Intercultural Extraneity
Search

The Road Paved with Good Intentions

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (~ Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 ~).

The last decade has borne witness to a rise of various social justice movements seeking to defend marginalized members of society falling short of the mainstream societal standards. The war bells against prejudice, lookism, racism, sexism, were ringing and it had seemed that the people have finally become “woke” to their shortcomings. Since it is well-known where the road paved with good intentions leads, it is surprising, is it (?), that people have not stumbled, at least midway through, in realization of their surroundings.

Consequently, cancel culture was born. As a way of holding someone, who might be in a superior position than yourself, accountable for their (mis-)deeds and words. An admirable notion, which yielded terrific results in relation to rejecting “cultural figures or works that spread harmful ideas” (Romano, 2021), especially when considering its appearance in African-American empowerment movements and other more recent occurrences. Nevertheless, as Carr (2020) had observed “oversimplification, emotionalism, tendentiousness, tribalism” tended to prevail on the internet, and considering that the “tribal man has no point of view” (McLuhan, as cited in Cuenco, 2021), due to him only wanting to prove that his “political tribe” is right, it had devolved into cancelling everyone and everything not adhering to the politically correct norms of today’s world. Thus, statues of important figureheads rolled, Rowling was cancelled yet again, as were other persons with controversial opinions, favorite childhood cartoon characters got sidelined, and comedy was scrapped due to the “racial slurs”. Simultaneously, cultural “appropriation” seems to be tightening its rope around writers’ creative outlets.

“But having reached the limits of the political world, the human spirit stops of itself; in fear it relinquishes the need of exploration; it even abstains from lifting the veil of the sanctuary; it bows with respect before truths which it accepts without discussion” (Tocqueville, 1835/2013).

Therefore, all these modes of fighting for human rights, raise questions whether people have gone too far and are censoring and further alienating each other so that they can be politically correct, and not give anyone offence. Euphemisms, or soft language, are pervading people’s speeches, everyone is afraid of committing a faux pas and, paradoxically, everyone is refusing to step into another’s shoes. According to Hankins (2021), and the studies he listed, “substantial minorities don’t want to engage socially with students who don’t share their opinions and think it’s okay to silence views they believe are wrong”. It is discouraging to think that the reality of debates, broadening each other’s horizons, and respecting one another, despite differing perspectives, might remain in the past, in the name of not offending anyone. Even though “many markers of social progress such as gender equality and minority rights once offended mainstream sensibilities” (McBain, 2018); thus, making many furious, uncomfortable, and offended, but enlightened, as well.

It is important that we start realizing that without honest human interaction, appropriate education, the ability to freely express ourselves, and realization that someone might be profiting from keeping us secluded in our little tribes, as the algorithms of big companies are doing, we might end up in danger of gaining superficial outlook of the world, while isolating ourselves from each other further, which might culminate in us becoming susceptible to various systems of manipulation. Not to mention everything we could, and might, lose, if we continue walking down this path. Politics has never yielded the results we wanted, there is no reason why it would now, when used, amongst, and against each other.

References

1. Bond-Nelms, Cheryl. (2018, February 9). Boycotts, movements and marches:
Events that initiated social change during the civil rights movement. AARP. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2018/civil-rights-events-fd.html#quest1
2. Bowman, B. (2018, June 25). 3 Ways to take advantage of Facebook’s new advertising algorithm. MTA. Retrieved from https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/ads/3-ways-to-take-advantage-of-facebooks-new-advertising-algorithm/
3. Bozell, D. (2021, May 13). Freedom loving Americans must resist cancel culture: Far left only succeed when we capitulate and give up the fight for diversity of opinion. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/may/13/freedom- loving-americans-must-resist-cancel-cultur/#:%3Csub%20cite=
4. Bullaro, G. R. (2020, August 7). Cancel culture: When political correctness highjacks both humanity and history. La Voce di New York. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from https://www.lavocedinewyork.com/en/news/2020/08/07/cancel-culture-when-political-correctness-highjacks-both-humanity-and-history/
5. Carlin, Rob. (2008, July 12). George Carlin on soft language [Video file]. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25I2fzFGoY
6. Carr, N. (2020, January 13). From context collapse to content collapse. Rough Type. Retrieved from http://www.roughtype.com/?p=8724
7. Cuenco, M. (2021, April 17). America’s new post-literate epistemology. Palladium. Retrieved from: https://palladiummag.com/2021/04/17/americas-new-post-literate-epistemology/
8. Hankins, J. (2021, March 24). Offshore core. Law & Liberty. Retrieved from: https://lawliberty.org/offshore-core/
9. Holz, A. R. (2021, February 4). Why Disney+ blocking classics should not alarm us. USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/02/04/disney-blocking-dumbo-peter-pan-classic-movies-young-viewers-column/4279417001/
10. Khan, V. (2020, September 2). Cultural appropriation: why people need to get a grip. Vaseem Khan. Retrieved from: https://vaseemkhan.com/2020/09/02/cultural-appropriation-why-people-need-to-get-a-grip/
11. McBain, S. (2018, November 7). The costs of “free speech”. New Statesman. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/2018/11/coddling-american-mind-jonathan-haidt-greg-lukianoff-review
12. Markman, T. (2021, May 6). The real meaning of ‘woke’ and what it means today. Biz News. Retrieved from https://www.biznews.com/good-hope-project/2021/05/06/the-real-meaning-of-woke-and-what-it-means-today
13. Romano, A. (2021, May 5). The second wave of “cancel culture”: How the concept has evolved to mean different things to different people. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/22384308/cancel-culture-free-speech-accountability-debate
14. Tocqueville, A. (2013). Democracy in America, Volume 1 (of 2). Book I, Chapter II. The Project Gutenberg [EBook]. (Original work published 1835). Retrieved May 23, 2021, from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/815/815-h/815-h.htm
15. UN General Assembly. (1948). Universal declaration of human rights (Article 19). Claiming Human Rights. Retrieved from http://www.claiminghumanrights.org/ccpr.html
16. Waterson, J. (2020, June 11). Fawlty Towers ‘don’t mention the war’ episode removed from UKTV. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jun/11/fawlty-towers-dont-mention-the-war-episode-removed-from-uktv
17. Wikipedia contributors. (2021, May 22). The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:05 PM, May 27, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_road_to_hell_is_paved_with_good_intentions&oldid=1024564784

This post, as well as any other of my posts on this site, may be used for research purposes.

I hereby confirm that this work is solely the result of my own independent scholarly work and that if any ideas, text passages, or diagrams from books, papers, the Web or other sources have been copied, paraphrased, or in any other way used, all references – including those found in electronic media – have been clearly acknowledged and fully cited.

A. A.

Posted By:

Related