Obama Calls Out ‘Woke’ Culture

Former President Obama called out so-called 'woke' culture in a talk late last week.

Former President Barack Obama spoke out last week about so-called “wokeness,” or what he called “call-out culture,” asserting that it isn’t real activism and that it isn’t accomplishing anything:

Former President Barack Obama made a rare foray into the cultural conversation this week, objecting to the prevalence of “call-out culture” and “wokeness” during an interview about youth activism at the Obama Foundation summit on Tuesday.

For more than an hour, Mr. Obama sat onstage with the actress Yara Shahidi and several other young leaders from around the world. The conversation touched on “leadership, grass roots change and the power places have to shape our journeys,” the Obama Foundation said, but it was his remarks about young activists that have ricocheted around the internet, mostly receiving praise from a cohort of bipartisan and intergenerational supporters.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff,” Mr. Obama said. “You should get over that quickly.”

“The world is messy; there are ambiguities,” he continued. “People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you.”

Mr. Obama spoke repeatedly of the role of social media in activism specifically, including the idea of what’s become known as “cancel culture,” which is much remarked upon, but still nebulously defined. It tends to refer to behavior that mostly plays out on the internet when someone has said or done something to which others object. That person is then condemned in a flurry of social media posts. Such people are often referred to as “canceled,” a way of saying that many others (and perhaps the places at which they work) are fed up with them and will have no more to do with them.

Mr. Obama talked about conversations he’s had with his daughter Malia, who is a student at Harvard with Ms. Shahidi.

“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of: ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,'” he said, “and that’s enough.”

“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb,” he said, “then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out.'”
Then he pretended to sit back and press the remote to turn on a television.

“That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

Here’s the video:

The former President’s comments brought about rare agreement across the political and cultural aisles:

Former president Barack Obama offered some advice earlier this week to young people hoping to change society: participating in cancel culture isn’t the way to do it.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly,” the 58-year-old said Tuesday while speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

Obama’s pointed warning that social media enables “woke” people to be “as judgmental as possible” went viral Wednesday, drawing praise from both the left and right. By early Thursday, clips of Obama shared on Twitter had been viewed millions of times as many stressed that all social media users needed to hear his message.

“He is right on all counts,” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, while his opponent Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) wrote, “We all need a little more aloha spirit — being respectful & caring for one another.”

“Good for Obama,” wrote conservative pundit Ann Coulter, adding in parentheses that her comment was “Not sarcastic!”

On Tuesday, Obama was roughly 50 minutes into a discussion with young leaders about their activism when he mentioned that he had started to notice a worrisome trend “among young people, particularly on college campuses.”

“There is this sense sometimes of, ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’ and that’s enough,” he said, noting that the mind-set was only “accelerated by social media.”

Obama went on to describe an example of the behavior he was cautioning against.

(…)

Obama effectively inserted himself into the ongoing debate that surrounds cancel culture, a term that refers to a mass effort, usually carried out on social media, to call out prominent people for any alleged wrongdoing and demand that they lose access to their public platforms. The strategy has proved vital to holding powerful figures accountable, sparking international movements such as #MeToo. But “canceling” has also been criticized for encouraging mob behavior that often results in major consequences to people’s lives and careers over missteps such as old inappropriate tweets, The Washington Post’s Abby Ohlheiser and Elahe Izadi reported.

Boycotts have long been considered an efficient method of motivating change, but the intense censoring of people or groups on social media is a newer tactic that has gained popularity on the left over the past several years, according to CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who described it as “one of the defining hallmarks of our culture in the post-Obama presidency.”

“Say something wrong, tweet something people disagree with, express an opinion that is surprising or contradicts the established view people have of you, and the demands for you to be fired, de-friended or otherwise driven from the realms of men quickly follow,” Cillizza wrote.

It is not especially surprising then that Obama, known for promoting compromise, would take issue with an approach that hinges on the premise that everything is black and white — and Tuesday wasn’t the first time that he has publicly raised concerns. In his first interview after leaving office, Obama criticized unnamed leaders for using social media to sow division, The Post’s William Booth reported.

While conservatives will complain that it is solely something that has arisen on the left from what they refer to as “social justice warriors,” the truth of the matter that using social media to call out or attempt to intimidate people on the opposite side is something that both sides of the political aisle have engaged in. All it takes is for someone, and in particular, a celebrity or political figure to say something controversial publicly or on social media and the wolves start to circle demanding their piece of flesh. Sometimes it’s something as seemingly inconsequential as trying to get you banned from one social media platform or another, although it’s worth noting that for some people that alone can have a significant impact on their ability to do their job. On other occasions, it expands to include demands that the alleged wrongdoer be fired from their jobs.

If you ask the people who engage in this kind of activity, they’ll tell you that they’re in engaging in “activism” in “calling out” people who have said or done offensive but not illegal things in the past. The truth, though, is somewhere closer to what President Obama said. Using social media or the Internet to attack people you disagree with isn’t “activism” no matter what impact it has on your own sense of moral superiority, In fact, one could argue that it’s not activism but laziness. Activism means getting out into the world and trying to change it by registering voters, attending rallies, and effect change.

Using your Twitter account and a hashtag to harass someone who crosses a line is easy, involves no sacrifices, and doesn’t really require any real work. The only thing such “activism” accomplishes is to make the people who engage in it feel like they accomplished something by just coming up with a clever tweet or Facebook post, and putting the phone back down and returning to whatever show you happen to be streaming on Netflix. It allows you to show your friends and the world how “woke” you are without actually engaging in anything productive or engaging in the kind of action that people such as Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and the civil rights protesters of the 1950s and 1960s engaged in.

So far at least, I haven’t seen any blowback directed at the former President for what he said, and perhaps it’s possible that his words will have an impact. As he said, not only is the whole idea of “call-out culture” anathema to what activism is really all about but it goes against the realities of a nation where few people are unambiguously good or evil. Attacking people and demanding that they be fired because of something they said in the past accomplishes nothing except, as I said, feeding one’s own self-satisfied sense of superiority at no cost.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Barack Obama, Politicians, Social Media, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I wish I could remember where I read this, but someone suggested that Obama couldn’t understand woke culture because he’s a Boomer, i.e., too old to get it.

    I think he nailed it, myself.

    ReplyReply
    18
    1
  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    The counterpart to woke culture is status quo culture which is even more oppressive. At least woke culture is trying to get to a better place, status quo culture just insists on stasis.

    That said, I can’t tell you how sick I am of being lectured on things I knew and understood before the self-appointed lecturer was born. As a rule these are clueless white people from sheltered backgrounds who have just discovered (!) the existence of racism. Well, woke person, I grew up under Jim Crow, so I kind of noticed. Like, 50 years ago. In that regard yes, I am aware that being white confers benefits. I noticed this by virtue of not being in a coma. I even noticed that women are often treated like second-class citizens, and I noticed that the wealthy get better treatment in life. So many things I noticed because they were obvious. But do go on ranting about things you have a paper-thin understanding of, Captain Woke.

    People without two facts to rub together posing as inquisitors. And often in the process proposing and vociferously defending ideas that actually run directly counter to what they think they’re fighting for. Racist anti-racism. Anti-feminist feminism. Free speech opposition to free speech. And astonishing acts of political self-immolation from groups that really don’t have much political margin to play with.

    ReplyReply
    20
    2
  3. Gustopher says:

    All it takes is for someone, and in particular, a celebrity or political figure to say something controversial publicly or on social media and the wolves start to circle demanding their piece of flesh. Sometimes it’s something as seemingly inconsequential as trying to get you banned from one social media platform or another, although it’s worth noting that for some people that alone can have a significant impact on their ability to do their job.

    Who has been deplatformed that shouldn’t have been deplatformed?

    Aside from (apparently) kid-lit, the consequences are a few days of nonsense, and a lot more people seeing the insensitive or stupid thing you said or did.

    It’s no different from everyone being offended by Mel Gibson’s antisemetic rant back on the 90s, other than there are a lot more cameras in the world, and people get to voice their anger and offense themselves, rather than letting reporters be the gatekeepers.

    ReplyReply
    4
    14
  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    The damage done is to the Left more generally since we are conflated with the SJW’s. We aren’t meant to represent smug intolerance, that’s supposed to be the other guys. We aren’t supposed to approve of McCarthyite blacklisting or Amish shunning, we’re the tolerance and free speech people. The damage is to our brand and to our ability to recruit and convince. Big Tent parties are not best defined by a self-identified priesthood. People don’t want to join the party of ‘you used the wrong word, it should be LatinX. And also you left the QIA off after LGBT and that’s a micro-aggression.’

    We’re in a serious political crisis and these featherweight assholes do nothing but annoy allies and encourage enemies. And to what end? To demonstrate their own moral superiority, a superiority based on nothing but their possession of a list of problematic words.

    I know you don’t think it’s a problem, but it is. On a Left-Right number line I’m about a three – pretty far left. If they’re alienating me what do you think they’re doing to a dairy farmer in Wisconsin? And just so we’re clear: one Wisconsin dairy farmer’s vote is worth about a thousand SJW’s voting in California.

    Fortunately I think the phenomenon is waning, but leaving a lot of bad blood behind for absolutely no good reason.

    ReplyReply
    20
    2
  5. grumpy realist says:

    Eh, I’d place 95% of “woke culture” into standard black-and-white thinking from people who haven’t quite grown up (or who decide to jump down the rabbit hole.) And it’s not only on the left–one of my friends (white, male, and in his 50s) has suddenly manifested an equivalent black-and-white self-righteousness on the right. Nothing is ever his fault, but man, can he spew forth complaints about various groups by the yard. (I’d kick him out of my life except that I suspect a lot of this is due to a lot of mental pain and will dissipate as his own life improves.)

    It’s interesting that President Obama has spoken out on the topic. Will be interesting to see who flies off the handle at his very intelligent and humane comment.

    ReplyReply
    10
  6. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I suspect that as time ticks on and we have anything like a stock market collapse/recession/the effects of GW coming home to roost that the little “woke culture” darlings are going to stop making a noise about their favourite issues (culture appropriation, anyone?) and start worrying about more important stuff: i.e., how to get enough to eat.

    ReplyReply
  7. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We aren’t meant to represent smug intolerance, that’s supposed to be the other guys. We aren’t supposed to approve of McCarthyite blacklisting or Amish shunning, we’re the tolerance and free speech people.

    I don’t tolerate nazis. People are free to associate with nazis if they want to, but I want those nazis exposed to the light of day. And those who hang out with them.

    What do you call 11 people and a nazi having dinner? A dozen nazis.

    People don’t want to join the party of ‘you used the wrong word, it should be LatinX. And also you left the QIA off after LGBT and that’s a micro-aggression.’

    I prefer LGBTetc.

    Sometimes the purity kids get out of hand and need a firm slap on the bottom and need to be pointed at their real enemies. Not saying they don’t. They’re young, they’re naive, and they’re full of energy.

    But, I’d rather spend an afternoon with the purity kids than the idiots who complain about SJWs. Yes, I’ll roll my eyes at them. Yes, I’ll say something that offends them.

    I’ll point out that tolerance means tolerating, not embracing, and that it goes both ways.

    I find the eager purity kids so much more tolerable than the SJW-haters.

    It’s like the Franken Stans who attack Gillibrand. A good number of them are just misogynistic twits, angry that a woman (a woman, for God’s sake!) called out a man for his poor behavior, and now they are calling her out for that. Same call out behavior on both sides, but I’d rather not stand with the misogynistic twits.

    The damage is to our brand and to our ability to recruit and convince.

    Our candidate is going to have to make an insensitive remark about some lefty group, and then apologize meaningfully, but give a backhanded slap at the purity kiddies.

    ReplyReply
    8
    12
  8. Kit says:

    The old Left speciality: How to lose with a winning issue; how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; how to alienate allies; #OwnGoal

    ETA:The old Right specialty: How to take a horrifyingly nasty incident and cast it in such a strange and perfect light that people cheer it. Messaging, messaging, messaging—something the Left can never stoop to.

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    You’re casting this is terms of tribal loyalty. Am I much more supportive of assholes on the left than of assholes on the right? Absolutely. The latter are motivated by a need to feel superior to liberals, and by amazing coincidence that’s also what the assholes on the left are about. Oh, goody, two sets of assholes attacking liberals – from the front the Wehrmacht, from the rear the NKVD. But the rightwing asshole wants white supremacy and the asshole on the left just wants sophomore supremacy. So, yes, the lefties are less toxic and less dangerous.

    But still: assholes. They do significant damage to good causes and as far as I can see contribute fck-all that’s useful. Stupid in a good cause may not be as bad as stupid in an evil cause, but it’s still stupid, and in this case stupid in a way that hurts their own professed causes. Which is to say my causes. Which I really wish they’d stop hurting just so they can revel in false feelings of moral ascendancy.

    ReplyReply
    8
    1
  10. senyordave says:

    @Gustopher: I think your point about Gillebrand regarding Franken is excellent. Just before Franken dropped out he said something to the effect that he expected more things to come out. Franken got called out for bad behavior. It might have been SJW’s or the woke culture type who called him out, but it was his bad behavior that was at the heart of the issue.

    ReplyReply
  11. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    People don’t want to join the party of ‘you used the wrong word, it should be LatinX. And also you left the QIA off after LGBT and that’s a micro-aggression.’

    This!

    I’m Latino or Hispanic. Both words work well. Why the f**k do I need LatinX? Seriously. FU!

    I’ve been fighting the fight for LGB since 1981 when I got my first earring as a show of solidarity with my gay co-worker who got beat up for having an earring. So FU if you want to call me out for not saying LGBQTIA.

    I’m personally as close to being a socialist as you can be without actually, you know, being one, yet I live in the real world, not in some fantasy socialist utopia. A huge chunk of the country is still grappling with LGB, and will take a long time to get to the QTIA. That’s the real world. You will eventually get most of these people on your side, just due to demographics and life. But it’s going to take a whole lot longer if you constantly tell them that they’re using “wrong” words, when everyone knows what they’re describing.

    ReplyReply
    9
    1
  12. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    But, I’d rather spend an afternoon with the purity kids than the idiots who complain about SJWs.

    Not me. I’d rather spend the afternoon alone.

    ReplyReply
    16
    1
  13. Jen says:

    I haven’t seen any blowback directed at the former President for what he said,

    Oh, I have. Not by anyone of significance, but certainly they are out there, with things like “he turned into just another corporate Dem,” to “what a disappointment he’s turned out to be.” It’s baffling and annoying. Purity policing is annoying.

    I rarely get into arguments, but found myself getting rather heated in a discussion a few months back about cultural appropriation of food. I think the igniting factor was a food truck with some sort of fusion-something, which was being derided as inauthentic food at best, but really it was cultural appropriation because the owner of the food truck wasn’t from the country in which the food supposedly originated. There was also an issue at roughly the same time about a college cafeteria getting push back for something they served that was “appropriating a culture.”

    This set me off because food history is complex. Some of it is guided by trade*. Sometimes it’s colonialism–anyone want to argue that a bahn-mi existed in Vietnamese cuisine before the French colonized? Italians didn’t have tomatoes until Columbus, does anyone want to argue that pizza and pasta with tomatoes in the sauce are inauthentic? For that matter, what about the Irish and potatoes? And so on.

    I get angry about this because food is one of the FEW things that can actually serve to bridge divides in cultures–and, it’s more complex than just slapping a label of appropriation on it.

    * Read Jen Lin-Liu’s book On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, With Love and Pasta for an interesting look at how pasta is the same and yet different as it spread from one culture to the next, largely due to trade routes. Includes recipes!

    ReplyReply
    17
  14. KM says:

    Remember when you were a little kid and made to apologize for something? If you just mumbled a faint “sorry”, you might get asked if you knew what you were sorry for with the implication you clearly didn’t. Most of the time, that was true – you weren’t really *sorry* so much as you didn’t want the negative things to continue. A true apology has certain characteristics but is never a guarantee of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift – tolerance is a social requirement.

    You can tell a lot about someone from how they react to you not accepting a lukewarm apology. If they get pissy you don’t welcome them back with open arms immediately, they’re not really repentant but rather just want to sweep everything under the rug. Former alt-righters and Nazis need to understand something – they hurt people on purpose and that hurt is just as valid as their need to come back to the fold. You run around screaming nasty things about SJW and wimmins and everything under the sun but are surprised they’re not happy you want to be friends again? Atonement is a thing and it usually sucks. It’s not judgmental to expect people to atone for terrible things they’ve done because it helps prove they actually understand what the hell they did wrong and why.

    Woke culture can be a circle-jerk purity party, true and that needs to be addressed. We should be welcoming folks who have come to understand the toxicity the right poisons them with. There’s no such thing as a perfectly pure, tolerant person. That being said, it’s absolutely a form of entitlement to just expect that you can dance with the Dark Side and not get some Sith on you. There’s plenty of angry, disaffected folks in this world but it says something about you that you went Nazi. You can’t expect people to not wonder if you’re going to go Dark Side again especially if you get cranky with someone’s legit hard feelings about how you treated them. If you care more about how people are treating you poorly after you treated everyone like they were subhumans to be abused, you’re not sorry – you don’t want to be demonetized.

    ReplyReply
    5
    2
  15. Mike in Arlington says:

    I’m not saying that the holier-than-thou types on the left aren’t in need of a scolding, but it’s also important to remember that some of the incidents that people are outraged at are often misrepresented by the right wing to create just this sort of infighting. For example:
    https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/11/5/20944138/oberlin-banh-mi-college-campus-diversity

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    I know quite a few young people these days, between my own children and the children of certain friends. I think they have some really good principles. I think they have very little idea how to effectively advance those principles in the world.

    To be fair, it’s really hard to do that. If all of us who vote D were to persuade one person per four-year period to switch to voting D, the government would be all blue. And it may be that the rest of us had similar difficulties, but it was just invisible because there was no social media to perform for.

    Shaming is a terrible way to change behavior. It doesn’t really work, not in the way you want it to. But we’ve been trying to use it for a long time. And we’re doing the “this isn’t working so I’m going to do it even more!” thing a lot.

    So, I don’t see a generational thing here, per se. The kids are alright.

    ReplyReply
  17. Mister Bluster says:

    I’d rather spend the afternoon alone.

    “Masturbation is sex with somebody I love.”
    Allan Stewart Konigsberg

    ReplyReply
  18. Kit says:

    @KM:

    A true apology has certain characteristics but is never a guarantee of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift – tolerance is a social requirement.

    You can tell a lot about someone from how they react to you not accepting a lukewarm apology.

    This is a rich subject that I never recall having read about. Assuming some amount of bad faith, one can play a powerful hand from either side of the table. I’m often struck by those who seem to demand an apology for a fault committed against someone else. And they want to see grovelling!

    In any case, apologies played out in public seem to always feel toxic and never satisfy. I’m not sure why that is.

    ReplyReply
  19. Jen says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Absolutely. And that was one of my points too, in the utterly ridiculous argument I found myself in. There are nuggets of absurdity in the Oberlin story (arguing that General Tso’s chicken wasn’t authentically prepared…is funny), but yes, it was a low-level student-interest journalism piece that got spun way into orbit by the right.

    How interesting that that article on Vox ran today.

    ReplyReply
  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I didn’t feel that article was much of a defense. What it seemed to say was that the number of students quoted was small (5-6), and that their complaints about cultural appropriation were justified simply by the fact that the complainers were predominantly Asian. Rather than portray evidence to the contrary, which would have required actual reporting, the author said the evidence presented of SJWs run amok wasn’t strong enough. Fair enough, that’s an opinion and perhaps a well reasoned opinion. But absent some actual countervailing evidence this essay didn’t really offer anything new to the debate.

    ReplyReply
    2
    2
  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Shaming is a terrible way to change behavior. It doesn’t really work, not in the way you want it to.

    I’m going to push back on this as an absolute. There are times when shaming is the most effective way to change behavior. Gandhi essentially shamed the British Empire into improving their behavior. (Civil disobedience only works when the government can be shamed — otherwise you just get purges and gulags.) Of course, shaming can be used for evil as well as good.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:
    If the wokies were actually confronting the bad guys I’d be much more sympathetic. That’s not what they do, because they know their shaming tactics only work on allies. Calling a Nazi a racist is not real effective. Calling someone a racist for opposing reparations? That cuts.

    They are only effective against their friends, so that’s who they spend most of their energy on. Because this isn’t about kindness to the people who need our kindness, it’s not about defending the weak, it’s not even about speaking truth to power, it’s just nastiness in a Bernie Sanders mask. They aren’t soldiers in the cause, they’re just NKVD shooting their own in the back.

    ReplyReply
    10
    2
  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think they have very little idea how to effectively advance those principles in the world.

    True, dat. I had an interesting conversation with my 24 year old daughter and her friend recently. They were talking about a situation a friend found herself in after developing a sexual relationship with her Supevisor at work. It ended and they moved on. I said that’s inappropriate and he should be fired. “No”, they said, we know them and it was all consensual. He didn’t force her into anything. I challenged them on that and they decided that such relationships were OK as long as the person lower in the food chain said it was OK. “What if that person changed their mind about that, perhaps years later?” I got the patented Oh Dad look.

    ReplyReply
  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: Oh lordy I would love to see a Chinese person storm into an Italian restaurant and start pitching a hissy fit about “cultural appropriation” about the noodles….

    The people I blame the most are the college administrators who caved in to all the screaming “woke” students rather than just glare at them, state “sushi is sushi. Shaddup!”

    (Having lived in Japan for over a decade, “cultural appropriation” complaints just cause me to giggle. Try pulling that crap in Japan and you’ll just get a blank stare: so what if they’ve grabbed “X” from “Y” and Japanified it? What’s next, someone from India having a cow about Japanese curry rice?)

    (Warning, young-uns who worry about “culture appropriation.” Don’t ever visit Tokyo.)

    ReplyReply
  25. CSK says:

    One of the more idiotic demonstrations of wokeness I witnessed was several years ago when a group of about 20 young women at the college where I taught designated themselves as “Potential Survivors,” meaning that while they hadn’t, themselves, been sexually assaulted, they might, at some future time, be sexually assaulted, and no one understood their pain. So they dragged mattresses from the dorms out into the road and lay down on them. The road in question was a state highway, and one of only two routes to the local hospital.

    The traffic jam was epic. Local emergency services were not pleased.

    I know; I’m insensitive.

    ReplyReply
  26. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DrDaveT: You can shame someone into not doing something around you. That’s about it. Ghandi worked guilt, rather than shame. Ghandi generally let observers do the moralizing. He simply described his own (and his countrymen’s) situation, and let people decide if they were going to feel guilty about it or not.

    You can’t read things written by James Baldwin, as a white person, and not feel some shame. But Baldwin is the guy who wrote “when the white man learns to love himself, there will be no race problem”. Baldwin was not into shaming white people.

    Guilt is not the same thing as shame. The distinction is important. Shame is pervasive and personal. You are the problem. Guilt is about what you did. Guilt offers a redemptive pathway, shame doesn’t. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame?language=en

    Guilt is important and valuable. Shaming is not so great. It has zero effectiveness, for instance, in getting people to lose weight. Less than zero, frankly. Not so great at getting people to stop smoking either.

    ReplyReply
  27. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Did you just read the Vox article, or the Chronicle of Higher Ed piece? Because the Vox piece really just was a top line of the issue, the Chronicle piece is worth reading.

    And it wasn’t a defense so much as it was pointing out that what had started as a J-school assignment that was fairly minor was transformed into basically an ambush of all college students everywhere being Overly Concerned by first, right-wing media and then, mainstream media.

    ReplyReply
  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    This was my last fight with the kidlit community. Days after Trump was elected they were still talking trigger warnings and cultural appropriation. With the calm understatement for which I am known (ahem) I told them they were being fkin’ idiots, that trigger warnings were absurdly unworkable and probably did more harm than good (since confirmed by actual research) and that anyone exercised over cultural appropriation didn’t understand what culture was or how it was made. And by the way, a corrupt, treasonous wannabe fascist had just been elected so maybe not the time to look for more ways to sow division on the Left?

    My previous beef was over whether white writers could write non-white characters. No, really. So the theory seemed to be that the 70% of writers who are white were going to just exclude any people of color. We were going to institute literary segregation which would drastically cut POC representation in the name of diversity. Granted these are English majors for the most part, so math-challenged, but Jesus H.

    ReplyReply
  29. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: People are assholes.

    The purity kids on the left are assholes who think people should think about the impact of their words. I’m kind of on their side with that, even as I roll my eyes at them. And Obama vocalizes his eye rolls.

    (And it is kids — older folks have just given up keeping up with nomenclature)

    And I think they are a net positive. The people who are annoyed with them to the point that they will vote against anyone vaguely aligned with them were always going to vote Republican.

    Meanwhile, they provoke “free speech” rallies that are just a bunch of white men who really want to say “nigger” but are afraid and instead go with “you will not replace us.” That far right so wants to spite the SJWs so badly that they shine a light on themselves and their racism with their tiki torches. They expose themselves as repulsive and repel moderate voters.

    From a purely political standpoint, I’ll happily take our annoying purity kids that trigger the right wing snowflakes to expose themselves as disgusting and repel moderate voters.

    ReplyReply
  30. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: but the purity kids are so young and earnest, and some of them have daddy issues!

    ReplyReply
  31. Kathy says:

    The whole “woke” and “cancel” things are very much like what Ayn Rand called The Sanction of the Victim.

    It’s not that neither is real, but that they don’t have the effect people think they do. In a way it’s a throw back to the belief in the power of incantations.

    A good person can say something insensitive and deeply offensive, and remain a good person who doesn’t have to lose their job or position, much less have their life ruined. A habitual offender is a different matter.

    ReplyReply
  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @grumpy realist: Yeah, I’m with you on the curried rice. Or the fact that Japanese appear to use exclusively white women to model underwear in advertising. What’s that about? But we shouldn’t assume that any other country is either ahead or behind us on this front.

    I would find it easier to dismiss this if it weren’t for things like the cringe-worthy twerking of Miley Cyrus. No, there’s something there. But it is super hard to define and find the limits of it. But here’s my rough guide to how I’m going to behave: There are certain phrases and gestures I won’t use, even though I understand what they mean, because they aren’t reflective of my history and past. I might change that over time, if I became acquainted with folks who used it and were happy for me to use that.

    I am specifically aware of certain black people who are ok with specific white people using the word “nigger” much as another black person would. But I’m not going to. I don’t have the background or relationships to support this.

    When Spike Lee complained that Django Unchained was culturally appropriative, Sam Jackson replied that Tarantino had a long history with black people and blaxploitation films, dating to the time when as a kid, he got taken to matinees by a black neighbor every Saturday. It’s part of him.

    Another test, is whether this is something that’s permanent or transient. I study a martial art that comes from Japan. I’ve done so for at least 20 years. I use the terminology that was handed down to us by a Japanese-American man who lived in Hawaii. There’s nothing transitory about it, it’s stuck to me. In contrast, if you put on black makeup, it’s obvious that you can, and will, take it off after the show.

    ReplyReply
  33. Christopher Osborne says:
  34. CSK says:

    @Christopher Osborne: I’m not sure if that was it, but the sentiments are the same. Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    Cultural appropriation: the Holy Bible.

    A book written by Jews, about Jews, and for Jews. Kept in print by cultural appropriators.

    ReplyReply
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    A good person can say something insensitive and deeply offensive, and remain a good person who doesn’t have to lose their job or position, much less have their life ruined. A habitual offender is a different matter.

    A good person knows how to apologize. “I’m sorry I made you feel that way…” vs. “I’m sorry you feel that way…”

    It can go a long way, even for a habitual offender.

    ReplyReply
    3
    2
  37. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I am specifically aware of certain black people who are ok with specific white people using the word “nigger” much as another black person would.

    And really, black folks were appropriating racist white culture when they embraced that racial slur.

    (I do not believe any white folks can use it the same way black folks can — the history of its use as a racial slur by whites overrides the meaning it has when black folks use it. We can’t appropriate it back until the white racists stop using it)

    ReplyReply
  38. Raoul says:

    The irony is that Obama is showing his “woke” chops (whatever exactly that is) simply by discussing it.

    ReplyReply
  39. MarkedMan says:

    Recently I was donating some African clothes. But I, a late middle aged straight white male, kept my Ghanaian funeral cloth. There might be some merit in arguing whether my keeping this cloth is somehow inappropriate cultural appropriation. But I am pretty darn certain 99% of the punk-ass college students don’t even begin to have the world experience to have such a discussion.

    Whether it is somehow inappropriate for me to own it now, it was certainly appropriate for me to have bought it when the Nana Konkoma-Hene’s (aka the Chief of Konkama village) father died. A neighbor taught me how to put it on (more complicated than you might expect from a piece of cloth) and I figured it out for myself that I needed to shave my arm pits, because my Chief was an Army Corporal, a pharmacist in a Military Base, and he had very diplomatically told a funny story about how during his basic training his (universal stereotype here) constantly shouting drill sergeant had lambasted a recruit for showing up for a middle of the night inspection in a sleeveless T-shirt and hairy armpits (not a normal thing for many West Africans*). And I sat in the heat with that cloth on, at that funeral and a half dozen others, in the village where I lived for two years working as a teacher, one of only two Obrunis many of the children had ever seen. I had gotten up at 3am in the dark (no electricity) and bathed with water from a barrel (no running water) because I had heard that some Ghanaians had the impression that white people, especially Peace Corps volunteers, had a reputation for neglecting personal hygiene. So I walked with my flashlight two miles over the hill to the next village, in the blessed, blessed cool air of the night, where I boarded the passenger lorry to insure a seat and waited for the sunrise before the driver showed up to take us on the muddy, muddy road that just began the journey into Kumasi, where I could buy a respectful funeral cloth.

    Experiencing and celebrating and despising other cultural traditions is part of being a human. I don’t look for permission before doing it, and I give exactly zero weight to someone who takes it upon themselves to mete out “permission” for what human beings get to experience or think about.

    *Interesting and odd tidbit – ten year old Ghanaian kids scare six year old Ghanaian kids by telling them we white people are gorillas (not native to Ghana). Gorillas are covered in hair. White men are covered in hair unlike their fathers and uncles who are, usually, pretty darn hairless. Underneath the hair, white men are whitish-brown or red. If you shave a certain species of dark haired monkey that is native to Ghana, the skin underneath is kind of a very light brown. And if you take a close look at many apes and monkeys, they really don’t have any lips. To a six year old West African kid, white people don’t have much in the way of lips. So yeah, we look like fearsome Gorillas.

    ReplyReply
  40. Teve says:

    occasionally I see a news article about some dumb freshmen at Oberlin complaining that the banh mis are cultural appropriation. Yeah, they are annoying. and if I was in a different line of work I might run into that stuff more than I do. But for every person on my social media block list who is there for being Woker-Than-Thou, and there are a few, there are about 45 who are there for being right-wing Ass. HOLES.

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  41. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Cultural appropriation: the Holy Bible.

    A book written by Jews, about Jews, and for Jews. Kept in print by cultural appropriators.

    okay now you’ve got me thinking cultural appropriation has to be stopped at all costs. 🙂

    ReplyReply
  42. EddieInCA says:

    Not gonna jinx it. But this could be a big night!

    ReplyReply
  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: I’m almost positive that you meant to say “demonized,” and yet “demonetized” works to create a different but equally valid implication. If you would like to clarify, that would be nice, but you may choose to go with the double entendre. I’m fine either way, merely curious.

    ReplyReply
  44. Jen says:

    @Teve:

    Read the Vox link that @Mike in Arlington: posted. It’s about that Oberlin story (which was in 2015). The Chronicle of Higher Ed did a deep-dive into that story, and it morphed into a totally different beast after conservative media got its hooks into the story.

    Bottom line: it was kids filling what amounted to a class assignment, the food was lousy and misnamed, some mild comments were made and the dining hall (appropriately) renamed the food. Nobody was actively protesting the issue, there’s a fair chance the kids interviewed had simply made some snide comments about the naming (chicken sushi, WTAF?). NBD, really.

    ReplyReply
  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think they have very little idea how to effectively advance those principles in the world.

    Yeah, I see your point, but at least they can look to my generation–the boomers–for guid…

    wait, never mind.

    ReplyReply
  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Obama–My N!&&@

    ReplyReply
  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: Because it’s natural to wonder whether a public apology is because the person is truly sorry or because they got caught? (Just blue skying…)

    ReplyReply
  48. Gustopher says:

    @Kit:

    I’m often struck by those who seem to demand an apology for a fault committed against someone else. And they want to see grovelling!

    I don’t think you can demand an apology from anyone. You can only tell them that they were wrong and show the harm they have caused.

    In any case, apologies played out in public seem to always feel toxic and never satisfy. I’m not sure why that is.

    Because they are seldom genuine?

    ReplyReply
  49. Teve says:

    @Jen: that doesn’t surprise me that the right wing mischaracterized it. But I wouldn’t even care if they had a sit-in and set the gymnasium on fire. Overly woke kids are annoying. But compared to permanently stealing people’s kids, letting coal companies dump fly ash into the river, and trying to cancel my friend’s liver transplant, shit, I’ll go flip over the banh mi cart myself, what time you want me there? Goddamn colonialist french bread! 😛

    ReplyReply
  50. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: right now the Democrat is ahead in Kentucky, but I’m betting that’s just because the Republican voting precincts are slower at counting.

    ReplyReply
  51. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    I’m willing to settle for a modest ten percent royalty on the value of all art, music, movies, TV and literature derived from this cultural appropriation. Also we should get a tithe from all Christian churches.

    ReplyReply
  52. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I would find it easier to dismiss this if it weren’t for things like the cringe-worthy twerking of Miley Cyrus. No, there’s something there. But it is super hard to define and find the limits of it.

    Are there people bothered by Miley Cyrus’ appropriation of twerking?

    It seemed cringeworthy and almost mocking, but I’m not sure I would call that appropriation. Just as I wouldn’t call blackface appropriation.

    I think cultural appropriation is when someone adopts something of another culture, and doesn’t bother to learn or care about the larger significance of it — effectively severing the bonds of an item or practice with its meaning. But I think the meaning has to exist.

    Eating sushi isn’t cultural appropriation, it’s just eating food. There isn’t a strong cultural significance to the food, it’s just tasty food. There are traditions around it, and some people will say that American sushi isn’t real sushi, but whatever. Same with burritos, Japanese whisky, Transformers, and cargo pants. There are all sorts of things wrong with Taco Bell, but cultural appropriation isn’t one of them.

    Wearing Native American prayer beads because they look cool and you like turquoise, on the other hand, would be. As would be eating communion wafers as snack food.

    I don’t think twerking has that larger meaning within the black community. If I’m wrong, and it turns out black folks are like bees who communicate by shaking their butts at each other, please correct me.

    ReplyReply
  53. Jax says:

    For what it’s worth, I never knew twerking was something Miley Cyrus “appropriated” from the black community, I just thought it was something a spoiled little rich girl did to get back at her parents.

    ReplyReply
  54. EddieInCA says:

    @Teve:

    @EddieInCA: right now the Democrat is ahead in Kentucky, but I’m betting that’s just because the Republican voting precincts are slower at counting.

    Looks like it’s gonna hold up. Especially since Kentucky doens’t have automatic recounts. Bevin would have to convince a judge that he’s deserving of a recount. Don’t see that it’s close enough for one at this point.

    ReplyReply
  55. Matt says:

    @Jen: That’s pretty much how the right wing outrage machine works. Nearly every time I look into the latest right wing outrage on facebook I find that they outright lied about it. Even when they don’t outright lie they still lie via omission or exaggeration. The very few times when they do have a valid fact/point they just can’t help themselves. It has to be cranked to 11.

    I’ve had a few people unfriend me for pointing out the lies and what the real facts of the situation were. They really can’t handle the truth.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  56. Kit says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Because it’s natural to wonder whether a public apology is because the person is truly sorry or because they got caught? (Just blue skying…)

    I certainly think that’s the bulk of it. Still, some apologies, now and then, strike me as just right, but that never seems to be enough for some people. Is it because we have this habit of cultivating grievances? Or is it more the fault of reporting as entertainment, where a story must be kept alive until readers get bored?

    ReplyReply
  57. Bruce Henry says:

    In the late 1990s I joined an organization sponsored by the YMCA for dads and daughters. It was kinda like the Girl Scouts only every outing or meeting was attended by every dad and every daughter. If the dad didn’t come, the daughter didn’t get to go. The whole point was to get dads and daughters to spend time together. At the end of the school year we spent a weekend at Camp Seagull, NC. It was great. The local chapter, here in the Raleigh NC area, was the largest in the country.

    But the name of it was the “Indian Princesses,” and we all adopted so-called “Indian” names like “Big Brave” or “Running Wolf.” We invoked the “Great Spirit” and told campfire stories about little braves and old squaws and the like. Now THAT was cultural appropriation! Nowadays we’d call it offensive, but (I’m ashamed to admit) it didn’t really occur to us that all that Hollywood stereotypical nonsense was…wrong.

    I’m happy to report that the program is now called “YMCA Princesses” and has dropped the inappropriate use of so-called “Indian” terminology. Nobody, as far as I’m aware of, grumbles about it being changed.

    ReplyReply
  58. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Funny story: I did mean “demonetized” because there was supposed to be a line after it regarding the frequency of provocateurs “repenting” because Twitter / Youtube is endangering their money. However, I typed it on my phone and autocorrect didn’t like it. It erased everything after the autocorrect and insisted I meant “demonized”. I realized it worked both ways and decided to leave it as is – if the computer wants to help me be witty, who am I to argue :)?

    ReplyReply
  59. KM says:

    @Kit:
    I think it’s more a function of being burned too many times. Too many only want the social stigma to go away. There are people who do dumb things and genuinely come to regret what they’ve done over time but far more regret the personal inconveniences their chosen stance cost them. They’re not sorry they decided to be edgy memelords shitposting horrible things or what those beliefs entail – they want you to stop treating them like being a edgy memelords shitposting horrible things is a bad thing to be. When they give up being edgy so you won’t scold them anymore, what made them choose that is still within them. *They* haven’t changed, they’ve merely discontinue the behavior in question.

    The whole concept of apology, repentance and regret requires more then just “I’m sorry”. It’s not a magic spell that wipes all the dirt you accumulated on your soul in an instant. Rather, it’s the start of a process to heal you and hopefully make you a better person. That’s why “I’m sorry you feel that way” types of apologies are BS…. and why so many aren’t likely to trust someone coming back from the Dark Side since that’s the kind of “apology” that flies over there. Words aren’t enough because anyone can bleat “I’m sorry”. Proof in the form of atonement on the other hand is the traditional test of sincerity.

    ReplyReply
  60. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I get particularly annoyed at people insisting on “trigger warnings” when it comes to cases in law school. I understand that if you’ve been a rape/robbery victim that you may have reactions to reading/hearing rape/robbery cases during lecture–but the reasonable strategy is to go talk to the professor beforehand, notify him/her, and present an alternative mechanism of self-study by which you will learn the relevant law. Because you WILL run into such issues and you WILL be tested on it at some point, even if you are convinced you will be a patent attorney for the rest of your life. Don’t pull a hissy fit insisting that your professor should give you all these careful warnings–because your clients certainly won’t.

    (The article I read was from a female law professor, who basically wondered how in the hell the students complaining about “trigger issues” were expecting to practice as lawyers if they refused to hear anything they were squeamish about. Yet another reason why people probably shouldn’t go to law school until they’re older.)

    ReplyReply
  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:

    *They* haven’t changed, they’ve merely discontinue the behavior in question.

    Who cares? And why is it our business? Do you have a handy sincerity meter we can use? Discontinuing the bad action is all we have any right to demand. We can’t tell people what to believe or what to feel and we’d have no way of knowing whether they were complying. Let’s drop the quasi-religious, subjective purity tests and be content when a bad actor stops his bad actions.

    ReplyReply
  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’m Latino or Hispanic. Both words work well. Why the f**k do I need LatinX? Seriously. FU!

    From the start this has struck me as cultural imperialism, the Anglosphere deciding to alter Spanish for their own political agenda. Rather goes to the fault lines within woke world. In order to be ‘deeply sensitive’ on gender issues we have to be bullying assholes with someone else’s language?

    ReplyReply
  63. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    During his term from 2000-2006, President Vicente Fox addressed the nation often as “Mexicanos y Mexicanas.” This is the curse of having gender in nouns, and no real neutral nouns. More commonly these days, though not universal, there is a tendency to sub @ for words that would carry an “o” for male and an “a” for female.

    So you see things like “Niñ@s” instead of using a phrase like “Niñas y Niños” when trying to include all children, or “maestr@s” referring to both male and female teachers.

    This only works on print, of course.

    But it’s not coming only from north of the Unfinished Wall.

    ReplyReply
  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: It can’t be both? 😀

    ReplyReply
  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    comment deleted by commenter.

    ReplyReply
  66. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    A language needs to work in both written and spoken forms. Speakers of romance languages need to decide on an across-the-board de-gendering of nouns (the Great Romance Noun Off?). If they choose not to do that, simple politeness suggests we follow their practice when using their language.

    I have a related objection to the idea of using ‘they’ instead of he/she in all situations. They is a plural, and when referring to a group it makes much more sense than saying, ‘those men and women.’ But used as a singular it muddles the language and just ends up confusing people. I’m fine with some new gender-neutral word (Comrades? Mates?) but not fine with making a mess of language for political reasons.

    ReplyReply
  67. KM says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Let’s drop the quasi-religious, subjective purity tests and be content when a bad actor stops his bad actions.

    The problem is recidivism. Did they stop the bad action? Yes. Are they going to do it again? Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Society always takes a chance when someone expresses they will stop doing something negative by holding the expectation is they won’t do start up again later. One of the biggest problems we have as a nation is that we let a whole group of people after the Civil War go with “you stopped doing the bad action aka slavery” without expecting or enforcing some sort of follow-up change. What happened? The bad actors just went and found a new way to express their bad behaviors. We see this with the constant fight over Roe – making the bad actors stop results in a brief detente at best before it’s back to the trenches. Hell, even within woke culture you’ll see guys who swear they’ve seen the light on feminism and fully support women…. only to have them slide back into causal misogyny when a women points out something they don’t want to hear.

    We can’t control how people think, feel or believe. You are entitled to be a complete asshat if that’s your thing. You can lie all you want about personal abhorrent beliefs and we’d never know unless you slip up. What we can do it let people know that lip service and empty apologies aimed at getting social approval is unacceptable – a racist playing nice with the neighbors is still a functional racist, just not an actively offending one. We know it, you know it, but don’t start and there won’t be none. That’s what tolerance means – we tolerate you for the sake of civility but we don’t have to forgive, like, approve, or accept empty gestures. I’m glad when a bad actor stops and wants to come in from the cold. Said actor should expect to get booted back out into the cold if the behavior starts again and not be surprised if people are eyeing them up trying to figure out if backsliding is a possibility. That’s eminently reasonable and not a purity test.

    ReplyReply
  68. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Speakers of romance languages need to decide on an across-the-board de-gendering of nouns (the Great Romance Noun Off?).

    There is a Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (Tongue?) somewhere in Spain. It has about as much effect on language use as the Oxford dictionary does on English.

    If prescriptivism worked, and all other things were equal, we’d all be speaking Latin, or maybe Proto-Indo-European.

    ReplyReply
  69. David S. says:

    Shaming really only works if both parties share the same values. If they don’t, then all you’re doing is making the other person feel smug about how they got a rise out of you.

    The problem with purity/woke culture is the same problem that religious purity culture has: it presumes that everyone should share your values, so shame should work as a device for changing behavior, and then you feel betrayed when it doesn’t.

    ReplyReply
  70. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:
    One of the many reasons I admire Jesus – though I don’t think he was divine – was that forgiveness is not just good for the person being forgiven, it’s also good for the person doing the forgiving, and to top it off, it’s smart politics. We want people inside the tent pissing out, not outside pissing in (LBJ).

    How do we judge recidivism? Take Louis CK. He was exposed (heh) for jerking off in front of other comedians. He’s acknowledged that was wrong, and I think it’s a safe bet he’s not doing it anymore. So there was a behavior, the behavior stopped, so why are so many people upset that he’s still performing? If what he did was criminal (IANAL) then pursue legal remedies. If what he did was short of criminal then you and I and everyone are free not to attend his gigs, but why are people calling for boycotts and demanding he not be allowed to perform?

    How is that good for anyone? How does that bring someone over to our side? Another example was Liam Neeson’s admission that once in some kind of a rage he went looking for any random black guy to beat up. He didn’t, in the end, he just thought it. And for that people are demanding he never be allowed to make another movie. How is that a good idea? How does that reward Neeson and others like him for their however belated wokeness? He spoke honestly and is attacked, which stands as a warning to others never to admit any failing, ever.

    We’ve incentivized dishonesty and hypocrisy by virtue of the intolerance of the warriors for tolerance. I don’t think that makes much sense as a desirable end state.

    ReplyReply
  71. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    How do we judge recidivism? Take Louis CK. He was exposed (heh) for jerking off in front of other comedians. He’s acknowledged that was wrong, and I think it’s a safe bet he’s not doing it anymore. So there was a behavior, the behavior stopped, so why are so many people upset that he’s still performing?

    Henry Kissinger stopped doing the war crimes decades ago. What’s the big deal about? (Is he dead yet? I just remember people being angry any time he was treated like a normal person when I was in college, back in the early 90s)

    There’s a question of scale and degree, admittedly, but you’re not making the argument that his actions were of the minor kerfluffle kind that can be overlooked.

    Unless you want to make that argument?

    A lot of women tend not to be as forgiving as you seem to be.

    If what he did was criminal (IANAL) then pursue legal remedies. If what he did was short of criminal then you and I and everyone are free not to attend his gigs, but why are people calling for boycotts and demanding he not be allowed to perform?

    So, for a while he was doing surprise gigs to test out new material, and people while had shown up at a comedy club weren’t being given the option of making a decision ahead of time. Do you walk out? What if your date wants to stay?

    And I’m not sure legality is the right line. Are we ok with Roman Polanski because he has fled the country to avoid prosecution? And are we ok with the folks in Enumclaw, WA who were having sex with animals just because Washington didn’t have a law against it at the time?

    (The best known example of Washington bestiality is a moot issue, as he was fvcked to death by a horse*, but there was a whole community of horse lovers)

    There is a line, but it isn’t a legal one.

    It’s a fuzzy line defined by when the objections start getting a response of eye rolling, and a bit of luck with when the next shiny object comes along.

    For instance, Liam Neeson. Who did nothing wrong except admit that his internalized racism got the better of him to no actual effect, and his detractors mostly get eye rolls. And then the next shiny object came along and it’s just a weird footnote in his career.

    *: he died living his dream, and doing what he loved, which is more than most of us can hope for. Unfortunately his dream involved getting fvcked by a horse.

    ReplyReply
  72. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Do you walk out? What if your date wants to stay?”

    This strikes me as really not Louis CK’s problem…

    ReplyReply
  73. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Given that the surprise performances pissed off a bunch of people who wouldn’t have voluntarily gone to see the masturbating comic and who are now protesting his efforts to make a living… it sounds like it is his problem after all.

    (I also assume that the person who downvoted me was upset that I was mocking their desires to be fvcked by a horse)

    ReplyReply
  74. Max Torf says:

    @Gustopher: Would you please refrain from calling non-German people “Nazis”?
    I am German an regard this behaviour to be cultural appropriation.
    Thank you very much

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*