- Nov 2023
Listened to on 2023-11-11
Huffduffer data: podcast:name="fresh air", podcast:producer=npr, podcast:interviewer="terry gross", podcast:interviewee="scott eyman", book:author="scott eyman", book:title="Charlie Chaplin vs. America", book:year=2023, movie:writer="charlie chaplin", movie:director="The Great Dictator", movie:genre=satire, movie:genre=comedy,
- Charlie Chaplin
- House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
- cancel culture
- Hedda Hopper
- Eugene O'Neill
- Scott Eyman
- Joan Berry
- Nazi Germany
- J. Paul Getty
- Oona O'Neill
- Hollywood history
- May 2023
Josh Sargent, a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk community in upstate New York, where Hoover researched the impact of industrial contamination in the St. Lawrence River for her dissertation, said she’s “a good person and always welcome here.” Debates about her identity seem to be taking place in the “bubble of academia,” he said, while the real challenges facing Native people are being overlooked. He said she’s doing important work, and her book, “The River Is in Us,” accurately depicted the environmental harm suffered by his community. “I hope people read it.”
An important question here: her identity may not have been completely authentic, but is this a reason not to heed and consider her work on its own merit?
How do any of us really know our identities?
- Feb 2023
shifts in language and meaning of words and symbols as the result of algorithmic content moderation
instead of slow semantic shifts, content moderation is actively pushing shifts of words and their meanings
article suggested by this week's Dan Allosso Book club on Pirate Enlightenment
Is algorithmic content moderation creating a new sort of cancel culture online?
- cultural taboos
- historical linguistics
- marginalized groups
- cancel culture
- content moderation
- cultural anthropology
- social media
- dialect creation
- human computer interaction
- algorithmic feeds
- Nov 2022
Lewis made it through a just a few tour dates before succumbing to the press and public's censure, and retreated back to the U.S. That doesn't mean that he was ever publicly regretful. His marriage to Myra lasted a decade
- Oct 2022
A recent writer has called attention to apassage in Paxson's presidential address before the American Historical Associationin 1938, in which he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning . . . not towrite in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928."
There are lessons in Frederic L. Paxson's 1938 address to the American Historical Association for todays social media culture and the growing realm of cancel culture when he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning... not to write in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928.
- Mar 2022
Waterson, J. (2022, January 11). BBC does not subscribe to ‘cancel culture’, says director of editorial policy. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/jan/11/bbc-does-not-subscribe-to-cancel-culture-says-director-of-editorial-policy
- cancel culture
- point of view
- editorial standard
- contrary viewpoint
- United Kingdom
- Jan 2022
A recent addition to the writer-editor-reader relationship is something called a “sensitivity reader,” that is someone of diverse background who can advise on dicey cultural matters whom writers are now encouraged to consult.
You live only until an objection scares the people whose job is more and more to avoid objections — that new, primary executive function.
Are there other examples of this job function in the broader American culture? What do these job descriptions and titles look like?
- Nov 2021
Anne Applebaum looks at the ideas of public humiliation and cancel culture as a potential slippery slope toward authoritarianism. She provides numerous examples of people experiencing forms of cancel culture without any arguments for or against them, but instead explores the cultural space around it and what its consequences might possibly be.
Many of her examples focus on spaces related to academia rather than broader life, a space which needs further exploration as the scope and shape for those may differ dramatically.
She also brings up the broad phenomenon of "university justice" (my descriptor) and generally secret tribunals and justice administered by them rather than traditional governmental means.
This brings up some excellent avenues for thought about who we are as a country and a liberal democracy.
Robert George has created the Academic Freedom Alliance, a group that intends to offer moral and legal support to professors who are under fire, and even to pay for their legal teams if necessary. George was inspired, he told me, by a nature program that showed how elephant packs will defend every member of the herd against a marauding lion, whereas zebras run away and let the weakest get killed off. “The trouble with us academics is we’re a bunch of zebras,” he said. “We need to become elephants.”
There's something intriguing here with this cultural analogy of people to either elephants or zebras.
The other side of this is also that of the accusers, who on the whole have not been believed or gaslit for centuries. How can we simultaneously be elephants for them as well?
Stephen Elliott wrestled for a long time with whether or not to describe what it feels like to be wrongly accused of rape—he wrote something and abandoned it because “I decided that I wouldn’t be able to handle the blowback”—before finally describing his experiences in a published essay.
I have no context with this particular case, but if innocent of the charges, the viciousness of such a public charge without confrontation or proof is tantamount to an emotional rape without the physical violence.
There's something interesting to be learned in this experience.
See: How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life by Stephen Elliott on 2018-09-25. For additional context see this opinion piece follow up a few months later: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/13/opinion/stephen-elliott-moira-donegan-media-men.html
(My opinion of this essay is already biased by the fact that it's published in Quillette...)
The liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, writing at about the same time as Hawthorne, made a similar argument. Much of his most famous book, On Liberty, is dedicated not to governmental restraints on human liberty but to the threat posed by social conformism, by “the demand that all other people shall resemble ourselves.”
But the real, and nonpartisan, lesson is this: No one—of any age, in any profession—is safe. In the age of Zoom, cellphone cameras, miniature recorders, and other forms of cheap surveillance technology, anyone’s comments can be taken out of context; anyone’s story can become a rallying cry for Twitter mobs on the left or the right. Anyone can then fall victim to a bureaucracy terrified by the sudden eruption of anger. And once one set of people loses the right to due process, so does everybody else. Not just professors but students; not just editors of elite publications but random members of the public.
In May, a young reporter, Emily Wilder, was fired from her new job at the Associated Press in Arizona after a series of conservative publications and politicians publicized Facebook posts critical of Israel that she had written while in college. Like so many before her, she was not told precisely why she was fired, or which company rules her old posts had violated.
This spring, Braden Ellis, a student at Cypress College in California, shared a class Zoom recording of his professor’s response when Ellis defended portrayals of police as heroes. Ellis said he did this in order to expose a purported bias against conservative viewpoints on campus. Even though the recording by itself does not prove the existence of long-standing bias, the professor—a Muslim woman who said on the recording that she did not trust the police—became the focus of a Fox News segment, a social-media storm, and death threats. So did other professors at the college. So did administrators. After a few days, the professor was removed from her teaching assignments, pending investigation.
Kudos to Applebaum for not naming the party involved here, but instead giving the infamy to the "offending" parties who may have sought fame and attention for themselves.
In March, Sandra Sellers, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, was caught on camera speaking to another professor about some underperforming Black students in her class. There is no way to know from the recording alone whether her comments represented racist bias or genuine concern for her students. Not that it mattered to Georgetown—she was fired within days of the recording’s becoming public. Nor could one know what David Batson, the colleague she was talking to on the recording, really thought either. Nevertheless, he was placed on administrative leave because he seemed, vaguely, to be politely agreeing with her. He quickly resigned.
Anyone who accidentally creates discomfort—whether through their teaching methods, their editorial standards, their opinions, or their personality—may suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of not just a student or a colleague but an entire bureaucracy, one dedicated to weeding out people who make other people uncomfortable. And these bureaucracies are illiberal. They do not necessarily follow rules of fact-based investigation, rational argument, or due process. Instead, the formal and informal administrative bodies that judge the fate of people who have broken social codes are very much part of a swirling, emotive public conversation, one governed not by the rules of the courtroom or logic or the Enlightenment but by social-media algorithms that encourage anger and emotion, and by the economy of likes and shares that pushes people to feel—and to perform—outrage. The interaction between the angry mob and the illiberal bureaucracy engenders a thirst for blood, for sacrifices to be offered up to the pious and unforgiving gods of outrage—a story we see in other eras of history, from the Inquisition to the more recent past.
Certainly this modern inquisition is a more gentle one than the original Inquisition of the Catholic Church.
Is this a supporting data point on the continuum of decreasing violence for Steven Pinker's decline of violence thesis?
Is the totality of what we may be giving up worth it for the greater overall comfort for society?
A relevant criticism of Donald McNeil turned out to be that he was “kind of a grumpy old guy,” as one student on that trip to Peru described him.
Are people being targeted simply for being socially divergent in small ways? Could this be similar to how the LGBTQ are marginalized for being themselves but from a different perspective? This requires some studying and thinking. Not everyone should be penalized for being their true selves.
It’s not just the hyper-social and the flirtatious who have found themselves victims of the New Puritanism. People who are, for lack of a more precise word, difficult have trouble too. They are haughty, impatient, confrontational, or insufficiently interested in people whom they perceive to be less talented. Others are high achievers, who in turn set high standards for their colleagues or students. When those high standards are not met, these people say so, and that doesn’t go over well. Some of them like to push boundaries, especially intellectual boundaries, or to question orthodoxies. When people disagree with them, they argue back with relish.
How much of this can be written down to differing personal contexts and lack of respect for people's humanity? Are the neurodivergent being punished in these spaces?
Applebaum provides a list of potential conflict areas of cancel culture outside of power dynamics.
Once it was not just okay but admirable that Chua and Rubenfeld had law-school students over to their house for gatherings. That moment has passed. So, too, has the time when a student could discuss her personal problems with her professor, or when an employee could gossip with his employer. Conversations between people who have different statuses—employer-employee, professor-student—can now focus only on professional matters, or strictly neutral topics. Anything sexual, even in an academic context—for example, a conversation about the laws of rape—is now risky.
Is it simply the stratification of power and roles that is causing these problems? Is it that some of this has changed and that communication between people of different power levels is the difficulty in these cases?
I have noticed a movement in pedagogy spaces that puts the teacher as a participant rather than as a leader thus erasing the power structures that previously existed. This exists within Cathy Davidson's The New Education where teachers indicate that they're learning as much as their students.
To begin with, the protagonists of most of these stories tend to be successful. Though not billionaires or captains of industry, they’ve managed to become editors, professors, published authors, or even just students at competitive universities. Some are unusually social, even hyper-gregarious: They were professors who liked to chat or drink with their students, bosses who went out to lunch with their staff, people who blurred the lines between social life and institutional life.
Is there a prototype for the people at the center of these cancel culture stories?
Just as odd old women were once subject to accusations of witchery, so too are certain types of people now more likely to fall victim to modern mob justice.
Modern mob justice is not too dissimilar to the historical experience of the Salem witch trials.
How might one rewrite Arthur Miller's The Crucible within the framework of modern cancel culture? What does that look like? We need more art to reflect these changes in society to tell our story and get people thinking.
After Alexi McCammond was named editor in chief of Teen Vogue, people discovered and recirculated on Instagram old anti-Asian and homophobic tweets she had written a decade earlier, while still a teenager.
Should people be judged by statements made in their youth or decades prior? Shouldn't they be given some credit for changing over time and becoming better?
How can we as a society provide credit to people's changed contexts over time?
This can be related to Heraclitus' river.
You would think it would be a good thing for the young readers of Teen Vogue to learn forgiveness and mercy, but for the New Puritans, there is no statute of limitations.
But what gives anyone the conviction that such a measure is necessary? Or that “keeping students safe” means you must violate due process? It is not the law. Nor, strictly speaking, is it politics. Although some have tried to link this social transformation to President Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anyone who tries to shoehorn these stories into a right-left political framework has to explain why so few of the victims of this shift can be described as “right wing” or conservative. According to one recent poll, 62 percent of Americans, including a majority of self-described moderates and liberals, are afraid to speak their mind about politics. All of those I spoke with are centrist or center-left liberals. Some have unconventional political views, but some have no strong views at all.
Is cancel culture a right/left political issue? Some have indicated that it is though Anne Applebaum shows that the victims don't show such bias.
This is worth exploring in more depth to untangle the justice needed from the political debate cesspool and political polarization which seems to be occurring in America.
Once it becomes clear that attention and praise can be garnered from organizing an attack on someone’s reputation, plenty of people discover that they have an interest in doing so.
This is a whole new sort of "attention economy".
This genre of problem is also one of the most common defenses given by the accused as sort of "boogeyman" meant to silence accusers. How could we better balance the ills against each of the sides in these cases to mitigate the broader harms in both directions?
Source: De Agostini Picture Library / Getty
This is a searing image for what this article is about:
Could be entitled "A different kind of social justice."
Kipnis, who was accused of sexual misconduct because she wrote about sexual harassment, was not initially allowed to know who her accusers were either, nor would anyone explain the rules governing her case. Nor, for that matter, were the rules clear to the people applying them, because, as she wrote in Unwanted Advances, “there’s no established or nationally uniform set of procedures.” On top of all that, Kipnis was supposed to keep the whole thing confidential: “I’d been plunged into an underground world of secret tribunals and capricious, medieval rules, and I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it,’’ she wrote. This chimes with the story of another academic, who told me that his university “never even talked to me before it decided to actually punish me. They read the reports from the investigators, but they never brought me in a room, they never called me on the phone, so that I could say anything about my side of the story. And they openly told me that I was being punished based on allegations. Just because they didn’t find evidence of it, they told me, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
While the accusers should definitely be believed and given a space to be heard and prosecute their cases, one of the most drastic harms I see here and repeated frequently are Universities sitting as judges and juries for harms that should be tried in the courts.
These cases have been removed entirely from the public social justice system and are tried in a space that is horribly ill-equipped to handle them. This results in tremendous potential for miscarriage of justice.
If universities are going to engage in these sorts of practices, they should at least endeavor to allow all parties to present their sides and provide some sort of restorative justice.
Somewhere I've read and linked to (Reddit?) communities practicing restorative justice in doing these practices. As I recall, it took a lot of work and effort to sort them out, but it also pointed to stronger and healthier communities over time. Why aren't colleges and universities looking into and practicing this if they're going to be wielding institutional power over individuals? Moving the case from one space to the next is simply passing the buck.
Nobody is perfect; nobody is pure; and once people set out to interpret ambiguous incidents in a particular way, it’s not hard to find new evidence.
Wouldn't it be better for us to focus our efforts and energies on people who are doing bigger mass scale harms on society?
Surely the ability to protect some of these small harms undergird ability to build up protection for much larger harms.
Why are we prosecuting these smaller harms rather than the larger (especially financial and) institutional harms?
It is easier to focus on the small and specific rather than broad and unspecific. (Is there a name for this as a cognitive bias? There should be, if not. Perhaps related to the base rate fallacy or base rate neglect (a form of extension neglect), which is "the tendency to ignore general information and focus on information only pertaining to the specific case, even when the general information is more important." (via Wikipedia)
Could the Jesuits' descent into the particular as a method help out here?
Not that everyone really wants an apology. One former journalist told me that his ex-colleagues “don’t want to endorse the process of mistake/apology/understanding/forgiveness—they don’t want to forgive.” Instead, he said, they want “to punish and purify.” But the knowledge that whatever you say will never be enough is debilitating. “If you make an apology and you know in advance that your apology will not be accepted—that it is going to be considered a move in a psychological or cultural or political game—then the integrity of your introspection is being mocked and you feel permanently marooned in a world of unforgivingness,” one person told me. “And that is a truly unethical world.”
How can restorative justice work in a broader sense when public apologies aren't more carefully considered by the public-at-large? If the accuser accepts an apology, shouldn't that be enough? Society-at-large can still be leery of the person and watch their behavior, but do we need to continue ostracizing them?
An interesting example to look at is that of Monica Lewinsky who in producing a version of her story 20+ years later is finally able to get her own story and framing out. Surely there will be political adherents who will fault her, but has she finally gotten some sort of justice and reprieve from a society that utterly shunned her for far too long for an indiscretion which happens nearly every day in our society? Compare her with Hester Prynne.
Are we moving into a realm in which everyone is a public figure on a national if not international stage? How do we as a society handle these cases? What are the third and higher order effects besides the potential for authoritarianism which Applebaum mentions?
Websites now offer “sample templates” for people who need to apologize; some universities offer advice on how to apologize to students and employees, and even include lists of good words to use (mistake, misunderstand, misinterpret).
In an era of cancel culture there are now websites that offer sample templates of apologies and even universities are offering advice to constituents about how to apologize better.
When might we see a book in the self-help section with a title like "How to apologize?" At what point have we perhaps gone too far on this scale?
But isolation plus public shaming plus loss of income are severe sanctions for adults, with long-term personal and psychological repercussions—especially because the “sentences” in these cases are of indeterminate length.
Putting people beyond the pale creates isolation, public shaming, loss of income, loss of profession, and sometimes loss of personal identity and psychological worth. The most insidious problem of all is the indeterminate length of the "sentence".
For wealthy people like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Kevin Spacey, they're heavily insulated by the fact that at least they've got amassed wealth which mitigates some of these issues. In these cases the decades of extracting wealth through privilege gives them an unfair advantage.
There are now apparently enough cases of this happening, it would be interesting to watch the long term psychological effects of this group to see if these situations statistically effects their longevity or if there are multi-generational knock on effects as have been seen in Holocaust survivors or those freed from slavery.
All of them, sinners or saints, have been handed drastic, life-altering, indefinite punishments, often without the ability to make a case in their own favor. This—the convicting and sentencing without due process, or mercy—should profoundly bother Americans.
There is a growing number of cases in which people are having their lives being completely upended because they are being deprived of due process.
In some cases, it may actually be beneficial as people may have been abusing their positions of privilege and the traditional system wouldn't have prosecuted or penalized them at all. In these cases the dismantling of institutional power is good. However, how many of them aren't related to this? How many are being decimated without serving this function?
The purpose here is not to reinvestigate or relitigate any of their cases. Some of those I interviewed have behaved in ways that I, or readers of this article, may well consider ill-judged or immoral, even if they were not illegal. I am not here questioning all of the new social codes that have led to their dismissal or their effective isolation. Many of these social changes are clearly positive.
This sounds a lot like the article How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life though in that case it was a single instance and these examples here may go beyond social media.
Though I'm curious if all of them will entail social media as a (major?) factor in how they played out.
There is a reason that Laura Kipnis, an academic at Northwestern, required an entire book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, to recount the repercussions, including to herself, of two allegations of sexual harassment against one man at her university; after she referred to the case in an article about “sexual paranoia,” students demanded that the university investigate her, too. A full explanation of the personal, professional, and political nuances in both cases needed a lot of space.
Definitely unfortunate for Laura Kipnis (to me on the surface), but are these growing cases helping to deconstruct some of the unfair power structures which we've institutionalized over time? Dismantling them is certainly worthwhile, but the question is are the correct institutions and people paying the price and doing the work? In Kipnis's case, she probably isn't the right person to be paying the price, but rather the institution itself.
Another example of this is that of Donald McNeil in the paragraph above (in the related article).
But dig into the story of anyone who has been a genuine victim of modern mob justice and you will often find not an obvious argument between “woke” and “anti-woke” perspectives but rather incidents that are interpreted, described, or remembered by different people in different ways, even leaving aside whatever political or intellectual issue might be at stake.
Cancel culture and modern mob justice are possible as the result of volumes of more detail and data as well as large doses of context collapse.
In some cases, it's probably justified to help level the playing field for those in power who are practicing hypocrisy, but in others, it's simply a lack of context by broader society who have kneejerk reactions which have the ability to be "remembered" by broader society with search engines.
How might Google allow the right to forget to serve as a means of restorative justice?
Partisans, especially on the right, now toss around the phrase cancel culture when they want to defend themselves from criticism, however legitimate.
A solid definition of cancel culture.
Right here in America, right now, it is possible to meet people who have lost everything—jobs, money, friends, colleagues—after violating no laws, and sometimes no workplace rules either. Instead, they have broken (or are accused of having broken) social codes having to do with race, sex, personal behavior, or even acceptable humor, which may not have existed five years ago or maybe five months ago. Some have made egregious errors of judgment. Some have done nothing at all. It is not always easy to tell.
After that, she must wear a scarlet A—for adulterer—pinned to her dress for the rest of her life. On the outskirts of Boston, she lives in exile. No one will socialize with her—not even those who have quietly committed similar sins, among them the father of her child, the saintly village preacher.
Given the prevalence of people towards making mistakes and practicing extreme hypocrisy, we really ought to move toward restorative justice. Especially in the smaller non-capital cases.
- Sandra Sellers
- power dynamics
- John Stuart Mill
- Laura Kipnis
- sentencing guidelines
- political polarization
- Braden Ellis
- Arthur Miller
- purity tests
- liberal democracy
- Emily Wilder
- Monica Lewinsky
- right to forget
- no one steps into the same river twice
- descending into the particular
- social media
- Alexi McCammond
- institutional power
- restorative justice
- public shaming
- university justice
- Scarlet Letter
- attention economy
- beyond the pale
- Republican party
- institutional racism
- The New Education
- due process
- Steven Pinker
- elephants or zebras
- social justice
- Teen Vogue
- The Crucible
- Justine Sacco
- post traumatic stress
- search engines
- decline of violence
- Cathy N. Davidson
- On Liberty
- social conformity
- listen to the accused
- David Batson
- social norms
- context collapse
- cancel culture
- price of fame
- Salem witch trials
- mob justice
Context: Sonia was watching Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Season 3: "Episode 1" and had previously been watching a documentary One of Us about people who had left oppressive seeming Hassidic Jewish communities.
I can't help but that that every culture could be considered a "cult" in which some percentage of people are trapped with comparison to all other cultures on Earth. Based on one's upbringing and personal compass, perhaps living and submitting to one's culture can become oppressive and may seem particularly unfair given power structures and the insidiousness of hypocrisy.
Given this, could there logically be a utopian society in which everyone lives freely?
Even within the United States there are smaller sub-cultures withiin which people feel trapped and which have the features of cults, but which are so large as to not be considered such. Even the space in which I freely live might be considered a cult by others who don't agree with it. It's only the vast size of the power of the group which prevents the majority who comfortably live within it from viewing it as a bad thing.
A Democrat may view the Republican Party as a cult and vice versa, something which becomes more apparent when one polarizes these communities toward the edges rather than allowing them to drift into each other in a consensus.
An African American may think they're stuck in a broader American cult which marginalizes them.
A Hassidic Jew may feel they're stuck in a cult (of religious restrictions) with respect to the perceived freedoms of broader American Culture. Some may feel more comfortable within these strictures than others.
A gender non-comforming person living in the deep South of the United States surrounded by the Southern Baptist Convention may feel they're stuck in a cult based on social norms of one culture versus what they experience personally.
What are the roots of something being a cult? Could it be hypocrisy? A person or a broader group feeling as if they know "best" and creating a rule structure by which others are forced to follow, but from which they themselves are exempt? This also seems to be the way in which authoritarian rules arise when privileging one group above another based solely on (perceived) power.
Another potential thing at play here may be the lack of diversity within a community. The level of cult within a society may be related to the shape of the bell curve of that society with respect to how large the center is with respect to the tails. Those who are most likely to feel they're within a "cult" (using the broader definition) are those three or more standard deviations from the center. In non-diverse communities only those within a standard deviation of the norm are likely to feel comfortable and accepted and those two deviations away will feel very uncomfortable while those who are farther away will be shunned and pushed beyond the pale.
How can we help create more diverse and broadly accepting communities? We're all just people, aren't we? How can we design communities and governments to be accepting of even the most marginalized? In a heavily connected world, even the oddball teenager in a small community can now manage to find their own sub-community using the internet. (Even child pornographers manage to find their community online.)
The opposite of this is at what point do we circumscribe the norms of the community? Take the idea of "Your freedom to strike me ends at my nose." Perhaps we only shun those extreme instances like murder and pornography, and other actions which take extreme advantage of others' freedoms? [This needs to be heavily expanded and contemplated...] What about the over-financialization of the economy which takes advantage of the unprivileged who don't know that system and are uncapable of the mathematics and computation to succeed. Similarly hucksters and snake oil salesmen who take advantage of their targets' weaknesses and lack of knowledge and sophistication. Or the unregulated vitamin industry taking rents from millions for their superstitions? How do we regulate these to allow "cultural freedom" or "religious freedom" without them taking mass-scale advantage of their targets? (Or are some of these acculturated examples simply inequalities institutionally built into societies and cultures as a means of extracting power and rents from the larger system by those in power?)
Compare with Hester Prynne and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
- Oct 2021
- Aug 2021
Middleware would reduce both platforms' own power and their function as levers for unaccountable state power, as governments increasingly pressure platforms to "voluntarily" suppress disfavored speech.2
Tangentially related idea which this sparked:
Within my beyond the pale thesis, banishing people in smaller social groups is easier, but doesn't necessarily scale well.
In larger towns, cities, and even states, it may work in some of the smallest and most egregious cases like major crime or murder when carried out by the state, but what about the smaller social infractions?
Cancel culture is attempting to apply this larger social pressure to bigger public figures in ways that it traditionally has been more difficult to do. It's even more difficult in a highly networked world where globalism has taken hold.
How do we cater to the centric masses while potentially allowing some flexibility to the cultures considered at the edges? Ethics aren't universal, so there will be friction at a huge number of overlaps.
- Paula Dean (racism), loses shows, deals, etc. but still has reach in certain sections of the country and online
- Jun 2021
We live in a moment where censorship and free speech are hot button topics. So it’s all the more striking that these anti-CRT bills, with clear intent to limit a discussion of the basic facts of American history and society, are being made into law all over America with minimum protest from the people who yelp the loudest about cancel culture.
This is another solid example of the hypocrisy of large portions of the Republican party. Do as we say, not as we do. How far can these laws drift from our overarching principles before there is a schism?
How does this fit into the [[beyond the pale]] idea going from small communities to a much larger internet-connected society?
- May 2021
130 years on, privacy is still largely conceived of as an individual thing, wherein we get to make solo decisions about when we want to be left alone and when we’re comfortable being trespassed upon.
How could one design a mathematical balancing system to help separate individuals embedded within a variety of societies or publics to enforce a balance of levels of privacy.
- There's the interpersonal level between the individuals
- There's the person's individual privacy and the public's reaction/response to the thing captured, for which the public may shun or not
- There's the takers rights (possibly a journalist or news outlet) to inform the broader public which may shame or not
- There's the publics' potential right to know, the outcome may effect them or dramatically change society as a whole
- others facets?
- how many facets?
- how to balance all these to create an optimum outcome for all parties?
- How might the right to forget look like and be enforced?
- How do economic incentives play out (paparazzi, journalism, social media, etc.?)
- Apr 2021
This new direct-to-consumer media also means that battles over the boundaries of acceptable views and the ensuing arguments about “cancel culture” — for instance, in New York Magazine’s firing of Andrew Sullivan — are no longer the kind of devastating career blows they once were. (Only Twitter retains that power.) Big media cancellation is often an offramp to a bigger income
- Mar 2021
Who owns and controls it?
This is worth discussion. Specifically the ownership part and it may be surprising to uncover how little control there has been and how that is changing in 2021 as ISPs and hosting companies refuse or welcome radical platforms and groups, https://www.npr.org/2021/02/15/968116346/after-weeks-of-being-off-line-parler-finds-a-new-web-host
- Feb 2021
- Jan 2021
None of the caterwaulers we hear crying about cancel culture have been canceled. We know that because we can still hear them.
There is no such thing as “cancel culture” — there is only culture.
- Dec 2020
The wise possum had never read Alexis de Tocqueville’s master work Democracy in America (1835). But whoever wants to understand what is afflicting Western postmodernity—with the U.S. going first and Europe following—should read the two chapters on the tyranny imposed not by an oppressive regime, but by a free society. 200 years ago, the young Frenchman praised America’s “extreme liberties” only to warn of a deadly downside: Nowhere else, he wrote, was there “less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America.”
The hegemony of the minority. A danger of public schooling that we never saw coming. This hegemony came about by sacrificing the potential of black america. The school system the greatest source of systemic racism..
- Sep 2020
Many of us hear this attack as saying that the four embody a fundamental otherness, and their true membership as “one of us” is fragile and even cancelable.
Reading this now and looking back on the idea of cancel culture, I'm curious where in the spectrum of use the word cancelable sits?
- Jul 2020
The following month, another YA author, Kosoko Jackson, likewise pulled his debut novel after a Twitter mob savaged it for featuring “privileged” protagonists and casting a Muslim character as a villain. Ironically, Jackson, who is black and gay, had worked as a “sensitivity reader” for publishing houses, screening manuscripts for just such politically incorrect content, and on Twitter, like Zhao, he had waged identitarian turf wars. “He was Robespierre,”
In January 2019, debut author Amélie Wen Zhao found herself the subject of such intense criticism—largely for making slavery a feature of her fictional world—that she pulled her YA fantasy novel, Blood Heir