Wednesday, August 26, 2020

What T1J says about cancel culture



It's not helpful that Republican leaders have now added to the repertoire that "social media criticism of Republicans = cancel culture", but just because they're being brainless doesn't mean we should act similarly.

T1J's, somewhat muddled, middle-of-the-road position kind of matches my own, so here it is.

The one thing I'll disagree with is that he attempts a crisp definition of "cancelling" to be completely silencing someone or getting them fired. I think it's broader than that, but also not necessarily a bad thing. JK Rowling still has a platform, but she doesn't have the same ability to reach out and communicate on LGBTQ issues that she did before - and she doesn't deserve the same platform she had before. Richard Dawkins also has less reach, but in his case I'm not so sure the cancelling is deserved.

It's complicated. Anyway, T1J is right, saying people shouldn't be jerks and that should guide their behavior.

(Adding here that the above is Brian's opinion - Eli and John may feel differently on cancelling, the Harper's letter, etc.)



Brian ought to invest a little more energy in defending and upholding the First Amendment, thanks to which he enjoys by right the same platfom he had before he traduced Rowling and Dawkins right to theirs.

Cue scolds brandishing torches, pitchforks in defense of their right to dislike other parts of the Bill of Rights

Barton Paul Levenson said...

TCW doesn't get the difference between the government censoring things, which is all and only what the First Amendment applies to, and people criticizing things they don't agree with on private platforms, which the First Amendment has nothing to say about.


Apart from embodying a deep disdain for comity and civility, acts of Cancelling harm individuals without due process of law as surely as something Constitutionally damned as nefarious:

Bills of Attainder.

Snape said...

would you describe a boycott as an act of cancelling?

If I went into a restaurant and found it decorated with MAGA propaganda, I’d turn around and leave - an individual boycott. Enough customers like me and the restaurant may have to close.

I would not, however, support the government shutting it down.

Snape said...

Whoops.... TCW


Snapes, get back to me when the MAGA hat wearing classes get proportional representation on PBS..

By collapsing the bandwidth of cultural communication, public radio and cable TV have become the nightly beau ideal of how to enable political polarization -- and Fox News--, by combining contempt for popular culture with craven acceptance of the cultural authority of post Structuralist Theory and politics.

It is hard to exaggerate the impudence of public media that in denial pf their own polarization, presuming that because they applaud the left, the center must as well.

Snape said...

I asked a straightforward question, “would you describe a boycott as an act of cancelling?”

How come getting an answer depends on what happens at PBS??

“Snapes, get back to me when the MAGA hat wearing classes get proportional representation on PBS.”

Fernando Leanme said...


"The one thing I'll disagree with is that he attempts a crisp definition of "cancelling" to be completely silencing someone or getting them fired."

Maybe you can set up a system to partially silencing individuals. For example you could allow them to wear a hat with the words "Make America Great" and leave out the Again? Or have your energetic BLM youth scream at restaurant goers who refuse to make their commie salute from the proper social distance instead of getting in their faces to infect them with the wuhan virus?



"I asked a straightforward question, “would you describe a boycott as an act of cancelling?”

A badly and rhetorially posed question, better posed to to those deprived of their livelyhood by the Cancell Culture you so zealously refuse to acknowledge

Nathan said...


"A badly and rhetorially posed question"

Umm looked like a pretty straightforward, non-rhetorical question to me.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

TCW doubles down on the stupid:

"Bills of Attainder."

It takes a legislature to pass bills, TCW. Again, the First Amendment does not regulate what private citizens do, it regulates what the government does.


"It takes a legislature to pass bills"
indeed it does, but the courts can stike down unconstitutional legislation .

As an act of collective retribution undertaken without legislative sanction, a Twitter dogpile demanding the cancelation of a corporate employee is itself toutside the law, and public objections to such acts of private revenge go back to Magna Carta.

When will the Cancel Culture bobbleheads realize that they do wrong relative to the Bill of Rights when they try to outlaw people because they don't like what they say ?

Snape said...

To me, the tactics in ‘cancel culture’ are a way for people to work out their differences without resorting to violence or government regulation. That’s a good thing.

Case in point, Ted Cruz said,
“I am so ready to be be in on this year’s #Mavericks home stretch: so much promise, so much personality,” he wrote. “But the minute one player kneels during the anthem, I am OUT.”

That’s perfectly fair. The players are protesting something they don’t like. The Senator, by walking out, is protesting something he doesn’t like.

The Founder’s would have been fine, too. What they feared was an overreaching government:

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country,"
- Trump

Brian said...

I think TCW has a point that mass private "cancelling" or boycotting or whatever you want to call it can have an effect on people's lives that's kind of like some of the lighter levels of government oppression, but TCW is wrong to label it as a 1St Amendment violation - it's just not (and yes IAAL).

A mass boycott that shut down a restaurant that expressed odious opinions is cancelling IMO and probably justified. The three signers of the Harpers letter who clearly ran away in fear were also responding to cancelling and it's not justified. This is what I mean by taking the middle of the road position.

I can see some overlap between cancelling and microaggressions as concepts and as effects on people.

And re MAGA - if you can construct a non-dishonest(?), non-racist(?) version of MAGA, go ahead and put it on PBS.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

TCW doubles down on the stupid AGAIN:

TCW: When will the Cancel Culture bobbleheads realize that they do wrong relative to the Bill of Rights when they try to outlaw people because they don't like what they say ?

BPL: They do nothing relative to the Bill of Rights at all. You have no idea what the Bill of Rights says or what it's about. Stop citing the Bill of Rights until you've read it.


My condolences to Brian & BPL if their recent social reconstruction, like that of The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, leads them to think in epithets about those with whom they refuse to agree to to disagree.

The problems that arose from unanimity about deep structures in Geneva in the 1520's , Boston in the 1650's, Paris in the 1790's and Beijing in the 1960's are being recaptitulated yet again.

As to red baseball caps, mine still reads MAKE THE AMERICA'S CUP GREAT AGAIN

Bob Loblaw said...

We interrupt the regularly-scheduled program to bring you an XKCD cartoon...


Thanks for the XKCD strip Bob.

As you can see--

I partially agree.

Ken Fabian said...

There always was a nasty, ugly side to vigilante naming, shaming and picketing - and having an app for it doesn't help. But a Left led conspiracy for suppressing Right leaning free speech and undermining democracy and the rule of law? I don't see that; it looks fundamentally non-partisan, even where partisan groups will - not surprisingly - pile in and pile on. That capacity for a social media mob to proliferate so fast is new but - like a physical mob - grows without any need for fact checking or weighing of evidence; someone said it so that can be good enough.

Of course it can hurt people but what I see a variant of arguing PC is a Left led conspiracy for suppressing Right leaning free speech - as a meme and theme for attacking and delegitimising anyone that disagrees them ("social media criticism of Republicans = cancel culture", yes) - a sector that, curiously, gets abundant media access and coverage - through media organisations that don't hesitate to call for "cancelling" anyone and everyone who disagrees with them. People could wake up to news vans outside and aggressive "reporters" in full vigilante mode, calling for apologies, firing, arrest - but we didn't call that "cancel culture" or think it was a Left conspiracy.

We don't get FOX News in Australia but we have a lookalike (WIN TV); they are clearly not having their ( often repugnant) views suppressed in any way I can see. Our one and only national newspaper is a loss making flagship of Conservative Right partisan reporting and commentary - existing primarily for the political ends of it's owner. Criticism of our (much more trusted than them) pubic broadcasting network, for failing to shut up about stuff like climate change or human rights and for presenting (widely held) views they disagree with as if they were actually legitimate is routine and unfettered.

I fail to see this alleged suppression of free speech.

William M. Connolley said...

I agree with Brian that the video is muddled. I don't think that's a virtue, though. The intro, which appears to minimise the problem by saying "we're been here before", is foolish; yes, we've been here before, which is a sign of a recurring problem. That's why it keeps coming up.

The main problem is probably a first amendment one, in that the worst excesses appear to happen in universities, and so do amount to govt action.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Wow, TCW thinks Watts Up With That is a good source! Why am I not surprised?


BPL, VV is not a W .

I can't think why you'd diasprove of a blog lampooning Watts as much as one defending civil liberties . but here's your chance to explain.


I hope this link to my version of the strip works better than the first

Snape said...

I lIke to give both sides of an issue a fair shot. This is how I would pose your argument:

Let’s say someone’s homophobic rant is posted on twitter and goes viral. It is then reported that the individual works as a cashier at Suzy’s market, Athens, Ga. Suzy, worried the negative publicity will harm her business, quickly fires the offensive employee. Big picture? Better stay quiet if your POV is unpopular.

When we fear losing our jobs for speaking our minds, freedom of speech is effectively undermined. In this case by the free market rather than the government.


Will some bunny fix/repost my link please- blogspot is having a 32 byte Safari snit, and my new mac is in the shop

Brian said...

TCW - your last link works fine as a cut-and-paste. I've shamefully never mastered hot links here in the comment section.