson joined Twitter well after being condemned by society and last time I checked (which was right before typing this sentence) he had over 942,000 followers on Twitter. Can someone with such an "achievement" legitimately be described as cancelled? Effective cancellation of superior athletes has been especially difficult for us to manage. Is this because we have such strong admiration for those with abilities that make them seem closer in nature to Superman than to the mundanity and erasability of Clark Kent? We may appreciate dispensing justice with juried verdicts of incarceration, but so too do we love a good rehabilitation and redemption story. DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK. Perhaps it's not just those we deeply love who can't be cancelled, but also those we really hate. Maybe the line between these two emotions is even thinner than we thought. 

True stars remain celestial well after their shine has largely diminished. But that doesn't mean our cancel privileges are entirely powerless. I'm confident that we can permanently get some of these big shot YouTubers up out of here when they mess up, because (please read the conclusion of this post to the beat of a Janet Jackson song) We Are A Part Of The Cancel Nation.






Friday, May 29, 2020

Wide Spreading Ripples







These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you! - Donald Trump






































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Monday, May 25, 2020

Joe "Britney" Biden - Oops he did it again





Oh Joe!
































Friday, March 20, 2020

Hang in there - We'll get through this

In light of what's going on these days with Covid-19 / Coronavirus I've decided to do my small part to help civilization remain civilized. This too shall pass. Being stuck at home doesn't need to mean that you stay stuck in a rut or a funk. If you'd like some help keeping your little ones occupied while you do your best to get work done from home, head to the bottom of this post. And then keep stopping by Roy's Book Reviews as I continue to add children's book readings to my booktube channel until we ride this thing out. I may even continue after that. Stay safe!

- Roy




















And since physical movement is just as important as nourishing their minds and imaginations, I also recommend this dance video series




You might want to check out some of these videos from performances at The Kennedy Center

Or stop by a virtual art gallery [INSPIRING MINDS: Art Educators Exhibition] and perhaps purchase a beautiful new piece for your home.

Monday, February 17, 2020

POLITICAL MUSINGS