3 Things 'John Denver Trending' Teaches Us About #CancelCulture
Maan de Vera
If you haven't seen John Denver Trending, then best believe that you're totally missing out. Now streaming on iWant, this movie is truly deserving of its 2019 Cinemalaya Best Film award for its honest and brave depiction of what it's like to be subjected to internet virality for the wrong reasons. Apart from that, it also bagged awards for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music Score, and Best Actor for Jansen Magpusao.
In a world where our dirty laundry can be easily exposed on social media and we see someone get #cancelled for so many reasons, this film gives us a peek into how destructive our online activities can be if left unchecked.
Here are the reasons as to why we should cancel the cancel culture as shown in John Denver Trending:
1. We don't know the whole story.
A short clip or a thread can stir up a whole lot of emotions especially if it involves certain issues that we feel strongly about. While it's good that victims are now getting a platform to open up and raise awareness, it's also not right for us to immediately pass harsh judgements and malicious opinions over things that we aren't 100% familiar with. For all we know, the accusations can either be downright false, misdirected, or tampered. This is how things got out of hand in the movie. It's also noticeable that those who didn't really know John Denver were quicker to give their bad judgements compared to those who have a better relationship with him.
2. We should condemn the action, not the person.
It's true that we shouldn't tolerate wrongdoings, but there should be a line between correcting someone and just point blank attacking them. If something isn't right for you, then maybe it's best to talk about what can be done in order to prevent it from happening, share valuable information about the matter, or simply sympathize with the aggravated party. Throwing unnecessary insults over someone's way surely doesn't help. If you take a look at it, the characters in the movie were more concerned in apprehending John Denver instead of focusing on the fact that a theft was comitted on school ground. Had they focused more on the real problem, then things may have turned out differently.
3. We become the bullies.
Yes, we all want to spring into action and do whatever we can do to be at help whenever it appears that someone needs it. But honestly, there are times when the steps that we choose to take become highly aggressive. In our attempt to right the wrong, we end up becoming an oppressor ourselves. We feed on the cycle that we're trying to end. When in doubt, ask yourself if what you're about to type is constructive. If it's not, then maybe you're better off not posting it. Come to think of it, there's a lot of stuff said online that is not only unecessary, but also an important factor in the demise of John Denver. While all opinions are valid and we're all entitled to have one, not all should be aired out especially if you're only intent is to cause harm.
The more that we add fuel to the fire that the cancel culture has become, the more that we allow it to ruin lives when it shouldn't. Yes, it's important for us to speak up and call out whenever something problematic is transpiring. However, this doesn't give any of us the license to sabotage anyone's life, relationship, or livelihood just so we can feel vindicated. This modern-day stoning needs to end and the only way for this to happen is for us to stop being part of the mob.