In Favor Of Cancel Culture

Major League Baseball just moved the All-Star game from Georgia because of the state's newly passed restrictive voting law. And I have to say, I'm fine with that.

It isn't as if MLB made a decision to go to war with its fans and ticket holders. That would be bad business economics. Instead, it made a decision to align with fans and followers, and use THEIR economic impact to make a point that is relevant and brand-safe. Bravo.

I don't think this is any kind of attack on free speech or local government rule. This is MLB aligning its brand with the interests of its fans.

Consumers have complicated, often discordant feelings and beliefs. So often, the best thing a brand can do is stand on the sidelines. But when it's clear that you can align with the rights of your consumers and, for example, support voting rights, then making those decisions is both smart marketing and smart public brand policy.



The term "cancel culture" is being used to mean so many things. When a brand makes a decision, sometimes its opponents will cry  cancel culture. But there are times when it's little more than smart brand marketing.

When Harper'sMagazine published a critique on cancel culture, it was immediately attacked. Mel Stanfill, University of Central Florida assistant professor of text and technology, said the letter was an example of how complicated cancel culture can be. 

"I think cancel culture can reflect awareness that people are not willing to accept things that they used to accept or have not been able to resist in the past, but in some ways it's a moral panic," said Stanfill, in the UCF student publication pegasus. "The Harper's letter was a bunch of really rich and famous people writing in a national magazine about how they've been silenced — yet they still get access to this forum. So it highlights the fact that [cancel culture is] this fear over something that is not actually real. So if we're going to talk about cancel culture, we can't talk about it in isolation, we have to put it in context."

So is cancel culture mob mentality -- or just the public using its economic might to make a point?

And what about Dr. Seuss? It seems the line between looking back at words and images that were published and "censoring" free speech is a tricky one. But in the case of Dr. Seuss, not so much. His pantheon is massive, with dozens of books. And a few of them had depictions that were just flat-out racist. So, the decision not to keep them on the publishing roster was made. No danger to "The Cat In The Hat" or "Green Eggs and Ham, or other classics. Cancel culture? Hardly.

The theme is simple. Cancel culture gives us the power to act on content or actions there are objectionable or offensive. For MLB, canceling Georgia was a clear, powerful, and punishing statement. Baseball does not condone voter suppression -- and that's a good thing.

I can see the water bottles with MLB teams' names and logos being handed out as people stand in lines in Georgia waiting their turn to cast their vote. I'd love to see uniformed police officers arresting baseball players for handing out water. Now that would be a good photo op.

11 comments about "In Favor Of Cancel Culture".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, April 5, 2021 at 7:56 p.m.

    I bet you didn't even read the bill, Steven, and just believing a narrative that the media is spreading as true when it wasn't the truth The Washington Post gave it 4 Pinocchio's which the Washington Post isn't a conservative paper either. I don't ever boycott anything never was into it. And I believe that MLB will have the All-Star Game in the ATL in 2023 or 2024 just my opinion.       

  2. Ben B from Retired replied, April 5, 2021 at 7:58 p.m.

    Oops and also cancel the cancel culture which is wrong with this country cancel culture needs to end enough.

  3. Douglas Hayward from IDC, April 6, 2021 at 5:37 a.m.

    Surely 'cancel culture' is about silencing people who disagree with you. By contrast, taking a stand on a social issue like this is not about censorship, it's about taking a stand and saying and acting on what you believe. If the people who took the decision then try to silence people who disagree rather than engage with them and debate with them then yes that's censorship and 'cancel culture'. But the author does us a disservice by seeming to confuse ethically driven decision-making (activism) with silencing people (censorship) - they are two very different things.  

  4. Paul Bledsoe from Bledsoe Advertising/Productions, April 6, 2021 at 10:17 a.m.

    Before you cancel or object, please understand the facts before creating a narrative. Sooner or later your words catch up with you.

  5. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, April 6, 2021 at 12:17 p.m.

    "MLB...made a decision to align with fans and followers, and use THEIR economic impact to make a point that is relevant and brand-safe."

    You literally just made that up.  There was no uproar from fans or followers asking MLB to take the game out of Atlanta - certainly not anyone who lives in Atlanta or Georgia. Just the opposite. It doesn't make any sense to say this was a "brand-safe" move considering the outcry of fans against the decision.

    If brands and corporations and sports leagues decide to become vocal warriors in political and social issues in a country that is deeply divided, all they wind up accomplishing is deepening the divide.

    It's fine for these entities to promote discussion and educated debate - it is not appropriate to  force fans and consumers to pick a side.  Threatening and blackmailing communities with economic repercussions deepens the divide as well.

  6. Jason Kanefsky from Havas, April 6, 2021 at 3:59 p.m.

    I would disagree with the author, but I fear that I would get canceled.  So yep, you are right 

  7. brian bakstran from none, April 6, 2021 at 4:07 p.m.

    - 50 players, 5% persuaded Manifred
    - Not favoring requiring ID is an obvious tell...
    - Characterizing the law as Jim Crow redux is an insult to those who were victimized by those laws last century and the invocation of this narrative is another tell.
    - Cheating for Progressives is as easy as taking their next breath.  Read Saul Alinsky's book.
    - Media Post is rarely even-handed with any of these issues that pop up every week.

  8. Gian Fulgoni from 4490 Ventures, April 6, 2021 at 5:35 p.m.

    I find it telling that Coca Cola publicly disagreed with Georgia requring a voter ID, yet there is no way to enter Coca Cola's headquarters in Altlanta without an ID

  9. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 6, 2021 at 6:24 p.m.

    More food for thought in a complex opinion piece:

  10. Charles Pierce from Private, April 7, 2021 at 3:21 p.m.

    1) SOURCE ARTICLE FOR FACTS. This is reasonable and sums up law.

    MY COMMENT: The previous laws were passed under Republican control and worked several years. The MOTIVES for changes are the fact the Democrats had a surprising victory in the Senate, obviously.

    2) There are 3 restrictions in the law that are very powerful in limiting voting.

    a) They will only send mail ballots to those who request them. This is HUGELY limiting. Some states send ballots via mail to 100% of their voters. So, this is a HEAVY RESTRICTION from last election.

    b) It limits the number of ballot drop off boxes to one per COUNTY or one Per 100,000 voters. This is HEAVY RESTRICTION , impacts larger and more urban counties, but really is something where there should be NO upper limits. Clearly, voting restriction.

    c) "The law states that the General Assembly will select the chair of the state elections board, rather than the board being chaired by the Georgia secretary of state — an elected position. "  - This is the MOST TROUBLING CHANGE. It puts the nominally non-partisan position in the hands of a partisan legislature. What it really allows is the politicial influence over voting results, which is what happens in 3rd world countries or autocratic and authoratarian non-democratic countries. Think Venezuela, China (Hong Kong government), Iran, etc.  Those countries have a "party" determine election results.

    No American who understands the purpose of voting and our Constitution should be in favor or the above restrictions.




    restrictions are limiting drop-off boxes for ballots which is hugely limiting





  11. Kenneth Fadner from MediaPost replied, April 7, 2021 at 3:36 p.m.

    No outcry, a decidedly mixed reaction:

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