Cancel Culture Is by, and for, the Very Online

 

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I recently watched a botched cancellation attempt in Chicago. It said a lot about the cancellers.

A handful of Asian-American restaurateurs went to the Trump rally in D.C. that preceded the Capitol riot. They weren’t involved in the violent actions that followed, but the local Karens found out, and raised hell on the neighborhood “social network” cesspool known as Nextdoor.com.

In came a few vocal progressives, posting screeds in the awkward vocabulary of the woke second language. Mostly women and, from what I could see from profile pictures, all white, they laid into these small business owners in words that I could charitably call hyperbolic. The immigrant restaurateurs were, according to them, domestic terrorists, despite having nothing to do with the invasion of the Capitol. One commenter branded them “victims of the Truman Doctrine” who side with fascism over communism whenever possible.

Their restaurants’ Yelp pages were no prettier. They were full of comments by people (mostly in different cities) perfunctorily dissing the food before claiming that their businesses’ very existence was subverting democracy. “Terrorists,” “treason,” “race-traitors,” yada yada yada. One review that gave me a chuckle claimed that these people did not deserve “the privilege of serving the diverse community of Lakeview” (which is particularly funny if you’ve ever been to the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago).

The image of mostly-white wokerellas pathologizing minorities who disagree with them is now pretty ubiquitous, suggesting this wasn’t about the idiotic “coup” attempt. The Karens would react the same way three months earlier if they had found out who the businesspeople were voting for. They shouldn’t have gone to the rally in D.C., and it’s a shame that Trump’s lies about the election brought normal people like them into the crosshairs. But the rage invoked by learning of a political disagreement shows the emptiness of progressive Karenism. Different political preferences—particularly by somebody that the Left’s simplistic racial matrix says should be on their side—is a cause for boycott.

One of the targeted businesses, a locally famous Vietnamese restaurant, is next to my nearest train stop, so I took notes on it a few times the week after this blew up online. They were not only open for business, but doing quite well. Their outdoor dining huts were filled to capacity at lunchtime on multiple days, and by their windows were awash with takeout orders. I passed it many times in the subsequent weeks, and business only increased as indoor dining reopened. So what was accomplished by screaming into this extremely online void, except for validation from a few dozen compatriots?

The internet is not exactly known as a cooling dish, and surely this behavior existed before COVID. But with nowhere else to go, many more are jumping online to take their frustrations out on others, like small business owners they’ve never met in cities they don’t live in. With no one in the immediate vicinity to hate, social media lets us create enemies and join pile-ons. It gives us self-selected and naturally receptive audiences to perform in front of.

I have little hope the incentives for this childish behavior will go away while we live under varying degrees of lockdowns. Perhaps a post-COVID world with less time spent online and more good-faith engagement in the public square will help cool us down.

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  1. American Abroad Thatcher
    American Abroad
    @AmericanAbroad

    I go to a restaurant for food, not politics.  It must be so much work for these progressives to check-up on the political leanings of every restaurant owner to find dining safe spaces. 

    • #1
  2. Mike Viola Member
    Mike Viola
    @MikeViola

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I go to a restaurant for food, not politics. It must be so much work for these progressives to check-up on the political leanings of every restaurant owner to find dining safe spaces.

    Agreed. If their politics isn’t in the window or at my table, then I don’t care.

    • #2
  3. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Conformity, Cruelty, and Political Activism

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Conformity, Cruelty, and Political Activism

    That’s a good post. 

    I always wince when I see you link to one of your Chicago Boyz articles, because it means I should take the time to go and read it rather than skip to the next quick quip. It throws me off schedule.

    • #4
  5. American Abroad Thatcher
    American Abroad
    @AmericanAbroad

    You also have to love the fact that the progressives want to destroy a minority-owned business started by immigrants.  Yet somehow we are the racists.  

    • #5
  6. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    All sensible people know Next Door is a cesspit and does anyone pay attention to Yelp any more?

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    All sensible people know Next Door is a cesspit and does anyone pay attention to Yelp any more?

    I use whatever comes up.  But I pay attention to whether the comments are about things I care about. Same with any reviews of anything.

    • #7
  8. Gwen Novak Member
    Gwen Novak
    @GwenNovak

    I used to live in Lakeview and diverse it’s well not… When my husband and I were leaving Chicago, a black friend came by to help us move a desk . We were running late and one of my oh so progressive neighbors called the cops on him.   I was incredibly embarrassed. I love Chicago but I’d never move back.

    • #8
  9. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    So does ricochet, if you think about it…

    The internet enables all our worst instincts.

    That’s what is interesting about a meetup.  People have to be nice because they see your face and you’re all human beings. I went to one years ago and someone came who does not like me here.  We sat next to each other and though I tried to be friendly, she ignored me. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s what you do in polite society when you can’t say something nice.

    The internet destroys polite society. 

    • #9
  10. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Gwen Novak (View Comment):

    I used to live in Lakeview and diverse it’s well not… When my husband and I were leaving Chicago, a black friend came by to help us move a desk . We were running late and one of my oh so progressive neighbors called the cops on him. I was incredibly embarrassed. I love Chicago but I’d never move back.

    You are confirming my observations. So many former friends of mine, now super-progressives,  grew up in all white areas of the country. (Coast of Oregon, in the 1950’s for example.) They have had few friends or co workers who were people of color. They see White Supremacists behind every tree and under every bed.

    Simply put, they have no concept of life in diverse communities. None.

    The idea of how a late night walk through a neighborhood that borders on a major project like Cabrini-Green might be suicide would escape them. Yet so would the idea the black guy rushing away from a white guy’s house with a desk or flat screen TV could be a friend.

    • #10
  11. Mike Viola Member
    Mike Viola
    @MikeViola

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Gwen Novak (View Comment):

    I used to live in Lakeview and diverse it’s well not… When my husband and I were leaving Chicago, a black friend came by to help us move a desk . We were running late and one of my oh so progressive neighbors called the cops on him. I was incredibly embarrassed. I love Chicago but I’d never move back.

    You are confirming my observations. So many former friends of mine, now super-progressives, grew up in all white areas of the country. (Coast of Oregon, in the 1950’s for example.) They have had few friends or co workers who were people of color. They see White Supremacists behind every tree and under every bed.

    Simply put, they have no concept of life in diverse communities. None.

    The idea of how a late night walk through a neighborhood that borders on a major project like Cabrini-Green might be suicide would escape them. Yet so would the idea the black guy rushing away from a white guy’s house with a desk or flat screen TV could be a friend.

    Six months ago I moved further north after years in the Gold Coast/Old Town area – the well-off, mostly white part adjacent to Cabrini-Green. What you’re describing is painfully accurate.

    • #11
  12. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Mike Viola: Their restaurants’ Yelp pages were no prettier. They were full of comments by people (mostly in different cities) perfunctorily dissing the food before claiming that their businesses’ very existence was subverting democracy.

    This reminds me of when a conservative or libertarian writes a new book.  You can go to Amazon.com and pre-order the book which won’t be shipping for a month yet.  Even though no one has read the book yet, there will be a bunch of negative reviews.  People haven’t read the book or any excerpts, but know the book must be garbage because it was written by Kevin D. Williamson, for instance.

    • #12
  13. Mike Viola Member
    Mike Viola
    @MikeViola

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Mike Viola: Their restaurants’ Yelp pages were no prettier. They were full of comments by people (mostly in different cities) perfunctorily dissing the food before claiming that their businesses’ very existence was subverting democracy.

    This reminds me of when a conservative or libertarian writes a new book. You can go to Amazon.com and pre-order the book which won’t be shipping for a month yet. Even though no one has read the book yet, there will be a bunch of negative reviews. People haven’t read the book or any excerpts, but know the book must be garbage because it was written by Kevin D. Williamson, for instance.

    At this point, you’d think there was some list for the minions of people/places/things they need to attack.

    • #13
  14. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    This reminds me of when a conservative or libertarian writes a new book. You can go to Amazon.com and pre-order the book which won’t be shipping for a month yet. Even though no one has read the book yet, there will be a bunch of negative reviews. People haven’t read the book or any excerpts, but know the book must be garbage because it was written by Kevin D. Williamson, for instance.

    Fortunately, you can limit the reviews shown to only verified purchasers: Click “see all reviews”, and then select “verified purchase only” from the “reviewers” drop-down.

    • #14
  15. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    This reminds me of when a conservative or libertarian writes a new book. You can go to Amazon.com and pre-order the book which won’t be shipping for a month yet. Even though no one has read the book yet, there will be a bunch of negative reviews. People haven’t read the book or any excerpts, but know the book must be garbage because it was written by Kevin D. Williamson, for instance.

    The situation was worse before the internet: the only book reviews many would see appeared in liberal-dominated newspapers and magazines, where the reviewer would grossly misrepresent the book if he disapproved of it. The cleverest did so in ways calculated to persuade the reader to not even consider looking at the book.

    • #15
  16. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    and raised hell on the neighborhood “social network” cesspool known as Nextdoor.com.

    You described it perfectly. I have seen the same re masks, covid, opening schools, etc. People used to say that Twitter didn’t reflect real America. Social media is reflecting real America.

    But with nowhere else to go, many more are jumping online to take their frustrations out on others, like small business owners they’ve never met in cities they don’t live in. With no one in the immediate vicinity to hate, social media lets us create enemies and join pile-ons. It gives us self-selected and naturally receptive audiences to perform in front of.

    Hating is becoming a habit. Once that happens, moving from the anonymity of social media to face to face confrontation is an easy step. We see it now in videos of rioters yelling at people doing nothing more than eating out.

    • #16
  17. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Mike Viola: The internet is not exactly known as a cooling dish, and surely this behavior existed before COVID. But with nowhere else to go, many more are jumping online to take their frustrations out on others, like small business owners they’ve never met in cities they don’t live in.

    So, you’re saying we’re NOT all in this together? (I’ve started to mumble or, worse, growl, when I hear that ridiculous phrase.)

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Suspira (View Comment):

    Mike Viola: The internet is not exactly known as a cooling dish, and surely this behavior existed before COVID. But with nowhere else to go, many more are jumping online to take their frustrations out on others, like small business owners they’ve never met in cities they don’t live in.

    So, you’re saying we’re NOT all in this together? (I’ve started to mumble or, worse, growl, when I hear that ridiculous phrase.)

    There is no leftwing cliche so ridiculous that it can’t be used against the left.  

    • #18