Jeez. I leave town for one day, and what happens? Both Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan up and resign. I’d say I ought to get away more, except also Ruth Bader Ginsburg got hospitalized for an infection.
Also, it looks like the right-wing, which has already long lost its collective mind, is busy scraping the last few neurons out of the bowl of its cranium and throwing them in the garbage disposal. Both of them are now ritual sacrifices to “Cancel Culture”, the new bogeyman, despite the fact that both are voluntarily quitting. It’s because Bari Weiss was getting criticized by the mean lefties, which apparently you’re never ever supposed to do. She just joined the staff at the ultra-liberal NY Times to bring some balance to the rag. You know, that terrible lefty bastion that publishes David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, Bret Stephens, and Ross Douthat.
Speaking of Douthat, he has also joined the freakout chorus. He hasn’t resigned, unfortunately, but he is complaining about “cancel culture” in a 10-point histrionic whine about what it is and how horrible it is. I lost it at point 8, though, where he reluctantly concedes that right-wingers “cancel”, too — it’s just that it was in the past, not now, and that right now the Right is too weak to cancel any one.
8. The right and the left both cancel; it’s just that today’s right is too weak to do it effectively.
Is it cancel culture when conservatives try to get college professors disciplined for anti-Americanism, or critics of Israel de-platformed for anti-Semitism? Sure, in a sense. Was it cancel culture when the Dixie Chicks — sorry, the artists formerly known as the Dixie Chicks — were dropped by radio stations and tour venues, or when Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” was literally canceled, for falling afoul of patriotic correctness? Absolutely.
But as the latter examples suggest, the last peak of right-wing cultural power was the patriotically correct climate after Sept. 11, a cultural eon in the past. Today the people with the most to fear from a right-wing cancel culture usually work inside Trump-era professional conservatism. (And even for them there’s often a new life awaiting as a professional NeverTrumper.) Attempted cancellations on the right are mostly battles for control over diminishing terrain, with occasional forays against red-state academics and anti-Trump celebrities. Meanwhile, the left’s cancel warriors imagine themselves conquering the entire non-Fox News map.
Dude. The right-wing controls the presidency, the senate, the Supreme Court, Fox News, and you are propped up by the NY Times! It’s also not ancient history — read Edroso’s response to Rod Dreher, another wingnut moaning about that deplorable “cancel culture” BS. The Right is the pre-eminent practitioner of vindictive action against any who defy their villainy, and they’ve got all the power. It’s just that it is so locked into the establishment that people take it for granted.
Things haven’t gotten any better. I’ve already written about Springfield, Mass. police detective Florissa Fuentes, who got fired this year for reposting her niece’s pro-Black Lives Matter Instagram photo. Fuentes is less like Donohue, the Chicks, and Mendenhall, though, and more like most of the people who get fired for speech in this country, in that she is not rich, and getting fired was for her a massive blow.
Speaking of Black Lives Matter, here’s one from 2019:
The controversy began after [Lisa] Durden’s appearance [on Tucker Carlson], during which she defended the Black Lives Matter movement’s decision to host a Memorial Day celebration in New York City to which only black people were invited. On the show, Durden’s comments included, “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day Celebration,” and “We want to celebrate today. We don’t want anybody going against us today.”
Durden was then an adjunct professor at Essex County College, but not for long because sure enough, they fired her for what she said on the show. (Bet Carlson, a racist piece of shit, was delighted!) The college president defended her decision, saying she’d received “feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus…”
I wish “Cancel Culture” were a real thing, rather than reasonable complaints about the status quo and how it’s enforced by by far-right thugs, so I could cancel a few people myself.