In the last 24 hours, I have had discussions with friends that trembled on the edge of becoming heated. I've read numerous screeds that have caused my blood pressure to skyrocket. I have had to repeatedly calm myself, compose myself, temper my passion a little, and listen and listen again.
I would have had this blog written already: it's beyond dead at work. But we can't access our Gmail accounts on work computers for security reasons (we can't access much of anything, including Spotify--nobody has bothered to tell me how Spotify compromises security, but as in most jobs, it's better not to ask questions).
So here we go, the phenomenon of our time: Cancel culture.
What's that, you say? Humans have been cancelling things they disagree with roughly forever? Why, you're right! If you watched TV in the 50s and 60s, you might have been forgiven for questioning where people went to the bathroom, since you couldn't depict a toilet under any circumstances. (I bet a substantial fraction of people could see their toilets and their televisions without averting their gazes overmuch, but heaven forbid a toilet shows up ON the television, that's scandalous!) Likewise, the species was doomed in that halcyon time since "pregnancy" was completely unheard of.
Betty White, God bless her, hosted a television show in those days. She had Arthur Duncan, a black man, appear regularly. The network execs were horrified: you're supposed to pretend "those people" don't exist -- or if they do, they certainly aren't to be shown as respectable in any way. By the way, she responding by giving Duncan a larger role. I do love Betty White.
They tried to cancel the Beatles. They DID cancel disco.
Rumours. Whispers. Smear campaigns. Destroyed careers and lives. Suicides. We humans are a fun lot, aren't we?
Recently, of course, it seems as if the wave of "cancellations" is cresting. Just this week we found out:
- "Mr. Potato Head" has dropped the honorific;
- Six lesser-known Dr. Seuss titles will no longer be published;
- Disney+ will no longer stream Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Aristocats, and The Swiss Family Robinson in its children's section