I’m going to rant now. If you’re one of the hundreds of people that read the first part of this rant back in December 2018, you have an idea of where this started for me. If not, you’re welcome to check it out HERE. However, for a quick recap: a story broke, got a lot of buzz, should never have been a story, people were pissed (even though the two adults involved handled it correctly!), and the media tried to cause a hate war. So… that story has long since died, but it was the beginning of something bigger. Something meaner. Something that has grown seven heads and is trying to eat the planet.
Cancel Culture bothers me for so many reasons, but the main reason is that WE NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH. “Evidence” can be fabricated. You see how I put that in quotations? You know why? Because it’s becoming remarkably easy to fabricate, to create from nothing and make the story look legit. Especially when it doesn’t have to pass by a court or forensic specialists or anything of that nature before it’s released to the media for public consumption. As someone who busted her ass getting a degree in criminal justice, I also know that the “evidence” can be presented in multiple different ways to create multiple different stories. It takes time and energy to actually figure out what is truth and how the evidence actually, legitimately fits into the story. We’re not given that. We’re given the tainted story and told we should be angry and cancel someone.
The other part of media is the blatant mistruths being printed. Yes, okay, we’ve been dealing with that for years now. But a prime example happened the beginning of February. Articles started coming out with super poor box office numbers listed for the new movie Minamata. Multiple articles that referenced “less than $15,000” on opening weekend. My first reaction was “duh, we’re in a pandemic.” But something still seemed off about what was being written. Turns out, the movie never hit the theaters. Someone at MGM finally came forward and had to make a statement saying they’d postponed the release due to the pandemic and the fact that people still aren’t really going to theaters. And yet… there were multiple articles written about how badly it had done IN THE THEATERS. So… apparently we just make up articles these days… Which is exactly why the rest of this is important.
The thing that got me riled up this morning, that pisses me off in a big way, is the fact that people are ‘cancelled’ for reasons that other people do in a broader or more aggressive way and no one cares. For instance, rap lyrics have always been aggressive. However, now we’re trying to cancel Eminem? Let me rephrase, THEY are trying, because I want no part of that. I’ve been listening to Eminem since I was… I don’t know, fourteen? If you legitimately listen to the lyrics, you can see the story of a man who has overcome a lot to be where he is. Yes, his lyrics are sometimes violent and (at least with the older stuff… I haven’t gone through the new album yet) mostly inappropriate. That’s why they put age ratings on CDs. I have to assume they do the same on digital media? I am old school lol If it’s not on YouTube music, I probably haven’t heard it yet. If you’re old enough to buy it, and still don’t like it, why don’t you just not listen?
Alice Cooper recently gave an interview in which he was asked about cancel culture in a much more direct fashion. His answer was beautiful. He basically explained that we never know what is actually happening behind the scenes. I agree with him. I would take it a step further and add that it’s not our place to know. If whatever is happening hits legal levels of concern, than those involved should most definitely get outside help. But we still live in an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ country, and I don’t think it’s right that cancel culture can step in and destroy people’s lives in the process. Johnny Depp was accused of domestic violence. As the evidence comes forward, it looks more and more like he was the abused spouse and she the abuser. However, he lost his jobs, was fired from two different franchises, and has not been picked up for anything else in the meantime. That is the work of cancel culture. Yes, a studio executive somewhere made those decisions, but they made the choice they made based on what the culture would accept. Had they continued on, there would be just as many people who are mad about the firings mad about the fact that he wasn’t fired. Well, in this case maybe not quite as many…
Armie Hammer may be a creepy dude. He may not. He swears up and down that he didn’t send the messages. And with digital spoofing and all that crap I don’t really understand, it’s logical that maybe there was someone impersonating him in that instance. Yes, there are other people coming forward at this point. I am in NO WAY saying that what they experienced wasn’t true. He could be a massive, disgusting, cannibalistic creep. But what I am saying is that none of us was there. None of US get to sit down and interview everyone involved. So it should be left up to the people who can (like a civil or criminal court) to make a final judgement. Maybe he just likes kinky (but legal) stuff and doesn’t express himself well. We, sitting out here not in the middle of the story, might never know. But because of what’s happened in the media and in cancel culture, his new movie is doing not-so-great. And while some of that is reflective of the movie, many people trashed it simply because Hammer was in it. A movie that was made prior to any of the other allegations levied toward him. The movie also stars the likes of Gary Oldman, Greg Kinnear, and Michelle Rodriquez. The backlash from cancelling Armie Hammer has now affected the other people in the movie. The movie that was made prior to all this. The movie that stars people other than Hammer.
So that story that pissed me off back in 2018? The one adult man and one adult female handled the situation. The male apologized for his inappropriate comment, but it all still got blown out of proportion. It spiraled. It exploded. It became a media buzz. I think it’s important for US, the consumers, to place the responsibility on the media to report legitimately. It’s essential that we require honesty. It’s important for us to remember that we weren’t there and maybe we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. BUT if something bothers you, don’t partake. If you don’t enjoy Eminem’s lyrics, don’t listen to Eminem. Don’t buy his new album. If you’re opposed to the allegations you’ve read against Hammer or Depp, don’t watch their movies. That’s okay. That’s acceptable. It’s encouraged. It’s how I’m handling the new Aquaman movie. I won’t be going to the theater to see that one. Because even though I love Jason Mamoa, I think it’s wrong that Depp lost everything and Heard was not treated similarly. I am choosing, personally, to stand for what I believe in, not trying to take everything away from her.
But let’s stop the rampant cancelling of people before all the evidence is in. Eyewitness statements are notoriously unreliable (we learned that in both the criminal justice program and the psychology program I went through). Perception is also something we need to remember. As well as the desire to ride the coattails of another’s fame. Let’s stop destroying lives based on rumors and hearsay.