In some areas, silence is our most effective tool.
I say this as an extremely extroverted Enneagram 8, which means I’m basically a megaphone with legs.
But over the years, I’ve learned the power of silence.
For this reason, I don’t jump on public boycotting bandwagons.
There’s actually good evidence that loud, social-media-fueled boycotts don’t work; in fact, they often prove counterproductive. This is especially true in the entertainment industry.
As Andy Crouch points out in his book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, prominent protests actually fuel the box office by increasing visibility for controversial projects.
Boycotts generate headlines, drive publicity, and dominate the news cycle of a culture that generally doesn’t care about specific moral critiques and can easily move on to enjoy victory when such projects inevitably do well.
Which is why instead of joining boycotts, here’s what I do with projects I can’t support.
I give them silence.
Because I know a secret.
Silence is the death knell of creative endeavor.
Speaking as a writer myself, I’d much rather my work be hotly contested than met with the awkward chirping of crickets.
So instead of boycotting the bad, I invite you to join me in investing your energy in boosting the best the culture has to offer.
Shine a light on what matters.
You can do this whether you’re actively creating or consuming; and as the world opens back up post-pandemic, you’ll discover increased opportunities to flip the script on your cultural engagement.
When a truly good film comes out, go see it. Invite friends along. Go out for a meal afterward and pull creative threads together over some good food.
Pour out some drinks and participate in guided discussions surrounding your favorite stories.
Post reviews of your favorite books to help boost their visibility. Ask your library to add them to the collection. Ensure community access.
Go to live shows. Laugh, clap, sing along, and cheer.
Support your favorite artists, speakers, and public thinkers. Back them with your words and your capital. Thank them for their investment of time, energy, and creativity. Don’t assume your appreciation is taken for granted. Trust me, it’s not.
Play good music, and play it loudly with the windows down, yodeling along as best you can.
Celebrate your local community’s arts scene, lending your support at the grass-roots level.
Never stop recommending your favorites.
This is the beauty of art and culture: everyone can be involved, and your active and vocal companionship along the way has the potential to amp up your favorite creators’ wattage exponentially.
Let’s participate in building a thriving culture—one that celebrates life, light, and truth.
Let’s shine a light on what matters.