Putin Invokes “Cancel Culture”

The term keeps on giving.

Via the BBC: Ukraine war: JK Rowling hits back at Putin’s ‘cancel culture’ comment.

In the lengthy speech, which was given to the winners of various cultural prizes, President Putin claimed Russian composers and writers were being discriminated against.

“They are trying to cancel a thousand-year-old country,” he said.

Some events featuring pro-war Russians have been cancelled since Moscow invaded Ukraine last month.

A much smaller number of events have been cancelled due to their use of music by dead Russian composers.

But Mr Putin also alleged – without providing evidence – that there was a “gradual discrimination against everything linked to Russia… in a number of Western countries”.

“They are banning Russian writers and books,” he said.”The proverbial ‘cancel culture’ has become a cancellation of culture.”

Mr Putin then defended Ms Rowling, who has faced criticism for her comments on transgender issues. She denies accusations of transphobia.

“JK Rowling was cancelled because she, a writer of books that have sold millions of copies around the world, didn’t please fans of so-called gender freedoms,” Mr Putin claimed.

This is striking for a number of reasons.

First, this would seem to further the argument that I have been making that the term “cancel culture” is overly broad, and therefore not very helpful. Moreover, it is used not to identify a tangible problem as much as it is used to stir politically infused emotions.

Second, to build somewhat off the first point, it is patently absurd to take actions motivated by Russia’s invasion and bloody attacks on Ukraine as fitting into the rubric of “cancel culture.”

Third, the linkage to JK Rowling is quite intentional, I would argue, as it raises the connections that Putin’s politics has with groups in the west who see things like pro-trans rights as a threat to their version of culture. While his audience is clearly domestic, I think he is also reaching out to sympathetic ears in the US and in other parts of Europe on the types of issues that raised his approval in those places in the past.

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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

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Rowling had a good response: “Critiques of western cancel culture are possibly best not made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail or poison their critics.”

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  2. drj says:

    it is patently absurd to take actions motivated by Russia’s invasion and bloody attacks on Ukraine as fitting into the rubric of “cancel culture.”

    It may be absurd, but it fits Putin’s worldview.

    This was part of his justification for the invasion of Ukraine:

    [The West] sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

    Because Russia decided to stand up for traditional values (by invading Ukraine), of course it’s now being canceled. It’s what the West/intolerant libs always do and, as such, simply par for the course.

    Just ask Tucker Carlson, Rod Dreher, Laura Ingraham, etc., etc.

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  3. steve says:

    During Lent we serve soup and bread for coffee hour. We served Russian black bread with the soup. If I had known we supposed to be canceling them I would have bought the rye.

    Steve

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  4. Gustopher says:

    It is surely just a coincidence that Putin speaks in the language of Republican talking points.

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  5. Robert in SF says:

    @Gustopher:
    Yes, I agree….I am wondering if we will ever know as a general public how pervasive the social engineering campaigns of the Russians were and how influential. Will the FBI or CIA ever release a report that does show the network of posters and bot-farms that drive an idea through the lifecycle of nascent craziness to ammunition in the war of splitting Americans against themselves.

    And if they did release it, would even 1/2 the country believe it since the split the Republicans have been driven to (and participated in) is so wide and strong from Democrats?

    I have seen conjecture/claims that twitter trending topics have dropped off significantly on certain topics after Russia was blocked (?), and they were all talking points of the current right wing zealots. TBH, I didn’t further research it.

    I wouldn’t doubt that the Russian influencer programs runs early, deep, wide, and long…they plant seeds of topics and plan growth and spread so as to rely on the talking point or topic to be used for their defense or at least to distract (‘cancel culture’ invocations likely to lead to inflaming RWNJs so as to now support Russia’s naked aggression since they have a common enemy, the Democrats and liberals!).

    I have seen a few recent threads on some edgy discussion boards that I am sure are part of the attempts to mainstream a controversial (to say the least) idea as the supposed new hot topic for ‘libruls!”. And if not mainstream it, plant the topic on the web so to as at least be visible to RWNJs with the right searches once alerted to the supposed pushing of the idea by sources ramping up the next distraction and talking points of projection.

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  6. Fog says:

    Puh-leeze! Explain to me how “cancel culture” even exists. I’ve always had the impression it was just a straw man, invented by the Tucker Carlsons of the world to gin up right wing resentment without connection to any sort of reality. Besides, the libraries are where the history books reside and until they start to burn, “cancel culture” is just some stupid catchphrase.

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  7. Mister Bluster says:

    @Fog:..until they start to burn,..

    FEBRUARY 3, 2022
    They’re Burning Books in Tennessee
    Last night, Mt. Juliet pastor and pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Greg Locke decided to turn it up a notch by organizing an old-fashioned book burning. The books included millennial staples like Harry Potter and Twilight.

    CONSERVATIVES ARE JUST OPENLY ENDORSING BOOK BURNING NOW
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/virginia-school-board-book-burning

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  8. Gustopher says:

    Last night, Mt. Juliet pastor and pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Greg Locke decided to turn it up a notch by organizing an old-fashioned book burning. The books included millennial staples like Harry Potter and Twilight.

    Well, JK Rowling is a TERF, and the Twilight books are well known for being terrible… are we sure this was a pastor that burned them and not a trans librarian who just snapped?