Editorial–Cancellation Considerations

Sometimes I feel a bit old.  This week, for instance, was the 25th anniversary of my marriage.  I remember when I was a kid, 25th anniversaries were the domain of old people.  And yet even though we’re marrying older, for some reason it seems those with 25th anniversaries are younger than ever.

Perspective makes all the difference it seems.  This week, I find I’m thinking about cancel culture.  The idea that what you do in one realm of your life, even in the past, can have ripple effects across all of it.  Some people rage against the idea, but really it’s just an effect of modern technology making public who we are.  Most of what people get “cancelled” for they would have been cancelled for in any event if there was hard proof that they were doing it.

But before, because what was done wasn’t necessarily recorded and preserved forever on the internet, you could be as heinous as you wanted in private and never have to deal with the repercussions in your public life.  That’s changing.  And I think it is in some ways a bad thing for those of us caught in the transition period.  Many of us who’ve been given, if we’re honest, too much leeway to be jerks when we think people aren’t looking, are going to have rude awakenings.  Overall, though, I expect it will be a good thing, as it will make people realize that being a good person isn’t just something you do in public, and thus force people to look at how they truly act through all aspects of their lives.

I tend to feel that people being made to be self-critical will end up with positive effects in the long run.  Maybe we’ll learn how to express our anger and frustration with situations and people in a way that helps bring change, rather than just seeks to attack or tear down what we don’t like.

Like anything, though, it can go too far, and we’re going to have to learn how to differentiate between things that we just don’t like, and things that are actually causing damage—such as inciting violence or hatred toward specific groups.  Does using a racist epithet justify “cancellation”, for instance, or merely condemnation?  I think we can all agree that anything advocating violence or destruction of an entire peoples certainly deserves to be shunned by society and those at large, but for lesser offences it gets trickier.   I have more thinking to do on the issue.

In the meantime, be sure this week to check out our interview with student and AUSU Councillor Devon Romanick, and the Fly on the Wall’s look at how an AU student deals with isolation—and how we’re better off than the poor people who did an isolation study as reported in Time Magazine.

Also this week, new writer Savannah Ugo starts off with advice on how to make the difficult choice for movie night to pick something that works for your entire social group, even across COVID enforced distances.   Between “what should we watch” and “what should we eat”, you’ve covered probably half the conversations between myself and my partner over the last twenty five years, so this helps.

Plus we’ve also got scholarships, advice, recipes, events, news, random rants and thoughtful articles on everything from pizza restaurants to Ukrainian Christmas.  Just a selection of the vast group that makes up The Voice Magazine.  Enjoy the read!