Has Cancel Culture Gotten Away From Accountability?
Speaker 1: 00:00 These days, we hear a lot about cancel culture. When someone who's done or said something damaging is deep platform fired or boycotted. In other words, they're held accountable, but has canceled culture gotten away from accountability. And is it being used as a weapon San Diego union Tribune columnist, Charles Clark says yes. And it's time to retire the phrase in a recent column. I spoke with him about his ideas on cancel culture. Here's that interview. So, okay. First let's define what it means to cancel someone or something and how that term grew in popularity. Speaker 2: 00:35 Right? So it's kind of fascinating because the term of canceling someone isn't in itself a relatively new term, I mean really how I was familiar with it. It's kind of black culture and black Twitter. And usually there, it was used in more of a, a joking term. We start early on as kind of, I'm not gonna deal with this person anymore in the time, since that has grown into something a bit different where I think kind of, we commonly think of it more as kind of a cultural boycott kind of this way, as typically using social media to call out a person, usually a public figure or a business that you feel behaved in a way that was inappropriate. And Speaker 1: 01:16 We know that after sufficient dragging black Twitter has been known to cancel someone over an offense. Uh, but then the phrase changed to cancel culture. And so did its meaning. Can you talk about that? I mean, who hijacked the term? Speaker 2: 01:31 It's kind of a fascinating thing, right? I feel like you start hearing the phrase, cancel culture a bit more kind of around the time of the me too movement, but because canceling someone became a public way to kind of police, you know, frankly, predatory men who otherwise would not have been held accountable or haven't been held accountable right. For decades. Now, somewhere along the way, though, in particular conservative media, kind of co-opted this phrase, cancel culture to be more about, Oh, the stifling of conservative speech or people infringing on free speech to, you know, be the thought police, right. And prevent people from saying something that they disagree with. If you do, then you're, ex-communicated right from the public sphere. And really, I think that is probably part of a larger trend, right? Where you've seen conservative media really loves this idea of, you know, the culture war Speaker 1: 02:25 And your column. You know, as you mentioned, you say, Republicans have weaponized the term to, to criticize people on the left and to equate, cancel culture with an attack on freedom of speech pushed by an overly sensitive, angry mob. Uh, can you give me some examples of how the term has been weaponized recently? Speaker 2: 02:43 Typically the way that I see it used by conservatives with that negative connotation is usually in a defensive someone who's on their side, who people are trying to police, you know, Donald Trump, even during his impeachment hearings, had his attorney talk about is canceled culture. You know, you've had Marjorie Taylor green go off on that and conservatives defend her, you know, including, I believe our own rep Daryl Eissa where, you know, the things that she said and done to me, you know, across the line of, it's not just that it's offensive speech, it's an actual harmful speech, um, and potentially threatening and dangerous to people. Speaker 1: 03:21 Give me an example of when the collective outrage was warranted. When did someone, or even a business need to be canceled in order to usher in change. Speaker 2: 03:31 I hate to keep bringing it back to me too, but I do think that was a really salient and for the most part, pretty successful application of this Speaker 1: 03:39 Cancel culture. Isn't the first term to sort of be hijacked. I mean, you've got now woke culture and PC police. Um, it seems like this is sort of, there's a pattern and that this is a tactic to weaponize criticism. Speaker 2: 03:55 It is, it very much is. I mean, and I think that's the thing that kind of drives me nuts about it. You know, I originally said that I don't think cancel culture is a real thing, namely, because generally it applies to public figures and often public figures who are quote canceled usually are able to, you know, have the impact on their professional lives. Be very limited, right? They're usually able to go into another gig. I think of Gina Carano who was fired from, you know, the Mandalorian series who I think within a day had signed like a movie deal with Ben Shapiro's like daily mail, you know, where you actually do see it have real impact as you think of people like say Colin Kaepernick, Colin Kaepernick was blackballed by the NFL and still hasn't found a career. It's like he did face real professional consequences and harm because let's be honest, predominantly white people and conservatives decided that they were off. Speaker 2: 04:48 He wanted to kneel during the national Anthem to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality. Um, they tried to make it about disrespecting the flag and they, you know, found a receptive partner in the NFL who is a conservative leaning organization to begin with who were more than willing to partner up in excommunicating this guy. I actually think of, you know, an older example is, uh, the band formerly known as the Dixie chicks who, you know, had their career at the peak of their powers professionally just ruined and thrown into shambles because during a concert in Europe, Natalie Maines, their lead singer express expressed her displeasure with George Bush. I believe she said something to the effect of I'm ashamed. He's a Texan. And they express their opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Speaker 1: 05:36 People think about before they start screaming, cancel culture. Speaker 2: 05:44 I think the question I would ask myself is, okay, what are these people really upset about? Because if you cut through some of the bad actors in the noise that like to jump into these things, there's sometimes as a grain of truth, even if you you're being unjustly gone after, um, on the flip side, just as a public observer, I think the question we all should be asking ourselves, anytime this topic comes up, you know, people want someone quote, canceled. I think you should ask, do I want them canceled because they caused real harm? Or do I want them canceled? Because they said something I don't like. Speaker 1: 06:19 I've been speaking with Charles Clark columnist at the San Diego union Tribune. Charles, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me.