Beautiful discussion of these issues (especially in relation to literature) in Chimamanda Adichie's Reith lecture:


My take on the lecture and related issues:


Thank you, as always.

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Nov 12Liked by Tara Henley

I'm reading a book now that might be of interest to Tara and others - Michel Houellebecq's 'Submission;'. It's definitely vibing with what is going on in the world right now in regards to the demonstrations we're seeing all around the West.

I enjoyed the piece in Fairer Disputations and it reflected a lot of what I have been seeing out there ever since about 2016 starting with the shitty media list and me too.

Hilarious that we've finally reached peak ridiculousness when Amy Poehler is playing a Kathleen Hannaesque Riot GRRRLLL. Freddie DeBoer had some interesting thoughts on this last week.

Thanks again Tara.

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Rebels without a clue!! In other words they are not rebels. They still think they are rebels, but they are not poking fun at the ‘establishment’. They are not pointing out the hypocrisy. They’ve chosen a political side and as long as that ‘side’ is in power they keep their mouths shut not realizing their ‘art’ suffers.

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"The Guardian calls Moxie “a forthright but fun #MeToo drama,” while Variety praises it for its “refreshingly inclusive political values.” This should tell you all you need to know."

That really is the crux of the problem. If you want your art to receive positive critical/media buzz, it has to meet a 'woke quota'. And if you offend woke sensibilities, the art critics will universally pan anything you touch (I'll bet money JK Rowling's books get trashed by critics across the board, and in the comedy world look no further than the audience score/critics score disconnects for Dave Chappelle vs. Hannah Gadsby).

Critical praise is seen as a pathway to commercial success, so artists (and their patrons) have a vested interest in locking down praise by meeting the woke quota.

As it happens, this phenomenon of critics evaluating art based on its perceived political themes rather than artistic merit first appeared in the world of video games. Complaints about it ended up getting referred to as Gamergate, and written off as a right-wing conspiracy theory. Well, turns out the Gamergaters were right all along, and now the trend has metastasized from video games to movies, books, music, comedy, and pretty much every artistic medium you can think of.

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Most everything wrong today is because of toxic feminism.

I am sorry, but there is no evidence in our historical record of any successful and long-lived society that was dominated by females. Maybe one day, but we have not evolved yet to understand how society should work... how everyone should behave... in this model of angry, pass-aggressive, covert narcissist girl bosses running the world. They are destroying everything good in their pursuit of power, attention and likes.

I am 100% supportive of equality. I recognize them as the enemy of good and am willing and able to do battle real man to feminist. Fuck their victim defense. They want a seat at the table of power and control?.. then learn to act like they deserve it!

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Hi Tara. Reading through your piece, it is striking that even countervailing views are included based on how credentialed they are by the elite power structure (proximity to universities, institutions and governments). You are stuck inside a structure that you're instinctively fighting against, while still deriving your "power" from that same structure. It's a losing battle. The bureaucracy will always defend itself. All your opinions, references, friends, acquaintances come from that same slice of university educated, name dropping, proximity status crowd. The art sucks because your entire world (a small but hegemonic slice of the population of Canada and the US) won't allow it. Until you venture outside of your circular world, I suspect that you'll be gripped by despair. I like your writing, and identify with your internal struggles. I hope you're able to move past that world. The outside is better.

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Maybe those chemical trails I keep hearing about are full of silly powder designed to make us regress to age nine.

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Oh crap, just when I had almost convinced myself that the problem of cancel culture is not a problem at all but the natural evolution of critical theory circa 1980, you plunge me right back in. No one expected critical thinking to become broad-based, diluted or distorted.

It was always dangerous, but in a hypothetical way. Without victims. It was an elite antidote to the left-right centrism that did too little on the big issues. And now? It's morphed into a crazy dangerous style, like exploding bellbottoms.

But I don't think we can roll back. ("Resistance is futile.") Until and unless the terrorists are prosecuted and made to actually pay for the careers they are destroying, creatives can only keep their heads down. Which maybe is not the worst thing. What are "we" doing defending mass media spectacle in the name of "freedom" anyway? Is our elite criticality that bankrupt?

I liked what you had to say recently in the preamble to the Munk Debate piece, can we find a third way? A new ideology? Like, say, dialectical materialism?

Perhaps the problem is not cancel culture per se but the underlying social media that make it possible. There oughta be a law. :)

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