Tag: cancel culture

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One of my coworkers was removing some of those 10/7 hostage posters that were posted in a spot where posting is not allowed.  He is required to remove posters from this area as part of his job.  Someone videoed it and it went viral. Now his home address has been posted and his wife has […]

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Fundamentalism and Universities


You don’t have to be “religious” to be a fundamentalist. I grew up in a very fundamentalistic church. It was not the doctrine that was the problem; I believe strongly in the fundamentals of The Faith such as God creating out of nothing, Jesus’ virgin birth and His resurrection from the dead. The problem was, and is, the rules added to Christian belief. For instance, when I was young, watching movies was forbidden. Well, I wrote a book on movies some years ago; I guess I kind of outgrew that human-centered rule. But you see the problem – people make rules that tend to please or benefit them. Control by some government, group, or institution can become “fundamentalism,” where someone else says they know what is best for you; and then makes you do it.

You don’t have to be “religious” to be a fundamentalist; your fundamentals will determine your sexual, political, racial, national, or historical viewpoint. The university can have its own fundamentalism replete with evangelists, apostles, dogmas, and liturgies. Not abiding by human-determined codes of diversity, equity, and inclusion can get you in trouble. Not affirming someone’s self-identification by their preferred pronouns can get you in trouble. Not agreeing with professors who tell you what to think can get you in trouble. You see the problem. When people determine what the fundamentals of their faith are, then they can tell you to “Be kind” or “Be respectful” – until the fundamentalist determines that your views are wrong. The result could be grade reduction, cancellation, or viewpoint suppression.

No, you don’t have to be “religious” to be a fundamentalist. All you need to be a fundamentalist is to control how others think or speak or act. Fundamentalism is simply a desire to control others. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, encouraging everyone to think and speak freely, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found. [First published at MarkEckel.com, picture credit <Snappy Goat> Yale University]

I’m Canceling Myself


It’s customary for comics to be canceled by others for their transgressive comedy. On the advice of my agent, however, I have decided to get ahead of things and cancel myself.

First, my sin: ever since I was a schoolboy, throughout my career in comedy, both onstage and in private conversations, I have told countless “your mother” jokes. Except I didn’t use the term “your mother.” Instead, I used another term that rhymes with “Obama.”

I realize now that these jokes were not mine to tell: I had appropriated them from the rich vein of African-American humor, causing cringe-inducing pain to the white women exposed to them.

TPTB TV: The Iger Sanction


(Cold open) Interior of a busy television studio, about to go on the air. There’s a set of a wood paneled room with floor-to-ceiling bookcases. A fireplace crackles. A distinguished-looking man in a smoking jacket puts down a brandy snifter and faces the camera.

“Hello, I’m David Mamet. Plenty of people call me the greatest living American playwright, and obviously they are the only ones whose opinions matter. The producers have asked me to explain this new show to you. It’s a satire” (he takes a deep swig of brandy) “called The Powers That Be. What’s so special about it?” (Mamet refills his glass and takes another deep swig) “It’s the show that ‘they’ can’t cancel!”

Job Opening at Fox


“But during the last thirty years, this artificial reality has collapsed like a house of cards; the demons which haunted the brains of those outcasts have invaded the world of men and have become its masters.  The old landmarks of good and evil and truth and falsehood have been swept away and civilization is driving before the storm of destruction like a dismantled and helmless ship.  The evils which the nineteenth century thought that it had banished forever — proscription and persecution, torture and slavery, and the fear of sudden death — have returned and with them new terrors which the past did not know.  We have discovered that evil too is a progressive force and that the modern world has unlimited prospects for its development.”  —  The Judgement of the Nations by Christopher Dawson, 1942.

The exit of Tucker Carlson from Fox News felt like an earthquake in the news world.  It came as a shock to those who watched his show, and was a mere flip of the wrist from his competitors and those who claim they no longer follow cable news.  I learned about it from my sister, who called me from another state, who heard it on the radio.  Tucker was a popular commentator with a mere hour-long program.  Yet his appeal went beyond the confines of his seat at Fox.  Why?

He seemed to go to the edge when he presented. Tucker brought guests to us that witnessed and lived through storm after storm to tell their survival story when other outlets were banning commentary.  For example, the Covid shots and severe after effects, the Canadian Truckers and their standoff against big government mandates, the presidential election and election integrity, gender ideology in grade school books, and many other subjects.  He allowed his guests a forum to talk and tell us what is happening to our culture, our kids, our freedom, and our democracy.  No topic was off limits and he seemed to care about their suffering and shared their concerns.

What’s bugging Dennis this week? Government suppression of information for one. The FTC has sent dozens of letters demanding internal memos and the names of all reporters the company had granted access to the “Twitter Files.” House Republicans call it “an aggressive campaign to harass” the social media giant into not revealing the extent of government coercion under the previous Twitter leadership. And then there’s the J6 tapes…

In our interview segment we’re joined by Doug Adler, the former ESPN tennis analyst who was one of the first casualties of cancel culture for remarks he made during a match in the 2017 Australian Open. He paid for it with his health and his career, while others at the network are still saying really outrageous stuff on the air with no consequence.

A New and More Powerful Censorship Coming


The world we once knew has shifted into something many of us have never experienced, at least in the United States.  But you shout, we have protection! The US Constitution! The Bill of Rights! We are free to say and do as we please, framed within the Rule of Law created by our Founders for a day and time such as this.

Opportunity and abundance, along with many hardships, have given us advantages that many other countries only dream of. But power, control, and money have blinded those, as it always does, with the means to take away those freedoms while cloaked as sheep, trying to hide their fangs. We’ve seen this scenario many times before and it always starts with a vague, pleasing message and the urgent need for censorship.

Florida Politicians Becoming High Quality Trollers


I thought my relatively new home of Texas was supposed to be the fun, ornery, independent place. Texas politicians have had their moments, but Florida politicians sure seem to be getting on top of the game, having fun with trolling.

Florida Governor DeSantis has conspicuously been tweaking the opposition for a couple of years.

The Character Assassination of Elon Musk


There was a time when Elon Musk was the darling of the left. After all, he made a fortune with an internet company (first Zip2, and then X.com/PayPal) and decided to use that fortune to make electric vehicles that would revolutionize the transport industry.  Along the way, he formed a rocket ship company and a satellite internet company.

People became infatuated with Musk, and he reveled in the fame and attention, always looking for the next bigger splash he could make. In some ways, he reminds me of Steve Jobs of Apple, who pushed for computers and devices that people thought were sexy and cool while still being functional and easy to use.

His foray into EVs is a prime example of this. Years before they became commonplace, Musk realized (much like Thomas Edison had realized) that EVs without charging stations were useless. So, he embarked on a program to place charging stations at critical points so that his drivers would be able to recharge while on long trips. This is why there is a Tesla station smack bad in between San Antonio and Houston in a little town called Flatonia, where I often stopped for a drink and/or snack while making that drive myself. Tesla put in a charging station about a mile and a half from my home right off I-35 north of San Antonio, going towards Austin. Many other companies are investing in EVs, but it would not be an exaggeration that Musk and Tesla seemed to capture the imagination of people.  Have you ever heard of a Fisker?

Twixt Gentleman and Brigand


Our own Susan Quinn recently wrote an interesting post exploring the wisdom of Judge James Ho’s recent decision to disfavor Yale Law School graduates when seeking judicial clerks. In Should a Judge Use Cancel Culture to Boycott Cancel Culture?, Susan presents arguments for and against Judge Ho’s position (which echoes that of the late Judge Laurence Silberman).

Judge Ho’s position has been mischaracterized by some on both the left and right as a form of viewpoint discrimination: what the judge is doing, given this understanding, is rejecting a particularly left-leaning law school because it is particularly left-leaning. I disagree. What the judge is doing is, as I tried to make clear in my comments to Susan’s post, objecting to Yale’s institutional intolerance to diversity of thought. That’s a very different thing: the judge rejects a process that betrays our civilizational norms of open discourse and free expression. And well he should.

Is a Judge Using Cancel Culture to Boycott Cancel Culture?


When I first heard that Judge James Ho publicly criticized Yale Law School for its practice of cancel culture, I was delighted. Not only did he criticize the school, but he said he would no longer hire clerks who graduated from Yale. I called out a raucous cheer, so delighted was I to hear that someone of note was finally attacking the cancel culture disease:

The judge, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, cited a number of incidents at schools in which prominent figures had faced ‘campus vitriol.’

He singled out Yale – consistently ranked as the top law school in the US – for particular criticism, saying the institution ‘not only tolerates the cancellation of views, it actively practices it.’

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Noah Rothman, associate editor of Commentary magazine, about his recently released book, The Rise of the New Puritans: Fighting Back Against Progressives’ War On Fun, examining how the attempt to remoralize American culture mirrors similar social movements in the past and what concerned onlookers can do to better manage this frenzied phenomenon.


Cancel Bots and Trolls, Not People: A Cancel-Culture Update


When the US Supreme Court announces major earth-shaking decisions, as they did several times last month, not much attention is focused on the attorneys who argued and won their cases. But there may be one exception this year: Paul Clement and his law partner, Erin Murphy.

Paul Clement is arguably the most effective appellant lawyer in modern times. He served as Solicitor General – the government’s chief litigator before SCOTUS – during the Bush 43 Administration. As Clement was preparing to leave the Bush administration following the 2008 election, he was referred to as “The LeBron James of law firm recruiting,” referencing the best professional basketball player of that era.

Member Post


So, apropos of absolutely nothing going on in the news, I’ve been thinking about the range of responses available to us when confronted with a joke that we do not find funny. The first, most basic, and most time-honored choice is simply not laughing. We deprive the comedian of the desired response, determinedly withholding our […]

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Maus: Censorship from the Right?


Maus is a graphic novel (fancy talk for comic book) by cartoonist Art Spiegelman. In the story, Spiegelman interviews his father about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. It features anthropomorphized versions of the players in these events: Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Poles are pigs, Americans are dogs, and so on. As a fan of sequential art, I can attest to it being very well done. It is also the only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

It’s also been in the news as of late. Apparently, it’s the latest victim of right-wing Holocaust denial and censorship. Take a look at some of these articles:

‘Maus’ controversy: A Tennessee school board removed the graphic novel about the Holocaust from curriculum – CNN

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Bari Weiss, former New York Times op-ed editor and writer, and author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Bari shares what motivated her to write this book, its reception, and key lessons for teachers and students alike.

She also explains why we’re now seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, how educators can best combat it, and the connection she observes between the current upsurge in anti-Semitism and cancel culture. Bari discusses her experiences on the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and her courageous decision to resign from the Times, as well as the public praise and criticism she’s encountered since her resignation.

Elite Universities’ Fall of Failure on Free Expression


It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to Ricochet readers that America’s most elite colleges and universities are often far from elite where their performance on free speech is concerned. Even so, as we’ve been writing at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) over the last couple of weeks, their cultures of free expression have been showing some signs of seriously ill health. A quick rundown:

  • Yale University attracted nationwide scorn this fall for its treatment of a law student, whom it pressured to issue a public apology over an email promoting a social event that made a joking reference to a “trap house.” But as my colleague Adam Goldstein and I wrote recently, another, less ballyhooed incident likewise raises serious concern. Psychiatrist and author Sally Satel delivered a lecture to the psychiatry department at the Yale School of Medicine (where she is a visiting lecturer) discussing the year she spent working in rural Ohio treating people struggling with opioid addiction. Following her lecture, a group of “Concerned Yale Psychiatry Residents” demanded that Satel be stripped of her lecturer title for her “dehumanizing, demeaning, and classist” remarks, seizing upon, of all things, a reference to an “artisanal coffee shop.”
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in for heavy criticism after its department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences rescinded its invitation for University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot to deliver its annual John Carlson Lecture. The reason for Abbot’s disinvitation had nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific nature of his planned lecture; it was because he’d previously published a column criticizing university diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and proposing what he believed to be a fairer alternative. As my colleague Komi German documents, that’s only the most prominent in a string of free expression challenges that has seen MIT stumble.
  • Most recently, the Stanford University Undergraduate Senate denied funding to the Stanford College Republicans, who sought to bring former Vice President Mike Pence to campus for a lecture. Audio recordings of the senate’s vote make clear that viewpoint discrimination played a role in the decision. ​​One student senator is recorded saying that “if you’re against the individual speaker, then I think it’s fine to vote in that way.” Or, put differently, it’s perfectly fine to let your personal politics and morality supersede your duty to treat funding requests in a viewpoint-neutral manner.

Cancel Culture Comes for Dad Rock


President Trump was mocked for suggesting that after tearing down Confederate statues, they would move on to statues of Washington and Jefferson. History has proven he wasn’t wrong, he merely underestimated how far the left is willing to take the Culture Wars. (The Culture Wars polite Republicans and “principled conservatives” think we should have no part of.) They came for Robert E. Lee, they came for Stonewall Jackson, and conservatives-with-dad-bods did nothing. Now, they’re coming for Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.

The past several years have seen a reassessment of our country’s many mythologies — from the legends of the generals of the Confederacy to the historical glossing over of slaveholding founding fathers. But as we take another look at the sins of our historical figures, we’ve also had to take a hard look at our more immediate past and present, including the behavior of the creators of pop culture. That reassessment extends now to the people who wrote some of our best-loved songs. But what to do with the art left behind? Can I still love their music if I’m appalled by various events in the lives of Johnny Cash or Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis? Or by Eric Clapton’s racist rants and anti-vaccination activism?