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Cancel Culture-Split from: Jordan Peterson's ideas on politis


StringJunky
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16 minutes ago, koti said:

It’s not about that Stringy, its about forcing people into things, about witch hunts, people loosing their jobs and being ostracised, some driven to suicide by their own community (the Dave Chappelle story which no one wants to believe here) some driven out of their work like Kathleen Stock. The fact that this happened to a lesbian philosophy professor who teaches feminism just adds to the grotesqueness. Imagine if she was a straight white male. 

I think this raises the issue of the paralell-running  cancel culture fad that is coursing through Western societies. It has become the de facto way to deal with issues, not just this one.

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49 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I think this raises the issue of the paralell-running  cancel culture fad that is coursing through Western societies. It has become the de facto way to deal with issues, not just this one.

Oooh, this should probably be its own thread. I'd like to know what the fuss is about. It makes no sense to me. Choosing something over something else is the basic definition of market consumption. The more choices we're offered, the more we're forced to choose. If something about that choice later makes us reconsider, we're free to choose something else.

I really believe those companies/celebrities whose products or services have become objectionable are the ones calling it "cancel culture", and playing the victim card. To me, it's just part of how I choose between so MANY offerings. I've stopped doing business with companies that moved their HQ to foreign countries to avoid paying US taxes. I've stopped doing business with companies because I and others have been treated poorly by their representatives. I've stopped choosing old movies with Walter Brennan in them since I found out he was a horrible racist, same with Mel Gibson once he stopped trying to hide it. I buy shoes that aren't made by children for slave wages, because I used to, and I found out what was happening, and I cancelled my orders. Damn skippy I did.

I don't see how this is some new kind of "culture", other than the fact that we now have more choices and options than humans ever had before, and more online groups that share their experiences. I've been doing this my whole life. I watched my father cut up his Monkey Wards card and mail it back to them after they tried to charge buyer's insurance without his signature. He wasn't the only one, and it wasn't long before that particular tactic was deemed illegal, and laws actually changed.

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!

Moderator Note

I think this is a good discussion to have and have split it from the existing thread. However, since I was involved in the original thread I would be happy to merge them back if there are objections to it.

 
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8 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

@Phi for All Cancel culture seems to be a more weaponized form of what you describe, which is healthy protest by removing ones custom.

I'm reading LOTS these days about extremists with access to technology that lets them take their marginal, radical views and multiply them to make them seem legion. But corporate spin has been much better funded for a much longer time. If anyone is weaponizing a social movement, it's between wacko loners with big gripes and internet anonymity, and large corporate machines cranking out propaganda and smear and sympathy for profit. It sure works out well for those folks if we feel too guilty to cancel them for reasons of our own.

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What are the weapons? Public shaming, shunning, banishment, expulsion, ostracism , exile and excommunication have been common methods of dealing with members who threatened the stability or transgressed the rules of communities, since long before we had any recorded cultures. Much longer: lions and apes and wolves do it!

Back when communities were small enough, the offender was sent away to make his way alone in the wilderness, or join another tribe that would have him. 

In civilizations like Ancient Rome, it would be a judicial decision meted out by vested authority.

Now, because of extensive, intrusive, obtrusive, all-encompassing, ubiquitous mass communication media, societies are not limited and defined. Anyone can be in in any tribe consisting of members the world over. Everyone has access to a big platform; can be noticed if their performance stands out in some way - and because there is so much competition, many of the performances are deliberately confrontational, provocative or outrageous. Who does the noticing? What kind of personality is attracted to these performances?

Anyone can become an overnight celebrity, and just as easily fall afoul of the millions of equally public personae who pay attention to them.  They usually can't be physically removed from their residence or place of work, but their virtual life can be made unpleasant by unpopularity. All the other people have access to the same platform: they can throw virtual tomatoes at close range. And nowadays, we're at a point in the breakdown of civility where threats of beating, rape and murder are not at all unusual. 

As for businesses, strike and boycott are nothing new, either. A merchant who offended his suppliers and customers went out of business in 1200 BC, just as in 1876. Now that corporations are global, so are their suppliers and customers - their disapproval is expressed through a bigger megaphone - like everything else.   

It's just one of the ways all this communication complicates our social lives and cultures.

25 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I'm reading LOTS these days about extremists with access to technology that lets them take their marginal, radical views and multiply them to make them seem legion. But corporate spin has been much better funded for a much longer time. If anyone is weaponizing a social movement, it's between wacko loners with big gripes and internet anonymity, and large corporate machines cranking out propaganda and smear and sympathy for profit. It sure works out well for those folks if we feel too guilty to cancel them for reasons of our own.

Yes, that's another aspect. So much of cyber opinion is manufactured - fake news, fake election campaign, fake feedback, fake editorial....

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1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

 

@Phi for All Cancel culture seems to be a more weaponized form of what you describe, which is healthy protest by removing ones custom.

 

It seems to me that this is just another in a line of boogey men: ill-defined, undefined or wrongly defined terms (when used by the group) that only serve to stoke fear in the base. Welfare queen. Political correctness. Socialism. CRT. Woke. Antifa. Cancel culture.

Can you, or anyone, give a precise definition of cancel culture? (and explain how is it being “weaponized”?) And give some examples of someone being “canceled”?

Seems to me that people claiming this are behaving as if they are owed attention, or business, and are complaining when held responsible for their actions. This might not be new, but we simply notice it more because of social media in this age of rapid and widespread communication 

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9 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Oooh, this should probably be its own thread. I'd like to know what the fuss is about. It makes no sense to me. Choosing something over something else is the basic definition of market consumption. The more choices we're offered, the more we're forced to choose. If something about that choice later makes us reconsider, we're free to choose something else.

I think the principles of what we now call cancel culture is not new. As you mentioned, choosing to do certain things or being vocal about others is an old concept. Even public shaming is something that has been around for a long time and in Western society public humiliation was part of the penal code until at least the 18th century. In other cultures, they still persist.

So to me the thing that has really changed is that due to increasing interconnectivity by social media and the internet, folks are seen to be taking sides in any given issue. In the past one could be ambiguous much more easily, but any post you make might be used to scrutinize or make assumptions about someone. In a way it was easier to be nice to folks in the past since you knew less about them. I would not be surprised that the vast majority of incidences involving some form of public shaming are online nowadays. I do agree that many folks then use these things in order to stoke the fears of their respective base. 

It is also part of the tendency to escalate rhetoric, which is not new, but has become far more effective due the way online communication has evolved. Some random and likely very rare occurrence are repeated so frequently that folks start to believe that this has become the norm. Then, by rebranding common social behaviour into something that helps stoke these fears, it is possible to create a threat to ones' own identity (regardless whether it is real or not) and thereby consolidate their base.

This, is also not a new tactic,  but again, I think our new ways of communicating has made it incredibly efficient and has allowed the creation of entire alternate realities.

 

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I think the difference, in my mind at least, between cancel culture and legitimate boycott is the level of actual evidence, and effort to examine it, required to make an informed choice whether to join in on the boycott.

Cancel culture (my definition of it) absolutely reeks of virtue signalling, where legitimate boycott has clearly less of it.

Of course there is a spectrum of grey areas between the extremes of the two, and as per the political climate the Right and Left don't tend to agree on what is legitimate and what is not.

...and much of the formerly respectable "mainstream media" exacerbates the problem...often ignoring the actual evidence until and if it ever smacks them in the face.

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2 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think the difference, in my mind at least, between cancel culture and legitimate boycott is the level of actual evidence, and effort to examine it, required to make an informed choice whether to join in on the boycott.

I think this stance is practically designed for confirmation bias. If you don't like the boycott, you can claim they're not serious, and are only jumping on the bandwagon. If I boycott your company, you can claim I'm uninformed. And if you don't agree with my reasons, you aren't going to accept them as evidence for boycotting.

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1 minute ago, Phi for All said:

I think this stance is practically designed for confirmation bias. If you don't like the boycott, you can claim they're not serious, and are only jumping on the bandwagon. If I boycott your company, you can claim I'm uninformed. And if you don't agree with my reasons, you aren't going to accept them as evidence for boycotting.

I agree. What's the alternative? 

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2 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Of course there is a spectrum of grey areas between the extremes of the two, and as per the political climate the Right and Left don't tend to agree on what is legitimate and what is not.

I think the issue is that it at least feels that we spend much less time on fact checking, which in part is because we are getting steamrolled by, well, stuff. There is so much misinformation around, it is very difficult to spend time to sift through that. As such, I do think that misinformation is becoming an increasing issue. If we cannot agree on the same set of facts, it would make it difficult to establish (or refute) legitimacy regardless of which parameters we apply. 

I do not like the term virtue signaling, because it sounds very vague to me and I think it muddies things more than it helps. But it is rather easy to find examples from either side of the political spectrum where the outrage does not match the issue. That being said, I am a bit hesitant to dismiss an issue just because some misinformed folks are involved. I.e. I think the issue is the part that requires scrutiny and not so much folks involved in it.

For example, even if there are folks believing that say, the Earth is dying a heat death in the next 20 years, their belief does not invalidate climate data.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I think the issue is that it at least feels that we spend much less time on fact checking, which in part is because we are getting steamrolled by, well, stuff. There is so much misinformation around, it is very difficult to spend time to sift through that. As such, I do think that misinformation is becoming an increasing issue. If we cannot agree on the same set of facts, it would make it difficult to establish (or refute) legitimacy regardless of which parameters we apply. 

I do not like the term virtue signaling, because it sounds very vague to me and I think it muddies things more than it helps. But it is rather easy to find examples from either side of the political spectrum where the outrage does not match the issue. That being said, I am a bit hesitant to dismiss an issue just because some misinformed folks are involved. I.e. I think the issue is the part that requires scrutiny and not so much folks involved in it.

For example, even if there are folks believing that say, the Earth is dying a heat death in the next 20 years, their belief does not invalidate climate data.

 

 

What would you prefer to call it, if someone condemns someone with no effort to consider the facts that are available, and consider the amount available?

If someone is fed misinformation, but can reasonably believe it, I might consider their boycott legitimate even if they are wrong. In that case they're not the source of the problem. But if they continue to trust the source, I give them less of a pass.

20 minutes ago, CharonY said:

 

For example, even if there are folks believing that say, the Earth is dying a heat death in the next 20 years, their belief does not invalidate climate data.

 

 

No. But those feeding those folks that misinformation certainly don't help the cause...even when they are nicely dressed and speak well after getting off the jet.

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I have my own solution: I don't know any of the celebrities de minute; I'm not on Twitter, facebook, Snapchat, Tik-tok, Instagram, Reddit, or whatever Trumps' new platform is called...(Oh. Seriously??? Of course.) I don't know who's hot, who's so last week, who's on the way up or in a doghouse. If one of those people or events is brought to my attention on a forum, I research the basis of the claim before commenting - then don't bookmark it, don't commit the names to memory - move on. 

I find detachment remarkably unstressful.

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I like 'cancel culture' as it lets the little guy make a difference in real time. If you are a racist today, you hear about it today. If you are polluting today, you hear about it today. No more letting your bad behavior go on for years before anyone can organize meaningful deterrence. 

The two downsides I see are that innocent people can be hurt before all the details come out, and that meaningful protest can be dismissed simply by saying "cancel culture" instead of actually addressing the complaint made against you.

All sides participate in cancel culture, but they only call it cancel culture when it is directed against themselves. Otherwise it is presented as a reasonable response to poor behavior.

I'm not sure but it seems to me like conservatives claim 'cancel culture' more than liberals, but that seems likely as conservatives by definition want to conserve things (attitudes, statues, mascots, etc.) that progressives often find offensive and believe need to be canceled. 

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12 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I agree. What's the alternative? 

Personally, I think we should ignore the red herring. This is not about some cultural shift in sensibilities, or even about misapplied condemnation. This is about money and power influencing the optics of social media and news cycles.

If I'm an A-list celebrity who makes $40M a picture, I have people who make sure my image is just the way I want it. If I do something insensitive or stupid, professional spin is at my fingertips. And if it was bad enough that folks want to boycott my movie, my publicist cries "cancel culture" and now I'm the victim instead of the asshat. This is one way wealthy folks/corporations cheat the system and stay in power. 

If I'm Chik-fil-A and I have hard, disapproving policies regarding gay folks or any religion but Christian, it benefits me greatly to shuffle off any guilt in the matter by claiming liberal bias and cancel culture is ruining my business. I can make a conscious decision to make myself the victim, in which case I lose the gay and non-Christian business (mostly), but all the folks who think the gays and non-Christians are ganging up on me are going to go out of their way to buy my chicken. 

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Cancel culture, what I've seen,  translates as:  people are holding me accountable for my s-t and I need to deflect! 

Or,  as Phi and others point out,  it's a marketing gimmick or a politician's buzzword to rouse donors and voters. 

My question is this (for those who believe there are genuine instances of free speech suppression) :  do you have specific cases?   Are innocent people being harassed, made pariahs,  forced from jobs?   Are good-faith open dialogues on touchy subjects being stifled?   Is intellectual freedom withering somewhere?   

I know there was that letter signed by 150-odd prominent intellectuals and authors and published in The Atlantic a year or so back...and it did seem to raise a genuine specter of suppression.  When you get JK Rowling and Noam Chomsky on the same page,  it does pique interest.   But it all seemed pretty vague to me at the time and I had to wonder if there was a real trend or just isolated oddball cases.   

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Is 'cancel culture' really a thing ?
As Phi explained, it is basically about making a choice.

The bigger problem, which transforms a simple thing like making a choice, into something dangerous is social media culture.
It is social media, the biggest 'social engineering' experiment of the last 20 years that is weaponizing something we all do as a matter of fact.
It eems like social media amplifies all the worst elements of a society.
The more controversial your views, the more exposure those views get.

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But....

Why does anyone care?

That is a shift in cultural dynamics (the sensibilities are a different topic) - where the buying/voting/adoring/revolting public's attention is focused. To a large extent, legitimate mainstream news media have lost their audience and credibility, because they failed to inform the public.* But they have also been undermined by government funding policy and the public's thirst for sensation. 

*That's largely down to money again, plus partisan politics.

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26 minutes ago, MigL said:

Is 'cancel culture' really a thing ?
As Phi explained, it is basically about making a choice.

The bigger problem, which transforms a simple thing like making a choice, into something dangerous is social media culture.
It is social media, the biggest 'social engineering' experiment of the last 20 years that is weaponizing something we all do as a matter of fact.
It eems like social media amplifies all the worst elements of a society.
The more controversial your views, the more exposure those views get.

That aligns with how I view the issue. I think most of the other elements are more or less a distraction. I think we still do not fully understand how social media influence our thinking or the society as a whole. And for the younger generation communication via social media is the norm. There is a bit of a old guy element here, but I do think that there is at least some evidence that it is influencing the way we think and I am not entirely convinced that we have a good grip on it yet.

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To me, being held accountable for actions is generally good. We have social norms, which sometimes need to evolve, but which get enforced through ostracizism and negative feedback.

I also feel that too often those lamenting cancel cultures the modest tend to be the ones seeking most often to cancel other cultures, but this may just be my own confirmation bias at work. 

The bigger problems I see are tribalism and mob justice. Cancel culture as a catch-all phrase just happens to be one of the stronger lenses these days through which we hear about those aforementioned problems of tribalism and mob mentalities on social platforms… a type of piling on and bandwagon effect. 

Edited by iNow
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3 hours ago, iNow said:

The bigger problems I see are tribalism and mob justice.

I think that has been an issue forever in society. However, I also do see that the current mode of being constantly connected to a host of folks who you haven' even met face-to-face has amplified the issue massively. 

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The other thing about technological mass culture - the really big and destructive thing - is its ephemerality. There is never time to understand anything, no time to reflect and compare, no time to assess. Impressions come thick and fast, images, rumours, accusations, opinions - and then they're gone. There is never time to look beneath the surface.

Primitive tribes had tribalism, but it had depth and substance.

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In another thread there has been repeated claims about cancel culture, PC in colleges and I came across this article here: 

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2021/11/young-people-college-grads-wokeness/620674/

 

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But according to a recent Atlantic/Leger survey, no gap exists between people with college degrees and those without them on some of the hot topics most commonly associated with “wokeness.” Instead, neither group endorses the supposedly “woke” positions particularly strongly. Though the term originated in the Black community, woke now lacks a standard definition, and is sometimes used as a catchall label for a group of only loosely related ideas.

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We asked for respondents’ agreements with various statements, shown in the chart below, that are often invoked by conservatives and moderates as being associated with people who are “woke.” The results showed that there was no significant difference between people with college degrees and those without them on the question of whether America is becoming too politically correct (slight majorities of both groups agreed somewhat or strongly). The same was true for believing “cancel culture is a big problem in society”—51 percent of degree holders agreed, as did 45 percent of those without degrees.

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There was also no difference on questions pertaining to support for defunding the police; a preference for saying “pregnant people” instead of “pregnant women” or “Latinx” rather than “Latino or Hispanic”; for using gender-neutral “they/them” pronouns upon a person’s request; or agreeing that it’s racist to wear a Halloween costume associated with a different race or ethnicity. Less than 30 percent of respondents agreed with any of those, and it didn’t matter whether they had a college degree or not—at most, the college-educated were more likely to endorse these views by a few percentage points.

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The only question on which the poll indicated a significant difference by education level was whether universities should allow speakers on campus who espouse views about race or gender that might be offensive to some students. But in that case, people who had a college degree were more likely to agree that the speakers should be allowed—44 percent, compared with 27 percent among those without a degree. 

 

Quote

To some researchers and Democratic pollsters, these results underscore how the college-noncollege divide in politics has been overstated. “Education polarization—this notion that that is the most important or most determinative variable that drives political behavior—is not true,” says Anat Shenker-Osorio, the head of the progressive firm ASO Communications. “It is handy to pretend that is the most useful variable, because it enables an argument wherein the way the Democratic Party has lost its way is by over-indexing to purportedly woker-than-thou white people on the coast who have lots of formal education.”

Quote

 Indeed, the biggest differences in attitudes toward these questions appear to break along age lines: People over 50 were significantly more likely than those ages 18 to 29 to agree that “America is becoming too politically correct”; that “critical race theory is a serious threat to public schools, workplaces, and the federal government”; or that “affirmative action has become so prevalent that white people now face reverse discrimination in hiring.” Fully 68 percent of people over 65 said America is too politically correct. Meanwhile, the greatest support for the tearing down of Confederate statues, for the use of gender-neutral pronouns, for defunding the police, and for saying “Latinx” or “pregnant people” was among respondents under 40—yet these views still represented a minority of overall respondents. 

So at least some of worries about PC, cancel culture and so on is probably the old man (pardon, person) yelling at clouds issue.

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Indeed. It’s like those Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are being cancelled. And now this week those republicans who voted for historically bipartisan infrastructure are being cancelled. They’re also getting threats of having their lives cancelled for voting in the affirmative. Death threats. The ultimate cancel culture. 

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