I cannot understand how people genuinely delude themselves into believing cancel culture is real. Even saying it makes me roll my eyes.
Even in the very genuine cases of a raft of public outcry we see a temporary flame and then the natural fizzle which, short term, affects people- but never teaches them a lesson and then burns away to allow them to carry on being just as much of an anal fistula as they were before.
Look at some examples from pop culture: Chris Brown almost murdered his then girlfriend and after a couple of years he’s throwing out music, with stars like Lizzo (why Lizzo- how is CHRIS BROWN one of your favourite people…) still singing his praises, Piers Morgan’s cel-shaded pork face gurns from every bus that goes past despite his association with phone-hacking scandals and even today I had a short lived internet beef with John Cleese who swears blind he’d be cancelled by the BBC in a matter of days with his new diatribe, which he’s taking to… GB news! The BBC on which he appeared to swear that the BBC would cancel him. Yes, Cleese somehow managed to tell a BBC presenter on a BBC radio show that the BBC would never allow him to put his show on the BBC that he was on, because he would be cancelled-and not simply because it’s likely just not that funny.
In a way I feel sorry for the people who think they’re victims of cancel culture, or that people are sat at home waiting for them to cross some invisible line, at which point the hoards of social justice will descend to silence them! It must be weird, to think the problem is with a society that’s just too soft to cope with what you have to say, that people are oversensitive and weak and can’t handle your wit and risible pastiching of society. These are the thoughts of people in that group. Lawrence Fox spends his life wanking out what he thinks, no doubt, are provocative statements on twitter. The fact is, people like Fox just want to upset people because he likes to think he’s making other people a tenth as miserable as he is, when honestly I have no urge to correct or dispel any of the utter horse cum he regularly explodes onto social media: it’s the faint embarrassment of noticing your grandad quietly pissing himself in the corner I feel when I see another desperate attempt to get under our skin.
Perhaps it’d be a kindness to sit these people collectively down and explain that they’re pining for days long gone: we don’t laugh much at jokes about disabled people because we’ve seen disabled people speak about why it pisses them off. We don’t guffaw openly about homophobic or racist jokes because we understand how much splash damage they can do- are we soft, or just more empathetic- or, lets be honest, are we just bored of the same jokes that were told 30 years ago still being wheeled out today with a wink wink nudge nudge?
I don’t agree with what everyone keeps saying, necessarily. I do love comedy that walks close to an edge. But the art is in walking up to that line and staying on the side of it, not blundering over it, then getting angry when people don’t like what you say: you’re not cancelled and silenced if people tell you your comedy is shit, you’re just not funny…
I myself was a total edgelord at university- because I was immature, not because those things were actually funny. I’ve grown up, and so to those who still find jokes about people who exist around them and who aren’t as able to mount a defence all I can say is, I dunno, grow up? Or at the very least accept that you can find it funny if you do, but not everyone else has to agree?
The irony is, I have no real interest in policing what people do and don’t find funny: I wouldn’t have given a single fuck about where Cleese practices his showmanship even if it is on the ever sinking barge of GBEEBIES- it’s the simple temerity of whingeing about being denied a platform on the BBC, on the BBC. If you find anti trans or racist or homophobic jokes funny, all I have for you is a dismissive half frown: it’s not for me to tell you you’re right or wrong, but if you stand in the street screaming “I AM BEING SILENCED FOR MY VIEWS”, I don’t see how it’s a terrible transgression to ask you to shut the fuck up. And at what point do we turn to the infamous example of GB news letting one of their reporters go because he knelt on air whilst talking about BLM… So much for free speech.
The broader ridiculousness is that there is ALWAYS a line of speech people will stop at. It might not be saying something bigoted, but there is always a point where someone will say “yes we shouldn’t allow that”, but at least people like me are forthright about where our line is, unlike the crowd on the “other” side who pretend there is no line, that any speech is fair game and then- just like today- spend hours collectively writing column after column decrying, for example, Nicola Sturgeon for stating she doesn’t like tories. Do you want free speech or do you want people to only speak when they say what you agree with you? Because that’s how these things come across. You can’t tell people they’re too soft for not liking what you say then spend three solid days clutching your nanny’s pearls over the first minister of Scotland answering a question frankly. And the biggest, pant splitting, testicular torsion inducing irony of it is that this comes from the crowd who have spent years calling us snowflakes, remoaners, weak, fragile, nancies and this of course is when they’re not just flat calling us slurs like the guy who was referring to people like me as “benders” on twitter last night. God forbid we bite back at them rather than huddling on a street corner for them to spit on unimpeded, how dare we give as good as we get!
Of course, you’ll then meet that hilarious subset of “being nasty to nasty people doesn’t get you anywhere” types: you sure are right “Dan27834928” that being a dick to someone who was a dick to you doesn’t fix the problem, but there’s only so many times I can “live, laugh, love” homophobic slurs away before I simply want to tell these people exactly how much I’d like to flip them inside out rectum first…
It’s so consternating that we have these same folks fulsomely screaming the same lines about political correctness, the dreaded “w” word, how everyone is too sensitive these days when the fact is it isn’t even about sensitivity, it’s about emotional intelligence. It’s not up to everyone else to just let you blunder around being stupid because you think you have the right, and we could do that but there will come a day where someone won’t simply just disagree with you but will give you a cheerful lamping and you’ll get even more upset then, I’ve no doubt.
I genuinely want to see these people in a world without this fabled cancel culture, otherwise known as being told they’re not funny/ wrong. In a world without it, people like Cleese wouldn’t be chewed out by netizens over his ill thought out move to a channel he recently called KGB news and whose ethical model he questioned.
Folk like this would have nothing to do if nobody is offended because cancel culture doesn’t exist: why would anyone go to see the show of a provocative comedian if nothing is provocative? What’s funny when nothing is off the table, nothing is too far and nothing is risqué? And even if that wasn’t the case, what excuse would they find for the increasingly empty seats every show as they stride across the stage, screaming racial epithets to the fewer and fewer people who equate offence level with brilliance like Kanye fans cheering on his increasingly petulant stunts.
Culture has changed, and it hasn’t changed entirely- plenty of people still find comedians like Cleese funny, plenty still watch ridiculous “news” channels like GB news- but it’s not enough. The people staffing these channels have a desperate need to prove that their views are the most popular: but why? I wear my remainership on my sleeve because even if it wasn’t the most popular choice I stand by it, and I’m fairly certain actual fact has lionised that opinion.
I wear my sexuality openly, not because I’m forcing it down your throat but because it’s a part of who I am and has made me the way I am and I’m not ashamed of it, even though you’re more likely now than in the past decade to get hate crimed. I don’t need to be on the winning and popular side, because I believe in what I say without the need of a mob behind me agreeing from behind anonymous profiles- and it seems to me that those on the other side fight endlessly for validation because there’s a gnawing sense of fear at the bottom of that well- that if they’re not popular, if people don’t secretly agree with them… maybe they’re wrong.
The finest hilarity with the type of person who associates themselves with these views is to point out that their divisive nonsense would be useless in a world without the thing they so hate. What would they spend days and hours booing about if they did exist in their anti politically-correct utopia? I invite you, and them, to imagine exactly how shite a world without the sort of thing they speak out against would be. Guarantee they’d be pinning for their precious cancel culture inside of a week.
I guess all I have to say is, I’m not even trying to be cruel with this piece, I just don’t understand how people can bitch about cancel culture and political correctness gone mad when, without it, they would be nothing.
The contrarians at GBEEBIES make their existence central to going “against the grain” because they genuinely believe their views are the right ones. I’m not the one to tell them whether that’s true or not, but I won’t lose sleep over whether I am because I don’t need the glib, seal clapping validation of a bunch of people who wait for me to tell them what they think- right or wrong, I’d rather just let people live their lives as they see fit without complaining about it, then railing against the resultant tide of people disagreeing with me as ‘cancel culture’ and not the missteps of someone with their finger far off the pulse of modern culture and discourse. Rather than be cruel, I just want to exhort people to think simplistically- is there any chance at all that the problem doesn’t lie with us, the people who don’t find you funny, entertaining or whatever, and it’s actually with you- the people who do nothing but denigrate us for not falling in line with you… food for thought.
Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.