Day after day, social media is suffused with angry knee jerking people, yelling to the high hills about how you can’t say or do anything these days without being cancelled. But people seem to fail to realise the irony of the platforms from which they speak. As John Cleese’s documentary on “cancel culture” arrives to cause more unnecessary culture war rehashing, I’m here to tell you the cold hard fact that cancel culture just isn’t a thing- you’re just not funny for being a prick.
One of my favourite examples of people who mysteriously believed they were “cancelled/censored/silenced”, was Rosie Duffield, MP, who endorsed transphobic views on twitter and has subsequently faced cancellation… by being in several national newspapers, talking about how silenced she is.
I’m not sure if Ms. Duffield is aware, but speaking from a double page spread is actually NOT what being silenced is.
I’ve spoken several times on transphobia and it’s clownery, but for an MP to speak on being “cancelled” because she espouses views contrary to the idea that she would seek to work with any of her voters- is highly ironic. She was platformed by those who voted for her, only to turn around and essentially endorse the idea that they do not deserve the rights they have- and feels aggrieved by being called out on this.
The cherry on top, is the idea of silence while being interviewed by national media is… comical at best. When is the last time an everyday trans person was interviewed to platform their views…
Instead, we see the same faces pushed to media- trans people who agree to toe the line of the gender critical or people who aren’t even accepted by the trans community for what could be considered radical views. And so the media giant turns the screw more- “we thought you wanted representation” they say, platforming trans people who agree it’s a sexual perversion – who never, oddly, stop to wonder if it’s just THEM who feel that way. Or gay people like Darren Grimes who decry “identity politics” and in the same breath refer to themselves as a working class gay man. Irony is lost on these people- specifically because their brains don’t have the acuity for it, clearly.
The irony of this whole farcical debate about cancel culture, is that many of those who proclaim to think it’s an attack on their freedom, their views, their lifestyles- themselves- often cheerfully propagate their own versions of it!
Take Cleese for example, who is cheerfully creating a TV show talking about how hard cancel culture is for folk of his ilk- forgetting, I’m sure, to mention that he sued a journalist for saying something Cleese didn’t like- is that cancel culture? Cancelling a person with an opinion? Or is that the good type of cancel culture that those who benefit from it overlook.
The crux of the argument seems to be is that many people these days seem to feel that they are cancelled for espousing their horrible views- but never before has this been such flagrant nonsense, with the four year tenure of a pussy grabbing mask denying gobshite like Trump, lauded for “telling people like it is” recently coming to a close- the man’s only selling point that his head was too empty to say anything with grace or just not speak when he could be megaphoning his own greatness to a feverish crowd, or a PM in the UK who has described Muslim women as letterboxes and criminals, gay men as tank topped bum boys, black people as having “watermelon smiles” and his only response? “Out of context”. Having read it- the context makes it worse. So never before has it been so clear that the people who decry cancel culture’s issues isn’t that they’re being punished for espousing disgusting views- its’ that they didn’t already have the insulation of a platform to say it from with safety.
Equally, looking at examples of people who did suffer “cancellation” seem to truly deserve it. Openly being racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist and that being your only schtick means you’re trying to profit from hatred- are we in a world where profiting off hatred is ok? If so, what a sad society we’ve become. But I can find scarce examples of people who have successfully been cancelled- Paris Hilton’s homophobic rant didn’t stop her from creating a TV show where she “interviewed” for her best friend. Rowling is still jogging along cheerfully throwing bigot baguettes out of her hamper for her slavering crowd of followers. But lets look at Janet Jackson- thrown under the bus by a co-worker and lost her jobs and footing… strange, I wonder what was different about Jackson compared to, I don’t know… white people being bigoted. It’s a mystery!
That’s the real message I get whenever I hear the bleating of “WoKe CaNcEl CuLtUrE”- I’m just angry that I’m not already famous enough to say this and survive it.
The fact is, racial, anti LGBTQIA humour, ridiculous sentiments like anti vaccination stances or similar, has been the safety net of many a waning star to gain a quick following from people who will blindly support you because they’re a one issue voter.
Those glibly hashtagging #IStandWithRosie or sharing Cleese’s documentary with unbridled glee that SOMEONE IS FINALLY SAYING IT couldn’t care less that Duffield drove two gay staff members to quit with her mindless rhetoric, or that Cleese thinks London “is not an English city any more” as long as they keep pushing the victim mentality that’s hilariously common with people in this regressive mindset.
Gaslighting is a term I don’t like to throw around but when you have vast portions of society on your side simply by dint of your gender or the fact you were a beloved comedian in your youth, accusing minorities of cancelling you because you don’t like being told your views are incorrect and damaging, or that your comedy relies on punching down on people’s existences.
The irony is that nobody in this crowd of oh so oppressed for their thoughts people, never stop to put themselves in the position of the people who suffer for their thoughts, their humour, their thoughtless words. Are people just moaning for the sake of it, or could it be that your endless rehashing of shit humour, your banal and frankly incorrect assumptions about someone because of what arouses them or their skin colour, is just tedious enough that we’re bored of smiling and nodding and privately deleting your number from our phones.
Your want the impunity to speak, but don’t have the stones to cope with the reaction to it. Clearly it’s better to wander the world shouting racial slurs because THATS WHAT MY GRANDMA DID than try and empathise or just, generally, not be a sack of cat sick.
It’s an irony. I have thoughts often about people that would surely hurt them should I speak them- so I just don’t. And if i do say something insensitive, even if my immediate reaction is to defend myself because I don’t like to be accused of doing cruel things with intent, I’d be seriously let down by myself if i didn’t apologise and try and understand what I’d said and why it was damaging.
Much like other ridiculous ideas (see “electing a silly haired right wing chittering gibbon as leader”), the cancel culture garbage has been imported from America. Over in America over 60 percent of polled citizens believe that cancel culture is an issue which is affecting mainstream society: to this I would politely ask these polled Americans, what views is it that you hold that you’re so worried you’ll be cancelled over?
With an ex president who won based on racial populism, desperate to build an ineffective wall between your neighbours, you can’t think it’s racism? And with a supreme court stacked with anti LGBTQIA bigots, and where literal members of the GOP refuse to publicly come out despite myriad statements from sex workers about their private proclivities, it cant be that you worry about being labelled a homophobe. I dread to think what it is that keeps you awake at night, wondering for whom the imaginary cancel bell is tolling today…
Ultimately, modern society is built on the promise that to co-exist humans have to put aside their petty nonsense and work together to further human interest, and many of us have to bury resentment about the snippy way we’re treated in service jobs or the outright aggression we face from strangers based on the bodies we were born in or what it is that arouses those bodies, but more and more it seems that a bunch of oversensitive folk, somehow on the more right and yet more wrong side of the spectrum, seem absolutely fervent that they should be able to say and do whatever they want without impunity – but when spoken back to, suddenly their free speech is being CANCELLED! What about our free speech to decry your bullshit, Karen?
People who refuse to change their thoughts, their actions to accommodate society are the reason it’s being cut to ribbons as it’s dragged along by those of us who want to make the world better. If you want to watch historical comedy series’ that make racial or homophobic jokes, no one is going to castigate you for it, but at some point maybe it’s better that we… move on as a society or at least share the stage with comedians from those minorities who get to make fun of the people who make careers out of stepping on our backs.