We all live in modern world, a world that has changed so much since I was a teenager. For parents in my parent’s generation, they saw massive strides in communication, electronic, and digital evolutions not only in technology but also in behaviour. Until the turn of the 2000’s these changes were not really a huge concern, but with the emergence of a stronger reliance on digital or online existence, there have been massive shifts in humans behaviours. Namely and more specifically in this blog post, I’d like to discuss something more specific: cancel culture.

Image courtesy of Bmoi/Flickr

Dare to take a wrong turn in how you communicate or present yourself online or in person these days? Think twice before you act, because someone is always watching. This also permeates the old internet, that is to say tweets from 10 years ago, websites posted 15 years ago, or photos taken in pre-internet days that are otherwise folded away out of active memory.

Cancel culture is a rather interesting and troubling phenomenon. People being cancelled, or effectively attempted to be removed from positions, due to damning evidence (or receipts as they are colloquially referred) has become widespread. The public goes into lynch mode and effectively tries to kill the identity and suppress, and sending these people to the proverbial guillotine results in their careers being tanked.

Kim Davies, cited from NBC News

The first such example that I can retroactively remember is a non-famous person being cancelled. Back in 2015 the United States Supreme Court legalised same-sex-marriage and it became law of the land. The former clerk of Rowan County Kentucky, Kim Davies, actively refused to enforce the law and it got a lot of media attention. She hooped and hollered about her civic rights and blah blah blah, but effectively she faced widespread criticism for not respecting the law and doing her job. Back then we called it “discredit” or “condemnation,” but in the 2020s it’s certainly called being cancelled. She was effectively pushed out of her job, and was not reelected due to public backlash. While I don’t necessarily condone being cancelled, I am happy that someone else can be given the chance to fulfil their job duties.

J.K. Rowling, cancllled by Harry Potter. Cited from The Daily Wire

While Kim Davies might not be a household name, J.K. Rowling certainly is. While she has been regarded as a very successful author, most notably for the Harry Potter series, in 2019 she angered followers and the widespread public by making disparaging comments about transgendered women. She was labelled anti-trans and called out by a large amount of actors that participated in the Harry Potter franchise. While she fought back by trying to defend her honour and right of belief and free speech, she ultimately lost a significant amount of klout and ended up returning human rights awards for which she was a recipient due to public pressure. Since 2019 she has published a new book under another pseudonym, and it was received well by readers, but again drew criticism for anti-trans characters which critics only highlight as her own beliefs and tendencies transcending her writing.

Dr. Seuss books taken out of publication, cited from CBC

The next example of recent cancelled culture I’d like to bring up is six titles of Dr. Seuss, a childhood classic spanning back generations. I remember as a child reading some of these books, and really every child had a library on their bookshelf of Dr. Seuss titles. Although no longer alive, the author seems to be receiving a retroactive cancel and the books have been taken out of publication and sale for racist imagery. Race an equality is touchy topic when it comes to the world, particularly in the Americas. Racism has a torrid history and it is regrettably prevalent in daily life even three quarters of a century after the civil rights movement. What strikes me as the most strange thing, is these are historic publications and frankly reflected culture of the time. Do we condemn these authors and desecrate their families and memories?

Personally, I think that historical documents exist as examples as snapshots into their culture of the time. We can not fault them retroactively, or delete them from the record books only because culture has changed and evolved over time. They exist, at least, as relics from an old time and can be excellent examples for use in education against stereotypes or judgements. Does it really benefit all if now the name of a well loved author is tarnished and a dark cloud existing over all of the other publications upon which nobody has (yet) raised issue? All I can say is: overboard.

International Day for Tolerance, cited from Happy Days 365

Critics of cancel culture highlight the widespread emergence of a lack of tolerance for opposing views and beliefs. I agree with this, and it’s rather strange to think that generations raised in the age of internet and knowledge have become so ignorant in so many ways. The proliferation of social media has led to widespread witch-hunts which grow quickly and snowball out of control. People’s lives are ruined, and even if they are rather suspect or not high quality characters, it’s not really right for them to suffer. Everyone does have rights of belief, but what everyone also should have is a tolerance to allow for people to express themselves and engage in conversations to widen the debate to understand each sides.

Whether it be your favourite author, favourite actor or actress, a widespread respected person, head of state, or frankly anyone for that matter, use your brain. Pick up a book, engage in conversation, or better yet do so and keep an open mind and discuss rather than fight or condemn. After all, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” as it is said. Or am I going to get cancelled for using “him” instead of a more neutral pronoun “they.” No matter, but you can see how even the simplest mistake can turn the tides.

As a parting thought, let another famous person express my views. While I don’t consider him to be the greatest of qualities, I echo his words:

Having been recommended by my friends in Vire, the corner of Calvados department, of an awesome vampire series of books, and given that France is about a year behind in all films that are released, I decided to go and watch the film Twilight which is based on the novel series by Stephenie Meyer, an American morman writer. This series is best-selling, and is based on a story of a vampire, Edward, played by Robert Pattinson (who played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter), who falls in love with a human, Bella. Steamy.

There are certain aspects of this film that make me so happy, and are worth sharing. But first lets get the superficial aspect out of it. Best line of the whole film is as follows:

Twilight.01.EdwardTwilight.02.Edward & Bella

Edward: I feel very protective of you.

Whoah nelly is that sexy as hell?! The fact that a vampire that is  “vegetarian” (meaning the family only eats the blood of animals) is in love with a human and feels the need to protect her, despite his amazing super-abilities and monsteresque features? If only such a thing could be uttered in normal human life, without the whole issue of “posession” coming in, whew.

Okej now that I’ve emptied my superficiality I can delve into some more themes that I find interesting. Apart from the obvious love theme, there are some more moralistic ones that I agree with an admire. Started with the philosophy of only converting to vampires people who were in dire dying situations, Carlisle Cullen, the father, converted a bunch of the family and with incredible self control, manages to teach them not only not to feed on humans, but to control their “urges” and cravings. This makes me happy; it’s a pillar to the future of human existence: self control. One’s control over themselves and self-mastery is key to everything, and the betterment of society.

Not only is self control a major moralistic approach, but also the fact that the vampires don’t want to be monsters and don’t want to be the type to kill humans. They see that it’s wrong, and that despite not being satisfied by human blood, they can be strong and feed on animal blood, thus surviving. It shows great sacrifice for the better, which is another empathetic trait that I admire greatly.

So what does this film tell me? Go buy the box-set of the book and read that shit, for shizzle! My friends tell me that vampire sex is really hot too, which remains to be seen, but I can only imagine.

This relationship between Bella and Edward is like the perfect embodiment of my life. It’s awkward, controlled, hesitant, unsure, which makes for the most amazing type of the relationship. You know what they want, but they can’t, but the control and resisting that you see makes it all the better. That’s how I am, frigidly awkward, and so I can relate to being a vampire so much. After all, we share a few traits already: such as being frigid, distant, emotionally retarded, self controlled, measured, and isolatory!

Go me, the new vampire. Take me now!

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What can I say about the success of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling? It’s simply mesmorising and a dream come true for her, the readers, and anyone with an imagination. So needless to say that the English release of the final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the event of the summer. Instead of going down to the Bloor Street party in Toronto I decided to hold off and be the cool, calm, and collected buyer as I normally am. Always rational, always patient.

And so the at about 16.00 on the 21st of July I set off to the bank to deposit some cheques, and then to the local Chapters here to get my copy. Mother was complaining about there not being any books there and that they’d be sold out and stuff, and I said to her “Are you serious? The largest book release in history and you think the Chapters in Newmarket isn’t going to have any? You’re ceinle” And who was right? I was of course, as we walked into Chapters it was super-calm, no crazy lunatik fans around as she expected, and boxes, and I mean boxes of the books being unloaded. I reached down into the pile and got my copy and cooly walked to the cashier.

It was a staggering $45.00 but apparently there is some Harry Potter sale, so I only had to pay $38.95 taxes included, I thought it was a good deal, especially because everyone who pre-ordered it paid full price. Mwhaha! Okay I’m done. Can I believe that it’s been 10 years of my life, and that I was even able to read this when I was 11 years old? It’s shocking me this much to know that Harry Potter has been in my life for that long, and that I will never forget it. I can even remember where I bought my first book: It was at the book fair and I was curious so I bought it and everyone laughed at me!

Needless to say I came home and began, tout de suite, as I was dying to read it. I’ve never read so much, or as quickly (whilst still retaining all information) as I did in the following 48 hours. I perched myself on my bed, laptop meters away and I read, and I was capitvated for approximately 1.5 days. I know some people can read faster, but I’m a slow reader and I’m content in doing it. And I finished, all sleepy eyed Monday (early) morning and after having drempt of the story, I’m happy to say that I’ve read the entire series!

Don’t worry, no spoilers, I’m too awesome for that. Above you can find the area in which I was perched for a day and a half, with minimal interruptions so that I could engulf myself in the world of Hogwarts and the Muggle Irreality.

In happier news I’m going to South Carolina this weekend to visit Jean. That means a Northwest Airlines flight from Toronto to Coumbia, via Detroit is in order. Now I just need to figure out how to get to the airport at 09.30 in the mornig!