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Serious Cancel Culture, Carson King, and Modern Society

Started by EnglishALT September 26th, 2019 9:02 PM
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I wanted to make a topic about discussing what is currently being called “cancel culture”, a relatively new wave where if anyone gets famous or does anything special, the internet must dig through their history to see if they have done anything wrong in the past.

Examples of this include Carson King, he recently shot to fame by getting a million dollars in donations while asking for beer money, he turned around and gave all the money to a hospital charity ( except for a few dollars for beer ). What seemed like a feel good story quickly changed when a local newspaper did a Twitter history search and found some terrible tweets he had made 8 years ago when he was sixteen.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/college/iowa-state/football/2019/09/24/meet-carson-king-whos-raised-over-1-million-charity-asking-beer-money-childrens-hospital-tweet/2427538001/

I have noticed this seems to be popular in media with Shane Gillis, Kevin Hart, and even in video games where forums are doxing developers for anything that is found to be offensive in their social media.

So I was wondering what people thought of the so called cancel culture, should a person’s social media be fair game when ever they come into the public eye? Should things said as a child be held against a person years later? How far should such a thing extend, just in terms of racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, or should political beliefs/political party be a part of it?

Note: in no way should anyone endorse what Carson King, Kevin Hart, or others said, I merely am asking if someone’s past social media history should be used as an instrument to take them down.

TailsMK4

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This is something that I don't understand, and it has plagued many people that worked to earn the status they achieved. I can understand looking at a statement that was made recently, as that person likely exhibits that behavior normally. However, I do not think it is right to judge someone that acted a certain way 20-30 years ago. It makes me think that people are just looking for excuses to bring people down, even if mostly petty, much like what people are doing to our current president.

One instance where I think this negatively impacted someone was regarding a key actor for the Guardians of the Galaxy series. A third movie was in development, and I haven't heard anything since the controversy, so I think the movie may not be in production anymore. The key actor made a racial slur a long while before the person got an acting role, and Disney wanted to replace the actor after finding out about it (and they only found out about it after having done two movies and being part of the Infinity Wars). That got the rest of the movie actors angry, and they refused to work on the movie unless everyone returned.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I do not see how this kind of research benefits anyone. Why would these kinds of damaging information be released at the time something significant is happening, not before then? I smell a deeper motive in almost all of these cases.
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gimmepie

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I think, it kind of depends on what people are finding. It's stupid to try and destroy someone's career over a bad tweet they made nearly a decade ago (or anything else in that vein) if they're clearly expressing and following through on totally different values in the present day. It's a little different if something comes out about something like a serious crime.

IV

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I share gimmepie's sentiment, though I do feel the whole term is being ruined by people who just abuse the "cancel culture" to get personal gain.
An 8-year old tweet from someone who was 16 at the time, pretty sure it's normal that people in that age do some stupid stuff now and then and later on have regrets over it.

erik destler

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Is it really "cancel culture" as much as it is facing the consequences of your actions?
Examples of this include Carson King, he recently shot to fame by getting a million dollars in donations while asking for beer money, he turned around and gave all the money to a hospital charity ( except for a few dollars for beer ). What seemed like a feel good story quickly changed when a local newspaper did a Twitter history search and found some terrible tweets he had made 8 years ago when he was sixteen.
If you don't want to be called out for making racist jokes, then don't make them. It's as simple as that, isn't it? While not all experiences are universal, and of course parenting/environment/etc. comes into play, I can say I wouldn't make such jokes at that age.
I have noticed this seems to be popular in media with Shane Gillis, Kevin Hart, and even in video games where forums are doxing developers for anything that is found to be offensive in their social media.
Shane Gillis completely deserved to be removed from SNL. He's an adult making fun of Asian stereotypes in 2018/2019. The original video/podcast was from 2018, but then he made this joke a week or two ago:
“Everybody’s been like, you can’t say sh–t and not expect consequences,” he said, wearing a “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” hoodie. “I’m fine with the consequences. I’m not arguing. F–ck it. But I do want everyone to know that I’ve been reading every one of my death threats in an Asian accent.
(Source)
I will say, I'm not surprised that his "fanbase" has kinda doubled down in defending his jokes/etc., propping him up to a martyr for cancel culture.

As far as Kevin Hart goes - again, a literal adult (he was 30 at the time) making jokes about breaking a dollhouse over his kid's head if he was caught playing with it so he doesn't turn out gay.

I have no sympathy for mature adults being held accountable for ignorant or offensive statements. Ultimately, I think it also comes down to how you handle being called out - you can either apologize for your actions like this Carson King did, or you can double down and make yourself look even more like an ass, like Shane Gillis did.
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Vragon2.0

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Is it really "cancel culture" as much as it is facing the consequences of your actions?
If the action is putting out in public a certain action with the intent to get said individual removed from something or punished without scrutiny of law and instead relying on populist pressure on company and public with which a certain "culture" has been built from it to repeat such actions whenever potential evidence is popped up then yes, I could deem it as "cancel culture".

And facing whose consequences? Not the laws that's for sure. "Cancel Culture" is about vigilantism and wanting to punish people you think are bad simply for actions or things that dubbed them unfit in the eyes of the ones doing it.

Just saying, it'd be a lot more convincing to see someone else's side and come to understand their feelings on the matter when you don't try to attack their image or character and instead discuss it as equals.

Cases of lawfully wrong things and even stuff with questionable action should be handled between the two parties so fairer case can be handled. It's not the business of the masses on social media to get involved.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
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erik destler

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And facing whose consequences? Not the laws that's for sure. "Cancel Culture" is about vigilantism and wanting to punish people you think are bad simply for actions or things that dubbed them unfit in the eyes of the ones doing it.
Perhaps I should've said being held accountable versus facing consequences. People absolutely can and sometimes should be held accountable for stupid stuff they say, especially adults.

If you don't want to face potential social repercussions for making racist statements, simply don't make the racist statements. It's that simple.

For example, Shane Gillis made those racist remarks as a thirty-year-old in 2018 (and then continued them in 2019). He absolutely knew better, but still made the jokes because his "comedy pushes boundaries".
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Vragon2.0

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If you don't want to face potential social repercussions for making racist statements, simply don't make the racist statements. It's that simple.
My issue is that it isn't as much "social repercussions" as it is "avid seeking out."

If it was as simple as consequences as you say, then anytime someone says something like that on twitter would be problematic to their job. Perhaps it's a difference in perspective and view I have with you since I think stuff against the company's policy or illegal would be deemed enough for termination else the company should enact disciplinary measures according to what they have in contract.

It's fairer that way and not propped with a response of a "outrage" but rather an actual choice that can face actual consequences.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
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erik destler

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My issue is that it isn't as much "social repercussions" as it is "avid seeking out."

If it was as simple as consequences as you say, then anytime someone says something like that on twitter would be problematic to their job. Perhaps it's a difference in perspective and view I have with you since I think stuff against the company's policy or illegal would be deemed enough for termination else the company should enact disciplinary measures according to what they have in contract.

It's fairer that way and not propped with a response of a "outrage" but rather an actual choice that can face actual consequences.
In the case of the Carson King, yeah, the reporter involved deliberately looked up the kid's tweets (in a twist of events, said reporter has actually also been fired for similar behavior). However, for others (Kevin Hart, Shane Gillis), it can simply be a matter of the internet simply not forgetting. If someone wants to act out on social media, and it's easy enough for the employer to connect the employee to their social media, then...that's on the employee, isn't it? No one is telling the person to make racist tweets. :P
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In the case of the Carson King, yeah, the reporter involved deliberately looked up the kid's tweets (in a twist of events, said reporter has actually also been fired for similar behavior). However, for others (Kevin Hart, Shane Gillis), it can simply be a matter of the internet simply not forgetting. If someone wants to act out on social media, and it's easy enough for the employer to connect the employee to their social media, then...that's on the employee, isn't it? No one is telling the person to make racist tweets. :P
If it's against their terms and their code then I said it'd be fine for termination if it's to the level they would deem it as. It's their contract. I can disagree with their call on it, and I do, but I don't control their contracting.

I mainly disagree with corporations using this action based on responses from social media when that dubs more closely to random people that have a problem with it rather than the numbers of multitudes of people that don't. Have you looked at how he's doing now?
ET article about his Australian show

It sold out and he's starring in some movies later, some social backlash.
I mean, when it comes down to it, I honestly have to question if social media is a proper means to elicit the complaints and I would say companies should do proper investigations into their employees one whether or not the claims and such indeed are too much. Besides, if we are going to talk about "holding people accountable" then any case of said problematic talks should be held accountable, which isn't true since this is based on a company's response to people bringing up something and demanding something done about it.

I don't see it as fair nor as proper in the contract thing. If the company finds the stuff and investigates it on their own and comes to the conclusions, that's their own business affair. It isn't mine, it isn't yours, it isn't anyone else's.

Edit: Honestly, I don't know what much else there is to say. It honestly comes down to your view on the matter and if yah think the actions taken by the perspective parties is justified or not. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
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Rainbow

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Cancel culture is literally just people being held responsible for what they've said and done. That's all it is.
The fact that it's controversial only speaks to how unfamiliar that concept is to the mostly white male "victims" of it.

You don't want to be "cancelled" for being racist, don't be racist. Nobody's making you. It's that simple.

Her

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Firstly, I have to say the patently obvious: 'cancel culture' is such an all-purpose and simultaneously nebulous term that it increasingly has come to mean only what the user wants it to mean. The idea of 'cancel culture' is almost entirely up to interpretation, because it has been thrown around in such distorted and paradoxical discussions that it has lost any real legs to stand on. Everyone has such a different idea of what it means, compared to what it achieves or is imagined to achieve. Part of this is intentional, which I will elaborate on later.

However, despite all this, its root and most common usage have to be considered, and they are most important to digesting the practical application of the term today. 'Cancel culture', as perceived, is in some ways an evolution of 'callout culture', which started being codified around 2012 as a reaction to young urban lefties not tolerating previously unchallenged attitudes on the internet. The term cancel culture evolved a few years later, I'd say mid-2016, once the 2016 election started creating a sort of disbelief in how an avowed bigot was making this far and people started taking bigoted posts a lot more seriously. What I do agree with is that the idea of 'calling out' evolved - it wasn't enough to just list the issues, there was a greater sense of not allowing the person to prosper. More about that later. The perception by a far more organised right, often on the end of such things (shockingly!), was that callouts had moved onto a 'cultural level', the very fabric of society trying to shut them down for Saying It Like It Is. The act of calling out someone for their muk, apparently adopted into a political or ideological strategy. I say strategy, because the idea of cancel culture is that it is inherently cunning and not located in morals beyond the moralisation used to justify the apparent cancelling. The overall idea of the term cancel culture is that it is targeted and based in impropriety, Note my use of qualifiers and doubts - because cancel culture is such a reactionary term, codified and organised by those more likely to be on the receiving end of such 'cancelling', it comes with many loaded biases in favour of them. It's an evolution of the behaviour directed at 'political correctness' - once used with seriousness, it's now a perjorative used by those that feel silenced or unable to say what they really feel, because the big left boogeyman (who originally used the term with sarcasm, mocking certain factions in the left) is out to get them. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

On the act of 'cancelling' itself, you get three major strands here.

1) Those who learned social justice ideals solely from the internet and are typically rather young (Gen Z), and extrapolate the ideals they learned from wider discussions and apply it to minutiae or their squabbles. They're well-meaning, mostly, but the sheer amount of useless discourse they create is very easy to twist by bad-faith actors, and they tend to react in a way that makes them easy to manipulate, especially as more and more internet savvy millennials get hired by corporations and learn how to manipulate their good will in a way that inherently awkward PR and HR departments did not know how to do previously.

2) Those that take the idea of 'cancelling' seriously and know either a) what actually works or b) what doesn't. This contains all three groups, and all across the political spectrum. When I say they take 'cancelling' seriously, I merely mean that they recognise what it means and how to theoretically apply oneself to it, or earnestly critique the attitudes apparent within. Simultaneously, they are the group that recognises to what extent 'cancel culture' is imagined, and how to utilise it for their own purposes. While I do not stress a 'both sides are equal' bullmuk narrative, this is the group most likely to genuinely believe in the practical way of 'cancelling', and the group that also has the highest number of people capable of manipulating the other two groups.

3) Those that legitimately believe that 'cancel culture' is the boogeyman taken a true form, and the ones most likely to throw around the term completely straight-faced. You will most likely see the terms 'SJW', 'Orange man bad', 'NPC', and so forth used as well. Left wingers do have presence here, but this group is mostly composed of reactionaries - and the right, in this case, is a lot more composed of those more likely to be on the receiving end of cancelling, for whatever reasons. There is a lot of fear here, and because of that, this is the group that, paradoxical to what is typically believed by them, has defined the term 'cancel culture' the most. Their belief in being 'culturally dismissed' allows them to be highly manipulated, and leaves them open to grifters that pray on the perceptions they have, such as Jordan Peterson.

But here's where the joke really kicks in; cancel culture rarely means what it is believed to mean, because it is so ineffectual in practice. 'Cancel culture' doesn't work because it doesn't exist. This has a few faults which I don't have time to explain in depth, however I will try: if the power of 'cancelling' was anywhere as widespread, as earnestly believed in or as impacting on profits as cited by genuine believers, it would be a force to be taken dead seriously. Note that I'm not saying that the idea of organised condemnation separate from 'cancelling' is not effective, but rather, that this nebulous term of 'cancel culture' is utterly deprived of meaning because it fundamentally doesn't achieve muk, and in fact, finds most of its success in those that have been 'cancelled'.

1) Because 'cancelling' is so widely defined and easy to manipulate, it dilutes the power attached to the term and the perceived beliefs behind it. Examples: What is racism to one person is not racism to another person, what is racist to one person is racist to another, but they don't care or gladly trumpet said belief. Simultaneously, you can get people with far more influence and limited perspectives making the decisions for those actually have to live with the social issues likely being brought up. You see this often with discussion involving the n word - shutting out black people and extending forgiveness without nuance or criticism. More examples: The mistakes of youth are, depending on the actors involved, mistakenly or intentionally conflated with the mistakes of the adult. There is an idea that time inherently changes a person; this can be and is mostly true, but must be displayed consistently for it to be taken seriously. The longer the time period, the lower the bar for perceived change needs to be. So easy to manipulate. Further examples: The severity of consequences are often diminished, typically in favour of the person supposedly being 'cancelled'. There tends to be a far larger organised response in favour of playing up the idea that a mistake has no ripples, that a misjudgement always happens isolated from their wider goodness, no matter how often it might happen.

2) These issues constantly playing out in the public sphere have a cumulative effect and they ultimately cheapen the discussion. This idea of cheapening terminology is age-old, but in our contemporary world, a highly relevant analogy to what we see with 'cancel culture' belongs to William Safire. One of Nixon's key speechwriters, he is credited with helping to diminish the perception of Watergate, if not necessarily Nixon himself, through his endless and entirely intentional demeaning of the -gate suffix by creating the joke of the -gate suffix's overuse. By throwing it everywhere, he helped to diminish the importance of the crime itself. This happens so often with 'cancel culture', its intentional overuse diminishing what it really means, if it ever meant anything. The idea of facing consequences for gross violations of conduct is turned into the idea that they're just facing a witch hunt, and the rare cases that are truly smoke with no fire are held up as backing the norm, not exceptions. The necessary nuance for examining these discussions is reduced to pettiness. In the end, 'Cancelling' is largely defined by those with considerable resources, those necessary to launch public PR in their favour, which works against those without (which is most people).

3) If 'cancel culture' was as much of a force as the term culture implies it to be, the success rate of those that apparently throw rocks in its name would be far higher. The simple fact of the matter is that, if anything, it tends to abide by the 'bad publicity is still publicity' aphorism. This is mostly true regardless of political affiliation. I have largely shied from using names and concrete examples until now, but this is where it is most relevant. If 'cancel culture' was a powerful mechanism for delivering punishment, you would know. David Bowie would likely be the subject of far less tattoos on the human body if people actually cared about his predilections towards statutory rape, for example. You could cite nearly any '70s rock figure there, however. Admitted predator Lena Dunham would be similarly affected. Woody Allen. Donald Trump. Figures known for domestic violence, ranging from Floyd Mayweather to Gary Oldman to Bill Murray would not be around, much less making bank. If people actually cared about separating the mistakes of a child/teenager from those of adulthood, Kevin Hart wouldn't be bouncing from success to success ever since people cottoned on to his homophobia. Similarly, Dave Chappelle wouldn't be so brushed off so delightfully. It is by now a tired joke, but there is an entire Netflix category dedicated to this very idea: being 'cancelled' is good for you. Every racist alt-right figure or sympathiser that gets attacked for their views wouldn't be making bank, they are instead comforted by the knowledge that they now have a dedicated market of perpetual self-victimisers that bask in the the tropes I am discussing. Similarly, Sean Spicer wouldn't be on Dancing with the Stars if the power of cancelling was anywhere as effective as it is claimed to be. There are so many people nowadays that are successfully grifting on this subject - I've mentioned Jordan Peterson, but they range from Andy Ngo to Shaun King. Milo is the very rare exception to this: he seems to have been excised from any political groups that once claimed him. Going on, edgelord reply guy 'comedians' that live and die by this behaviour would not be selling out shows daily. I could continue, but I'm a bit tired. That's not to say that the act of ensuring consequences for vile behaviour doesn't happen or is impossible, obviously. But if 'cancel culture' was the nefarious shadow demon of suffering it is made out to be, the mere allegation of improper behaviour would end careers with zero exception.

4) Ultimately, the money and power usually in favour of these people. This should lead into a discussion about how it is increasingly harder to 'cancel' someone in a landscape where they belong to increasingly fewer companies, and simultaneously, to cancel people that are backed by companies intentionally playing into consequence discourse and manipulating hysteria around it, but I don't have the energy right now. The point I'm trying to get to is that Mel Gibson wouldn't be slowly returning to prominence, however bearded and quietly he may be doing so,

The most bitter joke of all this is that so many people have been played for fools, especially those who supposedly decry the idea of 'cancel culture'. People that cry 'vigilantism' have been played like a fiddle, because by resorting to reactionary defenses, they help play up the reason why the term 'cancel culture' was created to begin with; throwing around ‘political correctness’ as a form of silencing criticism was losing its power, so a new buzzword was created to fill the void. Simple as that - 'cancel culture' is an effective weapon of those looking to cheapen the tools of social justice that have become more widely available in the last few years, tools previously isolated to academic discussions. And Nero played on.

The irony is obvious.
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Perhaps I should've said being held accountable versus facing consequences. People absolutely can and sometimes should be held accountable for stupid stuff they say, especially adults.

If you don't want to face potential social repercussions for making racist statements, simply don't make the racist statements. It's that simple.

For example, Shane Gillis made those racist remarks as a thirty-year-old in 2018 (and then continued them in 2019). He absolutely knew better, but still made the jokes because his "comedy pushes boundaries".
"simply don't make the racist statements" may be a bit easier said than done, especially when you are dealing with children who are trying to be "edgy" or "shocking" and may make statements that they cannot fully grasp the ramifications of later on in life.

You said previously you did not make jokes like that, at that age, and that is fair. However jokes aside, I am pretty sure that there is something in all of our pasts, that we said or did that was stupid or edgy that just was not record on the internet for all of us to see. It could even be something as simple as making a statement about religion or politics out of anger that would look bad a decade later after maturing and getting a more nuanced view.

gimmepie

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I think, we make more of a discussion out of this than we need to.

1. Is this person displaying a different set of values than they had previously?
2. Was the mukty thing they said or did recent, or was it years ago?
3. Was the thing they did a crime?

If the answer to question one is yes, maybe consider that the person changed. If this is in conjunction with a yes to two, maybe consider the statute of limitations on their stupidity up. We've all done mukty things we aren't proud of. I routinely do mukty things I'm not proud of. If the answer is yes to three, void 1 and 2.

If the answers to either 1 or 2 are no, then you can consider if what they did was bad enough to warrant a public outcry.

twocows

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I suspect that most people have said or done something in their life that most people would take issue with. All I care about is the kind of person someone is now and the kind of person who willingly donates a million dollars (that he could have easily kept for himself) to a children's hospital is probably not that bad of a person. I think I read that he regrets what he said? To me, that's the end of it. I take people at their word unless they give substantial reason for me to doubt them. It was an awful thing to say but he regrets having said it and he's done substantial good works in the meantime; as far as I'm concerned, the matter's resolved.

Now hypothetically, if he still believed the things he said back then, that would be a different situation. In that case, you'd have to consider both the bad and the good. The most likely conclusion I'd come to at that point would be that he's well-intentioned (he still donated a million dollars that he didn't need to donate, probably the vast majority of his actual personal assets) but likely misinformed and sheltered. I think the best course of action is to try and talk people like that into understanding why what they said is wrong rather than treating them as evil and irredeemable. I would rather see someone admit wrongdoing and try to make up for it than permanently doom them to being a pariah and potentially driving them further into their extreme beliefs.
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