The Case for Cancel Culture: How This Democratic Tool Works to Liberate Us All (Hardcover)

The Case for Cancel Culture: How This Democratic Tool Works to Liberate Us All By Ernest Owens Cover Image

The Case for Cancel Culture: How This Democratic Tool Works to Liberate Us All (Hardcover)

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Philadelphia Inquirer's Best New Books for February!


"A necessary discourse about power and control, and who ultimately has a voice versus whose is often stifled." —Preston D. Mitchum, LGBTQIA attorney, activist, and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University

The first major case for cancel culture as a fundamental means of democratic expression throughout history, and timely necessity aimed at combating systems of oppression.


“___ is canceled.”

Chances are, you’ve heard this a lot lately. What might’ve once been a niche digital term has been legitimized in the discourse of presidents, politicians, and lawmakers.

But what really is cancel culture? Blacklisting celebrities? Censorship? Until now, this has been the general consensus in the media. But it’s time to raise the bar on our definition— to think of cancel culture less as scandal or suppression, and more as an essential means of democratic expression and accountability.

The Case for Cancel Culture does just that. This cultural critique from 2023 Philly News Award-Winning journalist Ernest Owens offers a fresh progressive lens in favor of cancel culture as a tool for activism and change. Using examples from politics, pop culture, and his own personal experience, Owens helps readers reflect on and learn the long history of canceling (spoiler: the Boston Tea Party was cancel culture); how the left and right uniquely equip it as part of their political toolkits; how intersections of society wield it for justice; and ultimately how it levels the playing field for the everyday person’s voice to matter.

Why should we care? Because in a world where protest and free speech are being challenged by the most powerful institutions, those without power deserve to understand the nuance and importance of this democratic tool available to them. Readers will walk away from this first-of-its-kind exploration not despising cancel culture but embracing it as a form of democratic expression that’s always been leading the charge in liberating us all.

"Journalist Owens debuts with an incisive defense of cancel culture... his arguments are thought-provoking and well supported. The result is an invigorating survey of a hot-button political issue." —Publishers Weekly

"An important tool for all times, and for anyone looking to learn how to have the difficult but necessary conversations about race, injustice, inequality, and oppression." —Dawn Ennis, award-winning journalist, advocate, and university professor

Ernest Owens (he/him) is an award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. He is the Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He hosts the hit podcast "Ernestly Speaking!" As an openly Black gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture. In 2018, he launched his growing media company that specializes in multimedia production, consulting, and communications. The Case for Cancel Culture is his first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250280930
ISBN-10: 1250280931
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English

"Journalist Owens debuts with an incisive defense of cancel culture... his arguments are thought-provoking and well supported. The result is an invigorating survey of a hot-button political issue." —Publishers Weekly

"A...relevant reminder of the possibilities of cancel culture and how it can make the powerful accountable." —Kirkus

"
Owens offers a fresh take on cancel culture as a powerful instrument for change." —Refinery 29

"Ernest Owens takes a pointed but measured approach, tracing [cancel culture's] path from Black Twitter to the larger consciousness, and laying out its intersections with race, gender, politics and pop culture. Owens is especially effective when recounting his personal adventures in the cancel culture realm, from criticizing the Mummers to sparking a national conversation about cultural appropriation with a single tweet to Justin Timberlake." —Philadelphia Inquirer, Best New Books for February

“So much of the political landscape within the United States is steeped in false equivalences. The term “Cancel Culture” gets thrown around as a Boogey Man to strike fear into the hearts of many, without any analysis of what is actually being named. The Case for Cancel Culture is clear and honest about what Cancel Culture is (and isn’t) and is necessary in the fight for critical thought.” —J Mase III, author of The Black Trans Prayer Book

“The Case for Cancel Culture is not just essential at this juncture in time, it's an important tool for all times, and for anyone looking to learn how to have the difficult but necessary conversations about race, injustice, inequality and oppression. What Ernest Owens does in his book is what he's been doing for all the years he's been writing: He gives voice to the voiceless and amplifies the message of the marginalized. The powers that be fear two things: Getting knocked from their perch, and Owens, who shows us the way.” —Dawn Ennis, award-winning journalist, advocate and university professor

“Provocative, thought-provoking commentary and coverage, that's what journalist and writer Ernest Owens' gift is . He often goes where many don't. And while you may not always agree with him, you will leave his written work armed with information necessary for hard, open conversations. I could think of no other person more poised to tackle this issue of Cancel Culture, what it means and its impact today.” —Desiree Peterkin-Bell, national political strategist and CEO of DPBell & Associates

“Since the meteoric rise of social media, marginalized voices have taken advantage of their newfound online platforms to amplify causes, influence public opinion and shape our culture. These same voices have held corporations accountable, highlighted social injustices, and fueled grassroots political movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo. While these hashtags were incredibly effective in shifting conversation, this novel form of accountability swiftly gave rise to pejorative labels like cancel culture. Now that opposing forces and abusive powers are attempting to swing the pendulum of consequence backward, it is more important than ever to have a book like The Case for Cancel Culture. A blind backlash that ignores historical context threatens to dilute nuanced conversation and villainize the victims whose fortitude gave us both Civil Rights and Women's Suffrage. To me, making a case for cancel culture is making an argument for accountability over acquiescence.” —Jon Pierre, host of "The Popular Opinion!"

“Ernest Owens has become an invaluable voice in the media calling attention to both the news of the day and the nuance behind those stories. His ability to see through the opaque systems of the world make him the perfect voice to tackle the concept of cancel culture and the varied, tangled ways that phrase has been deployed, misused and maligned.” —Leslie Mac, founder of the Ferguson Response Network and Digital Strategist

“Ernest Owens is a loudmouthed troublemaking agitator. And that’s the greatest compliment I can bestow upon a genuine revolutionary. He’s loud because his truth must be heard. He makes the kind of (good) trouble Congressman John Lewis encouraged. And he’s like the agitator in a washing machine that exposes dirt in order to wash it away. Read his loudmouthed troublemaking agitating book. Read it now.” —Michael Coard, Esq, Civil Rights Attorney

The Case for Cancel Culture explores the ways we attempt to manipulate marginalized communities into silence from holding those with power accountable. Owens’ work is a necessary discourse about power and control, and who ultimately has a voice versus whose is often stifled." —Preston D. Mitchum, attorney, advocate, activist, and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University

“Whether with thorough, bulletproof reporting or incisive, thoughtful op-eds, Ernest Owens has always been a journalist whose work demands accountability. He has always had moral clarity, nuanced perspective, and the facts to back them up. It’s only fitting that he would write one of the definitive works on cancel culture.” —William E. Ketchum III, Senior Culture Editor, Mic