“Cancel Culture” Has Nothing on Me
My top 19 choices for immediate elimination
By Ed Goldman
If life were like the TV industry and I were a network executive, these are the 19 things I’d cancel (I had a 20th item but canceled it):
- All of my dental appointments.
- Every meeting on Zoom involving more than seven people, six of whom have no idea where to look.
- All of my credit cards, especially the ones promising travel points: Why, all I’d have to do is charge $80,000 worth of goods in a four-month period to earn a free one-way flight to corruption-haunted Bellflower, California. Which does not have an airport.
- All nonprofit “executive committee” meetings that are being held so that we can either fire or grant a raise to the nonprofit’s executive director (thou shalt not call one a CEO—that’s reserved for the private sector). Why not just vote by email and send the person a thumbs-up or thumbs-down text?
- Every meeting on Zoom if even one participant uses a phony backdrop—especially if it’s of a tiki bar or seascape.
- Every focus group I’ve ever been asked to arrange or participate in, even if promised refreshments for showing up.
- Every free lunch that comes with a mandatory presentation on how I can retire like a millionaire to Dhaka, Bangladesh (hailed as the “trashiest city in the world” on the actual website route-fifty.com).
- Every TV/radio yakfest, whether left- or right-leaning. This would include The View, Fox & Friends, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Don Lemon, Laura Ingraham, NFL commentators, NBA commentators, MJB commentators, and Pat Sajak.
- Bob Costa’s “live” Olympics commentary (“Something amazing happened here 17 hours ago, Majorca time, and we taped it for you”).
- Similarly, the verbiage at the beginning of the otherwise great Stephen Colbert’s Late Show that says it’s being beamed to us “live, on tape from the Ed Sullivan Theater.” Watch the show closely and see how often there are jump cuts when Colbert’s talking to a guest and, occasionally during his opening monologue. In summary: “live,” my ass.
- The recurrent idiotic posts on Facebook like, “Bet you can’t name a fish with the letter ‘b’ in it.”
- LinkedIn, which still features people announcing their availability for jobs long after they’ve found one or died. (True story, sadly.)
- California’s Employment Development Department, which has been riddled with so much incompetence and scandal—”In California, the fraud was so widespread that state officials OK’d at least $810 million in benefits in the names of people who were in prison, including dozens of infamous killers on Death Row,” per the Associated Press—that it makes our Department of Motor Vehicles seem to run like a Swiss watch.
- The word “infamous” when describing a well-known bad person (“famous” doesn’t incorporate a value judgment) and “brutal” when describing a murder (very few murders can be called gentle). Let’s also stop tacking the adjective “little” onto kids’ names whenever they get stuck in a well or lost in a cave. Not all kids are little; some are “big for their age,” “husky” or candidates for early-onset diabetes.
- The term “food insecurity” when we’re talking about what people who may be hungry, homeless or both are suffering from. Same thing with “financial illiteracy” unless we admit that it’s far from being a limited condition: It’s globally pervasive.
- “Giving back,” the self-congratulatory term that major corporations deploy when they ring up $900 billion in revenues and give three $150 grants to their local Boys, Girls and Others Club.
- Every free breakfast that comes with a mandatory presentation on how easy it would be for me to buy one-365th of a timeshare condo in Glasgow, Montana, which Conde Nast Traveler calls “America’s most isolated town.”