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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 promotes a vitriolic mob mentality

Cancel culture promotes a ruthless mob mentality that celebrates intimidation. It exists solely to victimise public figures. As author and academic Loretta Ross writes in the New York Times, "people attempt to expunge anyone with whom they do not perfectly agree, rather than remain focused on those who profit from discrimination and injustice.” Frequently, attacks are indiscriminate. Social media users jump onto bandwagons to tear down their victims without wanting to engage with the issues they are fighting for. For many, the appeal is in its thrill as a bloodsport rather than an opportunity for positive change. Proponents include Spiked Editor Toby Young.
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    This page was last edited on Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 23:06 UTC