Cancel culture, cancel music
Cancel culture is wrong. What is the point? Let’s look at the upside and downside.
Upside: There is no reminder of past grievances, so a person may feel more at ease and content in the present moment, being free of the negative connotation of said person or time in history.
Downside: There is no reminder of past grievances, so a person can repeat the grievance, perpetually, until we have a perpetual reminder.
Like Sarah Bond, a lecturer in history at UNC at Chapel Hill, says in a 2011 New York Times article, “Erasing the crimes of the past doesn’t help us avoid them in the future.”
In fact, one may argue that erasing crimes of the past only encourages them to occur in the future. So how naïve and selfish is the cancel culture movement? Are you naïve enough to believe that removing someone’s name or statue will rectify wrongs? Are you selfish enough to realize that you are sacrificing the health of future generations by removing reminders of dark times just so that you feel better?
There is a beautiful podcast, which I can’t remember now, but the author talked about going into dark places and sitting with them. He showed his teenage daughter Auschwitz. He explained that although it was difficult for her, later she would remark as an older person that she was grateful for the experience. It fostered emotional depth in her and added to her emotional maturity. It allowed for transparency on the spectrum of human emotions and the capabilities of others to do wrong. Should we cancel Auschwitz because something bad happened? Should we cancel Adam and Eve because they were wrong? We need dark places, dark reminders, just as we do the light.
And if we start canceling history, which we already have in the University of Miami cancelling culture left to right on its campus, where does it end? What is to stop the momentum of erasing everything that feels uncomfortable? This is highly terrifying, and should be for any who cares about the future generations. What oppression will arise because adults foolishly behaved like children in our day and time? I do not want my place in history with millennials being associated with a generation who could not and would not think for themselves along with the future implications of their actions.
For those that do not know, UM is removing George Merrick’s name from campus. You know Merrick Park? Yes, same guy. He founded the University, and people have effectively ruled to remove his presence. Criminy.
At least the City of Coral Gables has some sense. Their statement:
“Coral Gables founder George Merrick was an urban planning visionary who understood the importance an institution of higher learning would play in developing a world-class community. To make this a reality he donated 160 acres of land and pledged $4 million to build a great university. While like most people he was not perfect, his memory and presence is still very important in and to Coral Gables.”
It is important to understand how this came to pass. Evan Kissner, a 2006 UM graduate, started the petition with the University to remove him. A guy who lives in California effectively made changes in Miami! And that’s fine to have a voice, but why 5,000+ people would follow someone who’s not even a current member of our community or society is beyond me. This isn’t his only petition either, he’s also petitioning to cancel A-Rod from being associated with the University of Miami.
How pompous is this guy to want to make his alma mater free from iniquities? How selfish is he to want to change a community, he’s not even a part of anymore. This is not about catering to a new-world. This is about increasing fear in action. The act of cancelling establishes fear amongst us all. What is acceptable? Will I get cancelled? As Ms. Bond writes, “Romans saw [removal from history] as a punishment worse than execution: the fate of being forgotten.”
What is more terrifying than death? Being forgotten. How do we ensure we’re not removed, and thus forgotten? Be ever so cautious. Don’t ruffle features. Just fit in. You may not be remembered, but at least you won’t be removed.
And I’m not biased here with the University of Miami. I feel the same way about my own alma mater, the University of Florida, removing a chant song from games.
At some point, ambivalence has to come to an end. There is an enemy. And that enemy is silence and groupthink. And the people that lead such movements, like Evan Kissner, who is nearly 3,000 miles away from us, who likely passed the petition by corralling a cohort of emotional, zygotic Generational Z students currently enrolled at UM, are the people we must stand up against. Who will lead Gen Z properly?
Thankfully, there are people like me who understand the implications of such actions. And not all Gen Z thinks along Mr. Kissner’s lines. Amanda Rose, a University of Miami law student and member of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables, created a petition to reverse the recent actions by the University of Miami.
So who do you agree with? How will you act? To do nothing is to admit defeat to the oppressor. And in the end, we will be forced to choose a side. Think about your favorite song being cancelled. Are we going to cancel Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” because it’s symbolic for lynching? No? Why, because she’s black? Who makes up these rules?
And this is what I’m talking about.
If you agree with me, you will sign Ms. Rose’s petition and stop the cancel culture momentum in any way we can.
Remember to use logic versus emotion in these circumstances. We must use our brains for the future that is to come.