A Guilty Conscience Need Not Be Cancelled

Created by Tehillah Hinds, The Pitch 2022

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Nathan Wilson, and his overbearing mum, are excited about his first day of teaching. Unfortunately, his form is disruptive, and quick to judge and ridicule outsiders. They are affluent yet lack compassion. Alex is the arrogant leader, who enjoys shaming girls of a lower class, who are deemed slutty from rumours of them sleeping around. His successful witch-hunts result in girls being socially ‘cancelled’, and further ostracised. When he plots to spread incriminating pictures of Jessica, Mr Wilson overhears and scrambles for a way to avert this and encourage compassion. During lunchtime supervision, Mr Wilson is privy to other student’s unfavourable behaviours, such as secret bulimia and stealing. He also finds out that Alex is hiding his immigrant family history from xenophobic friends. Later, when Alex tries to ambush Jessica in the afternoon form time, Mr Wilson speaks up. He explains that everyone has secrets and shames that they wouldn’t want to be spread around to pull them down, and so that same understanding and grace should be extended to others. He lightly alludes to the few student secrets he knows, and those in the know are quick to agree with him and back off of Jessica; including Alex.

Biblical Connection

I am using John 8; the woman caught in adultery, and about to be stoned by Pharisees before Jesus says that only those without sin can stone her. I have modernised the story using judgmental and affluent teenagers as Pharisees, Jessica as the women, and Mr Wilson as the compassionate saviour. He uses this as an opportunity to teach grace, rather than condemn secret shames. To further contextualise the story, it touches on ‘cancel culture’ and deliberate witch-hunts to tear people down. Our society and social media platforms can be a hotbed of self-righteous opinions, and polarising words that only insight more hate than help the situation. This story touches on this, as Alex does not want to promote good morals as his rhetoric would suggest, but wants to perpetuate racial/class stereotypes, and condemn others to make him feel superior. Furthermore, my story draws out the double standard of how men and women are treated towards sexual accountability. Unlike the original text, the man in adultery is named and praised amongst his peers; including Alex. Instead, Mr Wilson encourages reflection on the quality and not the quantity of relationships, and the accountability men need in sexual activity.