|The usual example from the UK is Germain Greer’s views on transgender issues prompting Cardiff University’s Women’s Society|
to disinvite her from speaking. And the National Union of Students adopting a similar policy of ’no-platforming’ feminist writer Julie
Bindel also for expressing views interpreted as transphobic.
The term has now greatly expanded its reach and been adopted by a host of right wing commentators who feel aggrieved for being called
out on any subject. Like "snow-flake” and "virtue signalling” and “political correctness” it has been added to the box of rhetorical weapons the
right use to complain about, mock and otherwise attempt to shut down criticism.
Can folks clarify what they mean by cancel culture and provide actual examples? What are you talking about when you talk about cancel culture's "chilling effects"? Are you talking about all white spaces that want to awkwardly talk about race without having done any learning or work not know what to say? Are you saying that celebrities with global influence such as Shane Dawson would be more radical if we all gave them more support? Are you talking about someone you know?
Last time I checked, it's not illegal to make problematic statements. It doesn't get you incarcerated. It doesn't get you killed. Sometimes, public figures with a lot of wealth and influence see their follower count go down when they do something problematic. Are the people opposing cancel culture saying that these public figures are entitled to support from people who experience their statements as violent? When you are opposed to what you call cancel culture, are you saying that people who speak out against what they are experiencing as violence should not talk in the name of "discourse"? How is that democratic?
for critically pulling me up on an un-problemtized use of a variety of liberal bromides. Particularly telling is your last point about the danger of unwittingly putting myself at odds with the legitimate rage of oppressed groups whose tactics have been pilloried by both liberals and the right under the generalised rubric of "cancel culture". I am sorry Alice Yang you are absolutely right I accept I was not paying enough attention to the context and struggles within which term is used and mis-used. (including the Harpers Magazine letter)
Thanks for your post on William Davies’s recent contributions to the London Review of Books. Enjoyed it.
The mention of Carl Schmitt brings to mind another critic of liberalism, Chantal Mouffe, and her philosophy of hegemony and antagonism, itself greatly influenced by Schmitt’s account of the friend/enemy relation. For Mouffe, the political is a decision that is always ‘taken in an undecidable terrain’. This is because social relations are not fixed or natural, but rather the product of hegemonic articulations: that is, of contingent yet temporary decisions involving power and conflict. (Which has the advantage that these hegemonic articulations can be disarticulated, transformed and rearticulated as a result of struggle between opponents.)
Now, I realize this may seem a rather counter-intuitive question to ask - particularly for readers of the London Review of Books! But I do worry, is there a risk that using terms and concepts like ‘argument’, ‘careful judgement’, ‘knowledge’, ‘democracy’, ‘public’ as datum points in this way is itself a form of affective politics that ‘“precedes debate, precedes argument, precedes speech”’? Might it, too, be a ‘decisionism’, “an acting out or performance of some prior act of identification”’ - one in which the question of what it is to be political, especially in relation to ‘cancel culture’, is not taken in an undecidable terrain, but is rather decided in advance of intellectual questioning?
Here’s a less subtle (and less philosophical) version of the concern that’s troubling me and that I'm not expressing as well as I'd like: How do we as ‘net critics’ avoid coming across - especially to certain of those progressive or marginalized voices who may have found themselves associated with cancel culture - as merely activist/artist/geek versions of the liberal signatories to the Letter on Justice and Open Debate that appeared in Harper’s Magazine at the beginning of July and that Geert also refers to in his piece on cancel culture?
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