These past couple weeks, we have been reading about and discussing callout culture, cancel culture, and public shaming. In the article “Why We Can’t Stop Fighting about Cancel Culture” writer Aja Romano poses these important questions:
“Is cancel culture an important tool of social justice or a new form of merciless mob intimidation? If canceling someone usually doesn’t work, does cancel culture even exist? Or does the very idea of being canceled work to deter potentially bad behavior?”
For this first essay, you will formulate an opinion on public shaming and cancel culture. Here are some questions you should consider…DO NOT ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS ONE BY ONE IN YOUR ESSAY. Use these for idea generation, and then think about public shaming/cancel culture as a whole:
Is there a difference between the public shaming and attempted cancelation of a “public” person/celebrity vs. a “private” person or non-celebrity?
Are some shaming and cancelation attempts indeed noble acts of “social justice”? If so, which ones? If not, why not?
Is there a difference between attempts to enlighten and correct bad behavior vs. attempts to shame, humiliate, and ruin for vindictive purposes? If there is a difference, how can we differentiate between them?
Is it fair/and just to go back through a person’s words or actions from 10, 20, 30+ years ago to publicly call out, shame, or try to “cancel” them now? (Keep in mind that marriage equality, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, efforts for gender and racial equality, social justice, and other significant political and social movements were not as much in the mainstream consciousness as they are now). Many actions and beliefs that occurred 20 or 30 years ago would not be acceptable or permissible now. Is it appropriate to use 2022’s standards to judge actions and behaviors from many years past? Does it depend on the situation? And if so, what factors should be taken into consideration?
Should Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other forms of social media ban attempts at public shaming and posts that generate a “mob mentality” directed at one specific person?
Again, do not answer one-by-one: Think about this as a whole and then develop a cohesive essay.
Most important aspect of your essay: You will need a clear thesis, which is basically a statement answering whether or not “callout/cancel culture” currently functions in our society in a positive or negative fashion. You may also differentiate your argument in that callout culture/cancel culture used like ___________ is positive and used __________ is negative, or you can go all in one way or another.
For the rest of your essay…
In your introduction, you will use one of the introductory strategies mentioned in our Essay Writing modules, either the written information or what was shown in the video. Your introduction should be approximately 5-8 sentences long. Your introduction should end with the most important aspect of your essay, your thesis. Again, for this essay, it is a statement answering whether or not “callout/cancel culture” functions in our society in a positive or negative fashion.
You will use the PEEEC body paragraph format within your essay. The paragraph pattern is that you will begin with one main point/topic sentence, an explanation of that main point, evidence and examples from the readings in this unit to support your point, and a connection back to the larger point you are making. Most often, this process will occur over the course of 2-3 paragraphs, not all in one paragraph. (Examples are in our modules.)
Between paragraphs and sentences, use transitions to express relationships between one and idea and the next.
You will use three specific ideas, references, and/or quotes from at least THREE DIFFERENT ARTICLES OR VIDEOS listed as usable sources for this essay. Sources are limited to the articles and sources mentioned in our modules. Link to available sources are here: Articles & Sources for Essay # 3. Make sure integrate sources according to guidelines posted in our module.
A counterargument and rebuttal of that counterargument in the paragraph before the conclusion.
You will develop a conclusion that does not merely restate the introduction—but that discusses the broader significance of the ideas presented in the essay. Please DO NOT rewrite your thesis; come up with something new and interesting to say.
Include a properly formatted Works Cited page. (Information on how to craft this is in our module.)
Resulting essay should be 4-5 pages (1200-1500 words) written in MLA format.
essay topic + stance:
The role of social media in propagating the cancel culture.
Thesis statement
The rise of social media and the power of cancel culture have demonstrated how quickly a person’s life can be ruined by it in recent years. When it comes to cancellations, the culture is out of control.

Americans and ‘Cancel Culture’: Where Some See Calls for Accountability, Others See Censorship, Punishment

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