We should all be cancelled.
Everyone reading this right now has had thoughts that would get him or her fired if they were put in a tweet. Everyone has said things in relationships that would have people think they were monsters if they read it out of context in a blog post. We have crossed streets for the wrong reasons, lashed out based on fear, cheated, lied, had thoughts that made us feel so dirty that the only way to purify ourselves would be to bathe in the hopes and dreams of Mr. Rogers, the only man who was truly pure. (If they ever find anything on that guy I’m giving up.)
Heartless left-wing Twitter users reacted to news of Rush Limbaugh’s advanced-stage cancer diagnosis exactly as you’d expect—with cruel remarks, and even celebration.
Limbaugh, the longtime host of the Rush Limbaugh Show airing since 1988, dropped the news on his radio show Monday, and while most on the right were sending thoughts, prayers, and sincere wishes, the left had a different tone.
Replies under the Huffington Post’s tweet were particularly egregious. Many mocked Limbaugh, celebrated cancer of all things, and many called the diagnosis “karma.”
The insults didn’t just come from nameless, faceless Twitter accounts, though. Among those who joked about the diagnosis were several of Twitter’s infamous “blue checkmarks,” snobby elites who look down on those they disagree with. Among these checkmarks are NBC employees, New York Times best-selling authors, sports journalists, and even media outlets like Raw Story.
Oliver Willis, previously of Media Matters, also decided to join in on the “fun” by tweeting disparaging articles calling Limbaugh a sexist.
It doesn’t take much digging to find posts of a similar sentiment when former U.S. Presidential candidate and war hero John McCain passed away. Only moments after his death, Twitter was swarming with cold-hearted posts celebrating his death.
Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Rush Limbaugh and his family in this difficult time. It should go without saying, but thanks to the cruelty seen from left-wing Twitter, we just wanted to put it out there.
Joaquin Phoenix was praised for calling out the awards system and production companies for their lack of diversity at the recent British Academy of Film and Television Awards. But when he had the opportunity to make change, all he could do was talk about it. And he wasn’t the only one. Prince William also took to the podium to complain about the whiteness of the BAFTAs, and he should know because he’s been president of the thing for 10 years.
In his acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, Phoenix excoriated the attendees for participating in a white supremacist industry and accepted his own complicity within it. This harkens back to his Golden Globes acceptance speech, where he promised to do more about the environment by wearing the same tux for the entirety of awards season.
At the BAFTAs, his new target was diversity. He thinks the industry needs more of it. If anyone should know about the dangers of identity politics it’s Joaquin Phoenix. His Joker movie and character were both widely smeared as white supremacist/white nationalist dog whistles by the woke, establishment media.
In the days leading up to the movie’s release, politically correct scribes from all over were basically trying to make some sort of tragedy happen at premiere screenings by talking about its possibility endlessly. Think piece after think piece declared that the movie was emblematic of Trump’s America and that screening would attract white nationalist incels who would surely bring guns and mow down innocent civilians. Of course, none of this happened and both the film, and Phoenix, went on to win a ton of awards.
Yet Phoenix thinks that he’s part of the problem, and he used his acceptance speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to say so.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight,” he told the assembled crowd. “The BAFTAs have always been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry in ways that we benefit from.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think that people just want to be acknowledged and respected and appreciated for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural, I think that we really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to dismantle it.”
Wait what? If he really cared about diversity, then why didn’t he give his award to a deserving actor of colour? If his award was granted to him because of his “privilege” then why would he accept it? Dismantle away, Joaquin. You had the perfect opportunity to dismantle the white supremacist heteropatriarchy that benefits you right there from the stage.
Instead, he curtseyed to Prince William, upholding the monarchist patriarchy and breaking down gender stereotypes in one fell swoop.
No artist wants to step back from their achievements and give their platform over to someone else. Phoenix had every right to stand there and accept his award for playing the Joker, and deep down he knows it. Maybe he thinks the part should have gone to someone else, or the film should have been directed or shot by another team. If so, why wait until he’s won all these awards to say so? It’s pretty convenient to suggest dismantling a system that has already delivered him so much success.
Prince William, president of BAFTA, had his own virtue signalling “concerns” about the process: “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years,” he said, “we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more for the ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age. BAFTA takes this issue seriously and following this year’s nominations have launched a full and thorough review of the entire awards process to build on their existing work and to ensure that these opportunities are available for everyone.”
The question becomes which thing is more important, that the judges are free to vote for the films they think are the best films or that they vote for films with the right number of skin colours on the production crew? The result that Phoenix and Prince William seem to want is that there should be more people of more backgrounds winning awards and making the content that is nominated. But the problem is that there is no truly fair way to achieve this goal. Every avenue toward creating the desired end results in a process that entrenches censorship and places a higher value on backgrounds of those making the art than the art itself.
Will Prince William seek to uncover unquantifiable, unconscious bias? Or is it just all pandering? If Prince William wanted more awards to go to films helmed by non-white people, why wasn’t that a condition of the awards process? Wouldn’t that be the most effective way to do it?
Wanting something to be different and trying to reverse engineer the conditions so that it will be so is not going to create a fair awards process or equity in production hiring. Seeking out new talent doesn’t require dismantling entire industries, or callouts, it just takes looking around, seeing the good work being done by lots of different people, and bringing them on board. It doesn’t take quota systems or excoriations. It doesn’t even take demands by famous actors or princes who want everyone to know how compassionate they are.
A big problem with the concept of injecting diversity is that it’s not about individuals, it’s not about art, it’s about appearances, it’s about pats on the back for people who want to run awards shows and collect prizes while not feeling bad about their success. Unless, of course, all of this intersectional, identity-politics obsessed virtue signalling isn’t actually about change. Art isn’t about quotas. It’s about conveying essential truths about the human experience. White people bashing themselves for their whiteness won’t open any doors, but at least Prince William and Joaquin Phoenix feel better about giving and receiving awards now. There’s a better way forward. It’s called intellectual honesty.
Cancel culture does know how to take a day off. Just one day before the Super Bowl, sports commentator and political firebrand Jemele Hill took to Twitter to attempt to cancel NFL football player Nick Bosa for following a meme account.
Hill took the San Francisco 49ers player to task on Saturday after discovering, through a political account called “Resist Programming,” that the Super Bowl LIV contender Bosa was following a “private Instagram account that jokes about Kobe Bryant’s death.” The account in question, “@angry_vet_” posted a meme depicting the Grim Reaper on a claw machine trying to pick out Betty White. It had the audacity to like replies joking about how those upset by the image were “butt hurt,” including a remark that the post was “going to piss off the Kobesexuals.”
Popular meme accounts on Instagram often set their status to private to encourage more people to subscribe to their accounts, but this ignorance of Instagram etiquette often creates misunderstandings in users unfamiliar with the social networking platform to assume that these “private accounts” represent their followers’ hidden political views—and it lets bad faith actors like “Resist Programming” to perpetuate a narrative about celebrities and other public figures in an attempt to cancel them. They’re essentially bait for people like Jemele Hill.
Hill tweeted: “Nick Bosa continues to show exactly who he is. I asked the question before, if there is nothing wrong with who he’s following and what he’s liking on social media, then why is he so secretive?”
Bosa has been in the sights of the anti-Trump “resistance” ever since he came out into the open as a Trump supporter, earning himself a personal endorsement from the President. As Breitbart reported, Bosa, who was voted the NFL Defensive Rookie for the Year, has referred to President Trump as the “GOAT” (Greatest of all Time), and tweeted support for conservative personality Tomi Lahren. Like anyone else with a brain, he called Colin Kaepernick a “clown” for his kneeling antics on the field—a remark he was forced to apologize for. He has not, however, apologized for supporting the President.
Regardless of Bosa’s support for the President, Resist Programming, its supporters, and Jemele Hill are making it seem like Bosa himself runs the meme account and that he co-signs everything someone else posts—or even likes. It’s guilt by association taken to an even further degree than ever before. When confronted by conservative journalist Stephen Miller, who referred to Hill as a “media vampire,” Hill moved the goalpost by complaining that “considering there are players in the league who have beat women, Nick Bosa has nothing to worry about. As long as he doesn’t take a knee to protest racial oppression, he’s good.”
Hill asks: if “it’s no big deal, why was he erasing tweets and what not?” Well, most people don’t have time to deal with people like Hill. It’s often easier to just delete a tweet and move on with your life and not have to deal with political pundits trapped in their media bubbles on Twitter.
The poetry world is full of “typical social justice weaponized academia bullshit” according to poet Joseph Massey, who for sure has reason to know. His work has been published and deleted for a third time since his poetry world mobbing, this time by The Modernist Review.
A few years ago, he was accused of being a shitty boyfriend, extra drunk, and making people uncomfortable at poetry readings. He admitted it. He apologized. He wrote about the experience in Quillette. For this, he has been basically banished by the society of poets. Apologies are seen as evidence of guilt; forgiveness doesn’t exist.
Every time he is published, which happens not infrequently due to the legit merit of his work in the eyes of those publishers, the mob reaches out to those magazines and tells them to pull his work, or else. The Modernist Review caved to this mob, a group that Massey says only consists of about a dozen poets.
Massey submitted poems to The Modernist Review back in August 2019, when a call went out looking for work related to the environment. He sent in a sequence of poems grounded in the natural world, inspired by time spent with family in rural Delaware. In January 2020, he received word from The Modernist Review that they wanted to publish the work in their upcoming issue.
Editor Cecile Varry wrote “If ‘Backroad Scroll’ is still available, we would love to publish it in this month’s issue of the Review, which should be released next week. We really liked it and think that it fits very well with our plan for the issue!” After some logistical back and forth about graphics, the poems were published on The Modernist Review on January 31. Varry tweeted them out with the message “Wonderful poems by @jmasseypoet.” Massey shared that post.
A few hours later, he noticed that his tweet of her post about the poems showed that Varry’s tweet had been deleted. This is when Massey realized the mob had come for him yet again. He went to the site and saw that The Modernist Review had deleted his work. He contacted Varry, asking “Has my work been removed from the issue? If so I’d appreciate an explanation.”
They have not responded. Massey doesn’t think anyone will ever get back to him. The Post Millennial reached out to Varry for comment, but at the time of writing she has not responded.
This is the third time this has happened since his mobbing. The Academy of American Poets did this too, and Virga Magazine. Neither of these outlets offered an explanation. They are afraid of the mob.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Massey said that “social justice indoctrination is what makes editors terrified. As soon as they get an email or a tweet saying you published an abuser they just want to wipe their hands of it immediately.” They don’t bother to look into it, or ask Massey, or dig any further. Instead, these poetry magazines do what the spineless internet vigilantes tell them to. “They’ve been able to weaponize this new political regime,” Massey said.
And it’s not just contemporary poets who need to toe the line. “There are poets who are professors who are embedded in academia who are openly banning poets from being read,” Massey said, “eradicating them from the canon.” For his part, he is “against erasure, trying to wipe out Walt Whitman because in the 19th century he may have said something unpalatable to the 20th century.”
“In all likelihood, I’m not going to humiliate myself by submitting poems to open calls,” Massey said when asked about his next steps. “So I need to find alternative means of disseminating my work.” He’s actively working towards that goal.
This is a great time for writers and artists to step out of the framework of the established publishing houses, magazines, and arts cultures, and make their own. If the going outlets, the arbiters of arts culture, can’t handle their responsibility to maintain and uphold free speech, to decry unfounded allegations, or at the very least to offer forgiveness when an artist screws up, they deserve to lose their relevancy and their impact.