Roman Polanski. Harvey Weinstein. Woody Allen. Do these names ring a bell? Famous men, no doubt. But for America and most of the Western world, these are the names of "canceled" men, the pariahs of our modern world.

But some background first.

Sometime during 2017, the #MeToo movement was born: alleged victims of sexual abuse aired their experiences and, more often than not, the perpetrators behind that abuse.

Those famous names were soon blacklisted by their peers, the media, and even their companies. Unfortunately, this noble endeavor spawned Cancel Culture, defined as "a culture in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken unacceptably are ostracized, boycotted, or shunned."

It was powerful, and it reached beyond the confines of the #MeToo movement. Soon, targets were no longer sexual predators and their ilk; even people whose only "offense" was to speak some inconvenient truth were ostracized and maligned on social media, leading to these people losing their jobs.

Pinoys, for some reason, are oblivious to this culture. They (unknowingly) dabble in it from time to time, but they soon forget what they were doing in the first place. They do not have the stamina or appetite for sustained vigilantist hatred.

Think about it: when was the last time a boycott made by Pinoys had any lasting effect? I remember the outrage against a politician during the pandemic who violated Covid-19 protocols.

A month later, everybody had collective amnesia or was too busy with another short-lived outrage over another topic. Sometimes, they don't even bother, even on the most glaringly scandalous issues.

The recent brouhaha over the trademark usage of a popular noontime show reminded me that its owner was found guilty of two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness back in 1997. The Cancel Culture advocates of today would attack the owner, the hosts, and everybody else who would support (or dare support) the show. (What did the Pinoys do then? I bet most didn't even know who produced the show!)

Filipinos are always playing catch-up with the latest trends from the West, be it in terms of technology or culture. I prefer we limit our imitation to their obsession with overpriced phones and harebrained TikTok trends.

We have more pressing problems to take care of - like our personal lives - before we become the judge, jury, and social life executioner of someone else’s.

I hope our incompetence in this endeavor remains the same.*


Tomas Gerardo T. Araneta's passion is writing what interests him the most. Those things include movies, books, and other unnoticed social phenomena.