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How do we think about cancel culture? Show more Show less

In June 2020, cancel culture claimed its latest victim: the popular children's television show Paw Patrol. It was claimed that its protagonists - animated dogs who operate as police in a fictional universe - were being derided. These pieces said critics saw its positive portrayal of law enforcement strengthened a culture of deference to the police. Headlines around the world stated cancel culture had gone mad. But none of this was true. What began as a joke about cancel culture had grown into a conspiracy tearing across the internet. This crisis underpinned the bigger picture: anyone can be cancelled, and it has gone so far it can reach the international news without questioning. In recent years, the practice of withdrawing support for public figures who hold controversial views has exploded. And not just amongst the cartoons. Michael Jackson, JK Rowling, Louis CK, Woody Allen: the list of its celebrity victims is growing. The boom has divided opinion. Some believe it is a form of online activism that helps the marginalised hold the powerful to account. Their opponents see it as a devastating attack on civil liberties. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

Cancel culture must be cancelled Show more Show less

This approach argues that cancel culture exposes a crisis of individual liberty. It considers freedom of expression to be an inalienable right. Disagreement is being weaponised to silence those who hold unpopular views.
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Cancel culture strengthens the surveillance state

Cancel culture is a form of ideological policing. Social media has reduced privacy. Simultaneously, trust in the state is being fast eroded. Truth is increasingly elusive in our news, our media and our politics. This crisis of authenticity, and what to believe, means there is no longer a set of agreed upon facts about how to engage with each other, or draw conclusions from what we see. The combination of these two factors has turned us all into informants. In this case, cancel culture is a survival strategy. One built on individual performance of the surveillance state. Proponents include author Kat Rosenfield and key figures in the left wing press including New Republic reporter Osita Nwanevu.
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    This page was last edited on Friday, 10 Jul 2020 at 16:28 UTC