I am tempted to add to this heading "and other crimes".
Maybe this terminology is as new to you, as it was to me initially. But to save you the time it took me to learn more, here it is in a nutshell. It is yet another form of the anti-social, pack behaviour humans have developed thanks to their overt sociability in the virtual world.
Cancel culture, also known as call-out culture, is defined as a form of public shaming with the aim to hold someone or a group accountable. It seeks to call attention to perceived problematic or offensive behaviour.
And yes, you guessed it, the breeding ground is social media. Usually, this brand of online activism uses tweets and social media posts to create large scale boycotts of a person or brand.
I can see some of you venturing to put the newspaper down, thinking that this can only be a good thing. But hang on a sentence or two longer. While some argue that cancel culture isn't personal, but a means for marginalised communities to publicly assert themselves through pop culture, we can never lose sight of the fact that social media indeed, is best described as a double-edged sword.
There is a growing concern against cancel culture because it has become dysfunctional. Looking at the mere fact that this often bandwagon activism has turned into large scale hostile take-downs, how does it differ from a South African principle of bringing supposed criminals to justice at a bundu court?
We can't even truthfully argue that it's not so bad yet in our neck of the woods. In fact, in South Africa debate and activism features largely on social media alone. We have truly taken to our democratic right of having our opinions heard, often unbridled, especially on social media. Statistics show that for many South Africans, a large section of their online consumption, is both contributing to and reading social media comments.
Even locally, our online editors have their hands full to keep commentary at a level of not spurring on sexism, racism, homophobia and any other form of bigotry. But, at least there is a filter.
What caused me further cancel culture concern, was an article by Nick Bastone for Business Insider on a brain-computer interface that will allow people to type what they are thinking, without having to use their hands. As useful as this may sound, facebook now says it is one step closer to implementing this interface.
I rest my case. Cancel culture, in principle would be a good thing, especially if applied with the notion of not choosing the comfort of opinion, but stretching ourselves to the effort of thought.
If we could apply cancel culture to educate instead of eradicate, we'd make constructive inroads towards detoxifying our society. Education breeds empathy, but its more convenient to write off and erase. The last thing we need is superiority politics and a moral high ground.
But that, is just my humble opinion. Cancel if you like. Just give it some thought first.