Cancel Culture

What is it? Is it a real thing?

It’s basically this:

Cancel culture is the free market at work, which is supposedly what the conservatives always wanted. But when it’s actually at work, and working against them, it’s SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM/MARXISM STOMPING ALL OVER THEIR RIGHTS TO BE RACIST ASSHOLES TOWARD OTHERS.

I thought “cancel culture” was when someone (usually a streamer, lately, haha) said or did something super gross or racist or just awful and everyone shed light on it to get them to stop being a thing. Like Kevin Spacey is an example that just came to mind. Or is this something bad? Because at least most of the examples I keep thinking of turned out to be good uses of cancelling someone. Like Cosby.

In general, I think anyone who talks about “cancel culture” un-ironically is someone who is afraid of being held to account for things he or she says in public.

However, there is a dark side of the phenomenon. These days people are very quick to jump on bandwagons, and more than once the wrong person has been identified from some video of a person saying something terrible, accused, and run through a ringer. It’s a dangerous path.

Also tied to this, but something I think is a different topic, is the #metoo movement, and people feeling uncomfortable with someone who is accused of misdeads via a single tweet or Medium post getting fired and ostracized socially. That too is a nuanced conversation.

What “cancel culture” means very much depends on who you talk to. For folks on the left, it means using the pressure of social and media campaigns to push out racists, misogynists, homophobes, etc. For those on the right, it means a mob of “woke” activists punishing people who made simple mistakes or maybe even did nothing wrong, but was simply misinterpreted as bad.

As with most things, the answer is somewhere in the middle. It’s good to have leverage against those who are otherwise protected by the wealth/status/etc. But when someone gets fired or run out of town for a misinterpretation or misunderstanding (intentional or not), there’s no real way to push back against that mob mentality. Ideally, we’d have a justice system that actually works for everyone, and then there would be no need for the kind of grass-roots social pressure that cancel culture brings.

Keep in mind, these are people who think shouting “JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US” at a rally is no big deal and that any attempt to “cancel” those who do is just PC culture run wild.

One thing that I’m reminded of, over and over again, is for many people, being ‘cancelled’ is just self inflicted wounds. Twitter is not your friend, and don’t say anything unless you 100% are behind it.

“Talk less, smile more” is always sound advice, no matter which character in Hamilton says it.

There’s plenty of that, especially in the Fox News and Brietbarts of the world. But there’s also the guy who got fired for making the OK hand symbol, not knowing that racists also used it. It only takes a few examples of that nature to convince a whole lot of people that “cancel culture” has indeed run wild. Personally, I don’t think we’ve gotten to that point, but I can see where those who do are coming from.

And the reality is somewhere in the middle.

I don’t mean the piling on for clearly malignant intent if it was only words- Amy Cooper trying to execute a black birdwatcher by cop deserves everything she gets. Mike Lofthouse being racist to an Asian family in a restaurant … fuck that guy. I love to punch a fascist as much as the next guy.

My mate’s gran using an out of date term when referring a homosexual or Benedict Cumberbatch chooses the wrong words not so much.

I do have limits on free speech (#notmyfirstamendment) if you turn up to tell me what a great dude Mengele, while tattoed with swatstikas and firing off Heil Hilter, salutes you can sod right off. If you want to run a seminar on how ‘5 year olds are really mature and are just asking for it’ I’d have other ideas.

The limits of free speech that many people seem to be accepting now are pretty much anything that doesn’t align perfectly with a very specific world view should be ‘de-platformed’ so it can’t be heard.

It’s very easy to point to examples in the trans arena where people or groups have been disinvited to events, attempted to get people sacked and more general for having a different view. It doesn’t stop there though.

Kate Smurthwaite Deplatofrmed from a comedy gig about free speech. Kate is a pretty right on, left-wing, feminist comedian who just happens to support the legalisation of prostitution.

It just gives the right something to beat the left over the head with and point to demonstrate outrage. As somebody firmly from the left it just plays in their hands.

If somebody want to talk bollocks about the lasting legacy of Ayn Rand I think they should be able to just don’t force me to listen to it.

There isn’t any new ‘cancel culture’. There is simply the same behavior that human beings have engaged in since the dawn of time and that in-groups have used to persecute heretics and out-group members. Now that heretics and out-group members have the numbers and the capability to turn the tables, in-group members don’t like and decry it.

Similarly if someone chooses to use their venue and prestige to give a platform to Milo, then it is my right to use my voice to say I will not support that organization.

Legally they have the right to invite Milo. I also have the right to say that any place that would invite Milo is not a place I will associate or do business with. If they, after having seen the backlash, decide that having Milo come speak is not in their best interests, then this is simply the marketplace of ideas speaking.

You are right. It is just that the super gross, racists and just awful people started whining about it and tried to lash out at the “injustice of it all” by slapping a glib label on it - as they did a couple decades ago with “Political Correctness”.

And the social media to make it known. Don’t forget the weapon being used.

EDIT: I suppose that is what you meant by “capability”.

I do think part of the current practice of seeing, hearing or reading something about someone and instantly demanding their head has led to some people being pilloried for no reason. Nobody waits for the evidence, they just dive in based on emotion. That is how social media works. You can see it here from time to time.

I think this is true, so it’s more common than in bygone days. On the other hand, it’s probably far less fatal. Getting shouted at on twitter isn’t really like being lynched, no matter that some people claim they have been lynched.

AHHHHH!!! Free speech means that the state will not put limits on speech. It does not mean that you can’t criticize speech with more speech and association. In fact it means precisely the opposite of that.

I am slightly bothered by the people who do something Monday, get attacked on social media Tuesday, and are out of a job on Wednesday. But I also get the feeling most of those people probably aren’t big at work anyway because most are dumped really fast.

I think examples of this happening are very rare and are highlighted by people who want to use “cancel culture” as a political bludgeon against liberals.

OTOH, if I were to tell a racist joke at work or send an unsolicited dick-pic to a colleague, I have no doubt I’d be looking for another job within hours. Is that something to lament? We establish those norms precisely to obtain a civil culture. And now people are trying to pretend that criticism of flaunting those norms is a collapse of civil culture?