Block. Unfollow. Delete. Restrict. Mute.
Sure, online social networking platforms had time and again managed to build new and unique ways to cancel people without the guilt that comes with it. It’s like eating a bag of chips that says “O% transfat, vegan, no-preservatives added”.
Or is it?
The internet has greatly influenced how people in general “do” life. From banking to groceries to intimate relationships and friendships — we’ve depended on how much the click of a button, the swipe of a screen or the taps on our smartphones could affect our daily routines.
So let’s zero in on relationships in general. According to a 2020 statistic report by We Are Social, roughly about 4.5 billion people in the world are using the internet, and out of this, about 3.8 people are on social media. Imagine that, more than half of the world’s population is accessing the internet and possibly learning about different cultures such as K-Pop, TikTok, Free the Titties Movement, Black Lives Matter… and maybe even the Cancel Culture.
So what is the Cancel Culture?
Wikipedia gives us an insight and accordingly, Cancel culture or call-out culture describes a form of boycott in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles — either online on social media, in the real world, or both. They are said to be “canceled”. Lisa Nakamura, professor of media studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, defines cancelling as simply a “cultural boycott” in which the act of depriving someone of attention deprives them of their livelihood.
According to another read, these days “the idea of canceling — and as some have labeled it, cancel culture — has taken hold in recent years due to conversations prompted by #MeToo and other movements that demand greater accountability from public figures. The term has been credited to black users of Twitter, where it has been used as a hashtag.
A mouthful, to be sure. But in essence, canceling was originally intended to be a social upgrade or an exercise in civics in order to foster a healthier socio-political environment. But as with any concept, too much of a good thing — or too little knowledge about one — coupled with relentless bandwagoning, never leads to anything bright.
Both teens and the working young adults nowadays have been freely swimming in a cancel culture whether consciously or subconsciously.
Don’t like an opinion? Hide post. Too many selfies in a day friend? Unfriend/unfollow. Not sharing the same political opinions as me? Block.
While social interaction that has gone sour and toxic rightfully calls for a cancellation, when we train ourselves to resort to escapism instead of first trying constructive engaging of another person, which may benefit both parties, we actually create a rigid mindset for ourselves wherein the mechanism dictates that if we don’t get our way we can just pretend the other person, entity, political structure what have you, does not exist.
We continue to align ourselves with the linear thinking that if it doesn’t fit, then it probably does not belong.
Oh, and where is growth? Happily hybernating.
A narrative in the Post Magazine crisply describes this, in that the author aptly scribbles “Cancelling, once a noble endeavour, will become just another weapon in the mindless culture war we all have to suffer.”
So where does jadism (yes, I coined that) fit in in the Cancel culture?
In an article written by Professor Gary Cross of Pennsylvania State University, he says “[a]s different as the two trends appear, adults evading adulthood and children hurtling through childhood share a common longing for the sweet spot of youth, that quintessential time of autonomy and self-expression coupled with the conformity of a peer culture from which the boring older generation is excluded. Ten-year-olds want that as much as 30-year-olds do.”
“Thus, we have created a contradictory culture that combines jaded children, whose parents wonder where their kids’ innocence went, and callow adults, whose elders fret when their kids boomerang back home and \”deny\” them grandchildren.”
When people do not engage enough and repel everything that irritate them especially in social media, in a way it’s a refusal to grow through the diversity of principles, opinions and new insights. We get ourselves willingly jaded and claim there’s nothing new. But we’ve placed ourselves in that place willingly. Children postpone the learning and adults refuse to learn more. That’s how jadism gets in in the hallway of cancel culture.
Because admit it, we don’t always block someone just because he/she posted too many selfies. We do it because we don’t see them as in the same box as us. Because they do not fit.