Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Cancel Culture

I notice that the response is not uniform across liberal issues.  The practice of getting someone deplatformed, fired, shunned, or otherwise punished is used by some causes but not others.  For some, saying anything even mildly positive about Donald Trump is enough to get people up in arms to get that person cast into the outer darkness.  That is person-based rather than issue-based and I don't know whether there is anyone else that attracts this.  Who will inherit this?  Mitch McConnell, perhaps.  Ted Cruz, maybe. Though even if The Donald does not win enough appeals to remain president, he will likely remain visible and good copy even for those outlets that hate him, so he may retain the status of lightning rod.

PETA does things that annoy me, but I don't recall them engaging in cancelling their opponents.  Environmental causes in general have a tendency to quiet (but effective) defanging of those who disagree, but I don't see that vindictive destruction as much from them either.  There is more cancellation around climate change than all the other fresh water/clean air/wildlife preservation causes, but even then, not the usual focus of those folks. CoVid is more of a ridicule and censoring than a personal destruction issue as well. Abortion and sexual assault, the so-called "women's issues" have not attracted the same type of energy, unless it is a conservative man who is accused of an actual assault.  Statements which infuriate liberal women don't quite meet the threshold, though they do attract heat.

There is some tendency for people at colleges, both students and teachers, to call for the cancellation of anyone about anything, but even they strongly favor some issues over others.  I admit I am getting my impression from the few conservative and fewer liberal sites I frequent, so it may be a ridiculously biased sample. What is happening on actual campuses I would like to hear.

So what issues are the cancel culture issues?  Trans issues, and to a lesser extent gay issues. African-American issues, especially as they relate to criminal, disciplinary, or those elusive "respect" issues for people who set themselves up as authorities and spokespeople. Hispanic or Native issues, not so much.  Those are given lip service but don't attract quite the ire. Prejudice against Islam?  That seems more mixed, but maybe that one makes it into the top tier as well.

I may have read this wrong. Look over the landscape and tell me what your elf-eyes see, Legolas.


james said...

Is the cancel culture liveliest with things they secretly worry aren't well founded? The pro-abortion people I know seem to be absolutely convinced of the utter righteousness of their cause, and only seem to freak out if there's plausible reason to suspect that it might be legally undermined. They've pretty much won all the battles, and have little to fear. Of course their opponents are unrelievedly evil; that goes without saying.

But perhaps the trans-proponents are not altogether easy in their minds about their case. It rests heavily on subjectivity, and other people can be "subjective" too. The frailer your position, the more fully you must eliminate all doubt within your ranks.

dmoelling said...

If the issues are proposed as "global" issues then there is little room for dissent. The same for racial, colonial or other international questions. In these cases the goal is to completely change society which usually means coercion. BLM made the mistake of supporting local changes where the impacts were quickly visible to residents.

bs king said...

I think I sent you the theory that cancel culture is most acute in fields where competition for jobs is stiffest. Environmental movements tend to actually have a decent number of jobs, as there are many practical jobs that make up the movement. You could work at PETA, or you could work at the Audubon Society. Looking at my local chapter down the street they have multiple openings even now for property workers, wildlife care technicians, conservation scientists, land information specialists and all sorts of different teaching positions.

To test this further, I went to (a website specific to non-profit job listings) and sorted on my city for jobs in the environmental area. There are actually a few overlapping fields. You could do "animals" or "climate change" or "environmental & sustainability". 31 jobs listed. Then I selected "LGBTQ". 3 jobs listed. Then I tried "reproductive rights" and "women". 23 jobs. "Race and ethnicity", 4 jobs.

Not a highly scientific survey, but gives some anecdata to the idea.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yeah, that sounds familiar, but I forgot it. Shameful.

Very plausible theory.

james said...

Knitting got hit too: "Our documentary analysed just two latter-day purity spirals — Instagram knitting culture and young adult novels. Both seemed perfectly-sized to be taken over — they were spaces big enough to have their own star system, yet small enough for the writ of a dominant group to hold."