School today was cancelled because there’s snow. Enough snow one has to shovel two or three times. Weird to get my head around as a Winnipegger. We wouldn’t cancel over this, it isn’t a blizzard. Cancel culture was addressed in more than one submission in last week’s assignment about political issues in songwriting. One particularly troubled me because the student both addressed cancel culture as a problem and in the next moment spent a paragraph sincerely apologizing for being a young white woman. My earliest sense of someone cancelled gave me great pleasure. I think it was Ballad of A Thin Man by Bob Dylan and even though it was in my older brother Gordie’s record collection and I might have been only eleven, I understood the surprising power of what Dylan did. I was amazed at the possibility of the narrator, being offended by someone, ridiculing them by painting for us a picture of the subject’s inner confusion. Whether or not we could substantiate any of it didn’t matter. It was about whether we believed the narrator’s story. I, for one, didn’t doubt it. If the one eyed midget said “you’re a cow! give me some milk or else go home!” Who would doubt it? Who in their right mind is going to feel sorry for Mr. Jones? Then again Mr. Thistlethwaite was cancelled by the grade nine math class. I didn’t like math but I didn’t despise him or need to shatter his car windows as some of those boys did. He was just an old man adjusting to this year’s rebellious fifteen year olds. They were so triggered that he was old man with a funny surname. On some level the herd knew it might be able to ruin him and succeeded.
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