"cancel culture" letter (cry me a river)


An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by 150 prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new "cancel culture."

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.

But, Mondoweiss notes:

...the rightwingers and the centrists... are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them. They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views -- something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.

Max Blumenthal believes that such centrists and rightwingers

[are] part of a growing establishment “hyper-liberal” cancel culture that sidelines vital issues including class struggle; promotes reactionary projects like Russiagate by co-opting righteous causes [e.g., Kamala Harris claiming Colin Kaepernick was a Russian tool --tm]; and supports the cancellation of foreign countries via aggressive U.S. foreign policy.

Blumenthal gives examples of the cancel culture letter's signatories' previous efforts to "cancel" the careers of critical voices such as Joseph Massad, Steven Salaita and Matt Taibbi by interfering with their livelihoods. The term cancel culture itself is a minty fresh neologism and everyone has their definition right now but clearly, for the letter writers it means "cancellation for thee but not for me."

For various reasons, Mondoweiss thinks

[Noam] Chomsky might have been better advised not to have added his name [to the letter], however much he agrees with its vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.

That's all you need to know.