Discussion: cancel culture and the book community

Another day, another discussion I am anxious to post. Today I wanted to talk about something that I feel like we, the book community, need to work on: cancel culture. Please bear with me and hear me out throughout this discussion, and remember that these are my opinions and you can agree or disagree with me. This discussion will be a little aimed at Twitter and book Twitter, because I feel like that is where a lot of this conversation happens.

But strap in, friends! This is the longest post I’ve ever written, and I have a lot to say.

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Cancel culture and the book community

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What is cancel culture?

First and foremost: what is cancel culture?

Wikipedia defines it as “the phenomenon of ‘cancelling’ or no longer morally, financially and/or digitally supporting people, usually celebrities, or things that many have deemed unacceptable or problematic“. Basically, it’s where a community decides to stop supporting someone for being “problematic”.

I hate cancel culture for several reasons, but the biggest is it often doesn’t account for the fact that people can learn and grow. So often we “cancel” celebrities for something they did or said and don’t allow them to learn from their mistakes. We all make mistakes. We all have things to learn. Sometimes people are uneducated on a certain topic and don’t realise that what they’re saying is problematic.

And I should say that I don’t entirely disagree with “cancelling” people. Truly problematic people should not be supported. People who sexually assault others, people who are continually racist or sexist or ableist, people who don’t or refuse to learn and grow. Those people should be cancelled, absolutely.

But someone who makes one mistake? Someone who is perhaps uneducated about something, or who writes something they don’t realise is problematic because they’re uneducated? Someone who uses everyday language that is problematic but doesn’t know it’s problematic? Shouldn’t we be trying to teach these people why the things they’re saying and writing are problematic rather than completely dropping them, where it’s almost certain they won’t learn anything from their mistake?

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Cancel culture in the book community


Before we get into these examples and my gripes with them, I just wanted to say: I am not here to talk about the content of these situations. That can be for another post. We’re talking about the situations in general and how the situations were handled.


The book community is no stranger to cancel culture. It’s done all the time. Sometimes, I think it’s reasonable. The shit that happened with Kathleen Hale, for example. Stalking a reviewer is never okay, and as a grown woman, Hale should know that. That isn’t something that she should have to learn.

It’s happened more recently, though, and it makes me slightly uncomfortable. I saw recently some fellow reviewers struggling with whether to read an authors book because of some comments she made on Twitter. The author made a statement that was interpreted, rightly so, as ableist. She likely didn’t think that the statement was problematic, but there was a lot of ableism in it.

HOWEVER when people brought up these arguments, the author conceded. Not completely, but she did understand most of the arguments. She stated that her viewpoint is from that of the culture she grew up in. She wasn’t completely understanding, but she was trying.

After this, people were questioning whether to read her books, and the books of another author who made a supportive comment. Should we really completely cancel someone because of one comment they made that they likely didn’t initially realise was ableist, especially when they tried to understand the other perspective? Shouldn’t we allow people the opportunity to learn?


Another example: an author recently decided not to publish her book because of the concerns of some reviewers. And before everyone comes at me: I support and respect her decision. I love that she is taking the concerns raised seriously. I also respect the concerns raised and am not diminishing them. I believe they are valid concerns.

However

Should we cancel this book? In it’s current form, yes, if it’s what the author wants. But should we cancel this author? Honestly, I don’t think so. It feels like she genuinely wants to learn from this and grow. I’ve seen so many people add this author to their “nope” or “never read” or “cancelled” bookshelves on Goodreads, and it just makes me sad. What if this author does learn and grow? Shouldn’t we support them then? Shouldn’t we support their growth?

Further, with that specific instance, I don’t think the author was in the wrong initially. She was writing from her perspective and her culture’s history. Yes, from our Western perspective, what she wrote was off-base. But from her culture and her perspective, it wasn’t. She was trying to provide another perspective, a non-Western perspective. We shouldn’t cancel her just because she didn’t consider something from our perspective.

One of my friends said it really well when we were talking about this, and I wanted to put what she said here because she articulated it better than I could.

“OK THE THING THAT PISSED ME OFF ABOUT THAT was that the author is Chinese and everyone was attacking her from a strictly western lens??? Like ‘this book is unacceptable to my delicate white feminist sensibilities’ like uh ok we claim we want diverse lit and then we get this book that DRAWS HEAVILY FROM CHINESE HISTORY AND CULTURE and rather than using that to understand why the author portrayed race the way she did, we just dismiss the whole fucking book because it doesn’t dovetail with our American standards???”


Even more recently: an author made a misinformed comment about trigger warnings. Essentially, she was conflating triggering scenarios with upsetting scenarios. For those of you who perhaps do not have this inherent knowledge, here’s the general difference, as it was explained to her on Twitter:

trigger warning
Also, these tweets were by the lovely Katie @ Tin Kitchen Books, who gave me permission to credit them here! You can also view the thread here on Twitter.

This nuance is just that, nuanced. It’s not something that’s always immediately obvious. Nuances like this are not always well explained or easily understood from “just googling”. You might get some round-about answer, or may not find an answer at all. It can be difficult to understand, especially if it isn’t explained well. ESPECIALLY in today’s society when the word “triggered” is thrown around by everyone.

Was it her followers’ job to inform this author about why what she was saying was wrong? No. However, if they offer and if they don’t mind, that’s great! She clearly wanted to understand the difference, and someone was clearly willing and knowledgeable enough to explain it.

The author in this case was trying to learn. If you continue reading her thread, she says that she’s okay with reviewers pointing out trigger warnings for her books. And it was clear that she didn’t understand the difference between triggering and upsetting. BUT when someone pointed this out, she asked them to explain the difference, thanked them for explaining it, and said that she would think about that. That type of scenario is exactly what we want to happen

AND YET (because the internet never fails to surprise me), someone was complaining about the author asking for the difference to be explained to her.

YIKE

No!!!!! The author trying to learn the difference is exactly what we want in this scenario! The author tweeted about what she thought she understood and when she realised she didn’t understand, she tried to understand the difference. This situation was the best! possible! outcome!!!! And people were bitching about her trying to learn?? How is she supposed to learn without asking someone to explain the difference??????

(to note: when I asked this person what more they wanted, they admitted that using such a situation to learn is the best scenario and deleted their tweet (the screenshot above). So I’m taking that as they realised what they tweeted was wrong.)

Additionally with this situation, the author’s original tweet was taken out of it’s entire context. Yes, when I first read it, I was like “wtf that’s not an okay thing to say”. BUT THEN I read the whole thread. I read that she was misinformed. I read that she didn’t say trigger warnings shouldn’t be used, just that she didn’t use them. I read that she was trying to learn and take other perspectives into consideration. It was literally! the best! possible! scenario!

I think I explained it pretty well on Twitter (if I do say so myself), so here are my tweets in response to the person above:

pt. 1pt. 2pt. 3

How does that situation warrant cancelling someone’s career? Should we be “cancelling” someone for making one misinformed statement when they tried to rectify it and tried to learn why it was wrong?

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The book community is an echo chamber

All these situations really just emphasize one thing: the book community is often an echo chamber. One person raises a (sometimes valid, sometimes not valid) point, and everyone just runs with it. People lack the critical thinking to think for themselves and just go with what everyone else is saying. People want to appear #woke so they say what everyone else is saying. People don’t want to be cancelled themselves so they say what everyone else says. People cannot openly question or criticize the first person for fear of being cancelled themselves.

Someone: says an unpopular opinion

Every SJW within a 500 mile radius: IT IS MY TIME TO SHINE by phrasing a popular opinion as though I am being actively persecuted for my beliefs

People also often forget that it’s not their duty in life to educate everyone else on what is “right” and “wrong”. You can actually ignore discourse. You can stay out of conversations. You can ignore what’s happening and not provide your opinion. You don’t have to give that “hot take” or “unpopular opinion”. Sometimes, it can be kept to yourself.

Additionally, you don’t get to decide what’s “right” and “wrong”. Of course, there are things that are socially acceptable, but there are other things that are more nuanced. And people have different standards. People hold other people to different standards, and should be allowed to do so.

You also don’t know everything. Sometimes you’re just wrong. You can be as educated and well-read, and will still not understand every perspective. And that’s okay! That’s what growth is about! But you need to make sure you are listening when other people are speaking. Don’t be so quick to jump to the defense. If you feel defensive, ask yourself why.

“one person reads an ARC and declares it to be *problematic* and then Twitter just turns into an echo chamber going off some rando’s tweet which doesn’t even give any context???”

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More issues that I didn’t elaborate on because it would make this post 50,000 words but I think are still important to mention


People often conflate depiction in fiction as endorsement. An author making a character racist to demonstrate the harms of racism is not endorsing racism.


People often get mad when a book relating to LGBTQ+ issues is written by an author they think is straight. We don’t know that the author is straight and we shouldn’t be making that assumption. Authors shouldn’t have to out themselves to have their books taken seriously. There are any number of reasons an author might not be out, and we should respect that.


Often, people have issues with the way a book is marketed and attempt to cancel the author. Newsflash, but authors don’t control the marketing of their book. They often don’t write the blurb. They don’t always choose the title or cover. They don’t get to decide how and to whom a publisher markets the book. So we shouldn’t attack authors for something they literally have no control over.

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So what can we do?

Glad you asked! I made a list.

Most importantly: don’t cancel someone because of one thing they said without giving them the opportunity to learn and grow, and without doing your own reading into the situation.

Second most important thing: think critically and think for yourself. Leave the discourse for a while. Get off Twitter and Goodreads and come back tomorrow. Reassess the situation. Try to read all perspectives. Don’t get sucked into the echo chamber that is the book community.

Ask yourself

  • Is one person dominating the conversation? Why? Is what they’re saying valid? Importantly, are they, themselves, listening to the other perspectives or are they getting defensive?
  • Am I viewing things from my own, limited perspective? Am I listening to other people? Am I actually listening to what they’re saying or am I just getting mad?
  • Do I know everything that is happening?
  • Are quotes being taken out of context?
  • How problematic is the situation? Is an author questioning why people don’t shower every day, or are they accused of sexually assaulting someone? Has an author written something from a perspective we don’t understand, or are they harassing reviewers? There’s a spectrum of bad, and some things on the lower end are not worth cancelling over.

Other important things to keep in mind:

  • You don’t have to agree with everyone, even your friends. You can disagree with your friends. You can (and should!!!) call out your friends, especially when they’re saying or doing problematic things. You don’t have to cancel someone just because they do. You can think independently of your friends.
  • Not everyone is trying to mean, sometimes people are just uneducated.
  • Not everyone who does something “problematic” is actually a shitty person, sometimes people are just uneducated.
  • Listen to your gut feeling! If something doesn’t sit right with you, there’s probably a reason for that.
  • You don’t have to voice your opinion!!! You ARE actually allowed to stay out of discourse!! It’s not your purpose in life to educate everyone!!!
  • Not every “woke” perspective is actually right, some people are wrong. And some people are just saying what they think is right.
  • Keep in mind: depiction ≠ endorsement.

Finally, ask yourself why you’re tweeting this. Is it to be #woke or liked? Are you only tweeting to get someone’s attention? Don’t tweet. Does your voice need to be heard? Will it add something of value to the conversation that has been missed? If not, don’t tweet. Are you only saying something to be controversial? Don’t tweet.


And, again: don’t cancel someone because of one thing they said without giving them the opportunity to learn and grow.

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Ultimately, I just have a lot of feelings about cancel culture. I think it’s so off-base for a lot of people. Idk but a lot of it makes me uncomfortable.

Again, quoting my friend here:

“[…] the LACK OF CRITICAL THINKING from a group of individuals who like to read in their free time is like. staggering. And then there’s just the whole element of performative wokeness, cancelling a book because you want to publicly be on the right side of the discourse even when you have no personal stake in the material or any inside info that has helped inform your opinion. And the worst thing is you can’t even talk about any of this openly and advocate for more constructive dialogue about these books because you’ll be cancelled for being problematic […] it’s like really bad performance art at this point.”


But what about you? What are your thoughts on cancel culture, particularly in the book community? Are there any instances where you thought it was unwarranted? Please let me know below!


Critically
Me @ book twitter
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65 thoughts on “Discussion: cancel culture and the book community

  1. I agree and disagree with your post today. Because there was a transphobic book published yesterday by a popular author and I definitely don’t think it should have been allowed to go through.

    I’m usually against cancel culture, but I can’t not act when a book is obviously transphobic, the author doesn’t listen to criticism, and then writes an article that further shows his lack of understanding. It affects me. It affects my community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I completely agree with that. Like I said in the beginning of the post, truly problematic things shouldn’t be ignored, and we shouldn’t support people who refuse to learn why they’re wrong.

      That book especially, the whole situation is a mess. It honestly sounds like something that would be published in 2001, not 2019. And I feel like it could’ve been an interesting exploration of the impact on family members but instead it’s a transphobic mess. And I’d feel differently if the author was *trying* to listen, but he isn’t. He’s blatantly ignoring and disrespecting a whole community. Things like that definitely shouldn’t be supported

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, exactly! It’s a huge problem when he’s not listening. And I feel like a few of the authors who have been cancelled — especially the first one you mentioned where she was writing from a non-Western perspective — shouldn’t have been because she cancelled out of listening. If that makes any sense at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for taking the time to write this 💕. You put into words a lot of what I think about on a daily basis.

    Cancel culture can be very intimidating to me as a reviewer. There have been a few times when I wanted to voice my disagreement on a topic and ultimately didn’t out of fear of being shunned or jumped on.

    It’s not healthy and people shouldn’t have to be afraid to voice their opinion (there are exceptions of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree that people should feel free to call out those they think are in the wrong, particularly where representation is concerned. But equally, those people need to allow the one’s they’re criticising the chance to learn and grow. Otherwise, what’s the point? Great post! Lots of interesting points to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post! I agree with Blood Heir. I think it’s so unfair that people are writing her off as a horrible author when they haven’t even read the book. The people who read the ARC I understand, but some other people who have basically blacklisted her even though she isn’t even published seems sad

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post! You raised so many amazing points which is great because while I was aware of these issues I wasn’t aware of ‘cancel culture.’

    I do agree with you, sometimes I stop interacting with a person (be it a celebrity, author, etc) because of the things they say. However, if they offer a sincere apology and admit they can be better, then I am happy to engage again. Sometimes we need to be called out on the things we say and believe for us to critically engage and actually think about issues. Once again, great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      I totally agree! There are some people I don’t interact with or support because of the things they’ve said or done. But I also support apologies and learning and growth. Like you said, being called out is important so we can know what we’ve done wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve made some great points here, Ally. I think some of the time when someone upsets a large group of people it’s just that their viewpoint has come from ignorance. If what they’ve said or done is offensive, then they should inform them in a nice way. No need to attack others on twitter just because they’re uninformed. That being said, sometimes people say things that definitely crosses a line! Still, no need to attack.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a fantastic post. I’ve been seeing this more and more recently and it makes me quite uncomfortable. Authors are human beings, after all, and they make mistakes like the rest of us. If they own up and are willing to learn from them then I think they should be allowed that chance.

    Though an author stalking a reviewer and then getting to publish a book about it? That I don’t agree with. She comes across as unbelievably smug about her unacceptable behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you agree! And yes, we all make mistakes. The important thing is that we’re willing to learn and grow when we do make them.

      And right??? It’s so weird how she even thought that was remotely acceptable.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. For some reason, I knew the reference to the cancelled book even before clicking twitter 😅 I am not up to date on all the cancel culture incidents (although I do agree that what Kathleen Hale did was horrifying and I cannot believe she’s still making it as a writer now), but I strongly disagreed with the call out for Amelia. It just showed me that even when people say they want diversity, what they mean is American diversity (e.g. Chinese-American, African-America, Japanese-America), all filtered through their worldview. It makes for a depressing lack of diversity of thought, imo.

    (Of course, as an Asian living in Asia, I recognise that the Asian-American community may face unique challenges. But in the English-speaking world, they are disproportionately represented. For example, (unpopular opinion alert) I’ve never experienced the lack of representation because I did not limit myself to purely American media, so I don’t really feel the need for #ownvoices. And to my thinking, if I support the ownvoices movement, I’d have to start pushing for more white people in Asian media because they are a part of our culture (like Eurasians) and they are not represented either. But you never hear any campaigns for these white-minorities in Asian countries).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg I’m so glad you agree! And yes to everything you said!!!! People say they want diversity when they really want diversity that they agree with and understand. Personally, I would very much appreciate a Chinese-inspired fantasy that’s written with little American influence or world-view.

      And that’s so interesting! I totally agree, though, that limiting yourself to American media is very limiting, and there’s so much representation from other countries. Of course we should recognize the struggles of minorities in America, but there are also wonderful diverse stories from outside America.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is fantastic! I would consider myself heavily against “cancel culture”, but then there’s the cases like the stalking – like that’s illegal and so so creepy. How the fuck did she manage to get a book out of that? In general (outside of that) nuances is everything though! I’m really here for listening to people and groups that feel misrepresented in books, like for example if a queer character is written “problematically” and a queer person calls that out and still looking at what is said critically and make a decision.
    Personally there’s authors that I just won’t read, without necessary being vocal about it, because I’ve seen them react really badly to criticism about books being problematic or things like that on twitter – I’ve not looked enough into it to yell out and recommend it to others, since there’s only so much one can care (and have time for). At some point I look at it like I would never support certain artists, from like the Chris Browns of the world to those who just seem like douchebags every time they talk. Authors yelling at reviewers on twitter is more douchebags that maybe isn’t worth the time for me personally to invest in a book, if I know about it already (it’s not like I go looking for it anyways)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Eline!

      I totally agree, it’s so important to listen to people when they raise concerns. But it’s also important to think for yourself whether it’s truly problematic, and to listen to more than one person.

      And same!! There are some people I just choose not to support even if I don’t really have a reason to.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Slow clapping it out tbh!!! I think you know how I feel about this by now lmao but I love SO MANY of the points you articulated here, and I love that you stressed that we shouldn’t like, just accept shitty behavior and attitudes from authors especially if they clearly have no interest in changing their opinions, BUT we do need to think so much more critically about the way we engage in a lot of these debates.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re absolutely right! Not even giving people a chance to learn, just cancelling them forever because they don’t already know something, is a standard that would’ve got absolutely everyone cancelled already because nobody is just born omniscient.

    Like, aren’t the hardline cancellers gladthey weren’t cancelled when they were ignorant themselves, but given time to learn and grow instead? And it stacks the deck against anyone who isn’t educated, extremely online, or around people they can learn from. The mob reactions can be such storm-in-a-teacup performative nonsense.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Yikes. A Government burns a book because the message is not aligned with the ideology of the government.

    An influencer drives others to silence an author through mass canceling……because the message of the book is at odds with the ideology of the influencer.

    Fundamental differences between these?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I really agree with you here- especially like your point about cancel culture not giving people a chance to learn or grow. And yeah sometimes- like with the stalking case- it makes sense that people didn’t want to read Hale’s book after that (especially considering she’d faced no consequences for what amounted to a crime). And I know a few of these cases as well- but I think that example where someone asked a question is the most ridiculous. She wasn’t even stating an opinion (which to be honest I think she should be allowed to do). And yes, I think the book community (or certain aspects of it, particularly on twitter) is an echo chamber unfortunately.
    Also I love this point: “You also don’t know everything. Sometimes you’re just wrong. You can be as educated and well-read, and will still not understand every perspective. And that’s okay! That’s what growth is about!”
    And I really agree with there being too much conflation- it’s not only okay to have a racist character in historical fiction for instance, it’s necessary in order to accurately depict the time period (otherwise how are we supposed to demonstrate that racism existed/exists? It’s such a counter productive view to whitewash history!) I like your point about it being a bit of an invasion of the author’s privacy to start questioning an author’s sexuality as well. And wow that’s really bad about cancelling over marketing issues (honestly, I think the best thing to do here is *politely* state in the review that the marketing/blurb was inaccurate- the purpose of which is to help readers find a book they’ll actually like rather than to cancel it or throw shade)

    Anyway, your friend makes really good points as well. Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh so glad you agree!! Right? How is asking a question wrong? And I totally agree, people shouldn’t be scared to voice their opinions.

      And EXACTLY!!! People historically *were* racist, so depicting a character as racist is accurate. It doesn’t mean you think racism is okay, it just means you’re acknowledging that it’s accurate for it’s time.

      And thank you, so glad you agree! I totally agree, saying in your review “the marketing of this book was off” or something is *way* better and much more production than yelling at the author about it.

      Thank you!!

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  14. I really enjoyed this post and thought it was incredibly well articulated. I’m not on Twitter but keep up to date with it all and honestly? I’m put off by it by the levels of outrage that seem to dominate.

    I believe that if a writer has a world view that is damaging to a group of people and they then present that world view in a positive way (i.e. they seem to be positive towards homophobic/ racist/ sexist stances) or they try and represent a group of people but their own views towards that group mean they end up writing the group in a derogatory way then I am for challenging that view – either via challenging the author or the publishing house that felt it was ok to publish that content.

    What I do see is a lot of ‘I don’t like X because of reasons, X is problematic. You can’t have a racist/ homophobic/ sexist character in books.’ Well I very much disagree with that because for me it’s all about the narrative. If a character is a sexist, homophobic douche nozzle but the story presents him as someone incredibly sexy and heroic (I have seen this sadly) then for me the narrative is supporting the viewpoint and I would question the author. If said character is clearly a villain or their character is used to symbolise the societal viewpoint that the heroes are fighting against then I’m like – bring it on. I can’t wait for their comeuppance. Or they don’t get their comeuppance but this is presented as a downer ending.

    As a Brit reader I don’t fully understand the complexities of the American publishing landscape but it does dominate and there have been a few things that have occurred and I think, ‘that’s a very American filter, I don’t think Europeans would have an issue with that.’ I’m not saying one is right and the other wrong but even in westernised cultures we don’t always see things the same and so a lot of what I’m seeing fascinates me because it’s through a different experience. I’m probably making no sense here at all 😛

    Like

    1. Thank you so much!

      Yes, I totally agree! If a book character is racist/homophobic/sexist and it’s never challenged, that’s an issue. Those people shouldn’t be portrayed in a positive way, and it’s always weird to me when they are.

      And I totally agree, again! I think Americans tend to be very American-centred, and forget that not everything is about them? Or not everything was written from an American perspective, which is why a lot of issues happen

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree so much with everything you’ve said!! I’m too exhausted to get into all of it BUT I really agree that nuance is required so much more than it is actually used. It’s so, so, so vitally important to give people the space to learn and grow when they are not being knowingly harmful about something. I’ve said and done some bad things in the past because I truly didn’t know better — and I’m sure I still do! But if people had cut me off without explaining (not berating) to me why what I did was wrong, then I would have been so much less likely to get the knowledge I’d need to improve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! ❤

      SAME I definitely said some *super* problematic things in the past. Luckily, I never wrote them down anywhere and I was able to learn why they were wrong. But I'm so glad I was able to learn and people were willing to explain.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great opening on a topic that’s filled with landmines. I’m gonna be honest, I was one of the reviewers who decided to drop that author’s book(the one who tweeted abt showers) and the other author(Nafiza) who agreed with her stance. I actually dislike the mob mentality on Twitter and I try to reflect on things from an objective view. In this particular case, I didn’t like how the author, even after countless replies of ppl saying how this hurt them, STILL went on replying to her supporters’ messages as if she was uninformed. Second point was the insincerity of her apologies, which were about 2 in total I think. Third came the tweet that tried to shame/guilt the opposing party by using her ‘anxiety’ card. Maybe she does have anxiety issues, but she could’ve phrased it in a less accusatory way. And THEN she had the nerve to point a finger at the other party by guilting them into donating for a water cause(the Flint crisis, I think). Defend, back down, ignore, use the mental-health card and then attack. I do not think she made much effort to reflect on what she has done. I get that what she’s said was not an egregious mistake but it should not invalidate other people’s pain. Personally, I was only annoyed at her initial tweet but it was her handling of and attitude to the whole thing that caused me to unsupport her. It was very distasteful, arrogant and unkind. And I could not keep supporting someone who refused to change or be, at least, a little more humble. As for the other author, I was dismayed that she would support her even after seeing all the hurt replies. Although, after giving it more thought not long after the debacle, I felt that cancelling Nafiza, based on one tweet, may haven been a little harsh.

    Anyway, it’s good to have this discussion as I think things in real life is more nuanced and grey.

    Like

    1. Thank you! ❤

      I think that's totally fair! I'm definitely not saying no one should be cancelled ever, or that people can't make a decision for themselves to cancel an author. In your case, you were thinking critically about her reactions to everything, and made an informed decision based on that. I think that's exactly what people should do in these situations.

      I more just hate the instances where one person says "this author is problematic" and people just go along with that without thinking for themselves. In this case (the shower one), I saw a few people who hadn't looked into the situation just automatically agree with their favourite blogger and cancel the author without critically assessing it themselves, which isn't productive for anyone. But as long as you assess the situation for yourself and make your own judgements, I don't think there's any issue with cancelling someone yourself.

      (I do agree that the Flint water thing was what got it for me. It was super distasteful to just throw it in there, *especially* when she was (essentially?) promoting wasting water. And I hate that she brought her anxiety into it as well. Like, sorry but that's not an excuse!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so glad you agree 😊😊 True, you’re right on all those points. We need more critical thinking and less of that mob mentality. I hope more people will talk and learn from each other about issues like this, just because this is the internet doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be responsible for our behaviour on it.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a great post! Along with lots of others, I struggle to find the line between intolerant “canceling” and standing up for the community’s values. The online reading community (twitter especially) is starting to have a real effect on publishing, and it’s going to be difficult to figure out how to wield that influence responsibly.

    On a side note – the explanations of trigger warnings (the haunted house comparison) were in my tweets. You probably cropped them because some people don’t like having tweets shared outside the platform, but I’m totally okay with it. Feel free to post the full screencap or just embed the tweet in future if you want to grab something I tweeted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 💖 and yes, I totally agree! I think it’s so important that the online reading community, and those with larger followings especially, realise that they can have a real-life influence, and to use that influence responsibly.

      Oh okay, awesome, good to know! It was such a great explanation, I had to use it, but I always err on the side of caution. I wouldn’t want to use someone’s tweet without their permission and have someone else go and attack them for it. But I’ll definitely remember that for the future 🙂

      Like

  18. OH MY GOSH I know I’m sooo late because exams suck and they’re finally over so now I can breathe but WOW I agree with everything you said, thank you for making such an amazing post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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