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Cancel culture is the mirco level of what is happening in many parts of our online culture.  The macro: group dynamics, power dynamics, and class are what drive the process.  As critical thinkers and active citizens we need to be aware of both levels and how they interact and form the popular social currents in our society.

The most often suggested tonic to cancel culture is free speech.  I tend to agree with that proviso, but I would add that free speech is not enough to guarantee a social dynamic that is immune from the ravages of cancel culture.  Free speech must be coupled with a citizenry that has the wherewithal to think deeply about issues and be capable of frank analysis of the positions and arguments that they make, otherwise the utility of free speech becomes decidedly limited.

People have to be able to agree to listen to each other for free speech to work as we imagine it should.  Yelling at each other from ideological fortresses accomplishes nothing.

I would suggest that the ability to compromise is one of the key ingredients that is required to make a society that values liberty and freedom work.   There is a great deal of work to do in this regard as the barriers in place, as described by the JSTOR article, enumerates.  Overcoming cancel culture will involve not only improving our own critical faculties, but also helping others make that very same transition.

 

 

“Perhaps more than anything else, cancel culture will be seen as an intrinsic part of life lived publicly in this decade, with the downfall of powerful Hollywood producers, racist and sexist comedians, white supremacists, and clueless corporations left in its wake. Cancel culture, not unlike cyberbullying, has also had its more “innocent” victims, ordinary citizens who said the unacceptable thing in a public forum. Is the destructive power of cancel culture too much?

Many perceive this phenomenon of cancelling as a very new and scary thing that young people do, so much so that they’re ready to cancel the whole thing. Even Barack Obama weighed in on it recently, cautioning young people not to be overly critical and judgmental, as though the very idea of “cancelling” must always wrong and unreasonable, regardless of what is being criticized or how problematic it may be. Obama’s negative reactions to this kind of power being wielded by a groups that are relatively powerless, as an establishment figure (no matter how benevolently he presents himself), are perhaps not unusual.

The social psychologist John Drury shows that the discourse around crowds, collectives, and people power have historically been problematic and negative, revealing the class biases and political ideologies of those commentators who describe them. Communities and crowds out of step with societal norms are often presented as something to be feared, and this is something many of us internalize. Crowds are scary. Even as we speak, there’s civil unrest, protests, demonstrations, and strikes happening all around the world, for a myriad of different reasons, in a decade that began with the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street protests. These movements have not often been described in flattering terms.

The kind of language that’s used to talk about groups of people assembled together—or their collective actions seeking to change the status quo—often maligns communities as irrational, “mobs” or “rioters” with uncontrolled, invalid emotions, a kind of faceless contagion that presents a threat to civilized, law-abiding society and the ruling establishment. As Drury points out, this language systematically delegitimizes the aims of these collectives as being trivial, if not dangerous:

If the crowd is pathologized and criminalized, then its behaviour is not meaningful. There can therefore be no rational dialogue with it. Since the crowd is not part of the democratic process, it is legitimate and even necessary to suppress it with the full force of the state.

No one could argue that it’s pleasant to be at the bottom of a pile on, virtual or not. It’s true that people can band together for the wrong reasons, but, funnily enough, they can also band together for very good reasons. Cancelling someone, in terms of public shaming, or shunning, or just being criticized, is, again, nothing new, though it is arguably different in how quickly and severely it can happen online. The English professor Jodie Nicotra points out that such a thing has always been a part of community life and, in fact, a part of building and maintaining a community’s values. Whenever people have deviated from the norm, there have been public acts of shaming, from the scarlet letters or village stocks of Puritan life to the ritual public head shavings of thousands of French women who were suspected of fraternizing with German soldiers in World War II.

Cancel culture is, on the one hand, less severe than these acts of public shaming, because it is mostly linguistic and communicative. On the other hand, it can seem more extreme, because unlike these historical events of past shaming, it’s unconstrained by geographical space and can involve large numbers of people in what can become an unrelenting personal attack. And that certainly can have unintended repercussions. Because social media, especially Twitter, is loosely joined together by a network of weak ties, it actually makes it easier for new, especially negative information, such as rumors or criticisms or even fake news, to spread quickly. It’s not constrained by closely linked social circles where information eventually stops spreading after repeatedly being shared by multiple people.”

   I’ve been hearing more about ‘Cancel Culture’ and recently found this article by Meghan Murphy giving her ideas on what Cancel Culture is and how it is affecting the popular discourse.

It would seem that the built in distance within Social Media has given rise to some deleterious effects that are working their way through the larger culture outside of social media.  The willingness to engage with others that do hold your opinions is diminishing and while the tendency to punitively ostracize others is on the rise.  The overall effect is to coarsen discourse and make communicating ideas much more difficult.

 

“Cancel culture” is a sort of addiction: the addict — outraged members of the public demanding someone’s humiliation and “cancellation” — gets a high, but only temporarily, and the desire creeps back once again and must be fed.

Yet this type of public ostracism is not exactly like other addictions — food, drugs, pornography, shopping or gambling – which involve private behaviours, albeit connected to social problems. Most addictions are about an individual escaping from some kind of pain or trying to fill an endless hole inside of them. Cancel culture is very much about public behaviour — a display of anger, power and virtue — as well as the self-loathing and emptiness in all addictions.

No healthy, secure person invests that much time and energy into destroying other people’s lives. No happy, fulfilled human enjoys seeing others – strangers – ruined, ostracised and vilified. Unless we are purely targeting violent, evil or dangerous individuals… but, of course, this is almost never the case. We target comedians, politicians, writers, friends, fellow activists, co-workers and former comrades. In a terrified frenzy, we look for any excuse — a verbal blunder, a politically incorrect opinion, a tacky 20-year-old Aladdin costume…

While Justin Trudeau — the wokest of leaders — may well be many things, I don’t believe he is a racist. No one does. While black or brownface is indeed racist, Trudeau’s poor costume choices two decades ago do not reflect who he is today: a boring, phony, political coward.

Plenty of things that seemed acceptable or funny 20 years ago are not today. And people change. I mean, 20 years ago, I was wearing a white pleather mini skirt and a mesh animal print tank top, reciting every lyric to “I’m a player”. And I just cannot wait for someone to dredge up all of our old Halloween costumes. (I must have co-opted dominatrix culture at least three years in a row. All you Pocahontases better have your CVs ready.

The worst thing about cancel culture is not even its attacks on others – it’s that the whole thing is a lie. I don’t believe that anyone thought, deep down, that they were better than Justine Sacco who infamously lost her job for a tweet. They just didn’t make the mistake of trying to be funny on Twitter, in a culture that would prefer not to take a joke.

I don’t believe that anyone thinks Kevin Hart is a homophobe, or that Al Franken is a dangerous predator. And I definitely don’t believe they think Sarah Silverman is a racist.

Cancel culture doesn’t actually want accountability. It doesn’t want an apology. It doesn’t want a conversation. It doesn’t even want the world to be safe from truly dangerous people or ideas. What it wants is to feel that boot on someone else’s neck – perhaps in order to avoid the boot itself.

What is the purpose, after all, of demanding an apology, only to say the apology isn’t good enough? (And the apology is never good enough.) What is the point of saying you want accountability, when no redemption is available? Do we want change or do we want flagellation?

The truth is that many people get off on sadistic, herd-like practices that thrive on platforms like Twitter. Who can be the angriest, the most righteous, and the most devout in their hatred of the Wrong? Who would Never Do Such A Thing, never mind think it?

I don’t think racist or homophobic comments are harmless, but I do think that we prefer punishment over change. And if we truly wanted people to understand other’s hurt and to change their behaviour, we wouldn’t write them off for life.”

It is sad to see people who are so far out to lunch they would rather ban Meghan Murphy from the Toronto Public Library than make an argument against her.  This bullshit is happening in Canada and it fucking sucks.

The woke twitter outrage is real. 

Next, the baseless accusation of Transphobia.  Expect this particular scarlet epithet to be hurled when it is clear that people won’t sit down, shut-up and blithely accept the unreality that is gender-self id and transactivist ideology.  The name calling, not engaging with arguments is par for the course, and unsurprisingly happens here as well.

When insults don’t work, threatening violence is the next step as always.  Because when your arguments are shit, your playbook is limited.  Name calling, harassment and violence are the standards at work here.

 

 

Oh, I forgot about deplatforming, suggested so kindly here by Mr Male Adam Pottle.  Because we certainly cannot have those uppity women speaking about topics that directly affect them and their sex based rights and protections.  That sort of speech is dangerous (it threatens the patriarchal status quo) and should not be allowed.

It is really a shit show, but there are few people on the thread that are invested in the basic principles of a free and democratic society that are speaking out against the bullshit that is identity politics.  Thank heavens not all of us have lost our way.

 

Sweet jebus cooking crab-cakes:  This is the “LITERAL VIOLENCE AND HATRED” being discussed – males are not females, pretending males are females adversely impacts the sex based rights of females, and sexist stereotypes are bad.  All apparently hatespeech.  This is lunacy and needs to stop.  Women speaking out defending their rights, boundaries, and safety is NOT hatespeech, but rather should be encouraged and discussed.

All of the accusations screenshotted above are typical of what happens when discussing things with the Woke.  You have to wade through fields of straw and thought terminating cliches before you can even start to have a reasonable discussion.  The calls for ‘cancelling’ and ‘deplatforming’ are bullshit of the highest order, I won’t stand for it.

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