Cancel culture is not only joyless but lifeless. It is built on negativity, criticism, and fault-finding which, in the long term, cannot be sustained.
Cancel culture produces death rather than life and fear rather than faith, stifling creativity and suffocating free expression. John Cleese of Monty Python fame reminds us that “if you’re going to come out with something really interesting artistically it’s going to come out of your unconscious, and if you’re having to edit everything you say before you say it then nothing is going to happen creatively; also things that are rather lovely and funny in ordinary conversation, they’re not going to happen either, because everybody’s thinking ‘Ooh, somebody might [be offended]’.”
Frank Rich, best known for his very liberal prose in the New York Times, wrote in 2003, Why Liberals Are No Fun. He wrote that “despite their domination of the entertainment industry, liberals barely have a foothold in the part of show business they are most exercised about. Barbra Streisand may have a contentious Web site, but Rupert Murdoch has an empire.
As David Brooks put it recently in The Weekly Standard, Democrats are in ‘despair that a consortium of conservative think tanks, talk radio hosts and Fox News — Hillary’s vast right-wing conspiracy — has cohered to form a dazzlingly efficient ideology delivery system that swamps liberal efforts to get their ideas out…’ so liberals plot and dream, with the undying hope that their own Rush or O’Reilly or Hannity might turn up as miraculously as Lana Turner supposedly did at the Schwab’s Pharmacy soda fountain.
He then asked: “How can Democrats be so ineffectual in the media in which they would seem to have a home-court cultural advantage? The conventional wisdom has it that liberals will never make it in this arena because they are humorless, their positions are too complicated to explain, and some powerful media companies (whether Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation or the radio giant Clear Channel) want to put up roadblocks.”
In the end, his conclusion was that it might simply come down to show business, with some of the conservative hosts being better showmen. But the lack of humor cannot be downplayed, along with the lack of nuance, especially in these days of cancel culture rage, in which songs like the Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar” must now be dropped, because of its lyrics about slavery.
Today, jokes can’t be funny, lest someone somewhere might be offended. For Centuries, the offense was understood to be part of the joke – as we all laughed at ourselves. And there can be no nuance in a message, lest someone misunderstand the meaning, thereby putting everyone in fear of saying one wrong word.
The key to overcoming this stifling, suffocating atmosphere is to reject the superior moral standing of the elitists, telling the few that we, the many, will not be intimidated or manipulated by them.
Or in the words of Bill Maher: “Why do we allow the people who just want to b*tch always win?… This is called a purge. It’s a mentality that belongs in Stalin’s Russia. How bad does this atmosphere we’re living in have to get before the people who say cancel culture is overblown admit that it is in fact an insanity that is swallowing up the world?”
For my part, as a follower of Jesus, it is love that compels me to honor and respect others and to interact graciously with those with whom I differ. And I would never intentionally insult someone or cause them pain or shame. If I have a blind spot, I want someone to point that out and we can discuss it.
But I will not, for one moment, bow to a suffocating ideology that cancels and destroys all dissenters and silences all dissent. Neither should you.