Culture

Cancel Culture Comes for That Dancing Kid from the Sia Music Videos

This cover image released by Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records shows "Everyday is Christmas," a holiday album by Sia. (Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records via AP)

In the dystopian nightmare that is 2020, most people don’t seem to care much about the Asian-American community until a celebrity makes fun of them. Less than a year ago, a comedian named Shane Gillis was fired from Saturday Night Live before he even started, because he had gone on a podcast and made some jokes about Asian people. This is odd when you consider that SNL made John Belushi famous for lampooning Asian culture and the Japanese language. (Samurai Delicatessen, anyone?) Maybe Gillis’s firing had something to do with the fact that SNL never had an Asian cast member until last year and Lorne Michaels was a bit sensitive about it. And now that COVID-19 the Chinese virus is sweeping the globe and ruining everybody’s lives, guilty white liberals are going out of their way to blame themselves and their fellow travelers. The Chinese Communist Party is threatening to destroy the world, advertently or not, and libs need to make it all about themselves.

I don’t know how else to explain this mea culpa from dancer and actress Maddie Ziegler, who you may remember as the crazy dancing kid from those Sia music videos like “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart.” She’s really really sorry, everybody:

There are a few videos some of you have seen from when I was about 9 years old where I thought it was funny to mock people and accents. I’m honestly ashamed and I’m truly sorry for my actions. The decisions I made then are absolutely not decisions I would make today. What I thought was silly humor when I was younger I know was actually ignorant and racially insensitive. We have all made mistakes in our lives and as we grow up we educate ourselves and learn to be better people.

Growing up in the public eye has its challenges and also comes with the responsibility to set a good example which I failed to do in these videos. I hope you will forgive me and also hope you realize I have in fact grown up and would never act this way now.

Here’s why she’s apologizing:

That’s it. That’s what all the fuss is about. What just happened here is that a bunch of people harangued a child for some videos she made when she was in fourth grade, and they humiliated her until she begged for forgiveness.

Hey, here’s a thing that you might not like to hear even though it’s true: Asian people often sound funny to non-Asian people! And non-Asian people often sound funny to Asian people. Different cultures are different. Sometimes those differences are humorous. Joking about it can be racist, but it’s not necessarily racist. Does anybody really think this prepubescent dance kid was a budding Hitler or Robert Byrd or something?

No, people are just bored because they can’t leave the house, and harassing famous people passes the time. I mean, our dying newspapers are still writing “news” stories about a grocery store with products named “Trader Ming’s,” as if it’s somehow an actual problem. Accusations of racism alleviate the tedium of daily life, I guess.

And this is coming from somebody whose cultural identity used to be appropriated every March 17 with debauched parades and street vomiting, back when we could still have parades and public drunkenness. That’s what people think being Irish means. It’s not racist if it’s true!

Speaking as a person who is Old Now — not as old as Biden, but still younger than Trump — I’m sure glad we didn’t have Internet-enabled camera phones when I was a kid. You shouldn’t hold a nine-year-old kid accountable for being dumb and irresponsible, but it’s a lot easier now that everybody’s putting themselves on the public record 24/7. Sooner or later, that funny video you made to crack up your friends is going to come back to haunt you.

(Hat tip: Amanda Prestigiacomo)