While it’s not always the case, being canceled is often a choice. Most cancelations happen because the person in the crosshairs of the online mob buckles and caves to the pressure put upon them. Many can’t be blamed as many have never had experience with having that much attention being put on them by society, much less negative attention. However, the act of bending the knee from the pressure is often done as a personal decision.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Most of the mob’s cancellation attempts are centered around Twitter, and as Dave Chappelle said, “Twitter’s not a real place.”
If there’s one thing that our time with cancel culture has taught us is that those seeking to cancel others are a lot like bullies. They want to watch you flinch as they raise their fist and laugh at your misfortune as they make your life miserable. Of course, as bullies do, those who seek to cancel others become rather passive when the heat is turned up on them.
Sometimes, going on the offense is just the best defense against those who would try to harm you.
Let me be a bit more precise about what I’m saying. Trying to go on the offensive against the mob is a waste of time. The mob isn’t a single entity that can be convinced, pressured, or reasoned with. A mob is usually a group of people riding a trendy wave. Many of them aren’t truly angry about the person they’re trying to mob, they just see others doing it and they want to be seen doing it too. It’s more a virtue signal to those around them than it is righteous anger. In truth, the mob can easily be dismissed as idiots because most of them are.
As Mark Twain once wisely said: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
He’s right. Arguing with stupid people is like trying to teach math to a dog. They’re incapable of reason, at least in this format, and you’ll only frustrate yourself. Besides, giving attention to any of these idiots counts as an automatic win for them.
Instead, find the source of the cancelation. Who started the mob? What was their motivation?
And most importantly, how can you ride this wave to further success?
To give you an example of what I mean, let’s look at the latest attempt at cancel culture, Dave Portnoy. As I’ve been covering, Portnoy has been the target of a #MeToo style hit piece by Business Insider. While the Barstool Sports president has the necessary evidence to defend himself from these accusations, he’s also making it clear that Business Insider will pay for their attempt to ruin him.
Portnoy isn’t addressing the mob. He’s released the evidence that clears his name and has moved on to the source of the cancelation attempt. He’s made it clear that he’s not letting this go and that before it’s all said and done, Business Insider is going to bleed…and they should.
Cancelation should be painful for the canceler. Attempting to cancel someone should come at a cost, at least if that person is innocent.
Chappelle is also a figure whom the online mobs recently tried to cancel over jokes. While the mob is formless, he attacked the idea of cancel culture with comedy, a far more effective tool at dismantling sacred cows and disarming the mob than any other known method. He didn’t waste time on addressing individuals, he went straight for the throat of cancel culture itself.
Then there’s the opportunity that can be found in attempts at cancelation. The food company Goya went on the chopping block after its CEO Bob Unanue praised Donald Trump. When the mob began to rise up, Unanue didn’t back down, resulting in a “buy-cott” and sending the company’s sales through the roof. Some stores had to begin limiting purchases of Goya products in order for other customers to have some.
After Gina Carano was fired by Lucasfilm over a harmless tweet she didn’t back down and grovel. Instead, she held her ground and laughed in the face of the mob. Her decisions led to her striking a deal with the Daily Wire for a film she was put in charge of making and just finished wrapping.
So the mob isn’t just a group of bullies who ultimately mean nothing, they’re a marketing opportunity.
While it’s true that the figures I mentioned above have far more of a platform than many and that they have a power not many do, the principle is still the same. It’s very hard to cancel people if they don’t want to be canceled, and I mean truly don’t want to be. The thing about cancel culture is that it’s loud. It wants people to know they’re attacking someone and they want others to attack as well. This can be intimidating at first glance, especially for employers who believe that what trends on Twitter is how the majority feels, but it’s just not the case.
Employers and employees alike should use the opportunity of cancelation in their favor and stand up to the mob. Not only that, they should zero in on the source of the cancelation attempt and begin making things difficult for them. There are a lot of lawyers out there who know they can get a solid payday from a libel or slander case. Nick Sandmann, a random kid with a MAGA hat, can tell you all about that.
Society can teach cancel culture that cancelation attempts come with consequences, we just have to be brave enough to fight back.