Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Cancelling Cancel

Being home for over a year now, I've spent a LOT of time on the Internet, and a lot more time than I should on Social Media. Namely Facebook, which lives rent-free in my head much more than it should, and I should in all honesty make the jump and delete my account.

I've had it up to my eyeballs. 

'Cancel Culture' and also 'People freaking out about Cancel Culture'

If I could kill one thing with fire and salt the earth where it stood so nothing ever grows there again, it's the goddamned word 'CANCELLED'.

To people my age, who every other week are on about one vaguely problematic source of childhood nostalgia or another getting 'CANCELLED' or even better 'CENSORED' (which is a whole 'nother ballgame), let me tell you this... the word you are looking for is 'criticism.'  

Pointing out that something is, perhaps, racist, sexist, homophobic, and what were happy childhood memories for you may have meant ridicule and dehumanization for countless other human beings, is call criticism. It's analytical.

Some ideas are better left lost in the passage of time.

Every generation has a sense of nostalgia for that time when everything seemed better, simpler. My generation is near-pathological in its need to worship at the altar of nostalgia that those things that were part of our childhood are held sacred to the point of idolatry (a word that, being an atheist, I don't throw around willy-nilly). Maybe because for many in our generation, at least from a straight, white, middle-class perspective, things were actually, measurably, quantifiably better. However, I'm sure there are many marginalized groups who would argue that no, some things were definitely worse.. you know, if they were still around to weigh in.

I mean, we didn't have burgeoning fascist movements, multiple recessions, rampant unemployment and underemployment, and a WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC to worry about, did we? Acid rain was a thing, but total environmental annihilation was still the stuff of post-apocalyptic fiction; something that our great-grandchildren might have to face, if we're not careful. 

So yeah, relatively speaking, out childhoods were pretty f*ckin' sweet.

So we cling, and cling, and to our cherished toys, and cracked VHS tapes, and Saturday Morning Cartoons, let no man tear asunder. I mean, for real. 

"THEY CANCELLED DR. SEUSS!!"

Bullshit. They didn't cancel Dr. Seuss.  Much like other products of their time, Dr. Seuss held some racist views. A lot of people did. Over the years, people have commented on some overtly racist shit in a few of his books.  This year, the publishing house that manages his work opted to cease publication of 6 of those books (leaving over 50 books to continue being published) because best case scenario, they realized these depictions hurt people, or worst case scenario, they realized that these depictions were hurting the brand.  

Altruism on the one hand, free-market capitalism on the other.

"THEY CANCELLED MR. POTATO HEAD."

No. Not even a little. If ANYTHING, they expanded to a wider audience. They removed the honorific from the overall branding, but you can still get yourself a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head if you're really THAT bothered by the idea of a genderless potato, if the idea of your anatomically ambiguous piece of plastic not being addressed by the proper title keeps you up at night. But sure, making a plastic toy more inclusive, that's cancel culture hard at work, and not, you know... free-market capitalism. Supply and demand baby! 

People my age and older, they like to worry about cancel culture where none exists. 

Allow my to pull up my geezer pants and shake my cane while I take a quick moment to complain about cancel culture (I know, I know).  

GATHER ROUND MY SWEET SUMMER CHILDREN, AUNTIE'S GONNA LET Y'ALL IN ON A LITTLE SECRET.

Psst.. It's been well-documented fact for almost two decades that Eminem is human trash. You're not the first to point this out. It's written in the stars. 

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