Views on boycotting - Can you admire the work of someone who did something bad? Can you separate personal from business?


I loathe cancel culture.

The way you protect people is not by making them weaker, by telling them "you can´t handle this, so we must make sure you don´t get to see it".

A person in their life must decide on their own if they can handle it or not, not be TOLD by someone what they can handle, or protected by someone other than themselves. If you hand over your own protection to someone other than yourself, you are handing over your own agency to decide!

Cancel culture also creates the risk of people getting stuck in their own bubbles, and of never being able to critically think because they have been protected.


Another reason why I feel you should make up your own mind is because media can be manipulated.
A narrative can be made to have you believe that "X beat up his wife" (like for instance the case of Johnny Depp) even if you have no proof that this actually happened, and you don´t know whether this claim is simply being issued against them in order to slander them and/or inhibit their career.

Depp is just a random example, could be anyone really, could be a woman too, but in this day and age it´s important to understand that any of the "hot subjects" can be used to absolutely demolish someone and to attract power. And that claims of being "fair" or even being victimized, often go hand in hand with power.

I´m not saying that all of these things are made up! But that awareness is important, and this is exactly why one should think and judge and look further than their own social bubble, so they can get a more accurate idea.


If I subscribed to the cancel culture notions, I couldn't learn from say Mohatma Gandhi.

Who was a wife beater in his personal life.

People simply aren't black and white... It's alright to appreciate some aspects and condemn the rest. That's not agreeing with them.

I find that notion one IS agreeing or supporting heiniousness by any participation seriously manipulative and unnecessarily extremist... as well as missing the point.

I'd rather read and keep tabs on views of a convicted pedo than have an angry mob dictate me what to even think, but maybe that's just me and way longer trauma with thought control than I've had with very early CSA talking ;)
I love that you brought up Ghandi. We are highly complex people. We, here, have strong similarities in life experiences that shape our perspectives. I prefer to believe that everyone has blind spots, where through lack of life experience, ignorance or focused insensitivity they minimize things that we would find horrible. But, their desire to make a difference in other ways is incredible. I guess I prefer to look at it as an impressionistic painting of an individual and the valuation should be based on how much of the canvas is dark. Similar to what you said @Annalyn78


There's endless examples throughout history as well as with specific individuals (Mahatma Ghandi already came up, Mother Theresa would be another such figure, for example, so is the Dalai Lama...) where really good stuff comes at the cost or at least hand in hand with really bad stuff. We "conveniently" benefit a lot of things daily that were the direct result of atrocious events. Many of which we aren't even aware of. Hence convenient in "" because ... it's just human. Part ignorance. Part temporal distance. Part just acceptance that it is what it is and we can't change it anymore, anyways.

It's part of our human existence and I do not think anyone should be gatekeeping for everyone else what is "acceptable" (i.e. what bad stuff is ok to ignore) and what isn't (i.e. you should boycott that person/company/culture... ). Because this is highly influenced by personal experience, if not bias, and culture.

And that doesn't matter whether it's advances in medicine through concentration camp experiments or art from a rapist. Same same but different but still same.

As it's been said before, it's not black and white, and everyone should be able to draw their own lines without being judged by others. "Cancel culture" as such is, imho, not only dangerous but really hypocritical (as it regards as "bad enough" whatever is the bad thing of interest at the current moment... which in a way has fad character at times).


One of the things that really interests me about this discussion is the social context in which it's occurring.

'Cancel culture' became a bit of a fad issue when the George Ffloyd protests erupted across the globe.

It predates that. Censorship discussions go back as long as modern civilisation as we know it - even longer. For example, in Nth Australia, for some 40,000 years, a "good" indigenous artist, one permitted to paint on the walls of caves, was one who could perfectly imitate the accepted images, so sacred images like of the barramundi were always, for 10s of thousands of years, painted in exactly the same way, as an interesting historical example of censorship.

But it's flared up again since those protests in particular, and the toppling of (in particular) public statues celebrating historical figures that might be offensive to black people specifically (see, for example, the date that this thread was created).

So, that's the first interesting thing: 'cancel culture', as a bad thing, seems to be topical in the particular social climate of wealthy, western, white folks protecting their history.

Here in Australia, it's very stark how much that is the case, where people seem to be being outraged by the removal of public statues (on the basis that the figure represented may have been responsible for the mass slaughter of our indigenous people, or the slave trade). Similar protests in the UK have made mainstream news here, like the removal (and replacement, at least temporarily) of a historical statue in Colston.

Compare that, though, with the complete lack of media coverage of simultaneous removal of other culturally significant, publicly accessible monuments that don't make the news. The simultaneous removal of figures that are culturally significant to black people, and the lack of outrage over that (in fact - it doesn't seem to occur to many folks that that is, also, a form of 'cancel culture').

One particularly heartbreaking one that springs to mind are a row paperbark trees removed in Victoria to make way for the re-routing of a road out of Ararat. They were hundreds of years old, and said to hold spiritual significance. But, only to the local (black) indigenous community.

Was anyone particularly outraged by that?

The road didn't need to be moved. And unless you have reason to be interested in that particular topic, or lived in the area (where local indigenous people were protesting at the site) you basically had to be driving west out of Ararat to even know this was occurring.

Nor has anyone been particularly outraged by mining companies in Western Australia being routinely approved to mine sacred sites, often burial grounds. That's occurred over 400 times since 2010.

But again, the culture being destroyed isn't white culture, it's black culture.

Interesting that there seems to be a difference.

Another angle of this debate that is interesting to me (and similarly selective) is the apparent agreement that there's some kind of general consensus about things that should be censored, v's things that shouldn't.

In terms of government censorship, how many people here are able to get their hands on any recent literature written by, or songs produced by, a current resident of North Korea? And, does anyone actually have a problem that the impact of various trade tariffs and human rights embargoes is having the practical effect that present-day North Korean culture is effectively censored entirely from the rest of the world?

Because that also falls within 'censorship' and 'cancel culture'.

The third aspect of this discussion that I find interesting (but doubt there's a 'right' answer to), is the lack of distinguishing between private 'cancel culture' and government 'cancel culture' (ie. censorship).

The latter is very different to the former.

Private organisations (like Netflix, or Amazon) cancel things all the time, every day of the week, because it's hurting their bottom line.

So, when Netflix chose to stop running Gone With The Wind (which formed part of the 'cancel culture' discussions earlier on), that was a decision made in the interests of their shareholders. Cancel culture, in that respect, is simply how capitalism works. Private organisations don't have an obligation to show everything and anything - they 'censor' stuff from us as a matter of course, based on what we're choosing to consume.

Disney got on board with racial cancel culture decades ago, when they stopped running the cartoon version of the 3 Little Pigs, where the evil wolf was a stereotyped Jewish door salesman. Anyone think we're culturally deficient somehow since Disney changed the way it presents Jewish culture? Or deciding not to align Jewish culture with the evil character in their cartoons? Is that really a problem for anyone today?

An interesting topic. One that I think different social groups around the world will feel very differently about - opinions of populations not, perhaps, represented on this forum.
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While that may be partially true, @Sideways, I don't think it's that pardon the pun, black and white, and I think it's misleading to frame as an antiBlack or censoring.

We have no way of knowing what went through the cavemen back a while mind. Interpreting their reality by current cultural lens is just that. An interpretation.

Similarly, people may well be opposed to destruction of art and existing symbols of cultural values on other grounds than racial identities or sympathies.

Some of us very much value work of people or historical significance of cultural items and see dismantling as hugely counterproductive, period - and that doesn't mean sympathizing with invisible or real oppressor.


I don't think it's that pardon the pun, black and white, and I think it's misleading to frame as an antiBlack or censoring.
It was a bit of a rant. I guess all I was trying to point out is:
1) it's sometimes helpful to be aware if a public dialogue is playing out in a very limited social context; and
2) while 'cancel culture' is a cute phrase, it's an incredibly complicated, multi-faceted issue where it's rarely as simple as cancel culture is always bad, or usually good, or...

Very grey. Not black and white at all.
Not my best work, that post!!


Not my best reading of what was probably a fine worded post, soo in part I'm maybe on too black & white reads myself...

It was also not any kind of hard-nooez to the ranting, more just polemizing with the points made.

That and I took it for a discussion post, not a rant, so in that case, :oops:, shushing my objections and rant on. :tup:
I quit listening to Michael Jackson. I should have done it a long time ago, even before the documentary came out. It was quite clear to me that he was a child rapist even before then. I still listen to his work with the Jackson 5, while he was still just a kid himself.

I quit listening to Morrissey. That one was much tougher as I loved his work with and without the Smiths. But when he decided to go public about being a racist xenophobe, I felt like I didn't have a choice.

I quit using Twitter, since I find many of the ideals spread by that medium to be loathsome to the point where it's not worth separating out what's worthwhile.

There are other people and works I boycott for the same general reasons. Since this is the first time I've ever admitted that I've done this, it's not virtue signalling. Frankly, I don't care if anyone knows whether I do or do not listen to Michael Jackson and why I do or do not.

Consuming culture is easy. It's shoved down your throat - you don't even have to think about it. But I believe being a moral person requires me to think about what I consume and make decisions about my personal consumption based on my ideals. Do I follow my ideals 100% of the time? Hell no I don't. But I'm trying and I honestly think I'm doing my best.


Michael Jackson is an interesting one... I love the heart in his music, like man in the mirror. I found myself wondering what kind of childhood trauma he went through that would cause him to pursue little boys. He was obviously deprived of a normal childhood. So, as an adult he never was emotionally more than an 8 year old.

I talked, in passing, to a very wealthy developer that has become an acquaintance today. I asked him if he heard about the book on Trump written by his brothers daughter. He replied what do you expect from the daughter of an alcoholic! I replied do you suppose that childhood abuse may have contributed to him becoming an alcoholic? I don't think he was genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic.
I think we owe it to ourselves to show compassion to everyone, not knowing what abuse created their ugliness. Not that we should ever tolerate it!