Is this Cancel Culture?

Two related examples: are they "cancel culture" or not?

As part of our happy-go-lucky conversations about cancel culture, I propose what could become an ongoing feature wherein the question is asked about a given news story: Is This Cancel Culture?*

Today’s installment has two related examples.

First, Florida Ron DeSantis via Fox News: Florida Gov. DeSantis on revoking Disney’s special status: ‘Woke ideology’ a ‘significant’ threat .

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded on the possibility of ending Disney‘s self-governing status in response to the company’s pushback on the state’s parental rights bill on “Fox & Friends” Friday.

“Look, there’s policy disputes, and that’s fine,” DeSantis explained, “but when you’re trying to impose a woke ideology on our state, we view that as a significant threat.”

DeSantis’ comments come as Disney has publicly disapproved of a new Florida law which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. After sending a company-wide email denouncing the legislation, Disney executives announced it would remove “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” from its park greetings.

“This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated,” DeSantis warned. “So in Florida, we take a very big stand against that.”

The governor confirmed that lawmakers are looking at revoking a 55-year-old law which permits Disney to operate as a separate municipality called Reedy Creek Improvement District, equipped with its own privately-owned and operated police, fire, water and waste departments.

It’s kind of a daily double since it includes the term “woke” (indeed, “This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated” is quite the phrase. Perhaps it will be coming soon to a beer koozie near you).**

An adjacent example is via FNC’s Laura Ingraham:

For some reason, don’t know why, that makes me think of something

At any rate, honest question: are these examples of cancel culture? Opine away below.

(Don’t let my flippancy fool you–I find all of this very serious for a variety of reasons but will leave it at that for the moment–indeed I think it is the combination of the deadly serious and the absurd that is triggering my brain in this particular direction this fine morning).

*I know it isn’t political sciencey at all, but in my head this feels like a Letterman segment.

**Also ridiculous, I feel like Jason Alexander is needed for a line read.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kathy says:

    The second is clearly authoritarian repression.

  2. Tim D. says:

    Using state power to punish people whose speech you disagree with is way worse than the (very broad and mushy) concept of ‘cancel culture.’ Feels like we need a new term for this one! (And yeah, I get that the post is meant to be a bit sarcastic.)

    Relatedly, I think it’s interesting that both the TX abortion law and the FL Don’t Say Gay law are trying to weaponize snitching.

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s an example of thin-skin repressed dipshittery run amok amongst weak-minded people with zero social capital. Cancel culture is real. People don’t like being called a racist because is might be true. And being called a racist suggests things other than racism for white people. I.e., class and education and the sort-of the nose-wrinkling ‘who is this mook’ quality to the people who are really angry about cancel culture. You can call me woke or whatever and I don’t care. Same goes with the 24/7 use of groomer now. Do you think teachers feel implicated when some mouth-breather calls them a groomer?

    That said, the incessant QAnon groomer stuff is a huge legal problem, and this FL law is going to backfire insanely on the people who wrote it because of the problems it will create.

  4. wr says:

    Of course they’re not cancel culture. It’s only cancel culture — and thus worth worrying about it — when it’s done by some powerless Gen Z self-styled progressive on Twitter. When Republicans threaten the power of the state to punish those whose speech disagrees with theirs, that’s not a concern at all. Just ask our regular CC commenters…

  5. Kathy says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    If the Florida law bans all discussion of sexuality and gender identity up to the third grade, can someone sue for depictions of cisgender heterosexuality?

  6. Modulo Myself says:


    Some teacher has already promised to stop using all gendered pronouns, plus Mr and Mrs, and to stop referring to husbands and wives. Oddly enough supporters of the bill seem to be pretty upset.

  7. Argon says:

    DeSantis takes wokeness to the next level. The law he fervently supports removes all differentiation of sexual orientation, gender and stereotypical family roles! What the idiots in the legislature didn’t realize is that it impacts ‘traditional gender and roles’ the most. Talk about kicking the ball through your own goal…

    I’m sure there are some economics upsides… It’s probably less expensive to build one big bathroom for everyone than to build two separate ones.

  8. Jay L Gischer says:

    None of this is especially legal as far as this non-lawyer can see. However, it does serve to draw attention away from state government failures to keep people safe and warm.

  9. Zachriel says:

    @Kathy: If the Florida law bans all discussion of sexuality and gender identity up to the third grade, can someone sue for depictions of cisgender heterosexuality?

    Remove all books that use the pronouns he and she!

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’d argue that it is abuse of governmental authority. That said, Disney should never have been granted those concessions to begin with.

  11. Modulo Myself says:


    The thing is most of these people think that traditional values are completely sexless. So a fairy-tale about a prince and a princess is fine for 2nd graders. But the same fairy-tale with two princes is about 24/7 gay sex. They just can’t say that, because it makes them (which I think they know) sound creepy and weird.

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    FYI, I can’t recommend John Ganz’s substack Unpopular Front enough. He’s been focused on the Dreyfus affair and its fallout in France, and how various anti-bourgeois tendencies grew into fascism. I do think we are seeing that in America in a slow-motion way. Cancel Culture represents the sharp teeth of bourgeois liberalism. The teeth have always been there. As the bourgeois has grown more diverse in America, the teeth have bitten other people who are not used to be bitten. The same goes for all of this fear about groomer teachers. Teachers have to teach children to be at ease with a diverse society. There’s no choice there. If your parents aren’t down with being at ease, screw them. But these parents–i.e bigots who are on the margins of a class system–are going to become more extreme as the ease of the system indicts them.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    Don’t let my flippancy fool you–I find all of this very serious for a variety of reasons

    Indeed. The DeSantis thing is the same as Ginni Thomas’ personnel recommendations to Trump. Loyalty to der Fuhrer is all that matters.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    Let’s talk about the fact that you used to be a producer on one of Bill Cosby’s shows in the 90’s – peak rapey time. I’m curious: what did you know, and when did you know it, and why didn’t you do anything to stop him?

    You also worked with Scott Baio who has rape allegations lodged against him by a co-star.

    Not to mention the fact that you worked on not one but two shows that mistreated dolphins.

    You need to answer publicly for your role in these very problematic shows, and if you can’t, then I don’t think you should be commenting here.

    That’s cancel culture.

  15. DK says:

    @Modulo Myself: The book banning Republicans serving cocaine orgies, crotchgrabbing Epstein-bestie Trump, actual child groomer Matt Gaetz, and former Republican House Speaker + convicted pedo Denny Hastert are falsely smearing teachers as child abusing perverts lol

  16. JohnMcC says:

    Disney built a town in Florida. Called it Celebration. It is on the site of the amusement park. I believe (without any actual knowledge) that the ‘self-governing’ district goes back to that.

  17. Not the IT Dept. says:

    No. Both are examples of political thuggery. However they’re also examples of political stupidity because getting into a dick-measuring fight with Apple or Disney isn’t going to result in a win for any politician. Both those companies produce consumer goods that are genuinely popular with Americans, both employ large numbers of Americans in their cities and states, and both could throw significant campaign contributions towards the opponents of any politician who threatens them.

    Now that would be cancel culture.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog:..Disney should never have been granted those concessions to begin with.
    @JohnMcC:..Disney built a town in Florida. Called it Celebration.

    WikiP has entries on Reedy Creek Improvement District and Celebration Florida that contain prose like: “Disney used multiple shell companies to buy up land at very low prices from unknowing landowners in the area that would eventually become the district.” and “After founding Celebration, Disney followed its plans to divest most of its control of the town .”

    The items remind me of what I studied to pass the Illinois Real Estate Sales Agents test in 1993. Basically Real Estate Law.

  19. Gustopher says:

    It’s fascism-lite. Using the power of the state to punish dissent.

  20. JohnMcC says:

    @Mister Bluster: Let me guess. The phrase ‘Florida real estate’ probably has some meaning for you that is missing from ‘real estate’.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:..and both could throw significant campaign contributions towards the opponents of any politician who threatens them.

    Is this ability of these corporations to contribute to political candidates the result of Citizens United vs. Federal Elec­tion Commis­sion?

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @JohnMcC:..Florida real estate

    How did you know?

  23. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Not to mention the fact that you worked on not one but two shows that mistreated dolphins.”

    You can never make me feel guilty about the treatment of dolphins on Flipper. All my guilt about that show comes from watching dailies of the far too young Jessica Alba. As for the dolphin on seaQuest, he was made of rubber. (Although apparently Roy Scheider somehow never realized this.)

    And the only abuse allegations I’m aware of about Scott Baio were what he did to the lines that were written for him.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    Cancel culture is just the latest buzzword in the GOP’s utter solipsism. When they boycott Disney or Hamilton or Kurich or whatever, it’s civil protest. When liberals do it, it’s cancel culture. Their problem is not with cancel culture; it’s with someone other than them doing the cancelling.

  25. Assad K says:

    The cancelled Louis CK just won the Grammy for best comedy album.

  26. DK says:

    So in the midst of a national freakout about a slap, Louis CK won a Grammy.

    Can we stop pretending the CAncEL cULtUrE panic is real or nah?

  27. Gavin says:

    Kimmel made a joke at MTG’s expense last night – “Where’s Will Smith when you need him” – and MTG’s response was to both file a police report with the capitol police and tweet at ABC to attempt to… cancel him.

    That’s the snowflakiest response to a bad joke I’ve ever heard – IMHO worse than Trump filing the lawsuit against Bill Maher regarding trump’s hair.

    MTG’s response when she didn’t like the joke was.. to attempt to take part in cancel culture and be overwhelmingly against free speech. She tweeted at ABC to get disciplinary action against Kimmel.

    Weird how the Free Speech Brigade transforms into a snowdrift whenever they’re the target.. and of course she absolutely does not see her own hypocrisy.

    This is just today’s example that The Right absolutely doesn’t have a single actual objective intellectual point regarding the entire cancel culture concept.. they just use it as a cudgel against political opponents. It’s the new Political Correctness.