On the cancelling of comedians, culturally appropriated soup and racist donuts
Can we stop pretending this is a problem on both the right and the left. This problem in its modern form has been created by progressives. Interestingly it is probably worse for progressives because they care more about what other progressives think. I think the only reason the NYT and other progressive outlets have started to even acknowledge it is because the revolution is devouring its young and they all feel threatened by what they have created.
Tara, thank you for addressing this topic.
Now, to something that may well see me cancelled.
I very respectfully submit that a lot - I mean a real lot - of this cancel culture comes from the leftish side of things. Not everything, of course, not by any stretch, but real lot of it is leftish.
There, I have said it.
Now, for a couple of stupid - my word - examples.
You will recall that we had a bout with Covid over the last few years. There were some folks who said Covid was not serious, was not really a thing. I thought them daft (a very polite term, to be sure) and I simply did not pay attention to them. There were, however, some folks, including medical professionals who were very thoughtful and mentioned some treatments that might be useful in addition to those that the mainstream establishment were requiring. Many of those medical professionals were forced to keep quiet after some of them lost licenses to practice, etc. My point is that, in addition to the "leftish" folks who dearly love cancel culture, there were the mainstream folks who felt forced to keep to the established narrative.
Oh, yeah, I read in the newspaper now that some of the latest "treatments" include some of the things that were put forth by those previously cancelled and prevented from speaking out.
Another example: the religion of climate change. You can, if you wish, openly criticize, say, the Catholic Church, the Mormon faith, even the Muslim faith [if you are TERRIFICALLY careful] but you cannot question the church of climate change. It used to be called global warming but, I guess, the globe is no longer warming; just changing.
Anyway, do you know anyone who has questioned the assertion that "97% of all scientists" support the notion [they say "science"] of global warming / climate change, whatever? Track it back and it is a terrifically interesting example of how an assertion is made but cannot be discussed.
If you wish to discuss climate change, etc. you can do so - but only in an approved and approving fashion. You cannot ask uncomfortable questions about it, obvious contradictions, etc. My point is that unlike pretty much any other scientific hypothesis / theory, it cannot be discussed in a way that challenges the orthodoxy.
There are a lot of examples of cancel culture.
I thank you for your essay on this topic. Cancel culture is very widespread [an opinion, to be sure] and is difficult to deal with. But we must. I have the right to not listen to something that offends me and contradicts my opinions; I have the right to do so but I do it at my peril because it precludes me from the possibility of learning something that I didn't previously know - perhaps, even, something that supports my idea!
This is a balanced, thorough and thoughtful appraisal of a deeply disturbing trend. I only wish more people on the Left had the courage to speak out against it.
There is something troubling on my mind today that seems in some way related to this general topic of cancelling out or censuring opinions and positions that are not condoned by the ruling ideologists of today. I’m not a huge sports fan, but in the one sport that interests me and I follow, which is tennis, there are some disturbing developments taking place. I won’t even get into the shameful debacle at the Australian Open in January where the number one men’s player, Novak Djokovic, was disallowed from competing because he wasn’t vaccinated, even though he had an exemption and also had natural immunity. Now the Russian invasion of Ukraine is becoming a political issue with the sport, as Russian players (including the now men’s number 1, Deniil Medvedev) and Belarusian players (e.g., Victoria Azarenka) can no longer play for their countries and their flags are disallowed at tournaments. What’s more, to be able to compete at Wimbledon, they must publicly denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is getting really ridiculous, in my opinion. We used to talk about the separation of state and religion, but now it seems the state wants to interfere in every aspect of life, insisting that people follow the rules they dictate or else suffer the consequences.
Tara, thanks for posting your excellent The Globe and Mail article. It’s a rich collection of viewpoints and commentary on the cancel culture movement.
In the United States, most of the book "bannings" have been done by Leftist/Progressive forces. What the conservative side restricted was the removal of books felt to be age-inappropriate from school libraries. Currently being banned are books like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, due to racial themes or language and again, these are from school libraries and reading lists.
In the US, it is impossible to actually ban a book, but you can make it difficult to distribute. Amazon and Target have removed books from their inventories due to the content not matching their corporate cultures. These books could be obtained elsewhere fairly easily.
At least this has been true in my lifetime (I'm pretty old). The days of the Scopes Monkey trial have long past, though I recall in the '60s some residual religious fundamentalists still stirring that pot.
Where book banning comes to play is a book not being published, or even written. This restriction is owned by the Left. The profound impact on our culture reverberates globally. We are a smaller country for it.
“Many on the right, for all their braying about cancel culture, have embraced an even more extreme version of censoriousness as a bulwark against a rapidly changing society, with laws that would ban books, stifle teachers and discourage open discussion in classrooms.”
The is great cognitive dissonance here in this attempt to be politically fair in cancel culture criticism. The ugly and dangerous real cancel culture is that it fronts a political agenda of the campus indoctrinated 3rd wave postmodernists “critical social justice theory” disciples. This extreme left woke agenda has been mainstreamed, even Biden follows it, and thus it infests the power structure of the country. It isn’t just Twitter, but the Democrat machine and it’s corporate connections. It is abuse of power against individuals that speak out in opposition to this power cabal.
The grassroots moves of parents to have a say in public education curriculum and content is in fact free speech rights in progress. It is the opposite of cancel culture as it is a rejection of the pushed material of woke ideology. It is also democratic.
Civil unrest happens when food consumes around %50 of an individual/family budget.
Thanks for sharing Tara. I had heard some in the Squamish rock climbing community we’re hard core but racist donuts? They’ve really fallen into lunacy.
I’d just like to comment on the quality of Ms Henley’s writing. Pretty nicely crafted.
I appreciate the bit on cancel culture. I am the ex-wife of a man who says not only that he is a woman, but that he's the mother of our children. His rage at me for being truly female is immense. He's turned our grown sons against me, with the cancellation mode. He adopted that way back in the 1990s, when he cancelled his own grandmother, who came from Kiev, a refugee of anti-Semitic progroms. She never met her great grandsons. My memoir, which also contains happy motherhood and daughterhood moments, is coming out next 5-10 days. In the Curated Woods: True Tales from a Grass Widow by Ute Heggen, containing 50 nature photos. uteheggengrasswidow.wordpress.com ebook will be inexpensive
Sarah Hepola is despicable and cowardly. If I thought my writing that were going to harm her career in any way, I would not write it. But it won't. She knows it. I'm nobody, and I hate Twitter mobs. Hepola is a "cool girl" Handmaid who basically just whined about how afraid she was to direct any actual challenges to those in power, failed to make any direct challenges to those in power, and threw a brave rape victim (Chanel Miller) under the bus instead.
Chanel Miller, JK Rowling, Chimimanda Ngozi, Adichie, and you are brave.
Hepola is a pandering careerist pretending she wants to brave someday.
That day has long since passed.
She's staying firmly in the Safe Zone.