The Scott Shaw Blog

Be Positive

Get Gas at Joe’s AKA Cancel Cancel Culture

There is this gigantic gas station about a hundred miles outside of San Francisco on Interstate 5. Normally, when I drive between L.A. and San Francisco I prefer to take the coast as it is so much more spiritually scenic. But, sometimes I need to book a little time so I jam up or down the 5 as it is so much faster.

I discovered this place a number of years ago and I always find it fun to stop in, get my gas, buy a bottle of water and a large coffee, maybe get some chips, go to the restroom, and stuff like that. I always make the joke to my lady, “I think I’m going to take a shower,” as we approach this place, as Joe’s actually has a large shower facility. Of course, I don’t. But, it’s fun to say.

You know, when I’ve driven out in the Midwest, on the interstates, you see a lot of these large, “Truck Stop,” style gas stations. But, there are very few here in California. In fact, this is the only one I know about. So, it’s cool and unique, at least in my mind.

Anyway… The people here are always nice. I remember one of the first times I was in their restroom and they have those automatic faucets on their sinks. I was trying and trying but I couldn’t get it to work. I guess I’m stupid. But, this big burly Mexican truck driver, who was in there at the sink next to me, told me how to use it in his very broken English. Thanks! Nice guy. And, that’s the thing about life, most people are nice. They do good things. They say good things. They help people out.

Today, in this, “Puritan,” Era of Cancel Culture, it seems everyone is being attacked for saying or doing the perceived wrong thing—even if what they said or did was done years ago. I mean, look at the vast amount of TV and Radio Hosts that have been, “Cancelled,” simply for stating their opinion. Why can’t a person have an opinion anymore? This is especially the case if that opinion goes against any of the, “Puritan,” mindset of this era.

Most of you, including myself, are not old enough to have lived through the era of the Hollywood, “Black List,” but we have all heard about it—a time where people were, “Canceled,” simply because sometime claimed they were a communist or they said or did something or held an opinion someone didn’t like. Lives and careers were ruined simply because someone judged a person and decided that they did not like what someone else said or did. Did what that person wrote, said, or believed hurt the U.S. (or any other place) in any large manner? No, not really. At most, they simply believed. Believed in something that someone else found wrong.

As I am a very minor figure in the public view: having written books, made movies, and stuff, I have been attacked by people that I have never met, never will met, and don’t even know. I was attacked simply because they did not like something that I created. I think back to a couple of incidences that took place regarding me on the web. A number of years ago there was this martial art orientated website that posted this article about me that was presented as a true research project with footnotes and references. The only problem was, it was a complete hatchet job based upon falsehoods, mislabeled actualities, and misguided opinions at best. Though I personally found the article amusing I did experience the damage that it did to my life and my reputation. I was told that there were people who tried to post on the site, correcting the falsehoods, and stating their disapproval of the article, but their comments were banned by the webmaster. Another time there was this crew who launched at hate campaign against me, again, based upon misrepresenting my words and ideologies. I personally tried to reach out a hand of friendship to these people by posting a note on their website but they blocked me from posting. So, what does this style of behavior teach us? It illustrates that certain people want to exhibit their First Amendment rights but they wish to be the only one that is heard. They want their opinion to be the only one that is considered. They believe they are right and that is that. Is that right? Is that fair? Is that the way people should behave? But, look around you, this is what is going on all over the place.

My question is, who is the person in the wrong: me and/or the other creators for creating, or the individual who attacks the creations, the thoughts, and/or the lifestyle of some person they do not even know? My other question is, why aren’t those people: those critics, those negative soothsayers, and those liars being cancelled? Aren’t they the ones who are truly hurting life and society on the greater whole? Yet, they are allowed to speak. No one goes after them. No one says, “Stop being hurtful and negative!” “Stop believing you understand a person simply because you heard what they said, maybe read their book, or saw their movie!”

This is the thing, all negativity is hurtful. The people who are calling out others are the ones who are doing the most damage. Not only are they hurting the life of the person they are, “Cancelling,” simply because they don’t agree with what that person says or does but they are hurting the world society as a whole because they are sending a message that it is not okay for each person to hold an opinion and to have a point of view.

I’ve written about stuff like this a few times over the recent months. The fact is, we are all being bombarded with, “Cancel Culture.” Sure, you may not like what someone writes, says, or does, but who are you to judge them? If they did not do something directly and specifically to you as a person, why do you possess the right to attack their thoughts and their creations?

It’s easy to sit at the computer and type or speak into a webcam but what is a whole lot harder is to be focused enough and to care enough to create and to do. Do you do or do you just critique and criticize the doing of others?

In this day and age it is pretty easy to cancel someone. A lot of this cancelation is simply based in a puritan mindset of wanting everyone to think the way you think and to agree with you. It is also based in jealously about a person rising to a certain level of success when you feel they did not or do not deserve it or you, yourself, having not achieved it. But, turn all of this around; what about the people you do like and you do admire, how are they any different from a person you despise? The answer, you simply like what they are doing. But, you must remember, it is not you doing the doing. At most, you are just sitting there defining your life and your thought process by thinking about what they have done. So, who is actually right and who is actually wrong? …Them for speaking and for doing or you for doing nothing more than judging them? I say, “Cancel the Critics!”

Most people are good. Yes, we’ve all done wrong things. But, for those of us who care, we try to make up for our wrong doings by correcting them if we can, by helping, caring, and making any small thing in any other person’s life just a little bit better—just like the guy who showed me how to use the faucet at Joe’s. Small deeds make all the world just a little bit better. “Canceling,” does nothing but hurt. And, hurt only begets more hurt, whereas helping always equals a better world. Stop the Puritanism. Stop the Judgment. Cancel, Cancel Culture.