Why #CancelVanityFair Officially Cancels The Sweet Freedom of Expression
And that’s neither fair nor funny
Vanity Fair issued an apology and President Trump tweeted his summary of events by mistakingly targeting Anna Wintour — the editor-in-chief of Vogue — instead of the newly-minted editor of the currently embattled publication — Radhika Jones.
To be fair — I keep wanting to call “Radhika” — “Rashida” — after one of my favorite actresses — Rashida Jones — so I get the concept of mistaken identity. However — the mere fact that the President of the United States has the time to step away from the most complex job in the world for the sheer privilege of inserting his often times incoherent stance — on issues that never warrant that level of attention — will never stop being a source of concern.
That being said — it was hard as fuck to ignore the surge of attacks against the damning video and its participants — as the word spread with savage speed across the landscape of social media — inciting what has to be the most ridiculous hashtag of the year — #CancelVanityFair.
Now, this habit of #cancelling anyone or anything that poses a threat to the basic values of mankind isn’t always a bad idea. I recently #cancelled my affiliation with Vice Media — after it was revealed that the founders had basically been fostering an environment that encouraged White men in power to behave very badly.
There have been other #cancellations that didn’t quite add up to my apparently more lax temperament. For example I refuse to #cancel Azealia Banks — because I feel her pain as a dark-skinned Black woman who despite being exceedingly talented — has to witness the rise of Iggy Azalea — who is White enough to get unbiased support from the same community that rejected her less commercial nemesis. I can’t stand Omarosa for obvious reasons and despite being outspoken about my disdain for her highly questionable actions — I won’t #cancel her because I have to believe that such a brilliant mind will eventually be put to good use someday.
Stacey Dash is forever #cancelled and trust me there’s not enough time to go there.
So, let’s get back to #CancelVanityFair and examine how this weirdly formed movement chokes the sweet freedom of being humorously expressive.
If there’s anything social media (specifically Twitter) has taught us about human behavior — it’s that people are more than willing to relieve themselves of the task of forming their own opinions. There’s also the pressure older folks like me carry when it comes to maintaining some sense of relevance. Millennials and younger are in charge and in order to keep up — we tend to go with the flow and propel the general consensus — even when we know better.
Then there’s the climate that requires the urgency of never, ever making the mistake of expressing anything that deviates from the honorable charge of being viewed as a champion of equality — across the board. If those standards aren’t adhered to without fail — then of course you can expect to be devoured by the maddening crowd — most of whom are barely equipped to levy such vitriol.
It happens because we have the time and energy to not be selective with our battles. There’s no referee, which makes for countless bouts in the ring and the gratification of never-ending threads with the possibility of either aligning or publicly condemning celebrities, which could lead to a day long enviable mention — courtesy of media outlets.
There’s no disputing all the wonderful ways social media has initiated the shift towards change in ways that are notably progressive. #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo are primary examples of how immense good can be borne out of terrifically bad situations. It’s a beautiful thing to witness the galvanizing efforts of well-meaning individuals who comprehend the responsibilities of utilizing platforms to activate an atmosphere of goodwill.
But #CancelVanityFair doesn’t fall into that stoic category because its genesis was conceived from the misplacement of hostility that contains the residue of abiding bitterness.
Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump for many reasons — but in my opinion — the crux of her loss is rooted in the fact that she wasn’t capable of running a successful campaign. The former Secretary of State didn’t demonstrate any ounce of passion and basically left all the hard work to her high-level supporters who relentlessly campaigned on her behalf — to no avail.
She deserved to lose and that truth is real when you consider how hard Obama worked back in 2012, when he could’ve easily just done the bare minimum.
That being said the Vanity Fair video wasn’t at all offensive in its delivery. It’s very unlikely that the editors set out to produce something that would make young women cringe at the thought that sexism is once again being used as leverage for clicks. It’s very likely that this was a hasty attempt at using Clinton’s defeat as the catalyst for moving away from her historical embarrassment — in order to welcome a future that will bless us with what she was unable to accomplish.
Either way — the sad reality that presents us with the barriers — erected for the purpose of stifling the liberty to freely experiment with the cubes of pop culture — without the avalanche of brash accusations — that escalate into a PR crisis is an utter buzzkill.
It’s not fair or funny to behold the viral consequences — stemming from a low level production that wasn’t even worth the chaos in the first place. The quickness with which we vilify those that disagree with our brand of tolerance can be daunting — especially when the punishment is unreasonably severe.
Asking Hillary Clinton to adopt a hobby isn’t nearly as insulting when you compare the numerous times former First Lady Michelle Obama was compared to primates by illustrious politicians.
Where was Patricia Arquette and her army of whiners when that shit happened?
Maybe it’s time to do less #cancelling and more #thinking before jumping on a bandwagon that’s headed to nowhere.
In the meantime — I think Hillary Clinton would absolutely suck at “improv comedy” — so, there’s that.