Friday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    What happens when you use the military for political reasons? This.

    Texas Guard shakeup deepens, two more two-stars out

    Less than 72 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott replaced the Texas National Guard’s top general, two more top officials from the agency have suddenly stepped down, signaling a wide-ranging shakeup amid heavy criticism of the governor’s controversial border mission.

    Maj. Gen. Charles Aris, the commander of the 36th Infantry Division, was replaced effective Thursday, according to a Texas Military Department announcement. Aris will retire after 34 years in the military and Brig. Gen. Win Burkett is the storied unit’s new commanding general.

    Aris commanded the division for only five months.

    My tax dollars at work.

    Over the past year, Texas officials have deployed thousands of troops and dedicated billions of dollars to stem an increase in migrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border. But the operation has been mired in controversy as National Guard troops have called it a disaster. Several service members tied to the mission have also died by suicide.

    2
  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Two more days of winter…

    Spring Equinox 2022 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 10:33 AM CDT on
    Sunday, March 20

    2
  3. JohnSF says:

    @Scott:
    On the bright side for them, they aren’t employed by Vlad:

    “General Roman Gavrilov, the deputy head of the national guard…was taken into custody yesterday by the FSB state security service.”

    3
  4. Scott says:

    @JohnSF: LOL. Did run across this tweet by Andrew Exum WRT the Texas Guard fiasco:

    Scary to watch a purge of high-ranking officers in this reactionary petro-state following the failed special military operation against a neighboring country.

    8
  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    Doctor found guilty of breaking healthy teeth in order to install crowns.

    Get the spit bowl ready. This story is bound to get you gnashing your chompers and leave a bad taste in your mouth.

    A dentist in Wisconsin has been found guilty of deliberately breaking his patients’ teeth with a drill so he could collect millions of dollars to repair the damage with dental crowns.

    The alleged scheme by licensed Grafton dentist Scott Charmoli, 61, appears to have begun in 2015, when the number of crowns he installed abruptly increased. In 2015, Charmoli installed 1,036 crowns, well over the 434 crowns he did in 2014. Amid the royal boom, his income increased by more than $1 million, going from $1.4 million in 2014 to $2.5 million in 2015, according to court documents.

  6. Franklin says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    !!! I don’t know many dentists, but even in 2014 he installed 434 crowns and made $1.4 million. That already seems … excessive. ?

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin: Doesn’t seem outrageous to me. A dentist has to have an assistant, a hygienist, someone working the front, and someone to handle the billing. In the smallest offices the person working the front could also handle the billing, although insurance is a specialty job while reception and scheduling is not. Add on office expenses, cost of equipment, insurance, etc and $1.4M in income doesn’t sound outrageous.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    The New York Times has a poll on that completely imaginary, made-up, isn’t a real thing phenomenon of cancel culture.

    Q: How much of a problem is it that some Americans do not exercise their freedom of speech in everyday situations out of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism?
    Answering ‘somewhat serious’ or ‘very serious’:
    Democrats: 81%
    Republicans: 84%

    For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

    This social silencing, this depluralizing of America, has been evident for years, but dealing with it stirs yet more fear. It feels like a third rail, dangerous. For a strong nation and open society, that is dangerous.

    How has this happened? In large part, it’s because the political left and the right are caught in a destructive loop of condemnation and recrimination around “cancel culture.” Many on the left refuse to acknowledge that cancel culture exists at all, believing that those who complain about it are offering cover for bigots to peddle hate speech. Many on the right, for all their braying about cancel culture, have embraced an even more extreme version of censoriousness as a bulwark against a rapidly changing society, with laws that would ban books, stifle teachers and discourage open discussion in classrooms.

    Many Americans are understandably confused, then, about what they can say and where they can say it. People should be able to put forward viewpoints, ask questions and make mistakes, and take unpopular but good-faith positions on issues that society is still working through — all without fearing cancellation.

    However you define cancel culture, Americans know it exists, and feel its burden. In a new national poll commissioned by Times Opinion and Siena College, only 34 percent of Americans said they believed that all Americans enjoyed freedom of speech completely. The poll found that 84 percent of adults said it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.

    2
  9. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: It may depend on whether we’re discussing the total income of the practice or his net after expenses. Or we could decide that not even that matters, he’s an individual and entitled to make whatever the market–legitimate or illegitimate–will bear.

    2
  10. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The poll found that 84 percent of adults said it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.”

    Unlike the glory days, when any American could say absolutely anything without any fear or retaliation or harsh criticism.

    So when exactly where those day?

    In the 1950s, when expressing the slightest sympathy for leftist organizations — or even having expressed such sympathy decades back — would get you blackballed and possibly jailed?

    Maybe in the 60s? After all, there were only certain parts of the country where speaking out in favor of, say, Black people voting would get you killed and buried in a swamp/

    How about th 70s and 80s? Yes, discussing the fact that you were gay would only sometimes lead to you being crucified on a wooden fence?

    I’ve got it, the 2000s, when suggesting that George W. Bush was not someone to be admired would only see a nation-wide boycott of your work.

    This is what is so ludicrous about your little crusade. There has never been a time anywhere in human history where everyone has felt free to say whatever they want without fear of criticism. Now, for some reason, people think they should be able to, and are stunned when other people use their free speech to object.

    I think the real problem is the way people have clustered themselves into little internet bubbles where everyone agrees with everyone else, and each group feels free to use their own lexicon. Then they try to use that lexicon outside the bubble and people get mad! And that leads to hysterical fits about “cancel culture.”

    11
  11. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: This is the kind of polling that drives me crazy. It asked a vague question about feelings and then pretends there is a kind of precision to it.

    Everyday situations? What the heck does that mean? It means something different to each respondent.

    Fear of retaliation or harsh criticism? These are two very different things!

    Then the authors go on to use different language in their interpretations: Shamed or shunned.
    Condemnation or recrimination. Cancellation.

    No wonder there is a high percentage. There is language that can fit all. It is almost push polling in action.

    8
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    The American people do not seem to agree with you, @wr.

    You are all-in on the official Hollywood message. I get it. That’s your tribe. But I’ve never had a lot of respect for Hollywood when it comes to politics. Unless it’s written by Iannucci, Hollywood politics is simple-minded, reductive and simply regurgitates the agreed message du jour without wasting so much as a single neuron thinking about it. Message defined, message received, message regurgitated. A few people in Hollywood go a bit deeper than hashtag thinking, but not many.

    So, you go right on pretending that something that clearly upsets Republicans and Democrats equally is imaginary, my dude, but the people know better. The people seem to agree with me. Old, young, left, right, educated and not so much, they all seem to agree with me. Huh. Whoda guessed?

    It’s one of life’s little ironies that the same Hollywood that first collaborated with HUAC and Joe McCarthy, and then spent decades pretending that they’d stood strong, now cannot recognize the new, bi-partisan McCarthyism. But then they also can’t recognize how complicit they are in Chinese censorship. Or that maybe they should speak up about Florida’s anti-gay laws. Or Georgia’s. Hollywood virtue is suspended where profit is involved.

    I’m going to tell you something and I hope you will hold me to it: we’re about 5 years away from the Hollywood consensus making a big shift to opposing cancel culture. And 10 years from now all the Hollywood apparatchiks will be pretending that they always saw the dangers of narrowing political speech and blah blah blah. Just like they backflipped from ignoring sexual harassment to pretending they were always opposed to Harvey Weinstein – unless they could get in on his next deal. And suddenly not only discovered there were actual Black actors and writers but were always very aware of blah blah blah, hashtag, hashtag, we are the world.

    2
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:
    One asks vague questions to get at feelings that are hard to articulate.

    The point is that 80% of Americans think there’s a problem. Which makes it a problem. Because some of those 80% vote. Right?

    Do you not believe banning books in school libraries because they include references to gays is a problem? Do you not believe that laws banning discussions of race in American history in schools is a problem? I think those are problems. I suspect you agree, because that’s right-wing cancel culture. Motes and beams. It’s easy in a super-partisan era to see the other guy’s sins, very hard to see one’s own.

    4
  14. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The trouble with this is that a problem that can’t be defined cannot be resolved. It can only be used to manipulate the vague feelings.

    4
  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:
    No offense, but I’m going to guess you’re an engineer. Most problems in society are hard to define, but there is frequently progress nevertheless, often by making fairly random choices. What is child labor, for example? Well, it’s whatever age we randomly choose in order to settle the issue. Under age X is child labor, over age X is not.

    The issue of cancel culture is a matter not primarily of law but of manners. Manners are very hard to codify, they change over time, they change with geography, but we all still have a pretty fair idea of what manners are. And we’re quick to notice when we are being treated in an unmannerly fashion.

    5
  16. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The point is that 80% of Americans think there’s a problem. Which makes it a problem. Because some of those 80% vote. Right?

    And what’s the solution to this “problem” that voting can solve?

    Why not poll Americans on “Do you feel like you should be a multimillionaire?” Okay, 99% of Americans feel it’s a problem they’re not millionaires. Some of them vote.

    And? Lol.

    6
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    Let me recap the discussion on this issue at OTB:

    Me: Cancel culture is a problem.
    Almost Everyone Else at OTB: No it’s not.
    The American People: Yes, it is.
    AEEAOTB: Nuh uh, because. . . um, didn’t like the question. Also, whaddya gonna do about it? And Mel Gibson is still getting work! And hey, people have lots of feelings, so what, lulz?

    One conclusion is unavoidable: I’m much more in touch with regular people than many of my OTB friends. I’ll admit, I didn’t imagine it was 80% across both parties. I’d have guessed 60%.

    5
  18. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And 10 years from now all the Hollywood apparatchiks will be pretending that they always saw the dangers of narrowing political speech and blah blah blah. Just like they backflipped from ignoring sexual harassment to pretending they were always opposed to Harvey Weinstein – unless they could get in on his next deal. And suddenly not only discovered there were actual Black actors and writers but were always very aware of blah blah blah, hashtag, hashtag, we are the world.

    Ha. This cranky screed is supposed to be opposite simple-minded and reductive?

    The problem with the NY Times Editorial is that it does not grapple with the central contradiction inherent in complaints about CAncEL cULtUrE: a free speech absolutist would not argue for limitations on the ability of private citizens to shame, shun, boycott, pile-on, chill, cancel, critique and criticize other speech.

    The New York Times isn’t arguing for more speech, it’s arguing for less. It can certainly do so if it thinks cancel culture is that harmful, but to do so cloaked in paens to absolute free speech is very phony.

    5
  19. Kathy says:

    I move we cancel cancel culture discussions form the open forum.

    8
  20. DK says:

    @Kathy: New York Times: Kathy Hates Free Speech or Something.

    6
  21. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You: Cancel Culture is a problem

    American #1: This is what I mean by Cancel Culture and I think it’s a problem

    American #2: When I hear Cancel Culture this is what I hear. And I think it’s a problem.

    American #3: I mean this by Cancel Culture and I think it’s a problem.

    Me: So I hear 3 Cancel Culture meanings and all think it’s a problem. Just not the same problem.

    Not an engineer but technically trained. Basically a soulless technocrat. I can feel the cancellation in your disdain.

    12
  22. Jon says:

    @Kathy: Seconded.

    2
  23. Jen says:

    Just a hunch.

    I think those poll numbers reflect that large amounts of the American public have said something on a social channel that caused a pile-on and now they are aware that they need to moderately self-censor. They don’t like feeling “uncomfortable” (like the NYT opinion piece where “uncomfortably shifted in their seats” was meant to depict censorship of thought).

    This isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not cancel culture. It’s people learning too late in life that you need a g*dd@mn filter in place if you want to exchange ideas in a public setting.

    A lot of people do not have the patience to collect and process their thoughts before vomiting their every notion out, and they are annoyed that they are being called out on it.

    9
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DK:

    The New York Times isn’t arguing for more speech, it’s arguing for less.

    As I said in another comment above, this is a matter of manners primarily. The NYT – and I – are arguing for a change in the way we discuss and debate issues. Free speech designed to limit free speech is a corruption of the right. It’s a chronic problem in free societies – bad actors exploiting freedom to attack freedom.

    @Scott:
    First, no I don’t sneer at STEMies, I admire people whose brains can do things mine can’t.

    Second, I appreciate your admission – however inadvertent – that I’m correct in saying that CC is a problem. You’re trying to obscure the issue, but the problem you run into is that we frequently poll on things that are not cut and dried, for example on racism. What is racism? You say X and I say Y so probably it’s not a problem at all?

    My central proposition is proved. Sorry, but it is. You have arguments, but they’re just arguments, and they do nothing to alter the facts.

    4
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:

    A lot of people do not have the patience to collect and process their thoughts before vomiting their every notion out, and they are annoyed that they are being called out on it.

    This is the argument that if you object to being called names it can only be because you deserve to be called those names. You know, how only a slut objects to being called a slut?

    Question: Gamergate. Not cancel culture? Not a problem? Because I saw it as a problem.

    4
  26. Kathy says:

    I wonder what the polls looked like during the Satanic Panic decades ago, or during the many Red Scares.

    2
  27. sam says:
  28. Kathy says:

    Mexico City’s airport is large, has two terminals, and only two parallel runways. These are too close together to allow for simultaneous operations. You can designate one for landings and one for takeoffs, but no one can land if someone is taking off and viceversa. The are around the airport is so built up, no expansion is possible.

    Since the Fox administration (2000-2006) there were attempts to build a new airport, very close to the existing one. At the time, the main opponent of a new airport was none other than His Majesty, Andres Manuel the Last, when he was mayor of Mexico City. Much of his objection involved what to do with the land where the existing airport is located.

    Finally by the administration of Peña Nieto (2012-2018), the new airport began construction. Several constructions stages were planned, ultimately to have six runways and one huge terminal. But then His Majesty won the presidential election, and we found he retained his grudge against the new airport.

    So he conducted a national consult via a simple question, kind of like a plebiscite. This was sloppily conducted and few people bothered to vote. A majority of those who voted, which means a small minority of the population, voted against continuing with construction of the new airport.

    In its place, His Majesty decided on a metropolitan airport system, where some flights can be taken out of the congested Mexico City airport, and instead be flown from Toluca airport, and from a new airport which uses the existing Santa Lucia air force base.

    Toluca airport has been around for decades. Every now and then an airline or another tried to base flights there, but couldn’t make a go of it. The airport languished as a general aviation terminal, spiced with some cargo flights.

    Then in 2005 two low cost airlines launched, Interjet and Volaris. They couldn’t get slots in Mexico City, so they based themselves sin Toluca. In their route maps, it was marked as “Mexico City (Toluca)”.

    There followed a brief golden age for that airport as both airlines grew. The government of Mexico State built a bypass from the Mexico-Toluca highway to ease traffic towards the airport. Terminals were added, and a parking garage was built. Hotels sprouted nearby.

    By 2012, both airlines had moved 97% or so of their operations to Mexico City’s airport, as lots and lots of slots owned by Mexicana became available with that airline’s demise in 2010.

    More later.

  29. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    This isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not cancel culture. It’s people learning too late in life that you need a g*dd@mn filter in place if you want to exchange ideas in a public setting.

    A lot of people do not have the patience to collect and process their thoughts before vomiting their every notion out, and they are annoyed that they are being called out on it.

    Your assumption is that those who worry about CC are just “vomiting every notion out”. If you read what people are actually saying, that’s not it. Neither are they defining “self-censoring” as “I can’t make racist jokes or swear in front of Gramma”.

    In collegiate settings, it’s students in history classes not willing to ask questions because they’re afraid they’ll be punished for it. It’s students in law classes not willing to take the hypothetical on the side of the accused because they’ll be shouted down, doxxed, and/or receive threats. It’s authors unwilling to write because they’ll be hounded to the point of completely shutting down because they dared to write a character who doesn’t share the same characteristics as them. It’s journalists being fired for referencing a “forbidden word” in a private conversation. It’s lecturers having mobs come into their lecture halls with bullhorns and shout them down so they can’t talk.

    It’s not “Oh, I said something and people disagree with me”, it’s being too afraid to even speak up because the consequences are radically disproportionate to the action.

    It’s firing a 20-year-old Russian pianist because… he’s Russian.

    The world of classical music took another embarrassing turn in that narrow-minded direction last week when a 20-year-old Russian pianist lost a string of engagements across Canada, with both the Vancouver Recital Society and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) saying it would be inappropriate to host a Russian artist at this time or in the near future. “Considering the serious impact on the civilian population of Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion,” the OSM wrote in a statement, it “must announce the withdrawal of pianist Alexander Malofeev.”

    There are several immediate problems with that approach, but the most glaring: Malofeev condemned the war in Ukraine—not an easy task for someone who lives in the heart of a murderous authoritarian regime where dissidents are sometimes imprisoned, poisoned, or killed. It should be difficult to sell repackaged racial and ethnic discrimination as a brave stance against oppression, but, somehow, people are buying it.

    7
  30. Kathy says:

    NASA’s ugliest rocket ever is on the launchpad.

    1
  31. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Looks a bit like a hypodermic.

    2
  32. Jon says:

    @Kathy @CSK

    The orange rocket and flames represent the firepower of SLS.

    Well that’s the dumbest explanation I’ve read in a while.

    1
  33. Kathy says:

    @Jon:

    Yeah, even for the first shuttle missions NASA painted the ugly orange tank white.

    2
  34. just nutha says:

    @CSK: With the exceptation of the Space Shuttle, haven’t all of them looked like hypos?

    2
  35. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..NASA painted the ugly orange tank white.

    This may not be news but I seem to remember reading somewhere that NASA stopped painting tanks because the paint added weight and there was a measurable fuel savings without the paint.

    1
  36. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    It’s that needle on the end…

  37. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Yes, but the first four missions were test flights, carrying little or nothing in the cargo bay. they could spare a few tons of paint (or however much it weighed).

    But notice SpaceX rockets are painted, as are many others. There must be an overriding reason, as weight is an issue for all.

  38. DK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Neither are they defining “self-censoring” as “I can’t make racist jokes…It’s not “Oh, I said something and people disagree with me”, it’s being too afraid to even speak up because the consequences are radically disproportionate to the action.”

    It’s both. There are people (comedians et al) who define cancel culture as inability to say bigoted stuff. This is what Scott touches on, people define “cancel culture” and “wokeness” however they want. I see a lot of cancel culture is x,y,z and it’s a problem. And the solution is…? How do you solve a problem that people are not experiencing in the same way?

    There are horrifying examples of people being inappropriately fired for speech or identity. That’s one definition of cancel culture, but losing a job because of a tweet is also not something 80% of Americans have experienced (less than a fourth of US adults use Twitter, and less than that without anonymity).

    Instead, the New York Times poll registers broad but vague fears. But “I self-censor because I’m scared to speak” is not the same as “I lost my livelihood because of my nationality.”

    As social media increases an individual’s reach, as academia shifts from being just one demographic to more diverse, people are going face more criticism from more people. 30 years ago, maybe a dozen associates would be privy to your musings about transgenderism. Now you get to tweet it out to millions. Why would we think this would not get messy? There’s more free speech by more people now than ever, that’s why there’s conflict.

    8
  39. DK says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, where was this glorious free speech era that supposedly existed sometime in the past that were now losing?

    The Times:

    The world is witnessing, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the strangling of free speech through government censorship and imprisonment. That is not the kind of threat to freedom of expression that Americans face. Yet something has been lost; the poll clearly shows a dissatisfaction with free speech as it is experienced and understood by Americans today…

    Lost from when? 1990? 1950? The famously open and expressive Victorian Era?

    Speech has always been and will be constrained and conflicted by shaming, self-censorship, and shifting norms. People have always been targeted unfairly for their identity and always will.

    There’s always been canceled lectures (see Douglass, Frederick) and pitchfork mobs running outsiders out of town. There was never a time when students haven’t been scared to speak up in class. The apocryphal Lincoln quote “It’s better to be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” has roots in the Hebrew Bible, centuries BCE.

    Speech, identity, and ideas have always brought conflict, always will. Either get out of the public square or gather your supporters and fight back. But I don’t see the point of whining and lamenting a romanticized era that never existed.

    3
  40. Andy says:

    I’m glad Michael posted that NYT piece because I was about to do it as well. As regulars might expect, I’m fully on Michaels’ side on this point.

    One thing I forgot about after Steven’s last post on the subject is this piece from Freddie de Boer, written in 2017. I think “cop culture” is probably a better term than “cancel culture” for reasons’ Freddie explains.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Mu brings up something that I don’t think it being discussed enough. In our justified fervor to oppose Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are casting a wide net. Another example is canceling performances by Tchaikovsky, and banning Russian cat breeds from cat show competitions. NPR had a story about an American company with Russian employees and how they started using VPN’s and changing their profiles so they wouldn’t appear to be Russian to avoid anti-Russian sentiment.

    Things are starting to resemble the anti-German hysteria of WWI.

    A related thing that also isn’t much discussed – is how actions to isolate Russia are damaging Putin’s opponents inside Russia. A couple of examples:

    – People attempting to flee Russia are not able to for various reasons – credit cards canceled, no flights etc.
    – A lot of people used VPN’s to get access to western news and information and those VPN companies are in western countries and require payment in western currency. Many Russians have been cut off from that and western sanctions and voluntary actions by private companies are ceding the information space to Putin inside Russia.

    There are lots of other examples. I’m skeptical that attacks on Russian culture and Russian people will have the desired effect on Putin. There used to be a time when elements of our society, mainly on the left, were strongly opposed to the notion of “collective punishment.” It seems we are all neocons now.

    3
  41. JohnSF says:

    Two bloody outrageous stories from the UK:

    A black schoolgirl who was strip-searched after being suspected of “smelling of cannabis” is suing the Metropolitan Police.
    Once again the Met default to “stormtrooper”.

    P&O sack 800 workers without notice by video, remove them using masked security guards, and replace with agency workers.
    Notable items: P&O got £10 million in public money for pandemic wage support; they paid a dividend of £270 million last year (and handsome bonuses to the board by all accounts); and the French P&O workers are not affected.
    Due to stronger French labour protection, and the fact that the French workers would raise hell and blockade the ports if they were.

    Sometimes I really think it’s time for the British to hoist the jolly roger and make some bastards walk the plank.

    4
  42. JohnSF says:

    @Andy:
    There was a Tchaikovsky concert on BBC Radio last night, which I listened to.
    The conductor made a short but moving speech for peace and tolerance.
    Whoever cancelled Alexander Malofeev needs a good talking to.
    I’m pretty strongly pro-Ukraine (as folks may have noticed) but I’ll be damned if I’ll join in some idiotic cultural boycott.

    (I may even try finishing War and Peace. Again)

    6
  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Franklin: Works out to him charging roughly $3300.00 for a crown. That seems unlikely. I imaging a guy who would do that is capable of imagining cavities to fill as well though. Copies of x-rays showing teeth with cavities could be used. Not many people are familiar with how their tooth x-rays should look.

    There will be a special place in hell. The Eternal Root Canal Dept, I suppose.

  44. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    …this is a matter of manners primarily. The NYT – and I – are arguing for a change in the way we discuss and debate issues.

    I think that’s the argument they should have made, and as I’m very Southern, I would have loved A 21st Case for Old School Good Manners. But it read to me like they were trying to argue for free speech absolutism, in which case they contradicted themselves from the first line.

    For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

    There is no such right and never has been. As a matter of fact, I have the right to speak my mind, others do have the right to shame and shun me, and I have the right to fight back. Welcome to actual free speech.

    I’m all for doing this in a way that’s Minnesota Nice tho.

    5
  45. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    This is the argument that if you object to being called names it can only be because you deserve to be called those names. You know, how only a slut objects to being called a slut?

    No. That is nowhere near what I said, meant, or should be intuited. Have you ever been misunderstood online? I have. Given what you’ve suggested, it’s literally just happened here.

    A lot of people have said things online that were either misunderstood, inelegantly stated, dashed off too quickly–I could go on and on. Have you read “So, You’ve Been Publicly Shamed“? It’s a fascinating book, and one of the stories is about that young marketing exec who tweeted out something awful about AIDS when she was getting on a plane to Africa, and how she lost her job, couldn’t get hired, and basically had to rebuild her entire life because she made one very very tasteless joke.

    Was she canceled? Yes. Was the joke awful and inappropriate? Yes, it was. Did the punishment fit the crime? Nope, way out of proportion. Will she ever make a tasteless joke again? Maybe, but certainly not online (and hopefully she won’t).

    Similar things happen every day. Social media now means that the “punishment”–public shaming, a loss of income, etc.–has the potential to be very harsh.

    People see that, and know it. They get that it could happen to them. So yes, they are concerned about this.

    But they seem just as happy to jump on that bandwagon when they see something they don’t like.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    In collegiate settings, it’s students in history classes not willing to ask questions because they’re afraid they’ll be punished for it. It’s students in law classes not willing to take the hypothetical on the side of the accused because they’ll be shouted down, doxxed, and/or receive threats.

    I WAS one of those college students who thought that my being a member of College Republicans and having conservative views would be problematic. It wasn’t. I got crap grades when I didn’t do the work, not when I spoke up as a conservative student. I’m not sure how possible it is to prove actual harm vs. what these students are *thinking* *might* happen.

    6
  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:
    Which brings us to the door of discussing virtue signaling… hasty sign of the cross to ward off evil…

    1
  47. Jay L Gischer says:

    Rather than pour fuel on the flames of the cancel culture discussion, I’m going to try to shed some light. Perhaps that will make everyone hate me, or accuse me of being an engineer, which I am.

    I think that what’s happening now is different from what happened in the 50’s or 60’s or 2000’s because of one factor, which seems pretty significant.

    We are now experiencing context collapse. Unlike all those previous times, you never quite know who is listening or reading your stuff, and it quite possible that, at any moment, an entire new set of people might be reading what you wrote on the internet.

    This is a phenomenon of the internet and social media. It is powerful, it is dangerous. It is a hazard. I think we all need to develop some immune response to the “someone somewhere said something stupid”. Because all humans are stupid at times, regardless of how smart they are.

    And what is said or written might well be in one context harmless, but in another toxic. We’ve always been like this, adjusting our message form, if not content, to the audience. But that’s very difficult if not impossible to do now, and that’s a brand new problem for us.

    5
  48. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oops, forgot this:

    Question: Gamergate. Not cancel culture? Not a problem? Because I saw it as a problem.

    Gamergate–as in, the targeting of women, doxing them, threats of rape and harassment? Yes, I saw that as a problem. All of it.

    4
  49. MarkedMan says:

    @DK:

    a free speech absolutist would not argue for limitations on the ability of private citizens to shame, shun, boycott, pile-on, chill, cancel, critique and criticize other speech.

    That’s just a straw man. I can complain about all kinds of behavior without calling for laws to be enacted against them.

    As always, there is a problem with the definition of “cancel culture”. I would argue that Steven’s definition is so narrow as to be almost impossible to meet but, given his definition, his statements are correct. According to my definition they are not. (That’s fine, by the way. Honest difference of opinion on the definition.)

    A couple of decades or more ago I read an article about a phenomenon in Japanese society that came out with the advent of online chat groups (I think this pre dated the web). Some poor schmuck would violate some norm. They might make a scene in a restaurant or yell at their kid in public. Not good behavior and not unreasonable for an individual or two to call them out. But gradually online groups evolved that saw themselves as societies enforcers. They would make it their mission to make sure these people were “corrected”, because such behavior was not acceptable in Japanese society. And of course, like all such groups, they grew more and more extreme. They would publish the person’s phone number, their address, the company they worked for. They would call them day and night (this was before Twitter and the like. Some would go to their houses and pound on their door, berating the occupants. The reason this had made it to the Western press was because it had reached the point that people’s lives were being ruined for a single act of rude or unseemly behavior. Some committed suicide. Im sure that in the minds of these vigilantes they saw themselves as just calling out another individual, but collectively they became a mob, and a mob is a powerful, destructive force.

    To me, that mob mentality is cancel culture. It isn’t the individual callout, it’s the relentless piling on.

    4
  50. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    To me, that mob mentality is cancel culture. It isn’t the individual callout, it’s the relentless piling on.

    This. This is what I’ve been trying and failing to articulate. THIS.

    7
  51. senyordave says:

    Firing a Russian pianist because he’s Russian isn’t canceling, its basic discrimination. There might be some overlap, but firing someone because of his ethnicity is simple discrimination. I would not knowingly spend money that would put money in Dave Chappelle’s pocket because I believe he is anti trans, and I guess that is my way of cancelling him. But wouldn’t stop seeing all black performers, and if I did, that would be racist.
    I don’t see any element of Gamergate being cancelling. It occurred because they targeted female game designers because they were female, not because of anything they actually did.

    5
  52. steve says:

    Of course there is some cancel culture, I just dont think it as common in most areas as claimed and I dont think it much different than we behaved in the past. In the past coming out as gay got you ostracized, you lost your job and you could be beaten or killed. Speaking favorably about gay people could get you some milder form of the same treatment. Now if you say something bad about gay people you can get harassed on social media. You might occasionally lose your job depending upon where you live and work. Most of the time it just gets ignored. Of course now every instance of canceling gets lots of media exposure. Gay people losing jobs was done everywhere and done quietly. No one wanted to admit they hired one of “those”.

    On the political side I think I have mentioned in the past that when working with a group of other docs at a small hospital where everyone was very conservative I criticized Bush for the Iraq War. For that they tried to get me fired. Event though I was a specialist they needed since they didnt have nay on their staff.

    Do those past experiences mean current cancel culture is OK? Nope, but it does mean that I am just not as sympathetic towards people who are complaining now about it but were OK with it in the past.

    Steve

    5
  53. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “You are all-in on the official Hollywood message. ”

    Hilarious that the bold truth teller can’t even respond to an argument without trying to define me into a stereotype you can fight against. It it ain’t straw, Michael can’t fight.

    But for the record, I am no “Hollywood liberal.” I am a Berkeley liberal. Don’t expect you to know the difference, You’re too busy feeling superior.

    7
  54. CSK says:

    @steve:
    But that’s always the case, isn’t it? If someone on your side gets canceled, that’s an outrage. If the opposition gets canceled, well, they deserve it.

    I’m not at all implying that you yourself think this way. I am saying that it’s natural for people to sympathize more with those whose views they share.

    4
  55. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes, Michael, I am all of Hollywood, from Bob Chapek right down to the lowliest grip. We all think exactly alike, and we are all responsible for the actions of corporate CEOs if the companies make entertainment.

    Geeze, what a lazy crock of shit. You always claim you love to argue, but you can’t make a single point except to claim that because I worked in the American TV business I am a cultural apparatchik incapable of any independent thought.

    That’s lazy thinking and bad writing and entirely in bad faith. If you had the courage of the convictions you bray about so loudly, you might actually stand up for a point, instead of saying “See? The people agree with me! The peeeeople!!!!”

    I’m embarrassed for you.

    4
  56. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Question: Gamergate. Not cancel culture? Not a problem? Because I saw it as a problem.”

    Wait — you were the guy who saw Gamergate and thought that a bunch of creepy incels threatening random women with torture and rape was a problem? My God, man, you are better than everyone else!!

    5
  57. wr says:

    @DK: “It’s both. There are people (comedians et al) who define cancel culture as inability to say bigoted stuff”

    It’s actually worse than that. It’s Bill Maher and his ilk defining cancel culture as college kids not laughing at things audiences thought were funny thirty years ago.

    5
  58. MarkedMan says:

    @senyordave:

    I don’t see any element of Gamergate being cancelling. It occurred because they targeted female game designers because they were female, not because of anything they actually did.

    What they did was make comments the Gamergate mob thought were offensive. It was most definitely a cancel, by any meaningful definition of that term.

    2
  59. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “I’m pretty strongly pro-Ukraine (as folks may have noticed) but I’ll be damned if I’ll join in some idiotic cultural boycott.”

    I agree with you — although this is hardly some new kind of “cancel culture.” There h as never been a war without some idiotic cultural boycott, which is why the US congress cafeteria served “freedom fries” for much of the 2000s.

    It’s particularly moronic in the tennis world right now, with Russian players being pressured to come out against Putin — despite having lived in Monaco for decades, and despite having relatives in Russia who might well be harmed if they piss off Putin.

    5
  60. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

    I was not aware that was a fundamental right. Is it an enumerated right, or an unenumerated right?

    Does this mean I can go back to advocating racial eugenics without fear of retribution socially or professionally? And surely the NAMBLA folks should be embraced?

    Q: How much of a problem is it that some Americans do not exercise their freedom of speech in everyday situations out of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism?
    Answering ‘somewhat serious’ or ‘very serious’:
    Democrats: 81%
    Republicans: 84%

    I take this to mean that 4 in 5 Americans who identify as a member of a political party (where are the independants?) would like someone to shut up about the insulting thing they said, and just nod sagely in agreement. Or they would like to never hear from some specific uppity woman again (it’s always some woman who gets demonized).

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Oh noes! “harsh criticism”!

    6
  61. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    To me, that mob mentality is cancel culture. It isn’t the individual callout, it’s the relentless piling on.

    That’s why I’m partial to de Boer’s “Cop Culture” framing.

    I’d also say there are two related things. One is the constitutional right to freedom of speech that flows from the first amendment – essential to protect individual and collective freedom from government authority.

    The second aspect is a culture of free speech which requires a certain amount of tolerance for views we disagree with. In a diverse society, such tolerance is essential and without a culture of free speech, the 1st amendment will be whittled away over time.

    In my view, both of these are being challenged. We have the ACLU now stating that it won’t defend some expressions of free speech as protected 1st amendment activity. Increasingly I see expressions about the 1st amendment as an unfortunate anachronism, or as more like a guideline than a right.

    And we have a mainly-online “cop culture” that seeks to suppress even mainstream viewpoints via various forms of coercion best exemplified by the mob piling on.

    2
  62. Gustopher says:

    @senyordave:

    I don’t see any element of Gamergate being cancelling. It occurred because they targeted female game designers because they were female, not because of anything they actually did.

    They made a choice to enter male-dominated incel spaces and try to be equals. That’s totally something they did.

    4
  63. DK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    To me, that mob mentality is cancel culture. It isn’t the individual callout, it’s the relentless piling on.

    I assume that despite your example you don’t define mob mentality piling on as just having people call your house constantly and pound on your door because of something said online. Most would agree actual harrasment is beyond the pale.

    It’s also something hardly anybody will ever experience. So what is the cancel culture people are experiencing, since we insist it’s not about our difficulty adjusting to rapidly changing times, given our longer lifespans?

    In your example this mob mentality piling on predates Twitter, further complicating solutions. It happened to Hillary in 2016, to the folks in your early internet example, to the McCarthy’s blacklist, to Japanese-Americans during WW2…back to the Salem Witch Trials and before.

    Seems human beings tend towards mobs from long ago, belying the Times worry we’ve “lost something” and entered some new era. Which brings us to the social media era, where more than ever have a potential audience of thousands to millions daily. People choose to broadcast opinions online, instantly archived and widely disseminated, then feel attacked by a mob of negative feedback. If the solution is not self-censorship, what is it?

    I submit those who want to persuade the mob should set about defining cancel culture and wokeness, then hold each other to that. It’s easy to sympathize with victims of actual mobs — folks harassed in real life or targeted for unfair firings. But people who posted something on Facebook that got twenty negative comments or who have giant audiences via Netflix deals and football contracts worth $200+ million dollars or who stopped speaking up in class after that one time “people shifted uncomfortably in their chairs” all complaining about being canceled? Big Jussie Smollet energy. They make the whole debate easy to eye-roll.

    3
  64. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t object to the SLS because it’s ugly, I object to it because at $2B per launch ($4B according to NASA’s inspector general), ULA’s doomed love affair with LH2, and ULA’s ability to build at most one per year, it’s just such an obviously stupid way to approach the mission goals. I note that within the Artemis project, SLS is not even capable of hauling its own lunar lander to the moon. Artemis’s lander contract requires the lander company to get the lander (and sufficient fuel) to lunar orbit on their own. Is NASA going to require a Mars lander vendor to deliver the lander (and all the fuel) to Mars orbit?

    NASA is in the process of modifying all of their deep space projects that were supposed to launch on SLS to use other vehicles. Europa Clipper is the first and will have a quite different trajectory now that NASA has booked a Falcon Heavy as the launch vehicle.

    1
  65. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The American people do not seem to agree with you, @wr.

    Did you look at the cross-tabs? The Ed. Board is kind of weasly, regardless of which side of the fence one falls on this issue. They only mention the “completely” line (34%), while ignoring that another 42% say “somewhat.” Only 8% say “not at all” and 15% say “not very much.” So 76% of people think that all Americans enjoy freedom of speech. Yet, they cite BOTH the top two lines on the “how much of a problem…” question.

    If a person came to you and made the following two statements, what would you think of that person’s point?

    The vast majority of people can mostly say what they want to say.

    The vast majority of people think that it’s a problem that people don’t exercise their right to free speech for fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.

    I mean, let’s be honest, that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Now, if you want to argue that more people should say “completely,” fine. But to argue that this poll says a whole lot about “cancel culture” is stretching more than a bit.

    I also would point something else out that the Ed. Board seems to have avoided:

    The question discussed is drawn from FDR’s four freedoms: of speech; of worship; from fear; and from want.

    The last two were the ones that scored lowest. (completely-somewhat)

    From want: (17%-52%)
    From fear: (11%-49%)

    So why are they talking about the freedom that 76% of people view as real vs the ones that score 69% and 60%?

    Not to mention that those in financially precarious situations have the most to fear if expressing their view leads to loss of livelihood. The controlling issue seems to be security (financial and physical). Meaning, ensuring security has a positive impact on social freedoms.

    Additionally, the fact that the poll produced results that are at least somewhat contradictory should point the reader toward skepticism of the questions.

    Lastly, there are a lot of nuggets in the cross-tabs that may put some food for thought on the table for everyone here. For example, many people who have held their tongue did so mainly to avoid conflict.* Another example, the fear comes from both directions of the political spectrum so one ought to be careful attributing it only to one particular political faction. I encourage everyone to take a look before reflexively taking a side.

    *Michael, how many people around here have bitten their tongue wrt one of your posts to avoid conflict? Does your tone chill the exercise of speech here?

    8
  66. JohnSF says:

    Well, this does not bode well.
    Report on Putin-Erdogan telephone call by BBC reporter John Simpson, direct from Erdogan advisor and call participant Ibrahim Kalin.

    Putin still demands (my additions in brackets):

    – “Neutrality” (unclear if this includes EU or not; error by Simpson not to clarify this)

    – “Disarmament” (details unspecified)

    – “De-Nazification” (details unspecified)

    – Protection for the Russian language (just language?)

    – Surrender of Donbas (not specifying if existing DNR/LNR zones or all of these oblasts or even wider Ukraine Donbas)

    – Surrender of Crimea

    This looks way beyond what Ukraine will concede.
    If Putin is serious and maximal about these points it’s a deal breaker; if he is just putting down markers the fear now is that he may be aiming to “two track” typically Russian negotiation tactics with continued bombardment, and leave open restarting all out offensives at a time of his choosing.

    Hence comment by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian:

    Russia is only pretending to negotiate…
    “Unfortunately we’re still facing the same Russian logic – making maximalist demands, wanting Ukraine to surrender and intensifying siege warfare,
    …there are three typical elements – indiscriminate bombardment, so-called humanitarian ‘corridors’ designed to allow them to accuse the other side of failing to respect them, and talks with no objective other than pretending that they are negotiating.”

    3
  67. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    The big problem NASA and the ULA face is called SpaceX.

    Musk may be a douche, but he has advanced private space launches to surpass what NASA and its associated contractors can do. If Starship performs one third as well as Musk’s hyping it to, it will become the launch vehicle for just about everything.

    To be fair, since Apollo NASA hasn’t had a clear mission, and has suffered from changes mid-stream at every change in administration. They had a very different, shuttle-derived launch vehicle in mind in 2006. About the only programs that survive are those where lots of money has been spent, and some hardware already exists or has been deployed; like the Shuttle and the ISS.

    1
  68. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    only 34 percent of Americans said they believed that all Americans enjoyed freedom of speech completely. The poll found that 84 percent of adults said it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.

    So, 34% of Americans believe that all Americans enjoy freedom of speech completely, and 84% believe that it is somewhat to very serious problem that some Americans do not speak freely because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.

    That means 16% thinks there is no problem at all, and 34% think everyone enjoys free speech all the time.

    So, at least 18% of Americans believe that people who have free speech all the time are held back by their own fears (we might have people who answer in deeply inconsistent ways that would drive that number higher).

    This is a poor quality article without the data to back it up, speaking in platitudes. It isn’t the rousing attack on cancel culture that you think it is — it’s an embarrassment that it was published in a major newspaper.

    And it’s a little sad that you are so convinced of the strength of the argument against “cancel culture” that you read that opinion piece and say “Yes! They nailed it!” because you read into the platitudes what you want to read.

    There’s a case to be made that cancel culture can go too far. Someone could try to make a case that it routinely goes to far (I would probably disagree…). This isn’t that case. This isn’t close to that case.

    Honestly, this all reminds me of my idiot brothers. Anything that appears to support their crazy ass beliefs is obviously true, no matter how stupid it is. Because this opinion piece really is that stupid.

    You might as well be claiming “Wow! Gas prices are way up since the economy was shut down! Oil is up over $120/barrel from when it was negative! Biden is awful! Plus he stuttered so he must be senile!”

    8
  69. Gustopher says:

    I was watching the season finale of Star Trek: Discovery last night, and every major character not covered in prosthetics is either a woman, the love interest of a woman, a gay man, non-binary, trans, or Admiral Dad.

    I like Admiral Dad. I think he’s kind of hysterical as the token straight white male who is ostensibly in charge but kind of doesn’t do anything.

    There are a few other recurring straight white men here and there, notably David Cronenberg who is so strangely out of place that I kind of think he basically has his own gender in the show (like Werner Herzog on The Mandalorian, he’s like a misplaced oddity), but basically it’s a huge number of women, one character defined through his relationship to a woman, and a couple of gay men, and Admiral Dad.

    I could see how some people would be really put off by having only token representation on Star Trek despite being the default just a few years ago.

    The brief mentions of GamerGate put this into mind.

    (Also, since we have seen the crew of the Enterprise, set slightly after the first season of Discovery, which is mostly white men and very attractive women… was the Federation segregated during the Original Series? Or organized by classical attractive features? “Sorry, Tilly, while your record is impressive, you’re just too fat to be on our flagship. Also, that woman with the weird implant in her head? Not her either. Or the gays, especially not the back gay guy…”)

    (Will the Captain Pike show be (nearly) as diverse as Discovery and will it end with Kirk taking over and firing everyone who looks too different?)

    1
  70. MarkedMan says:

    @DK:

    Most would agree actual harrasment is beyond the pale.

    Oh, I don’t think so. Look at the people of all persuasions showing at politicians or school principals or health officials houses to scream at them and pass out literature. Or the endless demands that people be fired. Or the Yale couple hounded and harassed, surrounded by a herd of angry, shouting, cursing students for daring to say that at the University level, the administration should not be in the business of dictating acceptable Halloween costumes. I think that last one is the most egregious I’ve seen documented.

    2
  71. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    – “De-Nazification” (details unspecified)

    I’m guessing regime change.

    Deep regime change. Down to Putin-approved dog catcher in the smallest village.

    I’d make a terrible diplomat. I’d tell the Russian negotiators “And we want Putin’s head on a platter, seeing as he has no use for it.”

    2
  72. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: I didn’t realize that article I linked to didn’t report the final outcome. The couple resigned. The students “won”.

  73. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    Yep. NASA and the ULA have been constrained by Congress to provide essentially guaranteed employment for a specific set of existing talent across the South from Florida to Houston — LH2, single launch to lunar orbit, etc. SpaceX (driven by Musk), OTOH, has worked backwards from “return human trip from Mars.” So… fuel that can be synthesized on Mars; landing and return to orbit (or reverse) from everywhere, Earth is just the reference case; orbital fuel depots; refueling from said depots; adequate volume in the vehicle; specialize said vehicle for specific tasks.

  74. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    The demographics of Start Trek that you describe is interesting compared to this.

  75. Jon says:

    @MarkedMan: If you’re talking about Nicholas and Erika Christakis, that’s not an accurate description of what happened and leaves out useful context.

    The email in question read:

    Yale is a community that values free expression as well as inclusivity. And while students, undergraduate and graduate, definitely have a right to express themselves, we would hope that people would actively avoid those circumstances that threaten our sense of community or disrespects, alienates or ridicules segments of our population based on race, nationality, religious belief or gender expression.

    Which is in no way dictating what costumes are acceptable and is, moreover, a sentiment I would hope that most people share.

    The email was sent out a week after allegations were made that a fraternity party turned people away, ‘explaining that admittance was on a “White Girls Only” basis.’

    And while Erika Christakis did resign from Yale, Nicholas did not. He teaches there to this day. He resigned as the “Master” of Silliman College, which is a residence hall.

    1
  76. Mister Bluster says:

    From WikiP re: Space Shuttle Fuel Tank

    Standard Weight Tank
    The original ET (external tank) is informally known as the Standard Weight Tank (SWT) and was fabricated from 2219 aluminum alloy, a high-strength aluminum-copper alloy used for many aerospace applications. The first two, used for STS-1 and STS-2, were painted white to protect the tanks from ultraviolet light during the extended time that the shuttle spends on the launch pad prior to launch. Because this did not turn out to be a problem, Martin Marietta (now part of Lockheed Martin) reduced weight by leaving the rust-colored spray-on insulation unpainted beginning with STS-3, saving approximately 272 kg (600 lb).

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: It might be wiser (and better for one’s blood pressure and stress levels) if people would simply stop reading MR when he on one of his cancel-culture jags than to try to reason with him. My sense of him is that he may well be convinced that he is the only one of us who understands the topic and has experienced cancellation, so he is also the only one who has the necessary authority to pontificate speak on the topic. It seems to me also that he holds his views as articles of whatever faith he believes in (and we all have faiths of various sorts). Talking to him is a lot like talking to a rock–except that the rock is more open to other ideas/opinions.

    I certainly could be wrong, but the feeling that I get as a reader is that I’m witnessing people trying to speak to a quarrelsome person. There’s no point to it. It’s sort of like feeding trolls.

    6
  78. Jen says:

    @Gustopher: That President of United Earth cameo at the end was fun though, right?? I laughed out loud and my husband said “who is that?”

    1
  79. Jen says:

    Good grief. Sen. Marsha Blackburn is making the rounds in NH. It’s already a weird primary.

    1
  80. senyordave says:

    @Gustopher: By that definition Jim Crow was cancelling. Restrictive covenants were cancelling. I don’t buy it.

    2
  81. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: Very fun, once I realized who it was. I’m really, really bad with faces.

    (I like diverse casts since it makes it much easier for me to follow a story if I’m not trying to figure out which character is which conventionally attractive white person)

    1
  82. Gustopher says:

    @senyordave: No one cancelled quite as hard as Jim Crow*.

    And to hear MR crow about it, you might think that not being able to use the n-word in a kid-lit book is the rough equivalent.

    There is no such thing as cancel culture — there are simply consequences, and people speaking out against perceived wrongs. It’s a matter of which consequences are appropriate.

    The term “cancel culture” is a bogeyman created by asshats who don’t think there should be consequences to being an asshat, and want to make complaining about someone being an asshat more offensive than actually being an asshat. It’s why “cancelling” is so hard to define — the asshats try to blur every line.

    ——
    *: This statement is sadly false.

    3