A nit and a "not."

I stopped short on the placement of "identity politics" in scare quotes. Isn't the phrase descriptive, and fairly so, of giving people's immutable characteristics primacy in the social and political world? Identity politics is a real thing, I think, and the identification of it can help show its weakness in structuring our thinking and ordering society.

"Virtue signaling" has gotten the same treatment. I think it's a legitimate description of performative acts aimed at confirming conformity with one's allies. My sense is that the left treat the phrase as a right-wing shibboleth and ignore it at a cost to the quality of their Facebook discourse. (Haha. "Facebook discourse.")

That's the nit.

The "not" is the part on "book banning." (Again with the scare quotes!) Overreach and pearl-clutching make some of it seem foolish, but I can't see parents insisting on a role in their children's upbringing as censorship. Are these books being taken out of local bookstores? Amazon deliveries being intercepted? These are not banned books. These are books disfavored by parents who want to mold their children's experience consistent with their values, which is entirely appropriate, IMO.

I don't take time to comment on poorly done articles. This is a thorough and well-structured piece that inspires what I hope is thoughtful push-back in a few small areas. Thanks for it!

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There may some justification for labelling both left and right wing censoriousness with the same term -cancel culture - even if the term is generally uniquely associated with the left. But you have not constructed that case. I wonder what your motives are in doing this.

I personally associate the term with the activities of unelected radical intellectual groups first and foremost. People who have not been elected into office and choose the recesses of the internet as a place to execute their cancelling strategies. It is a largely anonymous movement.

Whatever we think about the governor of Florida, he is an elected representative. How he executes his strategies is open to question, of course, but he is substantively different from pressure groups in his status and legitimacy. He holds office, is personally accountable and is subject to formal, regulatory and electoral process. The same cannot be said for the woke movement. Who the hell are they?

I do not support the extreme right or the extreme left and do certainly not support ad hoc censorship by activists of any kind, publishers, media moguls or online trolls. I welcome any attempt to make sense of this crazy climate but this piece seems to me to have been assembled rather hastily and with a desire to square circles that cannot yet be squared.

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Can someone please list a liberal/progressive that has been cancelled by Twitter or any other social media platform. Or maybe try a speaking event at a university where a progressive (i.e. BLM) speaker was cancelled or run off campus. Until that happens, you cannot convince me that cancel culture is practiced by anyone other than the progressives.

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I don't agree at all that controlling what moral and ethical subjects schools teach constitutes "cancel culture." As a group, parents have a fundamental right to control what morals and ethics their children are taught and if they don't want their kids taught that white people are evil or that you can change genders at will, that's their call. If innocent people are unfairly caught up in that, it's a wrong to be rectified, but schools absolutely shouldn't be teachings kids values their parents don't want them taught.

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Jul 26, 2022·edited Jul 27, 2022

Cancel culture is a leftist phenomena. It is the classic mean-girl phenomena but with a social media steroid boost. This is how how women have always exerted power - via shaming and group ostracization. Removing books about underage anal sex (Lawn Boy) from school libraries is a completely different phenomena. Not only is it quite appropriate, but it comes from a laudable desire to protect children, rather than the leftist desire to exert power (which is cancel culture). Anybody who can't tell the difference, has been indoctrinated well.

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I think that a lot of the censorship from the right is a reaction from parents to the schools teaching things like CRT and either denying it or telling parents that they have no business providing input on their own children’s education. I believe it was alarming during the pandemic when parents heard not just what but how teachers were framing subjects when they listened in on their kids Zoom classes.

It also wasn’t helpful finding out that many schools were subverting parental authority in terms of sexual, psychological and medical decision making.

100 years ago when I was in primary and secondary school the library generally didn’t censor what books were in the library but there were some titles in which your parents needed to provide approval.

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Eh, I think you need to open up Gender Queer before saying the rightwing attacks on it were overblown. It's currently listed on Amazon as 18+ only and has graphic imagery of people having sex. That might be appropriate for the mature teenager over 16 at parental discretion, but certainly not below that.

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Prohibiting indoctrination is not cancelling anybody.

Do your job and you will be just fine.

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Well researched and balanced. Thank you.

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Where are the political scientists nowadays? This article makes a strong case for a structured understanding and theorizing of complex attitudes and events. More work is needed in this area and it should be scientific, objective (shock/horror) and large scale. Some say polsci departments sold out to the identity and positionality bug and they might be right.

When is cancel culture legitimate? When it is carried out nefariously and without mercy by liberal social media trolls and activists? Or when politicians decide to act in executive mode and martial all resources to change the law on multiple levels with undue haste? Probably neither. Both lack humility, dialogue and compassion. All these people should be ashamed of their own anger, hatred and myopia.

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I like how, in America, "Identity Politics" always refers to obstinate, unappreciative, non-white people....as if white people in America have NEVER practiced "Identity Politics." Lol.

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You might find this article on identity politics out recently in the TransAtlantic interesting....


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Well some parents actually care about their children. Some may actually like their kids teacher to actually teach them something useful like how to read. Since only 15percent of Chicago school kids can read at grade level the time is better spent in education rather than indoctrination

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CRT is taught at the college level, not K-12. That too in Law School. It's a part of Critical Law Theory, or Critical Legal Studies.

I guess what these people object to is teaching kids US history, which they somehow or other label CRT, now?

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

"Cancel culture" is an inappropriate name for what is, instead, the actual or attempted imposition on outsiders of a cult-conformist group's cult views where that cult group wields the power to enforce conformity to its sectarian views on others--clients, customers, dependents, employees, "visitors" and guest-commentators or others.

Thus, when Simon Whitten (@Simon_Whitten) claims that "Cancel culture is when a person accustomed to speaking over others gets talked back to. That's it. That's the whole phenomenon." (05:19 hrs., March 26, 2022 . Twitter)

he's writing nonsense. I don't and cannot "talk over others" and wouldn't even if I had the power to do so. All I'm able to do is meet opinions which I oppose with counter-arguments. When, on the other hand, _my_ views are summarily and preemptorily suppressed by "moderators" who NEVER ALLOW THOSE VIEWS TO BE SEEN IN THE FIRST PLACE--- _THAT_ is "cancellation", or, as it's properly called, _CENSORSHIP_ -- the denial by some of the opportunity for others with opposing views to present those opposing views. LET'S WORK TO GET THAT STRAIGHT _everywhere_ --as your observations here rightly do in the present article.

My primary example is the cultish environment at Slate.com. There, one finds what is in more than a minor sense a genuine "culture"--as well as a cult-- of prompt and preemptory censorship which prevents contrarian opinion, once its authors have been identified and tagged, from ever seeing the light of open viewing by the readership.

(from Wikipedia's page) "The Slate Group, LLC, is an American online publishing entity established in June 2008 by Graham Holdings Company." (Note: (Wikipedia) " In 2004, it ("Slate" was purchased by The Washington Post Company ((itself) later renamed the Graham Holdings Company), and since 2008 has been managed by The Slate Group, an online publishing entity created by Graham Holdings. Slate is based in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C."

Slate's executive management are:

Hillary Frey (editor in chief)

Dan Check (chief executive officer)

Charlie Kammerer (chief revenue officer)

Lowen Liu (deputy editor)

Josh Levin (editorial director)

Allison Benedikt (executive editor)

Susan Matthews (news director)

Laura Bennett (features director)

Jeffrey Bloomer (features editor)

Forrest Wickman (culture editor)

and these people are, for all practical intents and purposes, in the censorship business.

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