Cancel Culture

cancel-culture

“Canceling” used to mean getting rid of your Netflix subscription. Before Netflix, it meant discontinuing your New York Times or Time Magazine subscription. But the word “cancel” has taken on a completely different meaning in our society now. Instead of the subscription becoming nonexistent, the person becomes nonexistent. A “canceled” person loses his or her place in society, in esteem, and even in his or her ability to make a living. We call this “cancel culture” and it sometimes leads to tragic consequences. It is a phenomenon first associated with the cultural left — but the cultural right is making use of it as well. Expulsion from the community is a fearsome weapon. It has always been so. Exile was one punishment widely used in former times; excommunication from the church was as well, and it is still used. (Speaking of excommunication, the religious fervor behind “canceling” has been well-noted. There is a certain orthodoxy — or “correct” opinion — that undergirds canceling and, accordingly, it is done with the same religious fervor and belief in the righteousness of one’s…