Friday, 12 March 2021 12:22

OPINION: Quit it with the 'cancel culture'

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I guess I have to be the one who wants to say what we all have been wanting to say in the last few weeks. Of course, the majority of you don't have a public forum to spout off in, so I guess I'll take one for the team. 


If I do this, then one of you has to take one for the team and the next time I am asked to speak in front of a large group, one of you has to take my place. That's how it works. I do something for you, and then you do something for me. A quid pro Joe, if you will. That doesn't have to do with the guy in the White House right now, but is it just a matter of time before the name of that place becomes the Executive Residence and not something that can be perceived as offensive? 

That said, I don't really get what is considered offensive these days because it seems like anything anyone says, regardless of their race, gender, religion or whether they like pineapple on pizza, they run the risk of offending someone.

If you don't like something, cancel it. That's the new buzzword these days. If you don't like something, simply gather a bunch of people and explain why you don't like it and convince them they don't like it either and post about it a lot on social media and what you don't like will be gone. 

If we had social media way back when, think about what we could have done about spinach, castor oil, those thermometers that didn't go in your mouth, and the Chevrolet Vega. 

I once had an English teacher call people “dough head,” but I never once saw an actual dough head take offense to it. To be honest, I don't really know what a dough head is, but it doesn't sound like a compliment to me. 

I really don't care about race or gender or whether you like to get romantic with three turnips and a butternut squash. Treat me with respect and I will treat you with respect, it's as simple as that.

I am not offended easily. Words do not bother me. As a newspaper columnist, you get to know the power of words and also you understand that while the words themselves are just letters put together in a row, the thought behind them is not always so wonderful. 

When this happens, we ban the words. Why? I don't know. 

Growing up, we understood that there were words that were good and words that were bad. I lived in neighborhoods that were about as diverse as anything and I was exposed to a plethora of interesting words. I have heard just about every epithet that can be used. 

You will hear a lot of public figures claim that they have never used these words ever. I am not one of those people. A lot of you won't like this, but I have said words that you don't like. I have said mean and angry things. I have said inflammatory things. Don't get me wrong, this is not a confession to absolve me of my verbal sins, but me pointing a finger at all of us and telling us that none of us is innocent. 

Get off your high horses, folks. The divide will remain if we keep banning words and being afraid to say things to people. We keep saying we want to discuss these things and no one actually does because they don't want to say the words out loud.

Imagine if a movie like “Blazing Saddles” was released today. Think about that. Everyone involved, Black and White, would be immediately “cancelled” without anyone noticing that the movie pokes fun at what makes us uncomfortable and uneasy and handles it in a way where everyone gets a shot at being “offended.” 

We are all in this together, people. If things keep going the way they are, everything will be canceled and we will be looking at books with blank pages. You can't learn anything from blank pages. You can from printed pages that are, you guessed it, black and white.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he (usually) writes on the lighter side of family life.