One of the Worst Stories of 2020: Jimmy Galligan, Mimi Groves, and the Cost of Cancel Culture
As everyone in America has said in the runup to the new year, 2020 was a bad year. There are the obvious ways it was a bad year, of course. The almost-war with Iran, the ridiculous impeachment, the Australian wildfires, the Covid pandemic, the lockdowns and mask mandates, the riots, and the election. Because of all that, many smaller stories escaped notice or didn’t receive the proper amount of attention. One such story is the story of Mimi Groves, a freshman in college whose story shows the cost of cancel culture.
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The story originally appeared in the New York Times.
The basic gist of it is this: Mimi Groves posted a joke video years ago in which she used a racial slur. A half-black classmate of hers, Jimmy Galligan, saw that video and saved it, waiting for a chance to use it against her. Ms. Groves, a cheerleader, got accepted into the UT cheer program and admitted to the university, which was a dream come true for her.
Mr. Galligan, once Ms. Groves had announced her exciting college plans, released the video on every social media site and turned a mistake she made years beforehand into a huge issue. UT kicked Ms. Groves off of the cheerleading time and forced her parents to withdraw her from the school. She now lives at home and attends a community college online.
That is the cost of cancel culture: dreams crushed and a life wrecked. Were it not for Mr. Galligan’s hate-filled act, Ms. Groves would be a cheerleader at the top cheer program in the nation, would be getting to have a normal college experience, and would be otherwise unknown.
But no, Galligan had to “cancel” her. She said something which which he disagreed years ago. As a joke. In a video that wasn’t even sent to him. What had happened was a non-issue. At the very most, it was a situation where someone should have approached her and said it was inappropriate to post such things online. That could have turned it into a learning opportunity for everyone involved but kept it off the radar of the social media outrage mobs.
Mr. Galligan didn’t want it to be a learning opportunity, however. He didn’t want to make everyone better off. He wanted to destroy her. He was full of hatred and just wanted to watch a promising life and career go up in flames.
This might seem like a small issue. It only affected a few people, it’s obvious that UT and MR. Galligan were in the wrong, and in the context of everything else that has happened this year, it might seem like something not worth considering.
I think that’s the wrong way to think of it. Think of it as just one example of the cost of cancel culture, a cost which is massive. Every day, lives are ruined by vengeful leftists hell-bent on ruining the life of someone with whom they disagree. Like Mr. Galligan, they’re not interested in making the country a better place. They don’t want to educate or discuss, listen to or debate. All they want is to destroy people who could achieve something in life.
The cost of cancel culture is ruined lives. Careers ended prematurely. Friendships destroyed. Life chances and opportunities vanish because of a “cancellation.” That’s the cost of cancel culture; like war or socialism, it’s impact can be measured in lives destroyed.
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And all for what? Is there any good that is achieved and makes the cost of cancel culture worth it? No. Nothing good comes of it. Mr. Galligan will now find it hard to make friends- would you send him a Snapchat now? Ms. Groves lost the opportunity of a lifetime to cheer for UT and have a great college experience. Now, thanks to Mr. Galligan, she won’t cheer again, won’t have a normal college experience, and will have trouble finding a job. UT lost a promising new student and will now be the target (and rightly so) of withering attacks from the left. Its fundraising will plummet and many students won’t apply there.
No one can win. The cost of cancel culture is immense for everyone and is only worth bearing if you, like Mr. Galligan, are a psychopath that just enjoys ruining lives and watching the world burn.
Americans have to come to terms with that fact about the cost of cancel culture. It’s too heavy a burden to bear and has no expected payoff. As long as we allow cancel culture to continue, lives on all sides will be ruined.
The only solution is a return to respecting free speech. People should feel free to say what they please. If you want to debate them, go for it. If you agree, great. If you are ambivalent, that’s fine too. But no one should ever be under assault for making a mistake and saying a word or phrase they shouldn’t have. That’s Orwellian, un-American, and is ripping our society apart. The cost of cancel culture is too high; we need to stop paying it.
By: Gen Z Conservative
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