Sunday, December 19, 2021

#353 / Cancel Culture?


"Cancel culture" is an expression much in the news. Click here for one explanation of the phenomenon, with the understanding that, as Wikipedia reveals, there are some differing explanations and definitions. 
The concept of "cancel culture" is somewhat fluid at the moment, but the term is often used to describe an effort to "block someone from having a prominent public platform or career" because of that person's conduct or speech, when that conduct or speech is deemed offensive to those who are doing the cancelling. 

Was it Voltaire (pictured above) who said the following?

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
That is, actually, the subject of some debate. It may be that Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who wrote a biography of Voltaire, published in 1903, is the real author of this statement. Whether these words come from the 20th Century or the 18th Century, however, they set forth a suggested way to react to offensive speech that is also summed up in that schoolyard response to verbal bullying
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me.
There is, in other words, a long tradition that suggests that the best response to offensive speech is, basically, to ignore it. This strategy could also be stretched to cover past offensive conduct, too, when ongoing damage is not an issue. If such a strategy were employed on what are now the "cancel culture" battlefields, the  result might be better than the current strategy of trying to cancel out all current and past mistakes and stupidities. 
Just a thought!
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