I was one of those people who were surprised that there was a movement in the United States to cancel culture. Right from the start there were two things that surprised me about the movement: 1. That someone would give proponents of such a movement press-time and air-time, and 2. That people are so uneducated about culture that they would actually believe it could be cancelled. There are different definitions of “cancel culture” and some say it is a movement to eliminate mention of certain individuals who some believe should be punished based on their ideas or associations. Often these judgements come from the distant past where the judgers have no knowledge of the context of the actions of the “offending people.”
I did my graduate thesis on corporate culture at a time when there were several books on the subject and there was a movement afoot to set out to create a certain type of culture at corporations. I wrote about some of the elements of corporate culture and studied the company I worked for to determine just how culture affected workers, etc.
After some research, one thing that I found scholars were saying is that culture has a mind of its own. It is not something that can be controlled. If you have crooks at a corporation that typically lie to employees and customers, that is likely to reflect on the culture. They can send out all the fancy press releases they want with lies in them, but usually the people who are close to the corporation know what is going on. I was on the phone a few weeks back waiting for a customer service representative and every 2 or 3 minutes a recorded message came on to say that I was important to them and to keep holding on. This went on for 20 minutes. Do I believe the recording that tells me that this organization cares about me or do I believe the experience that the company has provided?
No, culture cannot be cancelled. That’s not to say that culture cannot be affected by actions that are taken by people. In a large park where there are dozens of statues, it’s hard to imagine much of any influence one statue may have. As a kid, we lived by Kennedy Park on the south side of Chicago. We always thought that Kennedy Park was named for one of the men in the Kennedy family of Massachusetts–John, Robert, or Joseph, but it turns out the park was named after Dennis J. Kennedy (1871-1932), a member of the Calumet Park District commission from 1910 until his death in 1932, and its president for twenty years. I never knew that living a few hundred yards away from it and I don’t think my parents did either.
At Sporting Chance Press we publish books and promote the good in sports. Sometimes we write about saints, but more often we are publishing material on athletes and coaches who did some good. We are not judging them, but we focused on the good they have done. That is in opposition to all that is written today on the bad. Sadly, people love to read about scandals and bad characters. Often the judgements that are made step beyond logic and good people are judged bad. There isn’t much we can do about that, but at Sporting Chance Press we promote the good.
We have published two books this year of interest to those who also want to promote the good to young people: Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways (middle grades) and Baseball’s Winning Ways (ages 12 and up). One thing that I have found in my own studies is that most successful people are optimists and at least try to see the good around them.