Cancel Culture: The Blazing Of Conceptualisation Through Technology

Two dystopian texts ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury and ‘Cruelty of Call-Out Culture’ published by Dave Brooks cover the dangers of technology, one of them being burning individualized thought.

60 years ago, out of his concern for the existence of conceptualisation due to the erosion of televisions influence, Ray Bradbury produced ‘Fahrenheit 451’. 6 months ago, the same concern resulted in Dave Brooks’ article ‘Cruelty of Call-Out Culture’. The similarity? Both delineate that technology has numbed humans to think creatively and critically, degrading the basics of a human being such as controlling emotions, thinking and evolving. Throughout both texts, technology is portrayed as facilitating cancel-culture to develop throughout society, opening up more levels of scrutiny between humans; enter cancel culture, the contagious virus of ignorance that spreads through technology leading individuals to have an inner-conviction to drop certain characteristics of a human being. David Brooks utilizes ethos, pathos and logos throughout his article to persuade his audience how immense technology truly influences us; coming armed with phones instead of pitchforks. This can be compared to the …. present in the novel.) Bradbury emphasises his concern of mind-numbing and destructive passive entertainment through his characters Mrs. Phelps and Mildred and repetition to portray how technology diminishes humans. Cancel culture; right or wrong, is ultimately a response to our own human weakness which is facilitated through technology.

The issue of technology disparaging human’s complex emotions into simple terms has been portrayed through both texts. The characters in Bradbury’s technology-dependent society portray having trouble sustaining genuine relationships with one another. This is evident through Mildred’s friend Mrs. Phelps as she says 'Oh, [husbands] come and go...Pete and I always said, no tears, nothing like that. It's our third marriage each and we're independent...He said, if I get killed off, you just go right ahead and don't cry, but get married again, and don't think of me' (p. 94-95). This illustrates one of the dangers of technology, humans lose emotions and stop putting effort into other people resulting humans to become dispensable. The advancements in technology has created an over stimulated society without room for self-reflection, letting citizens forget the basics of being a human with emotions and initiating cancel-culture starting with emotions. The issue is also seen in Brooks’ article through pathos when Herbert ‘cancelled’ Emily and didn’t care about the impact his actions left. When Herbert was asked if he cared about how it inflicted pain on Emily, he replied with “No, I don’t care, I don’t care because it’s obviously something you deserve… I literally do not care about what happens to you after the situation. I don’t care if she’s dead, alive, whatever.”(Brooks, 2019). The use of this scenario establishes a connection with his audience as it displays how technology has belittled human’s ability to feel and control emotions in our modern society. This story stirs sympathy towards Emily but clearly shows that denunciation is common and occurs right now as people are cancelling others without leaving room for apology. Overall, both texts showcase a way of how society can decline as technology advances; with technology, humans’ emotions and social interactions are hindered.

Another danger technology imposes is that it facilitates cancel-culture to spread through society. Article: Brooke's uses logos throughout his article through his language choices to prove another object technology cancels, humans. Brooks wrote, “You see how zealotry is often fuelled by people working out their psychological wounds. You see that when denunciation is done through social media, you can destroy people without even knowing them. There’s no personal connection that allows apology and forgiveness.” (Brooks, 2019). This appeal shows that technology sprouts cancel-culture to develop through social media. His logical connection that people who are working on their psychological wounds prey on others wrongs find pleasure and a sense of happiness with the thought of doing something right is something that happens in our current society frequently, positioning the reader to think about how fast they have ‘cancelled’ someone due to others sayings. With precise signposting, the reader is able to follow Brooks argument across his feature text that comments on how technology facilitates cancel-culture to easily cancel humans. Humans are also portrayed as dispensable in the novel through Bradbury’s characters. When Montag asked Mildred to turn down or off her TV parlour, Mildred complained “But that’s my family!” (p.39) and didn’t turn it down for compromise. This illustrates that technology becomes more important than humans, Mildred spends her days with her ‘family’ who are actors on the big screen in her TV parlour. Her obsession with TV has led to Mildred revolving her life around screen than taking care of her sick real husband. This reinforces that the overuse of technology can hinder social interaction leading humans to isolate themselves from human interactions. These medias further reiterate how technology facilitates cancel-culture to spread through society, cancelling humans in the end.

Furthermore, both materials indicate technology cancels our opportunity to evolve as humanity. When the transition to the Golden Age of Television began, he started to work on the stories that would eventually lead to Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury's early life witnessed the Golden Age of Radio and saw these forms of media as a threat to the reading of books, indeed as a threat to society, as he believed they could act as a distraction from important affairs. He also picks up on the repeated cycle present, that when humanity progresses and advances technology, they then get destroyed by it, recover and repeat the pattern without retaining nor implementing improved procedures learnt from previous failures. This cyclical imagery pops up most notably with Mildred’s repeated suicide attempts and inability to remember them. Bradbury’s use of repetition describes technology advancements prevents natural evolution in his fictional world – this is a society dominated and reliant on technology to evolve humans instead of the vice-versa. Proving this still exists in today’s society, Brooks utilises Emily’s story to connect with his audience as it showcases credibility for Brooks; establishing ethos. He also incorporates rhetorical questions with ‘we’ to further reiterate commonality between him and his readers to encourage a sense of cohesion and community. For example, Brooks published, “Do we really think cycles of cruelty do more to advance civilization than cycles of wisdom and empathy? I’d say civilization moves forward when we embrace rule of law, not when we abandon it. I’d say we no longer gather in coliseums to watch people get eaten by lions because clergy members, philosophers and artists have made us less tolerant of cruelty…” (Brooks, 2019), his anaphora of ‘we’, Emily’s history and rhetorical question further strengthens his connection with his audience as it calls upon the reader and Brooks to address the issue together thus showcasing a sense of credibility.

Conclusively, throughout both mediums ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘Cruelty of Call-Out Culture’ technology is depicted as a harmful tool that degrades humans starting with their attributes such as thinking, controlling emotions and evolving. The use of ethos, pathos and logos Brooks utilises and Bradbury’s characters and language feature used in his novel delineate technology as a facility to spread cancel-culture throughout society. Cancel culture; right or wrong, is ultimately a response to our own human weakness; laziness which is facilitated by technology.


  1. Bradbury, R. (1953). Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, p.34, 94-95.
  2. Brooks, D. (2019). Opinion | The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].
16 December 2021
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