Apparently one time when I was a very small child, my parents were visiting the Philippines. We were eating outside and there was goat shit on the ground. I picked up a piece and stuck it in my mouth, and before anyone could slap it away… *gulp* gone. Four decades later, my family still talks about it and laughs. The best part? I haven’t eaten shit since… well at least not in the literal sense.
Recently, there’s been a call to action for Generation X to help out with “cancel culture.” In our youths, we were called lazy and incapable of achieving success (sound familiar?). But, at the same time, we were given keys to our homes while our parents were away at work. We were relegated to cook our own meals and figure out our own homework. So why would anyone think we would care to help, let alone have the confidence to do so?
Well here’s your advice from this Gen X’er. Don’t volunteer to help everyone. Sound selfish? Well it’s what we’re know for. But seriously why would we want to assist when not only our favorite cartoons and shows are being canceled, but the majority of the people under fire are our age. Gen X’ers were born between 1965 and 1980. James Gunn, Kevin Hart, Eminem, Bill Burr… all Gen X’ers. All under the microscope of cancel culture either currently or recently.
Even more recently we’ve been revising history. Eliminating or censoring any trace of our once “beloved” pop culture. Which I think is good to the extent of tearing down statues and eliminating confederate flags over state capital buildings, but I think burning books and blacklisting movies and albums may be a step too far.
When we went to school, we were taught a very revised version of American history. Put shortly: Columbus discovered America, we moved here to run away from oppression and to live free. What we weren’t taught is that we’re standing on stolen land and slaughtered Native Americans to do it. Then brought slaves to do our work and slaughtered them as well. I’m not ramping up for a “woke” tirade, but the point I’d like to illustrate is simple: you can only learn from mistakes if you know the history of them. So burning books, editing movies, and banning albums sounds a bit too much like a certain mustachioed failed artist from WW2.
What I’m getting at is: We all mess up and sooner or later we’re going eat shit. Some mistakes are irreconcilable (mass genocide is definitely high on the list). But a bad joke, a movie that’s dated, an album cover that’s racy… you can’t learn from a mistake until you’ve made it, acknowledged it and choose to learn from it. And some mistakes have been made so long ago, we have to accept that most people and things change over time naturally. So, that being said, I’d ask one thing of cancel culture: if someone ate shit once when they were younger, maybe you don’t need to hold it over their head long after it’s happened. Maybe. Just maybe. They don’t eat shit anymore.