Yes, Cancel Culture Is Real
April 1st, 2021 | RR
The new narrative emerging on the other side of the political fence is that cancel culture is a myth fabricated by the far right. Obviously, this is false. It's another tactic by political operatives to make the other team sound like unhinged wingnuts who peddle unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. While celebrities with diverging opinions continue to get fired and while singers, writers, actors and public figures continue to lose their jobs and churn out apology letters, we're expected to believe that it's all just a figment of our imaginations. Denying reality and convincing the public to reject and ignore things that are in front of them is a tried and true method of changing our cultural trajectory and of protecting the arbitrators, but the people tasked with doing the convincing are getting lazy. Lucky for us, they're a bunch of Millennial propagandists, incapable of being competent enough to pull it off.
Accepting the fact that cancel culture is real doesn't take a stretch of the imagination. It's not a conspiracy, it's a culture. Corporations and politicians aren't getting together in dimly lit rooms to concoct a conspiracy to shut down everyone who believes certain things, they're just adhering to a new normal. The activist mobs who attack and boycott companies and individuals with differing objectives scare them. In many cases, the boycotts and fake scandals have done enough damage to brands and profits to cause alarm. Now, like subservient sheep, afraid of losing what they have built, companies and individuals are going out of their way to be cautious.
Many of the corporations that have made news for their censorial and subservient ways are publicly traded. Their CEOs and boards have a duty to protect profits and shareholder investments. Many of the submissive actors, writers and musicians have made millions, built personal empires and grown their reputations over several years. Losing it scares them.
As for why inclusivity and anti-racism are the favoured narratives, it's quite simple. Birthrates and population growth are low in most developed countries, making politicians and corporations reliant on immigration and rapid population growth. Publicly traded corporations, many of which fund politicians and political parties, need to maintain the expansion and growth of their markets. More people means more profits and growth, while faster growth in population means faster growth in profits and the quicker discovery of new markets.
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It's the natural process of people chasing money. If, somehow, markets could be created and corporations could maximize profits from closed borders and free speech, those would be the narratives of the day. In some ways it is a conspiracy, but one driven silently by our natural desire to grow and to make more money. More than a conspiracy, it is a culture. Hence the term “cancel culture”.
It's a common pattern of collective thinking that emerged from our natural desire to chase money and to gain power.
It all fits into the desired “culture” of the time that propels corporations, governments and people toward greater long term wealth and power. It has happened throughout history, but it's more noticeable now because we're all connected by the internet. People have always been cancelled and ostracized for having certain views, just on a smaller scale in the past. For the later part of the 20th Century, the favoured cultural narrative was war and patriotism. Off the heels of WWII, America was driven by war, patriotism and the military-industrial complex. This carried on into the beginning of the 21st Century, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is slowly starting to die off and evolve into something else. Something more profitable.
Why Black Lives Matter
First off, black lives matter because they matter. Why wouldn't black lives matter? Through a majority of America's history, they have, in fact, mattered less. Those days are over and America has evolved into a different country. The culture changed, but there is still a reason to push ideas of oppression and white supremacy.
Racism isn't fully dead and it probably never will be. The few racists who remain aren't powerful or influential enough to drive our culture or to ruin multiple lives. On top of trying to kill off whatever remains of the old America, the benefits in uplifting black Americans are still greater for most corporations than pandering to the white Americans who are sick of hearing about it.
Have you really stopped watching certain sports and buying certain brands just because they pissed you off with their incessant cultural pandering? Maybe for a few weeks or months you did, but you eventually went back. If you have held true to your boycotts, your like-minded neighbours probably haven't. Even so, we're all going to run out of companies to boycott. That's exactly why it makes more economic sense to make black Americans feel more included and empowered. The push will only piss you off for a while, before you come crawling back to get your fix. The long term benefits of inclusion and empowerment are more important for corporations and politicians than how white people feel about it. Statistically, brand power has successfully won the long game.
Despite taking a big hit in ratings, 96 million Americans still watched the last Super Bowl. Despite a decline from the year before, ratings weren't as low in 2021 as they were in 2007. Furthermore, much of the decline can be attributed to the teams and the current pandemic situation, which has altered ratings for most shows and events that are energized by their live audiences. A part of the Super Bowl's magic is in the energy and size of the crowd—which has been reduced by the pandemic more than by players who kneel during the anthem.
All of this isn't to say that some of the ratings slumps aren't driven by people's fatigue of social justice, but it does show that the slumps are not as dramatic and sustaining as they should be, or would be, if a majority of people were really committed to their boycotts and their dislike of pandering.
With that said, blacks make up no more than 14% of America's population, but they happen to make up a majority of NFL players and chart topping musicians. If black lives were given price tags in dollars, they would be disproportionately high compared to their share of the population. That's not an insult, that's a compliment and a fact. That means that corporations are making billions from black lives on the production line and as consumers. Making them feel included, empowered and important is as valuable as keeping unionized factory workers content.
The truth is, any damage done by pissing off white people will be repaired in the future. All people, including white people, will be loyal consumers to the end and won't sacrifice their own needs and desires to boycott their favourite things.
More importantly, individuals who praise and openly promote cancel culture and social justice feel empowered and fuzzy. Those who attack and destroy critics of cancel culture and social justice feel a rush of power and accomplishment from their actions. It's a beneficial cycle with good returns for many people and corporations.
Dr. Suess And Aunt Jemima: Victims Of Cancel Culture
A part of the new narrative that denies cancel culture is the idea that Dr. Suess Enterprises and Quaker Oats made voluntary decisions to make changes or cease selling certain products because of their racist depictions. Therefore, it is argued, axing Aunt Jemima and six books was not a result of cancel culture, but rather, the result of voluntary actions that have nothing to do with cancel culture.
Stating that these decisions had nothing to do with cancel culture is pure intellectual dishonesty. Had our culture not taken a turn towards its current censorial nature, Quaker Oats and Dr. Suess Enterprises would have never made the decisions they made. They made the decisions to protect themselves from the inevitable controversies they knew were coming.
They were being proactive.
First, the idea that Quaker Oats was under zero pressure to kill Aunt Jemima is false. Controversy over Aunt Jemima and her mammy branding was being labelled as a contributor to racial stereotypes in 2017 by people like Brian Behnken at the Iowa State University. In 2019, Elisha Brown wrote an article in the New York Times condemning “mammy jars” for their racism. It was only a matter of time before Aunt Jemima would become a target, along with Uncle Ben. Quaker Oats knew the controversy was building in the far fringes, which is what ultimately compelled them to proactively begin dispensing of the mammybrand in 2020.
"It's a beneficial cycle with good returns for many people and corporations."
It was, in fact, an acute awareness and fear of cancel culture that led to the voluntary cancellations of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street and If I Ran The Zoo. As early as 2017, many Dr. Suess books were being called racist and a librarian in Massachusetts refused a donation of Dr. Suess books from Melania Trump on those very grounds. You can read about that here.
Again, it is an act of pure intellectual dishonesty to say that cancel culture had nothing to do with any of these things. Not only did cancel culture have everything to do with it, it's likely that none of it would have happened in an alternate dimension where people aren't idiots.
Cancel culture is very real. It's a cancer that needs to be destroyed before it kills us. We should pay attention to who is instigating it and what their motives really are. If we can expose their motives, we can turn people against them.
© 2021 Poletical