For Many Americans, Cancel Culture Is Self-Inflicted

“”Social pressure to have the ‘right’ opinion is pervasive in America today,” notes Populace, a social-research organization, in a report published this summer. “In recent years, polls have consistently found that most Americans, across all demographics, feel they cannot share their honest opinions in public for fear of offending others or incurring retribution.”

“One important, but underappreciated, consequence of a culture of censorship is that it can lead individuals not only to self-silence, but also publicly misrepresent their own private views (what scholars call preference falsification),””

Russia Is Getting Canceled

“Russia is getting deplatformed from the world. The war in Ukraine is in many ways a traditional military clash involving tanks, missiles, diplomats, and supply lines. But nonstate actors have started taking sides—well, taking one side—in ways that the world hasn’t seen before, with private sector businesses and international organizations responding to Russia’s attack on its neighbor by cutting ties with Moscow, and in some cases sacrificing huge sums of money. Combined with the sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe (and perhaps motivated by them too), this mass exodus of foreign capital is demonstrating how the market can punish even powerful states for dangerous and unjustified behavior.

Shell, General Motors, BP, and other major firms have announced plans to leave Russia. FedEx and Germany-based shipping firm DHL are suspending deliveries to Russia, and Denmark-based Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, says it is considering suspending all shipments to Russia.

“Companies are basically saying, ‘We don’t want to be part of this,'” Nick Tsafos, an expert on energy and geopolitics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells The Washington Post. The Post notes that some of these moves are being made despite huge costs: Shell is abandoning several joint projects with Russia-based Gazprom, sacrificing more than $3 billion.

When the Cold War ended, Bloomberg reports, businesses poured into Russia to take advantage of a freshly open market with millions of new customers and the country’s vast natural resources. The past few days have been a stunning reversal of that same rush, with energy companies, major international law firms, and exporters either announcing plans to scale down their operations in Russia or exit the country entirely”

Coastal Carolina University Is Trying To Fire a Professor for Saying Hurt Feelings Were Not ‘a Big Deal’

“In general, universities should stop caving to students who are unreasonably upset about minor infractions—but this wasn’t an infraction at all. Campus administrators would be well-advised not to put themselves in the position of being responsible for every hurt feeling, no matter how ill-founded or slight. There’s little benefit to making diversity synonymous with absurdity.”

Liberal Media Coverage Is Boosting Conservative Nationalists

“The group aims “to align conservatives on the narrow and limited view of antitrust that Robert Bork popularized in the 1970s, called the ‘consumer welfare standard,'” notes Washington Monthly. This standard says consumer interests—not breaking up companies just for being big or inducing artificial competition just for the sake of competition—should be the primary concern of antitrust law enforcement. It is not a “pro-monopoly” argument but an argument against excessive government intervention in private industry and for a conception of antitrust enforcement that puts protecting consumers—not any particular economic ideology—first.

“Under the consumer welfare standard, which has anchored U.S. antitrust law for over four decades, consumer harm is measured through tangible economic effects and empirical evidence,” notes Tom Herbert, federal affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform, in a recent opinion piece in The Hill. “Antitrust law under the consumer welfare standard allows business conduct that benefits Americans through lower prices, better quality products and greater access to goods and services.”

Just a few years ago, the fact that Republicans would turn against such a standard in favor of a leftist vision of antitrust enforcement would be weird, to put it mildly. But antitrust law is now seen as another tool in fighting the culture war. “Large businesses [are] increasingly viewed as the enforcement arm of the cultural Left,” notes Klein, and “the cancel culture and anti-PC debates have become more animating for a lot of conservatives than traditional social issues.””

Why Attacking ‘Cancel Culture’ And ‘Woke’ People Is Becoming The GOP’s New Political Strategy

““Woke” was originally a term used largely by Black people in activist circles, particularly after the rise of Black Lives Matter, to signify a consciousness around racial issues in America. The term is still sometimes used in that context.

attacking Democrats, more centrist Democrats attacking more liberal ones and supporters of the British monarchy using the term to criticize people more sympathetic to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Those critical of so-called woke ideas and people often invoke the idea that they are being “canceled” or a victim of “cancel culture.””

“Cancel culture is broadly the idea that people advocating more liberal ideas, particularly around identity and race, have too much power and can publicly shame those who don’t agree with them, sometimes leading to those who don’t share these ideas being removed from their jobs or having their speaking invitations withdrawn (so “canceled.”)”

“there is no agreed-upon definition of “woke” or a formal political organization or movement associated with it. Nor is there an exact definition of what constitutes being “canceled” or a victim of “cancel culture.” However, despite their vagueness, you now see conservative activists and Republican politicians constantly using these terms. That’s because that vagueness is a feature, not a bug. Casting a really wide range of ideas and policies as too woke and anyone who is critical of them as being canceled by out-of-control liberals is becoming an important strategy and tool on the right — in fact, this cancel culture/woke discourse could become the organizing idea of the post-Trump-presidency Republican Party.”

““The term woke has rapidly come to encompass everything and anything conservatives don’t like – anything and anyone they want to discredit””

How ‘Cancel Culture’ Became An Issue For Young Republicans

“it’s Republicans under the age of 45 who are really concerned about “cancel culture.”

One in 4 Republicans between the ages of 18 and 44 listed it as a top concern, compared to just 1 percent of Democrats in this same age group, according to a recent YouGov Blue poll.1 In fact, among younger Republicans, “cancel culture” ranked sixth in terms of overall importance, but for younger Democrats it ranked dead last.”

“the largest bloc of young Republicans (ages 18 to 29) are white men, according to a 2018 survey from Tuft University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which found that among young voters, white men were the only racial or gender group to align with the GOP in the midterms. This is important because polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, also from 2018, found that 43 percent of young white men (ages 15 to 24) think that discrimination against white people has become as big a problem as discrimination against Black people and other minority groups. In fact, almost half said in that poll that diversity efforts will harm white people.”

“one reason the right’s reactionary movement wields political power is that many of the tones underlying the debates over free speech on campuses are also playing out in conservative media outlets. Young Republicans are already more likely to be plugged into these outlets, like “The Ben Shapiro Show” and PragerU, making them the prime candidates to carry the“cancel culture” mantle.”

The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison Was Canceled for Criticizing Cancel Culture

“The controversy goes something like this: In a viral Tiktok, an alleged former classmate of Rachael Kirkconnell, a frontrunner on this season’s competition, posed a question. “Girlieee, remember when you bullied me in high school for liking black guys???” That was certainly inconvenient for Kirkconnell, who is currently on national television dating Matt James, the franchise’s first black bachelor.

Next came the customary uprooting of every supposedly unsavory detail about her life. A 60-second TikTok by @feministmama parsed through it all: Kirkconnell liking an Instagram photo with a woman wearing a MAGA hat, pictures of her costumed in American Indian attire, social media posts in support of law enforcement. As Harrison mentioned above, the user also dedicated a big chunk to Kirkconnell’s dad’s voting history and political involvement, as if she is somehow responsible for that. (I was under the impression that we don’t define women by the decisions made by their fathers and husbands.)

Then came the pictures of Kirkconnell at a 2018 Antebellum-themed fraternity party thrown by Kappa Alpha Order at Georgia College and State University, where students gathered on a plantation in Old South debutante-esque attire. The theme is beyond distasteful. Indeed, I’ve written over and over and over again that such displays are offensive. But no one knows whether Kirkconnell even understood the cultural significance of the event when she attended it as a college student, nor did anyone wait for her response before concluding she should be banished from public life.

“It’s 2021,” remarks @feministmama in that viral video. “Let’s hold public figures accountable for their actions.”

Kirkconnell is not running for president. She is not even running for the town council, or for the local school board. She is a contestant on a trashy dating competition where the most influence she’ll have is via which products she may choose to endorse on Instagram, should anyone still want to work with her. It is a bit rich that anyone would devote such energy to cancelling contestants on The Bachelor, of all things, considering that the show thrives on bringing out the worst aspects of its cast members in order to maximize that reality TV drama.

“I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media,” said James, the Bachelor himself, in a conversation with Entertainment Tonight. “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully [Rachael] will have her time to speak on that.”

But the controversy is no longer really about Kirkconnell: It is Harrison, who is not credibly accused of participating in or abetting racist behavior at all, who faces cancellation.

“I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet, and until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?” he told Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first black Bachelorette. “I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that’s it. I’m not defending Rachael [Kirkconnell]—I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to.”

He continued: “My guess? These girls got dressed and went to a party and had a great time. They were 18-years-old. Does that make it okay? I don’t know, Rachel [Lindsay], you tell me…but where is this lens we’re holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018?”

That lens is constantly changing. And, in a big way, it should—society has a knack for sharpening broad consensus on morality and justice as hindsight kicks in. But often that justice is retroactive, and it increasingly leaves no room for apologies.

Harrison is trying anyway. After releasing an initial apology, he agreed on Saturday to leave the network for an unspecified period of time. “To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry,” he said in a groveling statement posted on Instagram. “My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you. The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

To sum things up: Merely objecting to the speed and fairness of someone else’s cancellation is now itself grounds for canceling. What will the next standard be?”

It’s Official: Linguistic Intent No Longer Matters at The New York Times

“The New York Times..forced out its lead pandemic reporter, 45-year* newsroom veteran Donald McNeil Jr., because the Grey Lady’s management, under public pressure from more than 150 employees, decided that when it comes to speaking certain radioactive words, not only does intent not matter, any utterance is potentially a one-strike offense.

“We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent,” Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn explained bluntly in a memo Friday.

McNeil, 67, went as a representative of the Times on a 2019 trip with American high school students in Peru. There, according to his farewell note to colleagues—which, tellingly, was the first time the context of his career-ending comments had ever been reported during the 8-day life cycle of this journalism-world controversy—McNeil “was asked at dinner by a student whether I thought a classmate of hers should have been suspended for a video she had made as a 12-year-old in which she used a racial slur. To understand what was in the video, I asked if she had called someone else the slur or whether she was rapping or quoting a book title. In asking the question, I used the slur itself.”

After receiving complaints back then from at least six parents or students—one of whom said “He was a racist….He used the ‘N’ word, said horrible things about black teenagers, and said white supremacy doesn’t exist”—the Times “conducted a thorough investigation and disciplined Donald for statements and language that had been inappropriate and inconsistent with our values,” according to a company statement January 28. “We found he had used bad judgment by repeating a racist slur in the context of a conversation about racist language.”

Added Baquet in an internal memo: “During the trip, he made offensive remarks, including repeating a racist word in the context of discussing an incident that involved racist language. When I first heard the story, I was outraged and expected I would fire him. I authorized an investigation and concluded his remarks were offensive and that he showed extremely poor judgment, but that it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious. I believe that in such cases people should be told they were wrong and given another chance.”

That’s what Baquet believed last week, anyway.

This week, the newsroom revolted via a remarkable group letter in which more than 150 staffers at one of the country’s leading newspapers argued that word-choice intentions are “irrelevant,” because “what matters is how an act makes the victims feel.” Signees, declaring themselves “outraged and in pain” and “disrespected,” demanded a reinvestigation of the 2019 incident, an apology to the newsroom, and an organizational study into how racial biases affect editorial decisions. They also alleged that the controversy had surfaced new internal complaints about McNeil demonstrating “bias against people of color in his work and in interactions with colleagues over a period of years.””

Disney Cancels The Mandalorian Star Gina Carano Over Provocative Social Media Posts

“Here is what Carano wrote on Instagram:
Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.

This was a very flawed comment: For one thing, Nazi soldiers absolutely beat Jews, in the streets and elsewhere. Carano is right that part of the Nazis’ agenda was to persuade German citizens to hate and fear their Jewish neighbors—but what happened in 1930s Germany is not remotely similar to what is happening today in the U.S. The Nazi Party’s demonization of the Jewish people led to genocide. The media’s demonization of the Republican Party—which is not directly referenced in her post, but it’s assumed that’s what she meant—is obviously not comparable to the Holocaust.

That said, Disney is wrong to say that Carano denigrated Jewish people, or that she is “abhorrent” for making such a comparison. She’s a celebrity with an obnoxious political opinion, which is not exactly a rare animal.

And that’s the bigger issue with Disney’s decision to drop Carano: hypocrisy. If the studio doesn’t want to work with actors and actresses who make over-the-top Nazi comparisons, it has a major problem on its hands: Pedro Pascal, the star and eponymous character of The Mandalorian, once sent a tweet likening Trump’s immigration policies to Nazi concentration camps.

This is not so surprising: Hollywood is chock full of people with quirky political views making dramatic analogies.”