Celebrities Are Demanding Unconditional Adulation

Candice eetimesI had an epiphany this morning.  I finally got the ‘cancel culture’ complaint’s true, underlying meaning.  I finally got what people were screaming about when they claim that “free speech” is under threat.

First, let’s get real about what “free speech” means.  It means that one can say things critical (or nice) about political issues without the government stepping in to prosecute or harass one for saying them.  It has NEVER meant that one can say what one wants without others disagreeing.  (Nor does it mean that one can spread lies about a private individual or group to harm them.  We call that calumny, libel, slander, etc. and it is legally prosecutable.)

But lately, folks in the media are pushing a meme that is supposed to carry a negative valance, “cancel culture” that oppresses them and suppresses their “free speech”.  But what is “cancel culture” really?

This morning, after someone tweeting an angry tweet that I of all people should support “free speech” and fight “cancel culture” simply because I have worked to disseminate information that others don’t like… but I haven’t fought “cancel culture”… I got it.

“Cancel culture” is when ordinary people dissent from what a celebrity has said or done by using social media to express that displeasure, en mass, and by being so many, it looks like a “pile on”, etc., often followed by withdrawing the very adulation, attention, and money (ticket & book sales, clicks, views, etc.) that made them celebrities and media “elites” in the first place.  Then, these celebrities whine and whinge about how unfair and wrong “cancel culture” is and demand free speech rights… and sign a letter saying how wrong it is that our modern culture allows ordinary people to express their dissent in the only way that they have the power… by withdrawing their adulation and fan participation.

So, instead of decrying “cancel culture”, I can’t help but see it as the simple voice of ordinary people.

And no, celebrities, media, business, or academic, do NOT have a right to unconditional adulation, or even our respect.

Further External Reading:

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/10/free-speech-young-people

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/opinion/articles/2020-07-14/cancel-culture-isn-t-a-mortal-threat-to-free-speech

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/amp/ncna1233964

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2020/7/22/21325942/free-speech-harpers-letter-bari-weiss-andrew-sullivan

https://www.thedailybeast.com/bill-maher-who-said-the-n-word-on-tv-decries-cancel-culture-with-bari-weiss-and-thomas-chatterton-williams