Cancel Culture vs. Consequence: An Opinion

There is a TV ad running by a certain individual who uses this platform to refer to cancel culture. His product is no longer in at least four major store chains due to his political support of a former President’s claim that the 2020 U.S. election was stolen.

I’m guessing most readers in North America know of this ad. I literally want to scream when it comes on, so I’ve taken to switching the channel or hitting the mute button. Here’s why.

What this businessman is experiencing may be cancel culture, but I call it repercussion or consequence for ideology that perpetuates a lie or conspiracy theory. Repercussion is an unintended or unwelcome consequence of an action. For instance, if you speed and get caught, a fine is the consequence. If you cheat on your spouse, getting kicked out of the house and served with divorce papers may be a consequence. If you choose to spout racial slurs and jokes in the office, the repercussion will most likely find you out of a job. In any of these examples, you may also be ostracized by family, friends, church or former work peers.

Is that cancel culture or the consequences of inappropriate or illegal actions? Is Mr. Businessman using cancel culture as an excuse for his behavior and the loss of sellers for his products? Is he trying to justify what many believe to be inappropriate and untruthful behavior by diverting to a negative term?

Cancel culture is defined as “the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today.” Okay, so it could apply to Mr. Businessman, but I don’t have much sympathy for his predicament. We all make our beds and lie in them. Much like a football quarterback who lost the backing of a health entity (he did commercials for them) because of not truthfully sharing his vaccination status. Dude is a future Hall of Fame quarterback, but his actions off the field cost him a small part of his income.

When I consider “cancel culture,” I think of those who are wrongfully ostracized because they speak their own truths (not lies or subversive speech) or try to rally others for a social cause.

Remember the Dixie Chicks when, on March 10, 2003, Natalie Mains of that group stated, “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.” Those words prompted most of the country music fanbase and industry to boycott their albums and blacklist them from the airwaves. At the time, I kept wondering why this was happening when we live in a democracy with free speech. I saw nothing wrong with what she said (okay, so I’m a liberal) and felt they were being crucified for simply stating an opinion that didn’t physically or financially hurt anyone. These ladies were true victims of cancel culture and it’s striking to me how mild that comment is in today’s world.

I also refer to Colin Kaepernick, who, on August 26, 2016, sat during the national anthem, before the start of a football game between the San Francisco Forty-Niners and the Green Bay Packers. He had done this the two previous pre-season games, but no one had paid attention until this date. Colin was attempting to shine a light on racism and police brutality. Instead, a media firestorm ensued, accusing him of dishonoring the flag and country. A week later, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem and eventually, more players on his team and others would kneel or lock arms in support. Public opinion was split, but at the end of the regular season, Colin was out of a job and no other team would sign him. This, too, was cancel culture and not in a good way. Considering the issues of systemic racism and police brutality that have caused protests and deaths in subsequent years, perhaps we all should have listened to the San Francisco quarterback when he kneeled on the sidelines in 2016. Cancel culture is toxic when used to silence voices that are only trying to make the country a better place and I don’t mean the voices that perpetuate lies, half-truths, conspiracy theories, racism, hatred, etc.

Consequences come when you don’t share the truth, when you spread the lies of another or engage in inappropriate or illegal behavior. Mr. Businessman is suffering consequences and I’m not interested in his justification of cancel culture or his products. That being said, I don’t wish ill upon him as he has a right to make a living and support a political party. I only wish he would stop blaming others for the backlash of his words and actions, change his ad, and stop being on my TV every 10 minutes.

For what it’s worth, I would like the term “cancel culture” to go away. People need to take responsibility and face consequences for their words and actions and we all need listen to those with harmless personal opinions and valid social statements without judgment and persecution, and with respectful conversation. Instead of attaching a label, how about we simply act as decent, moral, accepting and responsible human beings?

What do you believe, dear readers? What is your take on cancel culture vs. consequence? Your thoughts?

34 responses to Cancel Culture vs. Consequence: An Opinion

  1. Dan Antion says:

    There are so many messages I would love to stop hearing, and so many messengers I wish would shut up. They all have one thing in common – they are lies or spreading lies. I still consider myself a conservative, but one of the most important lessons I learned while growing up (conservative) is that you alone are responsible for your actions. I also learned “play fair, do your best and be gracious whether you win or lose.” I’m tired of losers saying the other side cheated.

    I’m also tired of political figures in legislatures who think “do nothing” is an acceptable approach and candidates who run behind a pack of lies to get elected.

    Can I add one more? People, voters, who are too lazy to search for the truth or who accept the lies because the lies don’t hurt them or their candidate.

    Freedom of speech is for everyone, not just people who agree with you. Religious freedom is for all religions, not just your church. Science is real. And, as was famously said (I forget by who) “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    Stay strong Mary!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Wow, Dan, that’s the most venting I’ve heard from you regarding the current political and social climate. I would guess that you are just as tired of the continued effort to cultivate the big lie about the election and misinformation about Covid as many others in this country. I respect that you consider yourself conservative, but I believe we are both in the party of “Play Fair, be Gracious, Don’t Lie, Know the Truth.” I don’t know what’s happened to people in this country, but we need a serious and concerted effort to turn the mindset of this country around to “We the People” in a ethical, moral and supportive democracy that reflects truth and love. Ugh…I could go on, but you already know how I feel about all of this.

      That quote came from a 1983 Washington Post article, based on an earlier quote by James Schlesinger.

      Happy Monday! I hope you are far warmer than we are here (-25 with wind chill). Brrr.

      • Dan Antion says:

        I don’t vent much about this in public, Mary. Partly because it takes a lot of work, partly because I doubt my words will change anything and partly because I’m not sure I want to know how others feel. I don’t think the kind of conservative I have always considered myself to be, exists anymore. If you put my political views on a spectrum, they would land close to the center – which seems to be a political no mans land these days.

        I miss moderates. I miss people who were capable of leading a discussion and arriving at a compromise. There shouldn’t just be winners and losers in life. Everybody should get something, and there are some things that everyone should get.

        I was speaking to a person in our town before Christmas. He was complaining about several issues with our schools, particularly about a delay due to snow. I tried explaining facts like “we contract busing out to a private company and there’s a contract that says we will have a delay when it snows so they can prepare the buses.” He thought that was stupid. We went back and forth, with me pointing out facts and him thinking they were stupid. At one point, I mentioned all the kids who get bused to other schools. He said, “I don’t care about other kids. I only care about my kid.”

        That’s the problem. People are selfish. When you boil these social problems down, in many cases you are left with “people are selfish.”

      • bikerchick57 says:

        So true, Dan. Selfish and narcissistic behavior is too prevalent these days. The person you were speaking to had his own opinion and didn’t want to be proved wrong. Cognitive dissonance? I don’t think he understands how harmful that thought process is to himself, his kids and the community, but I suppose he doesn’t care.

        Remember when John McCain(R) and Russ Feingold(D) reached across the aisle and worked together, toward the middle, to reach compromise and legislation that was good for both sides? Yeah, I admired them both, especially since Russ was from WI. Liz Cheney has reached across the aisle, but you can see from the January 6th proceedings last week that she was the only one in her party to do so. Sad and disrespectful and a worrying look at what is not going to go away any time soon. We’ll be in a political and social divide for awhile.

        I saw a friend’s (she’s Republican) recent post on FB about not letting fear rule us during the pandemic. I really had to sit on my hands and not write something like, “No, it’s not fear. It’s caring about people. You know…the people in the 2nd commandment (she comes to my church on occasion). I wanted to say I was more fearful of the stupidity of others who believe not getting vaccinated or wearing masks is somehow courageous and fearless in a good way.

        Well, I’ll stop there, Dan. I had to get this off my chest today before I threw a brick at the TV or blew up.

      • Dan Antion says:

        Take care, Mary. I wouldn’t normally vent, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yes, if only Judy. Common sense and taking responsibility for self seems to have gone out of fashion. Let’s hope it returns soon to those who could benefit from having those qualities.

  2. John Hric says:

    Lies are never good things. How is two plus years into this virus that we with the ‘best’ hospital system in the world are 1. leading the world in virus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. 2. Continue to overwhelm our capacity for hospital and EMS services. 3. Have no clear chain of communication for treatment and avoidance of this virus as it continues to mutate. 4. Continue to bicker and fight treatment of the virus at all levels of government and corporate guidance. 5. Keep hoping the virus will go away when it continues to mutate while we as a species continue to ignore the science.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      This started at the beginning, when Covid became part of the political divide. If it had been separated from the divide early on with everyone paying attention to scientific fact and having clear guidance and mandates from the start, we would be in a much better place. If one side of the divide wouldn’t have chosen to be obstinate and contrary and disavow science, we would be in a much better place. If some of the people of this country weren’t so selfish and non-resilient, crying about rights and “ohmygodIcantwearthismaskonemoreminute”, we would be in a much better place. I understand that the CDC also has some culpability, but they have been walking the path of constantly changing recommendations either due to the unknown or the people who fight against them. I don’t know what the answer is to this or the current divide, but I keep hoping and praying that we will one day come back to common sense and a trip toward the middle.

  3. lois says:

    Good post, Mary. I’m sick of the lies and the anger and the total disregard of another person’s opinion. People are not even civil to one another anymore. Did one person in office bring out the worst in ‘we the people’? I pray every day to please bring forth the light. We’ve had unrest in this country before, but I don’t remember it being as bad as it is now.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I believe the lies and incivility were building in this country for a few years, Lois, and one person (and his party) in charge of this country completely exacerbated that situation. It’s like the cockroaches came out in daylight rather than hiding in the walls, and they made their message a drumbeat that the uninformed, the easily swayed and the already angry people embraced. I don’t know how to undo this other than having aliens come and wipe their minds of the bad thoughts. They could also wipe my mind about my love of sugar, but that’s a totally different story…

      In the meantime, I hope the majority of people keep the faith, keep fighting for good, and be good themselves. Oh, and go vote the nincompoops out of office.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thank you! Let’s hope that good overcomes evil at the polls and in the world the next few years and beyond.

  4. dweezer19 says:

    Thanks, Mary. Thanks Dan. You shared my feelings perfectly. Was it ‘Cancel Culture’ during the days of McCarthy when many upstanding actors were wrongly accused of treason and subjected to witch trials just because they spoke liberal ideas? I am tired of the kitchy new way of labeling everything so that it becomes a catch phrase or internet craze. I felt when McCain passed a huge voice for reasonable conservatism died. I, too, am a liberal but not the kind that is falsely portrayed by fanatics from the right, those lunatics in Congress who have zero qualifications for the job they were plunked into by the very epitome of someone who was unqualified for the job of leading his country. I miss the days when I could have a civil discourse with someone who has a different idea without feeling afraid of recourse or a war starting. I am the mother of four well adjusted sons who had less than a ‘nuclear’ family life after I divorced their father but they did well and continue to do well because we taught them how to adapt and not expect-to accept and strive for that which they wanted to achieve. I don’t downplay the challenges for teachers and kids and parents during all of this, but if we quit trying to revive what once was and teach our children to make greatness from whatever situation presents itself, we will provide them with the resiliency they will need because, frankly, if things don’t change, they will be lost in a truly apocalyptic situation. No amount of movies or video games prepares you for the reality of devastation. I firmly believe it isn’t the kids who can’t adapt. It is the parents clinging to the past. There is no past and no future. There is only now and being the best we can be, working together in the now will be the only way we can hope for a future. Ok. Climbing off my soapbox. Happy Monday everyone. Now I’m off to handle #JusJoJan prompt. Did I hear ‘chocolate’?

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I watched “To Sir with Love” with Sidney Poitier the other day, in which he tossed the math and reading books and started teaching the kids how to handle real life and how to be respectful to one another. It’s sad that 55 years later, so many humans are not resilient and don’t know how to go about living a respectful and loving others kind of life. People prefer diversion and justifying catch phrases to hide their sin, inadequacies and bad behavior. They prefer yelling “it’s my right” rather than protecting the rights and life of others. I don’t know how a state of mind can be this way and how living that type of life is ever a happy one. My ex was self-centered and on medication for depression…because his self-focused life was a wall that could never make him happy.

      Chocolate…Mmmm.

  5. dweezer19 says:

    That’s it in a nutshell, Mary. Selfishness, fear and anger. All ego driven emotions. My favorite Potier film eas A Patch of Blue. He was such a beautiful human and talented actor. Chocolate…..mmmmm..

  6. murisopsis says:

    It was a mantra that my sons heard constantly – there are consequences for every action, good or bad. They had to bear the consequences of tardiness, missed assignments, skipped practices, and also good grades, polite actions, being considerate etc. Too many people in the public eye have forgotten those lessons that I’m sure their parents taught them. As a progressive and the daughter of a “bleeding heart liberal b*tch” as she was once called, I agree with what you’ve said and I too mourn the lack of civility in our government. I wonder what these legislators’ grandmothers would have said if they saw how they are behaving?!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I often wonder what my mom and dad would have thought about the last 5 years and then I feel glad they are not here to witness this time in history. My parents would have been considered conservative at one time, but when dad voted for Barack Obama, I not only fell off my chair, but knew times were changing. He would have never put up with our last President or the shenanigans that came out of his term. Mom and dad taught my brother and I the same about consequences and accepting them graciously and willingly.

  7. Mary McNeil says:

    When they do it it is Morally Right. When it is done to them it is Cancel Culture. To quote one of the SpokesVictims after the Parkland killings “”I call b*** s***!”

  8. Ally Bean says:

    The term ‘cancel culture’ is stupid. It’s a catchphrase that seems to be having its moment. I’m all about consequences for your actions, but just use the catchphrase and you are exempt from consequences? That’s how I see it used, in a very hypocritical way.

  9. joey says:

    This was a popcorn post! And the comments were equally riveting. I don’t know this ad, (I’m grateful!) and I’ve never really thought about cancel culture. I just do me. I do what I like. I eat homophobic chicken and watch Woody Allen films and buy Dixie paper plates, despite my feelings on the politics, greed, or crimes of those who profit.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m glad you found this post worth a bucket of popcorn, Joey, and also glad that the annoyances of the world do not keep you from enjoying your life.

      • joey says:

        I get riled. You know I get riled. But I don’t do cancel culture *shrug*

  10. Jonathan says:

    Having watched this all unfold from the other side of the planet, the person in question (and the person who’s lies he perpetuates) have become utter laughing stocks. The butt of endless jokes. It’s amazing to me that somebody that has obviously worked hard his entire career to get to the place he has can throw it all away in such a ridiculous manner. That said, I imagine 49% of the audience probably think he’s telling the truth, and relating truths.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Jonathan, I worry that the other side of the planet and many other countries think us fools and out of our minds. But, then again, I think we have too many people here who are just that. It’s as if some have been brainwashed…drinking the kool-aid…and I don’t know if we’ll ever reach or change those minds into something more reasonable, respectful and loving or if it’s going to get worse here before it gets better. Keep good thoughts for us, that the majority of Americans are not fodder for jokes and we’ll get past this unusually crazy time.

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