Whenever a Twitter blue check or a celebrity gets canceled — whether it’s for posting racist tweets or performing offensive jokes or voicing unpopular opinions — they typically have one of three responses:
The offender makes a statement, usually typed out on their iPhone notes app, that details how abjectly apologetic they are for their error in judgment.
The offender records a video in which he contritely expresses how terrible he feels about the situation.
The offender pledges to learn more or to do better or to re-evaluate their lives.
Recently, some of these mea culpas have been unwarranted and even insane.
For example, after the banjo player from Mumford and Sons tweeted support for Andy Ngo’s book about Antifa, he found himself on the receiving end of angry rants from the usual anonymous trolls. Rather than ignore the unhinged tantrums of a dozen basement dwellers, Winston Marshall issued a statement.
He not only promised to examine his “blind spots,” but also announced that he would be taking time away from the band.
Translation? Cancel culture has brought our society to pathetic new lows.
On the other hand, there have been occasions in which reflection and apologies were warranted.
For example, Black comedian Nick Cannon sparked outrage last July when he expressed anti-Semitic views on a podcast.
According to Insider, “In the podcast, Cannon spoke about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in connection with the Rothschild family and said people who didn’t have the skin pigment melanin were ‘a little less.’”
He apologized for the inflammatory comments and vowed to learn more about the Jewish people. Since then, he has met with rabbis and community leaders and launched the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance. During a recent interview on ABC he remarked, “I’m not seeking forgiveness. I’m seeking for growth.”
Cannon likely figured out that seeking absolution from the tolerant left is pointless. If only the rest of the country could figure that out.
I am not anti-apology. There is nothing wrong with expressing remorse. There’s even a prayer — the Act of Contrition. However, if you are of the mindset that the woke social justice warriors who monitor our Clubhouse chats and comb through our social media are here to forgive — well then you haven’t been paying attention.
Even the most well-meaning or perfectly phrased apologies will not satisfy the doxxers, snitches and freelance tattle-tales who run our companies and police our posts.
So with that in mind, I’d like to add a fourth step to the post-cancelation routine.
Every time a person experiences cancel culture, he/she should vow to stand up for the next inevitable victim.
Because the people who have seen the pitchforks glistening in the mobs’ eyes, people like Alexi McCammond, Chris Harrison, Gina Carano and J.K. Rowling, are the same people who should be speaking out louder than the rest.
They now understand what so many others fail to realize: that mistakes do not eliminate a person’s value. Do old tweets or hot-mic moments expose areas in which some people could improve or self-reflect? You bet! But as a society we need to be willing to actually let people evolve.
Often times when I am mindlessly scrolling on TikTok, I see users commenting that certain influencers are “problematic.”
“It stinks that she is so problematic because otherwise I actually think she is funny.”
These remarks always leave me perplexed. Have Americans forgotten that we are all problematic?
Whether you post BLM PSAs on your Instagram or feature multiple pronouns in your Twitter bio, we are all riddled with … problems.
That is what makes the human experience so fabulous and so damn hard.
MAGA-hat on your head or Biden bumper sticker on your Tesla, we are all works in progress. So let’s start embracing it.
Someday even the progressive liberal professor reading White Fragility and drinking her kombucha out of a metal straw will make a mistake. And when that day comes, I can guarantee you that she will be hoping with all of her heart that someone offers her a second chance or a dose of forgiveness.
So if you really want to be a rebel, if you really want to challenge societal norms and have an impact — don’t start a Tucker Carlson boycott, dox your Trump-supporting neighbor or call one of Gov. Charlie Parker’s snitch lines to report a mask-less shopper lurking outside Market Basket.
Instead, trying offering people a bit of grace.
You — I’m talking to you, Karen -— might be surprised how quickly you find yourself in a situation where you are praying for the very same thing.