How do we avoid the painful death of hypocrisy?
I left school with no education and found myself relying on my gift of the gab along with my willingness to work hard and learn from people who I meet on my journey through life. This also applies to both my working life and my filmmaking. On a personal level I find learning in laymen’s terms is the easiest way for me to understand concepts which entails learning from my mistakes.
As an indie filmmaker I feel hypocrisy is becoming more prevalent in some parts of the film loving community, with sadness I feel some people are finding it necessary to use whatever weaponry they have at their disposal, in this case social media in the form of cancel culture as defined below.
WHAT DOES CANCEL CULTURE MEAN?
(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.)
So where am I coming from, do Racists, Homophobes, Paedophiles, Sexists along with other people that have unsavoury traits have a place in the film world? Of course not. However, should films or film directors/actors that tackle these same subject matters be cancelled because people find them objectionable or offensive, in my opinion definitely not.
As long as these films are not promoting hate, but instead highlighting hard-hitting social issues. In my personal opinion I find these films to be extremely important especially in the times that we are living in.
I feel that we need to define the big difference between the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world who are not only sexual predators, but have been allowed to continue to hide in plain sight of the industry for many years, with some in the industry accepting this as the norm. I would imagine most people would find this objectionable as well as being against the law.
Then we have a comparison of a comedian who tells a joke that some people find offensive, (Offensive causing someone to feel resentful, upset, or annoyed.) in my opinion as long as the comedy fits our humour we don’t have an issue with it, but if it doesn’t we feel offended, sounds like a tad of hypocrisy is coming.
So why then decide on a media campaign to cancel the comedians career as justification for your outrage. Do I find this a reasonable and rational response, absolutely not; in fact, I find it ridiculous. What would be deemed as a reasonable response? how about you don’t go to the comedians shows, as the material is not your cup of tea. I don’t like Ovaltine, so I don’t buy it, I don’t campaign to get the company closed down so what is the difference. My point is there is a big difference between the nature of a joke and what people like Harvey Weinstein have done.
It’s a perception that teenagers think they know everything and are always right and never wrong or that is what they think, we have all been there and made comments and done things that we shouldn’t have. However, there was no social media back in my day for us of an older generation to have some media freedom fighters to trail back through. There are many reasons for the youth of today and yesteryear to have made an ill-advised or stupid comment, that we should have known better about saying or posting. This could be down to the social media animal itself through peer pressure, or the want of fitting in. My point is, are our whole lives to be defined in one comment and should we pay for this by being cancelled? I think not, I feel a better response would be forgiveness for a poor act of judgement by someone who by nature is not a bad person. I except some people are just bad, but we shouldn’t allow those people push us into becoming a cancel culture bully.
It is important that we learn from history so the same kinds of events don’t happen over and over again, however to do this we need reference points and maybe film is a good starting point for this.
A mistake (an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong.) should we punish people for a mistake based on a misguided comment in the same way as Harvey Weinstein is punished, or cancelling a filmmaker for making a film with the subject matter of racism in the same way as we would a racist. In my opinion boycott the film rather than use cancel culture as we are all culpable in our lives of poor judgement, we need to think about this if we want to avoid the accusation of hypocrisy, I feel we should all be more of a hypocrite than some, and a less of a hypocrite than most. We only need to look at the horror films from back in the day, Last House On the Left, Cannibal Holocaust, Day of the Woman aka I Spit on your Grave, Fight for your Life, and many more to realise these films would be massively offensive today. Should these films be cancelled by people who find them offensive? We have a right to an opinion as long as it’s not hate filled, as film fans we were all outraged by Mary Whitehouse when these films were banned, and after all who were the BBFC to decide for us as adults what we could or couldn’t watch. With this in mind I feel who are we to cancel someone’s life and career in the same way the films were cut by people who are supposedly better equipped and informed than us to make that decision. As I have mentioned these films should live on as a reminder of the history of film and the importance of their once infamous existence. We can only be offended if there is something to offend us, after all as the tag line went “To avoid fainting, keep repeating: "It's only a movie, only a movie, only a movie...".