The Price of Cancellation

August 17, 2019-

I read, this morning, about Sarah Silverman’s having had a role canceled, by a director who was furious that she had done a Blackface skit-sometime in the 1990’s.  It turns out that the skit was a parody of someone else doing Blackface, and that it was intended as a cautionary message to people, not to do likewise.  Undeterred, the Red Queen of a director maintained the ‘majesty’ of that decision.

We have run amok, with the notion that an offense, however real or imagined, is sufficient to remove a person from one’s social circle, employment or from society itself, for that matter.  Criticizing a move by the Israeli government, apparently makes one an anti-Semite (never mind that Arabs, who usually end up wearing that label, are themselves Semites, as are, of course, Jews).  Having a discourse with one’s political or philosophical opposites makes one “dangerous to society” (I’ve seen this behaviour from both the political Right and Left.)  Now, comes the film-making community, with the search, flashlight in hand, for ANYTHING in a performer’s past that violates a narrow code of acceptable conduct.

People, rightfully, note signs and behaviours of late, that remind them of pre-World War II Germany and Italy.  These do need to be called out.  Case in point: A person driving a truck into a crowd of protesters is NOT exercising his rights, under the law.  At the very least, he is acting as a vigilante,  At worst, he is committing an act of domestic terror.

Dismissing those, with whom we disagree, from the realm of existence, though. is a slippery slope.  We have a prime example of this:  The French Revolution.  It was a far more complicated mess, of course, but the dehumanization of those who are of opposite persuasions  almost always ends with the opposite of what was originally intended.

So, I think of my present life.  There are two people who have verbally threatened me, over the past three years.  I have taken steps to ensure they are of no further consequence in my life- but they are certainly free to live their own lives, without my hectoring or interference.  I disagree, strongly, with several people on certain issues.  To carry on and try to deprive them of  life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be ludicrous.

We go on, and hopefully will do two things:  1. Carefully review and verify any report of a public outrage (i.e. the false report of people dousing a reporter with quick-drying cement, in Portland, several weeks ago).  2. Remind self that, in a world created by a Higher Power, one’s own likes and dislikes do not necessarily need to be indulged by the Universe.

Cancellation is always an option, and it comes with a price.

2 thoughts on “The Price of Cancellation

  1. *sigh* And yet here we are Caucasians still bearing the guilt for what was done 200+ years ago to Negros captured and sold into slavery. I cannot undo the past. I can however act with integrity in the present. I refuse to blame all Germans for the crimes of the Nazis. I don’t hold all British accountable for the loss of lives, properties, and acts of war during colonial America. There are always grudges to be held and fingers to point in this world. How much better we would be if we could acknowledge the past and then move forward making changes to prevent a repeat?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remember this: All blame casting is a reflection of the pain that has been passed down, all these centuries and decades. I long ago chose to forgive those who were vicious to me in middle school. We were ALL going through an awkward transition. I am in total agreement with your last point. We each have to choose to recognize that the past is exactly that; recognize that genetic memory is as real for the descendants of the oppressors as it is for those of the oppressed- and each work towards seeing each other as equals.

      Liked by 1 person

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