Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Beating Back Cancel Culture

I had been growing discouraged at what seemed to me to be increasing prominence and success of cancellings. That some of these bullies have real power is alarming, and that they can leverage even small amounts of power against vulnerable people is worse.  So the Quillette article Beating Back Cancel Culture was refreshing. The game is not over.

The first bit of advice was "Find Your Friends," and this includes finding them before there is a crisis.  I thought this was interesting, as it is exactly the advice that person who had been in a societal meltdown in South America wrote in an article directed at preppers. He had found that nothing was more valuable than a network of people who might offer you some rescue or support. 

So be of good cheer. Before my children were even born I had come to the conclusion that we live in a post-Christian nation and that all of us should be prepared spiritually and emotionally to be pushed aside, quietly or dramatically and carry on anyway, as Christians have usually had to do. I thought that day would long since have arrived, but it has not, though I do think the situation worse now. The woke, the cancellers, the bullies, and the aggrieved may still win out. Or they may destroy each other first and some new evil come upon us.  But it has not yet happened. Young people still fall in love, wine still gladdens the heart, and big-time wrestling is still on the level.


Douglas2 said...

Wait, big time wrestling?

I was thinking "good, good, good, as I read "Hold the moral high ground. Never descend to the level of insults, taunts, and ad hominem attacks"; but then it was immediately followed by "Mock them mercilessly."

I suppose looking at those two things dispassionately, it is possible to mock people mercilessly without descending to insults, taunts, and ad hominem -- so those two points aren't necessarily in opposition. Seems less fun though.

Changing tack, I'll note here that this article describes a controversy within a field, and a lot of the 'cancelling' that I see is on account of non-work-time behaviour or communication.

A few years ago (Obama was still president) I overheard a group of grad-students at another table at the coffeeshop discussing the conference meal plans for the regional academic conference they would be hosting -- they'd evaluated all the options and 'Chick-fil-A' was the cheapest buffet-lunch delivery that met the criteria, followed by 'Jimmy-Johns'. When they decided to go with Chick-fil-A, I decided to become rude and interrupt them, and said that they might want to consider adding a criteria to their evaluation relating to how many of their conference participants might be highly offended by their choice.
I think the boycotts of both chains were promoted by misinformed or malevolent people, but didn't want to see naive kids have their world ripped up for being naive.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I hadn't even noticed the change in tone. Bad on me. thank you.

As for Chick-fil-A, we got to see prime idiocy here in NH a few years ago when LGBT groups nationally were getting worked up over the chain but a local group in Nashua, where the only one in NH is located objected, pointing out that the local Chick-fil-A was one of their biggest donation supporters for Pride Week and they knew of a half-dozen of their folks who worked there. The local group argued, and I think even split over the issue, which was classic. "Let's shoot ourselves in the foot and insult our actual friends so that we can be a less-than-1% part of a national, entirely symbolic, and not-very-accurate gesture."

And please don't tell me big-time wrestling isn't real. I've had too much disillusionment in the last 12 months already.

Grim said...

The relevant section doesn’t call for insulting them, so much as pointing out how they are leaving themselves open to being mocked.

AOC today responded to Ted Cruz agreeing with her with an accusation that he had “tried to have me murdered.” This she then leveraged into a demand that he resign. What he actually did was to raise a formal objection to election results, in the formal and legal way, at the appropriate time for such objections according to the process. Transforming that into attempted murder deserves mockery. It a silly thing to do, and it’s fine to say so.

That’s not an insult to her, either. I like AOC. I don’t often agree with her, but she got where she is the right way — beating the political machine by knocking on doors and asking for people’s votes. It’s nothing personal, she’s just saying something ridiculous at the moment.

Grim said...

Here’s the reference:

Texan99 said...

Ridicule is the appropriate response to the ridiculous. It does have the drawback that it can quickly become mean-spirited, but sometimes bullies must be laughed at.

The advice to pre-organize is valuable. Someone once advised me that the best defense to slander was to live so that no one would believe it.

Grim said...