What is cancel culture?
Cancel culture, a term coined by Anne Helen Petersen describes the phenomena of a person or a company being canceled. Canceled individuals/companies are typically seen as problematic and have multiple online articles written about them. The articles include personal information, such as past criminal records, family members, location history, and financial information provided by doxxing. Many of those canceled are later taken back into good standing by canceling their “cancel” status.
So what does this have to do with mathematics?
In mathematics, there’s a concept known as zero divisors. A zero divisor is an element of a set with no elements in common with another element of its set. This means that there is no way to cancel an element without it leaving the set. For example, zero divides all other set elements in real numbers by rendering them one less than their original value. However, this does not mean that every element has a zero divisor. For example, one can’t cancel out six because there are no elements in common between it and three (the only number whose value will remain unchanged once canceled).
So why should we care about canceling?
Canceling an individual or company could potentially damage their careers. This concept can be seen throughout history with famous figures such as Bill Cosby. He was recently taken back into good standing after being “canceled” due to many sexual assault allegations brought against him. This shows that canceled individuals can be taken back into good standing if the public decides to “reset” their position. Companies have also been known to rebrand themselves after being canceled.
Now that we know what cancel culture is and how it works let’s look at some of its applications.
Cancel culture can be used as a tool to open dialogue between people who disagree with each other. Canceled individuals/companies could lead to positive growth throughout society by initiating change within themselves or others. At the same time, canceling an individual could result in shame for companies connected to them. It can potentially destroy careers by causing outrage among those connected to the original individual or company. As you may have guessed, canceling can potentially have both positive and negative applications.
One of the most popular modes of cancel culture is recanceling, which is taking an individual or company that has already been “canceled” back into good standing. There are many reasons for this. One example would be because it could create a better image for those canceled in the first place. If people were to act negatively towards someone who was canceled before but then became re-canceled, their overall image would be tarnished further when compared to how they were when they were originally canceled. In addition, recancels can also open up dialogues between two groups that disagree with each other, allowing the public to see a difference between a company and a person.
There are many applications of cancel culture, both positive and negative. If people use cancel culture to dialogue between opposing parties or open up discussion about an individual/company, it could benefit society. In contrast, canceling someone may end their career and create negative feelings within the public. We must consider these if we want to see how society develops through this phenomenon in the future. For more information, click here.