Canceling Cancel Culture
Thu, April 22, 2021

Canceling Cancel Culture

Nowadays, almost everything about your life can be seen on your social media accounts /Photo by rawpixel via 123rf

 

You’re on a vacation somewhere with white sands and cool, blue waters as far as the eye can see. It’s beautiful and half of you wonders if, in its majestic nearness and tangibility, it’s even real. Having sun-kissed skin coming home with slight evidence of that in a faded tan sure feels like the aftermath of a perfect vacation. In this generation, it’s only reasonable, almost universally acceptable, to have a small slideshow of all the wonderful things you did on vacation uploaded on social media. 

You have your pick of interesting quotes, excerpts of poetry, and cryptic one-liners to evoke interest in your followers, most of whom are your close friends. Chances are, you’d get a small number of likes as well as some positive comments here and there. 

For the “lucky” ones of us who post on Instagram and other social media for money, the reality is much different and much worse. They have to be on their toes with every comment and caption they post, always have to be presentable and flawless in every shot regardless of real world obstacles like lighting, actual stress that they are experiencing among other things—all in a bid to stay in the public eye long enough before spontaneously being canceled. Such is the modern internet star life. But does it have to be? 

 

On Cancel Culture

In the years since its inception, social media and the communities and people who’ve gotten them going have created a subculture of sorts. Open any sort of social media account now and you’re bound to be stuck on learning the entirely different culture on the internet or unlearn what you’ve learned before; that’s not a hard thing to do for fast-paced millennials and Gen Z kids, but to anyone older, it could be especially daunting. 

The high court of the righteous multitude on social media has become an untenable behemoth, drawing crowds of supportive people at the same time that it pushes away any type of human complexity in exchange for perceived social media presence. It’s why when you get “canceled” on the internet, it’s typically not only hurtful but erases the incidence of very human mistakes.

 

 

Manny MUA, a makeup artist on YouTube famous for drama (at least now), talked about this issue precisely, saying what we all will probably be thinking down the road: “Cancel culture does not allow for growth and forgiveness and learning and allowing people to be people.” 

No matter where you stand with Manny MUA and his involvement in yet another big YouTube feud last year, what he said is undeniably true. 

Psychologist Pamela Paresky talked to Insider, a food and lifestyle website, about how the collective psyche has evolved to be something nearly unrecognizable now. 

She posited that much of the reason it’s now so easy for many of us to pick a name from a pile of the most famous 100 influencers on any kind of social media and say, off the top of our heads, some unsavory things they’ve said or done, is because the internet is at once so big and fast that we get caught up in it, jump into rabbit holes, and emerge on the other side without actually understanding anything. 

 She said that the vast reach of the internet has duped us into feeling like strangers online are now our neighbors, which might sound almost the same except the collective psyche is different now. 

 

In social media, anyone can get "cancelled" /Photo by Antonio Guillem via 123rf

 

Canceling Comedy

Ah, yes. How do we even begin to talk about the world of comedy’s fight with cancel culture? Through newly cancelled Dave Chappelle, of course, who found himself in this kind of situation after unironically calling out cancel culture itself. The major accusation was that it was a myth, and with other celebrities bouncing back a few months after being canceled, people are inclined to believe this might just be true. 

What Emma Grey Ellis, writer for Wired, a monthly American magazine that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and politics, wanted to add, though, is how cancel culture is not the industry monster Chappelle made it out to be. At most, it was a “scary story,” Ellis wrote. 

 

 

Out of Control

The sleepless vehicle of content that YouTube peddles can be partially to blame for all the questions we have for these quasi-celebrities and popular people too. Back to the case of the beauty community at least, we know for a fact that YouTubers follow a pattern after a particularly messy scandal. 

According to women-geared lifestyle website Jezebel, this is perfectly encapsulated by the infamous “make-up free, teary-eyed” and succinctly titled YouTube content that is the “apology video.” Because so many of us have already seen innumerable rehashes of this, it’s understandable that we don’t get swayed as much anymore. But what if it was actually genuine? The current landscape of social media has taken away our ability to appreciate nuance or even account for gray areas. 

Though the said video Manny MUA uploaded on YouTube to address the messy fight he was in with other beauty YouTubers was not an apology video, it did shed some light on the subject that maybe, yeah, cancel culture has gone out of control.