LIFE IN SMALL PRINT.
According to Dictionary.com Cancel Culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (cancelling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming. Dictionary.com does a long-winded explanation on Cancel culture worth wading through. Click here.
Recently, a part-time New York Times editor had her contract terminated because she continued to use Twitter to express her personal opinions—after previously being told to stop the practice.
The Times management basically cancelled the editor for doing something the newspaper brass found objectionable. Needless to say, a tempest has once again overwhelmed the teapot. Voices nuanced either for or against the dismissed person blame cancel culture. The Tweet being the last straw.
To be dismissed for such a trivial tweet shows the person was not liked. Or, possibly a tiresome (read:disruptive) “personality” in the workplace.
As a retired newspaper reporter, I recall being nearly cancelled. It happened my first year on the job when I was assigned to the business section of the San Francisco Examiner. My job was to make sure there were enough filler articles—usually two inches long that warranted the smallest headline possible.
Bored, I came across an item on the Dow Jones business wire informing the world that the Tampax company, which was publicly listed, was in the midst of a two-for-one stock split. My headline: Tampax Splits Again.
Soon, after my item appeared in the bulldog edition, I was called into the office of the managing editor. It was my first acquaintanceship with teak paneling and the wrath of a senior editor. It was obvious nothing escaped the M.E. I was duly warned not to repeat any attempts at humor by using double entendres.
My point being if the managing editor was looking for an excuse to cancel me I gave him reason. Chastised, I never repeated my dance with trying to be funny when it was my job to be serious. Fortunately, my editor stuck up for me. For his kindness that cost me lunch at Tadich Grill for creating the tempest in the first place. I paid up with no complaint and to this day I would return for the sand dabs at Tadich’s.
Methinks, the New York Times dismissed its wayward part-time editor because she probably doesn’t have a winning personality among peers or an understanding of being warned for bad judgment by a boss. On face value, it’s hard to get cancelled for tweeting that she got chills when she viewed Biden’s plane land prior to the recent inauguration. There was obviously more to the story, a story that many of hope soon will get cancelled.