Cancel culture is inevitable in today’s society. It seems as though people get offended by the slightest assumptions. This recent culture of ‘cancelling’ a human because of their humanly mistakes is typically done through censoring and shaming them for speaking their mind in a way that others feel is objectionable or offensive. Through this, a question has arisen: Does cancel culture take away our right to free speech without punishment?
Cancel culture has instilled a fear in society that has forced people to be incredibly sensitive to everyone’s feelings. The issue is that many people feel that they’ve been disabled from speaking their own opinions because of the harassment that cancel culture places on those who make mistakes. Joking around with a friend could land you in hot water and may be used against you in the future. There was a time in society when comedians and comedy television shows could make jokes about nearly anything. The jokes that were made may have been offensive at times, but society was fairly unbothered by it. They made fun of everyone, so no one group or person felt attacked. It was a widespread activity that made fun of humans, a highly flawed creature without a doubt, with the addition of friendly comedy to lighten the overall mood. Since most people are familiar with the comedic flaws of humans, the shows were deemed ‘funny’ and ‘relatable’ rather than ‘offensive’ and ‘derogatory’ considering the fact that the content was common knowledge. Shows such as “Family Guy” have more recently come under fire for making jokes that poke fun at particular groups such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, African Americans, numerous religious groups, Republicans and Democrats, etc. Does “Family Guy,” a show well known for its offensive and crude humor, deserve to be cancelled due to society’s increased sensitivity?
The producers aren’t singling out one group and only making jokes about them, but instead making fun of all varieties of people. The comedy is collectively funny and relatable, and doesn’t target a specific group. If everyone who was ever poked fun at through standup comedy or a show stopped watching t.v., they would never be able to watch another television program again. Instead, our society should let jokes be jokes and understand that everyone makes mistakes.
A recent incident in which a well known figure was ‘cancelled’ by society was when a video was resurfaced of Jimmy Fallon, a famous talk show host. He did a comedy sketch with black face on, which is when a white person puts on dark makeup so that they appear to be of color. Specifically, African American. At the time, which was 20 years ago, people didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t out of the norm. However, at the start of 2020 as the BLM movement gained popularity, the resurfaced video caused many to become extremely angry with Fallon, deeming him ‘racist’ and ‘insensitive.’ He was therefore cancelled. Jimmy has since apologized for his actions, stating, “There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.” Despite Fallon’s sincere apology, and the fact that this event occurred far in the past, many remain upset with him. The reason that one may still hold a strong grudge against Fallon is valid. Many would argue, however, that everyone learns, grows, and changes as we age. Others strongly disagree with this grudge-holding because what’s in the past is already done. There’s no going back now. What more can we expect of people other than apologizing and changing their ways?
Any other expectations are unrealistic, as we’re ALL humans and we ALL make mistakes.
The whole idea of cancel culture can be interpreted as a way of taking away our right to free speech. This is America; we fought for our right to be able to say whatever we want. Yes, sometimes it can hurt people’s feelings, but that doesn’t mean we should have that right taken away. If we truly fed into cancel culture and took away everything that could be even remotely offensive, we wouldn’t have anything. The unfortunate truth is that typically, the reason that people get so offended by jokes is because there is some form of truth behind them. Furthermore, with this incline in the amount of sensitivity that humans possess, there are few things that can be said without retributions in this day and age. It seems as though many can’t handle the truth. We have been groomed into a sensitive society. The key to combating this cancel culture epidemic is to let go of what others think and/or say of us, and forgive the faults of others. In the end, does it really matter what anyone else thinks?
Please don’t cancel me for saying that.