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Senate Has Cancel Culture Gone Too Far?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Darth Punk, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 6, 2001
    She probably made more money since this thread was first posted than most of us make in a year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  2. Darth Smurf

    Darth Smurf Force Ghost star 6

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    Dec 22, 2015
    Funny to hear names like Rowling and Kasparow having a problem with cancel culture and public shaming.
    Aunt Twitter and Checkmate were spearheads of the generation outrage and the "comment on everything" morale police so far.
    Seems history repeats itself. Revolutions devour their own children.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  3. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 6, 2001
    Bring on the guillotines.
     
  4. Darth Smurf

    Darth Smurf Force Ghost star 6

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    Dec 22, 2015
    It's called Social Media nowadays
     
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  5. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 28, 2006
    I think the problem is that it somewhat just turns into a heckler's veto on whoever is going to say that they're willing to draw the line about speech most often. For example, I do not think it would be helpful if anyone that said something positive about the royal family was shut down because I think the glorification or acceptance of royalty is, at its core, a confirmation of the same underlying concepts present in racism. I don't draw that line for what is "acceptable to be said" by people because I think open discourse is necessary, even though I do think the celebration of royalty is a celebration of racist ideology.

    So it means that the debate is controlled by those that are willing to draw the most lines about what can't be said.
     
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  6. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

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    Nov 28, 2000
    [face_relieved]
     
  7. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 28, 2006
    It's not that I didn't think that'd summon you @GrandAdmiralJello, so much as that I didn't think it'd do so that fast.
     
  8. Emperor Ferus

    Emperor Ferus Chosen One star 7

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    Jul 29, 2016
    Basically, I think open discussion is okay as long as people don't go the route of "there are fine people on both sides" in the context we heard it.
     
  9. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    I would hope that regardless of one’s stance on the issue we could all agree that open letters from artists, academics, and activists are ****ing meaningless.
     
  10. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    And that's when you know it has gone too far. It is easy to forget that he had a death sentence placed on his head, and several attempts made on his life, for a passage in a novel that some members of a religious group deemed blasphemous.

    I think there is a world of difference when a novelist openly espouses a prejudiced viewpoint on Twitter that has the potential to cause harm to a large group of people, and a written passage in a book that any reasonable-minded person would be fine with, even if they may have found it 'controversial'.

    Art should be free to express itself as should individual artists, but if those views are clearly prejudiced, then they deserve to be called out for it. That is the debate that this letter rails against. In the case of Salman Rushdie, a more healthy debate was also held on whether the passage was offensive or controversial, and if so, should it be removed. That in itself was odd, because most people were fine with his barbed criticisms of Indira Gandhi in Midnight's Children, but she herself demanded a single passage be removed; and it was. It really shouldn't have been (she should have been made to suck it up), but it was; and she had the power to do that, at the time.

    Most of us don't have that power, if a book actively attacks, misrepresents, or demeans a group or an individual, but one should still take a step back and ask if any actual harm is being done here (it may well be, and it should be called out if so). I've seen ridiculous representations of race and culture, women, mental health, and all manner of other things, and I can wrinkle my nose in disgust, but I'm not going to actively call for their removal, though I will certainly openly express my thoughts. It is probably far more useful however to raise awareness of said content and let others decide whether to consume it or not. But crucially, it is increasingly less common for anything to a reasonable mind to be offensive in the way most people think of offence, certainly compared to historic fiction. There will always be people that take offence at your work, but most won't if you are making some sort of attempt to approach your work in an intelligent manner.

    There was the recent case of the novel American Dirt, a novel centred on the experience of Mexican refugees, which upset a lot of people for certain inaccurate portrayals of said people, and was seen as exploitative and the fact that it was written by Jeanine Cummins who is predominantly white, in my understanding. Now, I haven't read the book, and don't want to get into any kind of debate on its relative merits or otherwise, but I think it's absolutely fine for people to debate its virtues as a piece of art, in the same way I think we can debate the virtues of The Last Jedi, a film I despise with a passion.

    In the case of both however, even if the former may be deemed a ****** book, and Rian Johnson's film I think is a ****** film, I have no interest in consuming the former, or re-consuming the latter. I have that choice. Rian will continue to make films I have no interest in, and I'm fine with that. I don't think that right should be taken away from him. The same goes for most of Holllywood, which I have next to no interest in consuming. We are getting better at rooting the Harvey Weinsteins of this world out, and not before time, but we still have a long way to go in getting true representation across the board in the arts, but especially books, TV, and films. So perhaps it's more a case that we need a greater diversity of opinions, better represented by groups and individuals who feel there is a lack of a level playing field in some of the arts, rather than fewer. The likes of Jo Rowling can continue to write whatever books they are writing, I really don't care. But other voices should be heard too.

    Having said that, I can see the point that is being raised in this letter, that there are increased attempts at censorship, because there are. This isn't just about criticism on social media platforms; there are wider attempts by governments to legislate on what can be said in literature, TV and film. Censorship was widespread in the past, and there is a case to be made that we are reverting to old habits, but in a subtly different way. I remember when a passage in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials was censored for an American audience, because they were deemed more likely to take offence than a British audience, who are generally fine with what was deemed 'sexual' content. In context, it was a ridiculous thing to censor. So you are not going to please everyone, and censorship like that needs to stop. I cannot imagine John Irving's The Cider House Rules being published today, in the US at least, because of its numerous references to abortions; and that would be a worrying state of affairs, because it's a great book.

    If you are a reasonable-minded adult, use your noggin. There are bigger causes to fight on a broader front. It isn't just about you and I and 'offence'; these things aren't aimed at us as individuals. It's about how this may or may not impact in a wider context. perhaps towards a group that you may belong to. In other words, one should choose the right battles to fight for the greater good, and develop a sense of perspective on the rest, based on facts, not hyperbole.
     
  11. Darth Smurf

    Darth Smurf Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Unfortunately sometimes they are not.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Unterweger

    "In 1985, a campaign to pardon and release Unterweger from prison began. Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschläger refused the petition when presented to him, citing the court-mandated minimum of fifteen years in prison. Writers, artists, journalists and politicians agitated for a pardon, including the author and 2004 Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek; Günter Grass; Peter Huemer; and the editor of the magazine Manuskripte, Alfred Kolleritsch."

    After his release he killed at least 12 more women (Czech Rep., Austria and US)
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  12. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 6, 2001
    *canceled*
     
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  13. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 28, 2006
    I'd point out, though, that the US example is not about government censorship, generally. The US censored film quite heavily for a while, but it was the non-governmental Motion Picture Production Code that decided that, not the government. It was an industry censoring itself. The MPAA's current ratings system is something rather similar.
    With the book examples, there wouldn't be anything stopping them from being published, the question is more about if consumers would buy them or, related, if companies would stock them.
     
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  14. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    That’s a fascinating but irrelevant anecdote, who exactly is expected to wave a magic wand and address a cultural phenomenon because a letter got written?

    In two years if anyone remembers this (and between the deadly pandemic and the mass economic damage I have pretty serious doubts) it’s going remembered as a pointless exercise about perceived clout and importance. We're basically debating news coverage of public masturbation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  15. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    Yes I should have pointed that out of course, but I was citing the example of government censorship. I certainly have met people who condemn the fact that some of that art even exists, and that's really my point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  16. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 6, 2001
    Who condemns the condemners?
     
  17. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 28, 2006
    Near as I can tell, your example of His Dark Materials wasn't government censorship, it seems to be a decision made by the publisher to avoid non-government objections. Similarly, The Cider House Rules hypothetical would be legal to publish, it's just predicting that companies or consumers would object.

    Also Twitter.
     
  18. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 7, 2014
    Perhaps I didn't make myself clear: when I talk about government censorship, I am not referring to those books (the American publishers removed passages from HDM that were deemed absolutely fine in the UK); I'm referring to hate speech and blasphemy laws that may impinge on an artist's work if what they say, write, or portray by other means, is deemed offensive or harmful to certain groups. The laws are designed to protect minorities and various vulnerable groups, but the letter, I believe, is warning of the danger of overreach.

    I made the observation that these sorts of things are being discussed at governmental level right now, because they are. They are also being discussed at non-governmental levels. That, I believe, is as much what that letter alludes to; not that rightful criticism is being made on social media platforms of say, transphobia, by Rowling, but that this has led in some instances to a whole other debate on whether legislation needs to be reviewed or brought in to curb an artist's freedom of expression. I despise Rowling's comments and believe they could cause actual harm to transgender folks as a result; but there is a different, albeit related, debate on legal frameworks that may be used to attack artistic freedom, as much as legitimately protect those it was designed to protect. If one compares the UK and US responses to certain controversies: they may be more or less on the same page with, say, race; but one could argue that they are not on the same page when it comes to organised religion, say, or sexual expression (hence my reference to HDM). Though of course every conceivable opinion exists on these things in both countries.

    Feel free to agree or disagree whether this is a good or bad thing; but I do think it was worth mentioning it as an actual thing that is going on, and I know some of those artists have referred directly to government actions thereto in the past, and expressed concerns on whether they will be able to write certain stuff in the future. That may be a legitimate concern, or it may not be; depends on what it is, and which government we are referring to. Most of those writers do not harbour prejudiced views, but of course Rowling garners all the publicity. I very much doubt that the majority of those writers agree with her views on transfolks. Their concerns are of a broader nature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  19. Chewgumma

    Chewgumma Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Transphobic grandma can stay salty and losing.

    My nan is closer to 90, and she always tries to live and learn and be tolerant. She'd never sit whining about "cancel culture" because she doesn't feel entitled to anybody's attention. You earn attention through being a good human being, and making others feel valued.
     
  20. a star war

    a star war JCC Basketball Draft Host star 4 VIP - Game Host

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    May 4, 2016
    all I see in this letter is a bunch of moderates starting to lean reactionary because they don't like the idea of a revolutionary left upsetting their boat.
     
  21. Lordban

    Lordban Chosen One star 6

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    Nov 9, 2000
    Whine, whine, whine. Wake me up when a revolution actually happens and so-called Cancellers actually start imprisoning and killing people for what they say, the way they do in other parts of the world.
     
  22. Mustafar_66

    Mustafar_66 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 20, 2005
    Still the best video I've seen on cancel culture.


    It seems to me that the likes of JK Rowling are confusing legitimate criticism of a track record of bigoted comments for cancel culture.
     
  23. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 7, 2014
    Absolutely. But I made the point of raising what happened to Salman Rushdie. This **** can be really scary sometimes, when lives are at stake.
     
  24. Lordban

    Lordban Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2000
    Sure. But what happened to Salman Rushdie is quite some distance from the consequences of what got labelled "cancel culture" (by people with an interest in exploiting the backlash, mind you). Unless I've missed out on "cancel culture" having manifestations that devolved into threats to murder.
     
  25. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    No, death threats these days are reserved for things that matter, like inane **** in or about video games.