There is always to be a guaranteed frown,
Whenever the Cancel-wuzzlets come to town.
With their fists and staffs full of might,
They are the only ones who know what's "right."
So beware the Cancel-wuzzlets for their words fill many ears,
As they force, manipulate, and stoke all of mankind's fears.
Written By: Anton Sawyer
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for this article, and all articles, can be found at our site's bibliography linked here.
In the last few weeks, there has been a mighty bru-ha-ha over a recent beloved icon and some of their books ceasing production due to potential racial and other offenses. If you haven't heard, that icon is Dr. Seuss. Six of his books are no longer going to be published. Some of the better-known titles include "If I Ran the Zoo" and "And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street." They will be joining others like "McElligot’s Pool" and "The Cat’s Quizzer" in this self-imposed censorship.
That's right, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, whose task it is to protect the legacy of the former children's author, stopped the production order, not Cancel Culture as it has been recently blamed. Though it was done in self-interest, Cancel Culture and its pervasive attitude most definitely had a part in this decision. In this article, I'm not only going to show how, but I am also going to explore how these self-imposed punishments are detrimental to the Cancel movement itself.
I want to make it clear that as far as those books and the pictures/writings that have brought on this controversy, I can clearly see the points of both sides. Usually, I can make a strong case for one viewpoint or another, but with this, I completely understand the racist implications in the subject matter and how they could easily be seen as bigoted. I don't want to come off as someone who just doesn't like Cancel Culture, Social Justice Warriors, or anything that could potentially be tied to their way of thinking, and feel that everything they stand for is in error somehow—in this regard, they have a valid point. The issue I have is in the way that these situations are handled.
I was always raised to believe in personal responsibility. When I was younger and had issues with substance abuse, all the counseling I received used personal accountability as its core value. It is something that is drilled into your head at every turn. Because of this, I feel that if you don't like something, don't watch it. Change the channel, do something more constructive with your time.
Yes, these images do have racial overtones, and those kinds of ideals do not need to perpetuate. But to say that pressuring a company to do something is going to somehow change the federal, state, and locals laws completely to effectively deal with the systemic injustices that are inherent in the American judicial system is nonsense. We can argue that we have to get to the youngest and the most impressionable of our society to be raised to know there are differences with everyone; to one degree or another. That these differences come from a plethora of different cultures and that we should respect them along with learning from them, and I agree. But stopping these books is not going to change the outcome of a young black man being stopped and beaten to death by a police officer in some city.
The other argument to make about deleting the history we don't like is also if we do not remember history, vividly, then after a generation or two, it's forgotten. Like in my article about History's "Winners" and how every group who has ever been on the wrong side of history has had their story buried, thereby making the same arguments over and over again possible. We need to remember the arguments made by those who did not support civil rights for any marginalized group so we can mock them, not give them new life. Plus, it's funny how so many progressives who agree with canceling these items out used to throw around "1984" and "Orwellian" when it came to the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations, not realizing deleting history is a big component to those terms.
One of the big arguments made for the pro-cancel movement is that by allowing people like ex-President Trump a platform to spew their racist and hate-filled language that was so prevalent during his term, it emboldens people to take it to the next level. It's a very valid point. In a 2020 Newsweek article, it was pointed out that per a recent FBI report hate crimes had surged nearly 20% during his administration. The FBI's annual reports on hate crime statistics showed that hate crimes increased from 6,121 incidents in 2016 to 7,314 in 2019, a 19.49% increase. These statistics are shocking, but not surprising.
It was often that Trump refused to denounce white supremacist groups and he would also re-tweet quotes from dictators with racist pasts, among other things. This gave many the idea it was a secretive "go ahead" to inflict mayhem. Again, it isn't that there isn't something here worth discussing, it's the way it's being treated. Instead of focusing on censorship, I think the resources would be better spent investing in mental health and its access to society at large. Someone doesn't just hear a voice on the radio talking about a pedophile ring in a pizza parlor, go get a weapon and ammunition, then shoot up the place in an attempt to be a hero and save the children unless they are not well. Because of our ability to reason, if we read or hear something upsetting, our "advanced intellect" kicks in and stops our emotions from taking over and leading us to harm another human being. And for those who are unable to, we enact legislation. As we know, our prisons are filled with people who suffer from mental health issues and should probably be getting treatment rather than being incarcerated.
Per a 2017 study done by Prison Policy Initiative, it states that in 2015, police shot 124 people experiencing a mental health crisis. In 36% of those cases, the officers were called to help the person get medical treatment, and shot them instead. I can guarantee that a person who murders another human being because of a perception of reality is someone in dire need of mental health support. I think if the amount of time and man-hours it takes the SJW's/Cancel Culture advocates to stop a person or entity from existing were spent on helping those on the fringes that explore these wild exaggerations with physical intent, the outcome would be more positive.
However, when it comes to the Dr. Seuss issue, Cancel Culture wasn't involved. It was self-inflicted. It seems that Dr. Seuss Enterprises saw what happened to Disney and didn't want to generate the same kind of hatred for a beloved children's icon. As we're going to find out in a moment, doing this actually hurts the overall morality of the entire Cancel Movement in the same way Disney recently hurt it with their actions. Actress Gina Carano was fired from the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian" over an offensive tweet she sent comparing the GOP to Jewish Germans during World War II. Again, she has the right to say it with the freedom of speech, along with the right to deal with the fallout.
As a side-note, one thing I did notice with this situation is how many people wanted to see her canceled because of that tweet. These same people also relentlessly mocked the conservatives who freaked out in 2003 when the Dixie Chicks spoke negatively about then-President Bush and their backlash.
The issue I have with them firing her is in the fact that The Mandalorian's lead actor Pedro Pascal had put out a controversial tweet in 2018. His tweet compared the Trump administration to Nazi's by showing similar pictures of children in cages with one captioned "Germany 1944" and the other "America 2018." Nothing was done. He was not fired, suspended, or had any repercussions for his actions.
Anyone who has read almost anything on this site knows I did not support Trump or his actions during his administration. But if you are going to damage someone's career to that large of a degree over a comment, and then turn a blind eye towards someone doing that exact same thing because of ... reasons, it shows that your moral keystone is made of clay. I think it was due to all of this fallout that the Seuss estate did all of this. By them doing it pre-emptively, it does expose the main weakness to the Cancel Culture movement.
Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (LCDP) in the State of Delaware, Dr. Todd Grande made a couple of astute observations in a recent video discussing Cancel Culture. It was pretty clear he wasn't a big fan of the movement or the way that Disney handled everything. The most profound quote pertained to corporate involvement. "They're [corporations] basically saying to liberals 'you can't fight your own battles on merit, you need a big corporation to step in and fight them for you.'"
That last statement is truly chilling. The thought of what we watch, listen to or consume in any way being dictated because of a company doing what a vocal minority thinks we should be doing, has frightening implications. If a certain news channel decides that it would be in "their best interest" to refuse to air anything that could trigger someone into a depression; then those who may need that data to help themselves will suffer. There are going to be A LOT of unintended side-effects to everyone if Cancel Culture continues in the way that it has. Eventually, any and all arguments that may have once painted the political landscape concerning censorship will evaporate as it will never need to be brought up in legislative chambers. The corporations and a certain percentage of the population have already taken care of it for them.
Change indeed does come from the people, and this is a movement that has taken hold with millions. I'm just hoping that sooner rather than later, this incorrect focus of reshaping society's views to wipe out various scourges in the world will re-correct. If they don't refocus towards the systemic issues and changing those to benefit who need it the most, then it's just going to push people further and further away.
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