No Grand Pronouncements Here – Rhetorical Summary, Analysis, and Response

Social media has transformed how people socialize with one another forever. In the modern-day, social networking includes sharing photos, stories and use of apps and using messages to communicate with other people. The article “No Grand Pronouncements Here…: Reflections on Cancel Culture and Digital Media Participation” by Eve Ng explores the risks of “Cancel culture”. While Eve Ng takes the risk of addressing the controversial topic about how social media is misused, she warns that the cases that she sites should not be used to disproportionate the potential media involvement in general. In her article, Eve Ng argues that cancel culture indicates how content dissemination through online platforms promotes quick, large scale reactions to practices deemed problematic, usually enabling conventionally marginalized groups at the moment. The author also discusses the shortage of necessary debate and assessments. According to Ng (2020), it is important for society not to easily allow special media condemnations to overpower these platforms’ positive things. Moreover, qualitative accounts of depth socializations across all digital platforms and a huge spectrum of social media user-practices and group formations outside superior English-language outlets should mainly constitute digital media studies. The paper explores how Eve Ng tackles the controversy in the way social media peddles hate and misinformation.

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            The author’s purpose is to concentrate on spectacularly increasing social media misuse cases that can help feed what scholars refer to as polemics’ politics. In that spirit, Eve Ng provides some lower temperature comments regarding addressing digital media and users’ engagement to define their challenges better. The author delineates that to understand the spectrum of social media and how different people get affected through the platforms, scholars must examine online sources past the larger U.S. social media spaces, pursue qualitative evaluations of users’ activities and their particular context with the advent of bid data. Moreover, studying social networking spaces beyond Euro-America regions is key to explaining the problems of online expression. Such a multi-pronged arrangement accomplished unequally in the study of social media effects will trigger progressive, robust grounds to neither withdraw from Facebook and Twitter since many commentators encourage nor surrender on the use of social media for lack of progressive action.

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            Examining the authors’ objective in discussing the controversial topic about social media misuse makes a lot of sense. She discusses the points concisely via an idiosyncratically chosen entry point that she has encountered in previous research studies. Ng (2020) alludes that “cancel culture” was prompted by the original occurrence as a type of grassroots discussions followed by surging criticism display a common path for social media phenomena. These factors can inhibit the wider variety of digital engagement activities.

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            The topic discussed in the article is significant in modern-day society. The author uses a real example to explain the meaning of “cancel culture” and different social media characters and how they impact celebratory accounts’ lives. Eve Ng uses the occurrence of March 2016 on a TV series known as “The 100” was negatively affected by the demise of a lesbian protagonist, killed moments after she and another fiancé had engaged in a love affair for the first time. The main source of the disagreement was how the creative team associated with airing the “The 100” program queer-baited the viewers. The aftermath of the event ravaged the showrunner Jason Rothenberg and the series. By that time, Rothenberg had amassed about 120,000 Twitter followers. Consequentially he lost 14,000 of these followers from the time people knew about Lexa’s death. The fans began criticizing the show by ensuring that their tweets would make “The 100” not count its social media platforms’ success. The author explains that such an occurrence is what has come to be known as “cancel culture.” Therefore, the phrase cancel culture implies the withdrawal of any support through viewership, purchase of products endorsed through the character and social media. Ng, (2020) explains that such things happen to people who are believed to have done or said something grievously unacceptable or high problematic mainly from a social justice understanding more so alert to heterosexist, sexism, racism, bullying, homophobia and related issues.

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            The alternative perspectives presented in the article is that not all cancel cultures that take places are satisfactory since others are tailored due to misinformation and hate peddled through social media. Eve Ng confirms these statements by digging deeper into the issue of Rothenberg. According to Ng, Rothenberg was CIS straight white man incriminated of exploiting young and queer female fans. So, everything was stage-managed to achieve the dynamics of cancel culture. In social media, these things happen collectively to marginalized voices continuously expressing their curbing of a public figure. The #MeToo movement’s start to expose sexual harassment and assault increased the energy for amplifying the cancel culture. As a result, several public figures who had been accused of sexual harassment and assault like musician R. Kelly, actor James Franco, comedians Aziz Ansari and Louise C.K had their social media profile dramatically cancelled.

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            Cancel culture has since affected many less prominent individuals in the present society. This implies that cancel culture itself is a subject that can be canceled, although studies have shown how the disastrous effects on the target groups have been over-emphasized. In her studies, Ng holds that in most cases, cancel culture involves groups that were previously silenced, making a fact if the minor dent on the capability of those traditionally privileged by race, gender, etc. The targeted groups in cancel culture are the ones that decide whether the choices the author makes are risky. The article supports these allegations by affirming that oversimplification and dogmatism of complex problems began long-time before the arrival of social media; however, the power of social media spaces such as Twitter can help disseminate ideological inflexibility and insufficient nuance as a result of typical textual brevity of an individual’s post. Another reason the author explains why Twitter can be a dangerous place of supplying lies and hatred is the speed at which Twitter posts are shared and the rapidity of online dissemination of posts, all of which militate against needed responses to rubbish the rumors (Ng, 2020).

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            An article titled “# Fringe, audiences and fan labor: Twitter activism to save a TV show from cancellation” by Guerrero-Pico adds to Ng’s findings. According to Guerrero-Pico, the issue of cancelling companies, celebrities or other public figures gained momentum after the #MeToo movement empowered women to come out and disclose their sexual assaults and abuses. However, the habit has shifted to shunning anything or anyone involved in something derogative to certain individuals, ideologies, or culture. In his article, Guerrero-Pico demonstrates that illiberalism is gaining force globally, and people like President Donald Trump support it. They represent a serious threat to democracy. Society can defeat bad things and community behaviors through exposure, persuasion and argument but not through silencing and wishing them away.

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            The article defines cancel culture as a popular activity of withdrawing support for companies and public figures after being deemed offensive or objectionable. Generally, it is practised through social media in terms of group criticism or shaming. While people of all ages practice the cancel culture, it is common among teenagers’ social media platforms such as Tok-Tok, Twitter, and Instagram. Guerrero-Pico (2017) agrees that a cancel culture is a form of withdrawing an individual’s power and calling for being problematic to society. It is not that people have become extra sensitive, but because societies have become observant and familiar with what is happening around them. Therefore, the two articles share similar insights about cancel culture.

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            The author’s overall effect addressing the issue of cancel culture is educating people concerning fake news and hatred tailored towards celebratory social media accounts.   Moreover, the article’s information is important as it empowers people through knowledge that marginalized individuals can express themselves in a way that was impossible before the arrival of social media platforms. This implies that racists, bigoted behavior and sexist remarks cannot go far like they used to do in the early days. Such effects are good since it applies to the affluent people in society or industry leaders and any person who has the privilege of historically safeguarding them from public scrutiny. Since such people cannot endure cultural shift pressure, they rely on ‘cancel culture’ to delegitimize the attacks (Guerrero-Pico 2017).

            The risk-on ‘cancel culture’ is worth taking as the internet has made this type of mob rule far too simple. Initially, it was never easy to pounce on an individual from a distance, confine them in a box and even set the box on fire. But with the advent of technology, it is easy to declare one’s public and strong disagreement with the people who say negative things on others more so trans issues. However, such people should not be wiped out just because they shared a terrible idea. It is good to create awareness about cancel culture as people who go to social media attract attention to these practices, publicly shamming the involved individuals and ultimately leading to these people’s “cancelling”. It also means that the times of doing things anyhow and not being accountable for them are passed. Ng (2020) asserts that the victims of cancel culture lose their reputation and income that could be difficult to recover. Creating awareness on cancel culture reduces its surge as it is equal to allowing angry mobs to determine a person’s fate. Cancel culture inhibits free speech, prevents some people from voicing their opinions out of phobia, and being personally destroyed in social media.

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            Therefore, by taking this risk, Ng is trying to argue that whether right or wrong people have a fundamental propensity to voice their statements or give comments without having adequate facts. The author advises that “business, celebrities and other public figures need to take cancel culture with the seriousness it deserves and put policies that will cushion them when they cancel culture storms.” Increase in cancelling has become a way of calling on other people and friends to reject an individual or business through social media platforms. This occurs when the target group goes against social norms, such as making sexist statements. Moreover, it also happens when people express their opinions business, politics and even pop culture.            

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In conclusion, Eve Ng weighs into the debate of cancel culture and determines it as not being the ultimate activism. The author warns that if all society is doing is to cast stones; then it will not go far. While being judgemental is a good strategy to change somethings in life, there should be policies to curb people from going overboard as the world has become messy and ambiguous through the internet. Guerrero-Pico’s article also echoes the same as it says that people should be cautious about cancel culture because it holds that there are few ways to make corrections once cancel culture rules that one has done something objectionable.

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