Dispatches from the Upside Down
October 24, 2021 10:50 AM   Subscribe

The Methods of Moral Panic Journalism Michael Hobbes (of You're Wrong About fame) shows how stories about 'left-wing illiberalism' are the latest moral-panic stories.
posted by box (70 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been flogging this one on social media for a moment, now. Hobbes identifies an intellectual and public relations method the right wing has been using for decades, one the media laps up because it is built to exploit their "both sides" and "view from 30,000 feet" journalistic conceits. Another reminder that they have always been headed to this point: fascism enabled by well-educated stupid people abetting the truly evil.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 11:29 AM on October 24, 2021 [32 favorites]


I dunno, man. It seems pretty obvious to me that the election of Trump and the hideousness of the right-wing political discourse led to a lesser, but distinct, heightening of hideousness on the left, where people who felt powerless against their ideological enemies turned some of that anxious, angry energy on people who basically agreed with them, resulting in some nasty intergroup behavior. The Right seizes on that behavior and exaggerate it to the point of absurdity; the middle-left recognizes that something is genuinely going on within their social/political sphere and ham-handedly tries to write about it, and then the Far Left denies that anything of the sort is going on, that cancel culture doesn’t exist, and that the fact that the middle left claims it does means that the middle left and the right are basically equivalent. Cancel culture exists, it’s not as bad as Stalin, the right is worse than the left, but both the far left and the middle left are annoying, I’m going to go take a walk.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2021 [35 favorites]


I highly recommend reading the linked article.
posted by eviemath at 11:57 AM on October 24, 2021 [43 favorites]


Here's David Schraub with an example of liberal/centrist anti-wokeness cloaked as "diversity of opinion" gone horribly yet predictably wrong:

Justifying the Holocaust is a Small Price to Pay for Abolishing CRT
It is not an accident that Rabbi Wolpe, and the other anti-CRT voices quoted in the article, frame their disclaimers as opposing Holocaust denial -- a purely factual stance. Because let's be precise about what Rabbi Wolpe is suggesting here at applied to Holocaust education. He's saying that its stupid to debate the "existence" of events, whether its the Holocaust or slavery, but we must be "balanced" as to the dispute over their "interpretation". And perhaps "balance" isn't meant to apply to the raw existence of historical fact. But that means "balance" is applied to matters of normative assessment. The real potential "balance" in the Holocaust context is not denying that it happened, but suggesting that it was justified, or at the very least wasn't as bad or unjustified as "critics" suggest. Making sure we provide "diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective" means we have to dispassionately present the Holocaust from the point of view of the Germans just as much as the Jews.

As with slavery, where the "dissenting" narrative is that slavery's evils were overstated, many masters were kind, most White people were innocent, and in any event none of it has anything to do with the present day, the Holocaust too has alternative perspectives, where unflinching presentation of the Holocaust's horrors now must be "balanced" with narratives emphasizing "good Germans", the "innocent Wehrmacht", legitimate German grievances, and Jewish aggression and exploitation (both before and after the event). We would hate for any White people to feel "demonized", after all.

This was entirely predictable. As much as folks like Wolpe and David Bernstein loudly proclaim to be shocked -- shocked -- by the reach of the formal anti-CRT legislation they purport to "oppose", such legislation is the tangible manifestation of the anti-CRT campaign, which never had anything to do with CRT to begin with. It was always a backlash against teaching unflinching and unblinking history in the context of systemic oppression, dressed up in a sloppy "liberal" appeal to "both-sidesing". Once you do that, of course it's going to apply to the Holocaust too.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2021 [13 favorites]


Here's David Schraub with an example of liberal/centrist anti-wokeness cloaked as "diversity of opinion" gone horribly yet predictably wrong
? So your defense of the "cancel culture" moral panic is that there's a nationwide censorship campaign that is being organized and enacted by political conservatives, and it is being supported by two people who claim, not entirely credibly, to be liberal or moderate? That seems pretty weak, to be honest.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:28 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]


The piece is in agreement with Hobbes, that the moral panics are overblown reactions within the self-described liberal and moderate communities. And it's not just two randos, there's a large group within those communities who have been ranting against stuff like CRT and trans rights under the guise of claiming that advocating for those things constitutes "cancel culture".
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2021 [10 favorites]


And, not to get too much into a Jewish-specific derail, there's an entire group of Jewish writers and journalists whom Schraub mentions in the piece that have made it their job in life to parrot the patently ludicrous idea that (poorly-defined at best) "critical social justice" theories are so fundamentally antisemitic that they represent an existential threat to the Jewish people.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2021 [9 favorites]


The piece is in agreement with Hobbes, that the moral panics are overblown reactions within the self-described liberal and moderate communities.
I don't think that's really his argument in this piece, although maybe it's implied, because the piece wouldn't be necessary were there not liberals, moderates, and leftists who were seduced by the "cancel culture" bullshit. But his piece is about debunking the idea that cancel culture is a genuine issue, not about pointing fingers at particular communities for buying into it. And that debunking is necessary, as at least one of the comments here makes clear.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:59 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]


This ties directly into the right-wing persecution complex in America. After various progressive causes gained popular influence in the middle of the century by pointing out the cases of unjust persecution by governments/racists/etc, eventually the right wing realized they could do the exact same thing. From the outside it's pretty hard to evaluate when someone is being persecuted versus being punished fairly and the media has decided they will not try to tell the difference. The modern right wing in America complains nonstop about how persecuted they are, and the media and public seem to believe them despite the volume of evidence showing they have a massive amount of power and influence right now.

Adam Serwer on twitter does a good job tracking how conservatives are very effective at cancelling liberals by getting them fired from jobs and such, which you can see by searching for the ironic "This left wing political correctness is getting out of control."
posted by JZig at 1:11 PM on October 24, 2021 [21 favorites]


But his piece is about debunking the idea that cancel culture is a genuine issue, not about pointing fingers at particular communities for buying into it. And that debunking is necessary, as at least one of the comments here makes clear.

Oh, absolutely, 100% agree. That particular issue hit closer to home for me, but it's just one example of the larger problem.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:32 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm going to play devil's advocate here and suggest that there's a real issue with progressives shouting people down and trying to punish them for their opinions, rather than responding by arguing that those opinions are wrong. The fact that they're often unsuccessful (Michael Hobbes cites numerous examples) isn't a refutation.

Joseph Heath:
This loophole [that free speech which causes serious harm can be justifiably censored] is the one that has been taken advantage of most aggressively by the woke left to push for restrictions on speech. When they come across something they don’t like, rather than calling for censorship on the basis of content, they will instead attempt to restrict it on the grounds that it causes harm. Of course, they are smart enough to realize that the mere fact that it upsets them is not enough to qualify as a harm. So they posit a causal connection to a more serious physical or psychological harm. For example, students who are trying to censor the expression of ideas in the classroom will claim that the discussion makes them feel “unsafe,” or that it threatens their mental health. What is crucial about this move is that it allows them to call for illiberal actions (i.e. censorship or punishment of speech) on grounds that are, in principle at least, not illiberal.

... This analysis allows us to better understand some of the strange “snowflake” behaviour that one sees among young people of a certain political persuasion. Explicitly or implicitly, they have internalized the idea that in order to get other people punished for doing things you don’t like, you have to claim that they have harmed you. This is why they are so quick to claim injury (e.g. damage to their mental health, fear for their safety, etc.), in circumstances that a normal person would shrug off. They are like soccer players trying to draw a penalty. It’s not a “culture of victimhood.” On the contrary, it is more often an act of social aggression, since these performances of injury are typically carried out, not to attract sympathy, but rather punish and control others.

As a member of Generation X dealing with young people, I sometimes feel like a hockey player watching a soccer game, trying to figure out whether the players are completely hamming it up, or whether they actually are that delicate. The answer is probably somewhere in between. I have no doubt that many young people truly are lacking in psychological resilience, but it is important to recognize that there are also important political motives at work that encourage them to act this fragile.
posted by russilwvong at 2:08 PM on October 24, 2021 [17 favorites]


And Texas continues to be the canary in the coal mine: Texas Lawmaker Argues Same-Sex Marriage Is Still Illegal in the State

Astroturfed campaigns against CRT in elementary schools and trans people being predators were always going to be the tip of the spear, we're firmly in "first they came for" territory now.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:26 PM on October 24, 2021 [21 favorites]


Cancel culture exists

I took the time to read the article and among some other stuff, it says something interesting about this particularly, which is that having a thought and not expressing it is not the rights violation that it is otherwise described as. We self-censor all the time, and learning this is a critical socialization skill learned in childhood.

Anyway, this and current news had me thinking more on the above, where a comedian (whose name I won't mention to avoid giving them attention) has released a standup routine that contains bigoted content. The executives at the media platform on which their material is published are fully and openly supportive of the material and for providing a platform for it.

These are citable facts; I'm not mentioning this to dispute or debate the details, but only to put the discussion of the facts of this matter into framework of the term "cancel culture" that gets bandied around.

What's interesting in the back-and-forth is the constant drumbeat of "cancellation" into the media narrative, despite the obvious fact that the comedian and media platform in question have received near-non-stop coverage and promotion of their material and brand.

The stock price of that media outlet received no downward adjustment that would indicate cancellation either from the free market or from government censorship or other formal state intervention. Anyone can pull up their favorite search engine and see that the stock of that company is at a historical high, in fact.

As near as I can tell, the comedian in question still has their contract with said media company, and they have not been compelled to express contrition for or even insight into their material. Nor has any offer come from executive management to step down over their actions.

Saying "cancel culture" exists is problematic, partly because the people who say this are not really affected by genuine censorship.

But as a larger cultural meme, it is also a terrible and false narrative -- a lie, to be clear -- in light of the fact that every time this claim is made, not only is there no cancellation, the exact opposite occurs!

Are claims of cancellation a cultural backlash, where people (wealthy Americans, particularly) are fighting back against being held accountable for their speech, where they were once free to act without social consequences or even questioning?

Or is this false narrative being pushed as a profitable media narrative, because it invents struggle and opposition from the left, where none so far really exists, at least in any way where there are actionable outcomes -- like people getting canned or shareholders losing money?

FOX News, an example I will name, does indeed run false stories of "cancel culture" for the precise fact that it draws eyeballs. Indeed, conservatives and the center-left will often complain about censorship on media platforms like FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Twitter, Facebook, and others -- platforms which reach tens to hundreds of millions of viewers every day!

There is no cancellation -- indeed, the exact opposite -- but the narrative persists, nonetheless, even reproducing and being rebroadcast here.

I suspect it is a bit of both, and maybe other issues as well -- information warfare, of a kind, that mirrors what we see in other contexts, like vaccination, Brexit, election results, etc. -- but I wonder if it is mostly because the river of money keeps flowing underground, out of sight, out of mind.

Wherever it comes from, the lie is insidious and a cancer on any truthful discussion about ourselves or even how we communicate. The notion of cancellation is deceitful bullshit, and we need to fight back against it, wherever it pops up.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:50 PM on October 24, 2021 [25 favorites]


Using the one example of that comedian to 'prove' cancel culture is a lie is disingenuous at best. The original article makes one good point - the cancellation that the Right is engaged in is much worse - but to claim the Left isn't also trying to shut down some voices and some opinions is gaslighting. Just one recent example: MIT cancels speech by University of Chicago professor.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:05 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]


Yeah, turns out that's another story that's been twisted by the moral panic crew:
In a Newsweek op-ed titled “The Diversity Problem on Campus,” published August 2021, co-authors Abbot and Stanford Professor Iván Marinovic wrote that DEI in academia seeks to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups, violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment, compromises the university’s mission, and undermines the public's trust in universities and their graduates.

Abbot and Marinovic further stated in the op-ed that Germany 90 years ago had the best universities until “an ideological regime obsessed with race came to power and drove many of the best scholars out, gutting the faculties and leading to sustained decay,” in reference to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

[. . .]

[EAPS Department Head Robert] Van der Hilst told The Tech that there are many public misconceptions regarding the Carlson Lecture decision, such as that a “Twitter mob” affected decision-making and that Abbot was “canceled.”

In an email to the department announcing his Carlson Lecture decision, van der Hilst wrote that “Prof. Abbot’s scientific research remains of interest to many in the department, and the Lorenz Center will work with him to identify alternative forums at which to present his scientific work at MIT.”

Van der Hilst noted in the interview with The Tech that he had a “very cordial” initial conversation with Abbot when announcing the decision and that Abbot had a meeting with EAPS representatives Oct. 12 to finalize an alternate date and format for his departmental talk at MIT.

“Abbot is welcome to come to campus to speak, and we can engage with and discuss science and other topics that come up,” van der Hilst said.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 3:23 PM on October 24, 2021 [17 favorites]


... and in your example, PhineasGage, the person "cancelled" was instead invited to speak at MIT in a less public facing lecture. He said some dumb shit in Newsweek just a couple months ago and lost a public facing opportunity as a result.

(on post: looks like Glegrinof the Pig-Man beat me to it with more depth)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:26 PM on October 24, 2021 [9 favorites]


Yup, he said some things that aren't related to the topic of his initial invited talk, which
generated fresh outrage from scientists and graduate students. A number of them took to Twitter to denounce Abbot’s views and question why the planetary sciences department would choose him for such a prestigious lecture.

Abbot said he was notified on Sept. 30 that the 2021 Carlson Lecture had been cancelled.

“We felt that with the current distractions we would not be in a position to hold an effective outreach event,” said a statement issued by EAPS department head Robert van der Hilst.
That is literally cancellation. All the hand-waving about "well, he was allowed to come back in a smaller, less prestigious setting" merely confirms the reality of what first happened. I am making no statements at all about his views on any topic under the sun, merely pointing out that he was disinvited from giving a lecture on the area of his credentialed scientific expertise because of his stated views on a separate topic. Again, the Right is far worse, in thought, word, and deed. But "there is no such thing as cancellation from the Left" is simply not true.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:38 PM on October 24, 2021 [8 favorites]


So here's the thing about "cancel culture" and "freedom of speech": it's all literally the predictable outcome of what people want and expect.

What should people do when someone says something outrageous? Not be outraged? If freedom of speech is absolute, then it's just as important that others should be allowed to decry that speech.

Businesses want to hear customer feedback. They'd rather hear why someone is choosing not to patronize their store/service than to just lose the customer.

Customers want to hear from their fellow customers. They don't want to be blindly patronizing bigots.

We tell people to "vote with their dollar," and as best as that's even possible in this era of monopolization, people are doing it.

It isn't "they hated what I said and they came for my job." It's "I was a public bigot, and my employer (who actively solicits customer feedback) decided that I'm a liability."

There are two solutions to "cancel culture." One is clamping down hard on freedom of speech, the other is providing greater employee protections.

"Cancel culture" isn't new. It's the same as it's always been. The only difference is that people publicly display their entire ass to millions on Twitter and previously it cost a lot of money to take out a full-page ad to show how racist you are.
posted by explosion at 4:01 PM on October 24, 2021 [46 favorites]


That is literally cancellation. All the hand-waving about "well, he was allowed to come back in a smaller, less prestigious setting" merely confirms the reality of what first happened.

So was he cancelled, or does he actually have the freedom to speak in another venue? Did he not get multiple news outlets to interview him on the situation and his ideas? Isn't he getting a much larger audience, one where he'll get a standing ovation if he does start to rant about how fighting bigotry is the same as fascism under the Nazis?
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 4:03 PM on October 24, 2021 [16 favorites]


The fact that leftists are occasionally successful at deplatforming people doesn't mean that "cancel culture," which is a right wing bugaboo, is a real thing.
posted by maxsparber at 4:10 PM on October 24, 2021 [40 favorites]


That is literally cancellation

I mean, if the criterion for "cancel culture" being "real" is that an event was literally cancelled and moved to a new venue, then cancel culture has always been with us and always will be, for things get cancelled all the time. I've been cancelled, my friends, and I bet you have, too.

This reminds me of another extremely low-stakes event that was being cited like five years ago as cancel culture run amok. Some Afrobeat band got uninvited from playing a student union gig at a small liberal-arts college (I think it was Wesleyan) because students looked at the poster and decided the group was too white to be playing Afrobeat. Even though their logic was perhaps not very sound, and the group retorted that they were in fact a multi-racial ensemble, the bottom line for me was that this was just a campus gig. That shit gets cancelled all the time, or even worse you play it and then you don't get paid. At best it was a few hundred dollars worth of work, split eight ways. It's kind of hard to get that worked up about it.
posted by anhedonic at 4:22 PM on October 24, 2021 [6 favorites]


The director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center announced his resignation a few days ago. From Twitter:
I am resigning as Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center (BASC) @BerkeleyAtmo. To reduce the odds of being mischaracterized, I want to explain my decision here.

Last month, the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences @eapsMIT canceled a science lecture because of the invited scientist's political views. That scientist does excellent work in areas of interest to BASC (he visited us at our invitation in 2014).

Therefore, I asked the BASC faculty if we might invite that scientist to speak to us in the coming months to hear the science talk he had prepared and, by extending the invitation now, reaffirm that BASC is a purely scientific organization, not a political one.

In the ensuing discussion among the BASC faculty, it became unclear to me whether we could invite that scientist ever again, let alone now.

I was hoping we could agree that BASC does not consider an individual's political or social opinions when selecting speakers for its events, except for cases in which the opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect.

Unfortunately, it is unclear when or if we might reach agreement on this point.

The stated mission of BASC is to serve as "the hub for UC Berkeley's research on the science of the atmosphere, its interactions with Earth systems, and the future of Earth's climate."

I believe that mission has its greatest chance of success when the tent is made as big as possible, including with respect to ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, family status, and political ideas.

Excluding people because of their political and social views diminishes the pool of scientists with which members of BASC can interact and reduces the opportunities for learning and collaboration.

More broadly, such exclusion signals that some opinions -- even well-intentioned ones -- are forbidden, thereby increasing self-censorship, degrading public discourse, and contributing to our nation's political balkanization.

I hold BASC and its faculty -- my friends and colleagues -- in the highest regard, and so it has been a great honor to serve as BASC's director these past five years. But it was never my intention to lead an organization that is political or even ambiguously so.

Consequently, I am stepping down from the directorship at the end of this calendar year or when a replacement is ready, whichever is sooner.
Matthew Yglesias: Dave Chappelle and the still-doomed politics of shunning.
What you don’t want to do, as a political movement, is run around looking for reasons to exile people from your political coalition. ... If you seriously tell every Black person with conservative views on gender roles to take a hike, you’re going to lose.
posted by russilwvong at 4:25 PM on October 24, 2021 [7 favorites]


That is literally cancellation.


If having a lecture cancelled is what "cancellation" means, then people on the left are getting cancelled all over the place, with no handwringing at all from the people who think that "woke cancel culture" represents the end of civilization as we know it. Here for instance, is historian Kristin Du Maz mentioning that she had a speaking event cancelled because of pressure from people who said that was influenced by Critical Race Theory. (She's not, but she does say things that could be upsetting to right-wing Evangelical Christians.) She posted that in response to a news report about a fancy private school cancelling a talk by Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose 1619 Project drew the ire of conservatives. A couple of years ago, the university where I work cancelled a workshop on white privilege after Breitbart and some other right-wing news sites made a big stink about it and conservatives in the state legislature threatened to investigate anti-white bias at the university. There was silence from the usual suspects who howl about "woke cancel culture". I'm curious about why the cancel culture panic seems to focus on some examples of this and completely ignore others, on fairly predictable axes.

MIT invited Dorian Abbot to deliver a public lecture that they use, among other things, as a tool of recruitment. They invite talented students from Boston public high schools to attend that lecture to try to convince them to consider applying to MIT. They don't say so explicitly, but given the demographics of Boston public schools, this is an attempt to diversify their applicant pool. And once they realized that Abbot has made statements opposing efforts to diversify student bodies at elite institutions, they decided that he was an inappropriate choice for that event. It would be counterproductive for students to attend the event, think that MIT looked great, and then google the speaker and realize that he has said things that could be construed as him not believing that they belong at MIT. The department still wants him to speak at MIT, but not at an event that serves partly as outreach to potential applicants of color. He then compared his "cancellation" to Nazi Germany, which frankly does not do a lot to convince me that he's the person whom you want to be the public face of your department. I'm not sure that the department was right to cancel his talk, but the idea that this is somehow the end of free expression (or equivalent to Nazi Germany, because sheesh) is totally overwrought.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:26 PM on October 24, 2021 [36 favorites]


people on the left are getting cancelled all over the place

Nobody here has disputed that. I hesitate to call this response "whataboutism," since it sounds dismissive, but that's basically what it is.

To quote the second comment in this thread:
Cancel culture exists, it’s not as bad as Stalin, the right is worse than the left, but both the far left and the middle left are annoying, I’m going to go take a walk.
posted by russilwvong at 4:32 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]


So, taken as a given that cancel culture does exist and that in fact it's just a natural consequence of American freedoms:

Why is it such a bugbear for the political right? Why are they the ones complaining about it, when in fact they're doing more of the "cancelling"?

Why is it that the most conservative members of Metafilter, who consistently extol the virtues of the free market, are now the ones complaining about the free marketplace of ideas?
posted by explosion at 4:41 PM on October 24, 2021 [12 favorites]


What you don’t want to do, as a political movement, is run around looking for reasons to exile people from your political coalition. ... If you seriously tell every Black person with conservative views on gender roles to take a hike, you’re going to lose.

If there's one thing that I can always applaud Yglesias on, it's creating an argument out of thin air. It truly takes a dizzying intellect to go from criticising a millionaire spouting violent and dehumanizing bigotry on a platform worth billions with the full support of the billionaire owners to "this leftist cancel culture is an attack on Black people".
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 4:43 PM on October 24, 2021 [19 favorites]


Money. If only losers who do not contribute to society are unemployed in their ideology there cannot be a such thing as being unemployably conservative.
posted by Selena777 at 4:44 PM on October 24, 2021


It truly takes a dizzying intellect to go from criticising a millionaire spouting violent and dehumanizing bigotry on a platform worth billions with the full support of the billionaire owners

Arguably, the monetary aspect of this cannot be ignored. Complaints of cancellation — or of criticism, more specifically — are really a defense of revenue streams. This is capitalism responding to a threat by casting it in the light of an imaginary left-right divide. And, indeed, this is basically how US media has operated since the 1980s, after Reagan and his crew dismantled the fairness doctrine and subsequent media conglomeration has lead to six or so companies massaging how we communicate with one another. "Cancel culture" and similar terminology are useful, broad cudgels for heading off threats to normal, standard business operations.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:52 PM on October 24, 2021 [14 favorites]


Why is [cancel culture] such a bugbear for the political right?

Because it's a club they can use against the political left, of course. And it's an effective criticism because "cancel culture" is unpopular with the general public: it makes the left appear to be self-righteous, scolding, and intolerant. It plays into American resentment of the know-it-all: The anthropologist Francis Hsu observes that American egalitarianism - the demand for social equality, the idea that anyone, no matter what their level of education or income, is just as good as anyone else - is considerably stronger than in Europe, e.g. in England.
English individualism developed hand in hand with legal equality. American self-reliance, on the other hand, has been inseparable from an insistence upon economic and social as well as political equality. The result is that a qualified individualism, with a qualified equality, has prevailed in England, but what has been considered the unalienable right of every American is unrestricted self-reliance and, at least ideally, unrestricted equality. The English, therefore, tend to respect class-based distinctions in birth, wealth, status, manners, and speech, while Americans resent them.
posted by russilwvong at 4:53 PM on October 24, 2021 [9 favorites]


The term cancel culture mainly exists as a conservative defense of privilege.

It's the things that are regularly called cancel culture are when people with privilege might lose some of that privilege, generally as a consequence of their choices or acts. You don't see people decrying union organizers being canceled. When people in oppressed groups are harassed or attacked, it's not called cancel culture.

The idea, the thought, that a group of people acting en masse can possibly affect the choices of institutions regarding those with existing privilege, with the aim of bringing about just and equitable outcomes, is seen as a threat to how conservatives operate. So are voting rights and unions, and for many of the same reasons.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 4:58 PM on October 24, 2021 [30 favorites]


explosion: Why is it that the most conservative members of Metafilter, who consistently extol the virtues of the free market, are now the ones complaining about the free marketplace of ideas?

This caught my attention. Usually when we say "conservative" we're talking about people on the political right. There used to be a few people on MetaFilter who were conservative, but I think they're all gone now.
posted by russilwvong at 5:05 PM on October 24, 2021 [8 favorites]


it's an effective criticism because "cancel culture" is unpopular with the general public: it makes the left appear to be self-righteous, scolding, and intolerant

If people believe this, maybe it's because liberal assholes like Matthew Yglesias have spent years repeating the right-wing lies and mischaracterizations that are "cancel culture," even when they're bigoted harassment campaigns.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:05 PM on October 24, 2021 [7 favorites]


Mod note: Several deleted; the thread doesn't need to be "everybody vs. That One Guy" or a referendum on word etymology. Let's take a step back towards substantive comments rather than back-and-forth snarking. russelwvong, good rule of thumb: if you can't get your point across in three comments -- one comment, two clarifications -- you're not going to be able to get it across. Once you go past that mark on a single topic, there's a fundamental disconnect in the communication one way or the other, and a better option is to step back and let someone else carry the point forward, or step back and try to understand where the communication has failed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:50 PM on October 24, 2021 [6 favorites]


I wonder how liberals think the left should actually deal with liberalism's promotion of right-wing ideas through this mythic "marketplace?" It's whole purported purpose is to root out meritless ideas, but somehow if you do anything at all to combat them, you're a Maoist (or whatever moronic label is closest to hand).

So what are the rules? How does one go about eradicating ideas that simply have no factual, rational, or practical support?

It's not even that the only way to win is not to play, it's that the only possible outcome is to lose. It's basically Calvinball.
posted by klanawa at 6:13 PM on October 24, 2021 [18 favorites]


See also the Paradox of Intolerance.

If we want an open tolerant society the one point of view that must constantly be de-platformed once it starts trending is intolerance based on “immutable” characteristics.
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 7:45 PM on October 24, 2021 [8 favorites]


I definitely notice a strong illiberal tendency among the burgeoning ranks of younger leftists online. Many of them use the word "liberal" as an epithet of contempt, like old-timey leftists from the mid-20th century, from whom they mysteriously seemed to have inherited a whole bunch of stale bad ideas. (What's mysterious to me is the vector(s) of transmission: Chapo Trap House? Jacobin? I have no idea.)

They aren't very interested in civil liberties or the democratic process. Some of them are openly negative about them. They seem to want political leaders to behave like dictators; the fact that Joe Biden hasn't solved all kinds of social and economic problems by brute force months into his term means that he's a phony and/or a failure. Did they get any kind of civics education in school, or have they just forgotten anything they ever learned about how the government actually works?

Many fetishize the USSR, Castro's Cuba, and/or Xi Jinping's China, and reflexively deflect any critiques with whataboutist recitations regarding something awful done in or by the U.S. at some point (when they aren't claiming that all alleged failings of communist regimes are just CIA propaganda narratives). They're fatally cynical about, e.g., the Democratic party, yet boundlessly naive about the revolution that they think is going to fix everything in one fell swoop. They creep this weary GenXer and liberal social democrat out.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:48 PM on October 24, 2021 [25 favorites]


There are multiple moral panics in multiple directions at the moment. Absolutely a lot of people who think of themselves as being on the left are way too happy to exclude people based on rumor and hearsay and sometimes for very minor things where the "harm" being done is nebulous.

ON the other hand, the number of people who actually do get "cancelled" in a material way (their livelihoods taken away) is so, so small. For every group of fans you lose by saying the wrong thing, there's another group of fans waiting to embrace you. Some of this is just about needing thicker skin to brush off social criticism without like, overreacting and flying off the handle about it.

There a couple cases where people do lose their jobs, generally these are actors or public facing positions where it's understood (fairly or not) that giving a certain impression to the public is part of the gig.

Anyway, I've said it before but what we really need are stronger labor laws so people don't have to worry about losing their jobs over an internet dogpile. The dogpiles can start over all kinds of things.
posted by subdee at 8:04 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


And academics need strong tenure protections and for the university administration to not be so spineless.
posted by subdee at 8:10 PM on October 24, 2021


Whenever someone starts ranting about cancel culture, give them room, let them go on, and then let them know that you are surprised and pleased to find out that they support Colin Kaepernick, Sinead O'Connor, and the (Dixie) Chicks. Just sit back and watch the cognitive dissonance take hold.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:24 PM on October 24, 2021 [22 favorites]


I definitely notice a strong illiberal tendency among the burgeoning ranks of younger leftists online. Many of them use the word "liberal" as an epithet of contempt, like old-timey leftists from the mid-20th century, from whom they mysteriously seemed to have inherited a whole bunch of stale bad ideas. (What's mysterious to me is the vector(s) of transmission: Chapo Trap House? Jacobin? I have no idea.)


I'm not sure I think that's what people who bemoan cancel culture mean when they talk about "illiberalism." Certainly that's not what, like, Helen Pluckrose or Jonathan Haidt mean.

There are a bunch of anti-liberal (i.e. "somewhat left of American political center") currents, and they're not all aligned. Definitely there's a set of socialist tendencies (dirtbag left, Jacobin left, etc.) who are broadly opposed to liberals and like to bait them for being pawns of neoliberalism (capitalism, the financier class, whatever), and in whose ranks they include anything a centimeter to the right of Bernie (and sometimes even Bernie). They're the types who point to Democratic legislative failures and argue they're not actually "failures," but merely the system working as designed thanks to Democratic party complicity. Some of them are reformists, some are revolutionaries. Some think they're reformists but probably don't understand they'll require a revolution to get the reforms they're hoping for.

Then there are antiracist left types who perceive the central struggle as an antiracist/anti-white-supremacy issue who are fond of quoting MLK on "the white liberal." If pressed, this group feels like it'd be the most likely to call itself "progressive," and hence "to the left" or "more radical" than mere liberals. Antiracist left types may correct me from their particular corner of the world, but that's my observation. I think some of these people are actually classically liberal and not particularly "left" in the socialist sense, but are somewhat radicalized around the issue of antiracism.

Then there are the Catherine Liu/Thomas Frank/Barbara Ehrenreich types who might say that "the liberals" have been captured by the professional managerial class, which has turned social justice into an issue of etiquette and virtue signaling, the better to enforce class distinctions. They're often readily embraced by the Jacobin and dirtbag left types because they talk about class , which the dirtbag left types perceive the social justice left to be oblivious of or disinterested in. The whole PMC/Jacobin/dirtbag/social justice thing comes to a head a lot with the fighting about Democratic electoral strategy, with the social justice left framing the socialist focus on working class as "catering to the racists," or "cis het white racists," and the socialist left arguing that the social justice left's focus on identity is doing the work of dividing and conquering for the capitalists.

I'm going to just put here that Ehrenreich herself might not say this, but that her conception of the PMC has definitely informed and powered anti-liberal analysis from Frank/Liu/Jacobin types. I think she herself may be on record as saying the Marxists are misappropriating or misapplying the idea when they claim the PMC is an actual "class."

Then I guess there's the people who are illiberal in the textbook sense of hating the enlightenment because it represented too much progress. And the people who are illiberal in the postmodern sense, because liberalism belongs in the dustbin of history along with all the other pre-post-structuralist thinking. And the people who are illiberal in the sense that while they profess a very structuralist ideology, they're not on board with enlightenment values (like freedom of speech or private property) -- the Stalinoids, tankies, etc.

Anyhow, I'm sorry if this came off as lecturing or whatever. The word "illiberal" made me think that I needed to sort of define terms for my own benefit while also trying to politely raise the idea that "illiberalism" apparently means a few things to a few different people: People who think of it as sort of the praxis of the enlightenment, and people who think of it as "mostly Democrats to the right of Bernie Sanders and perhaps to the left of Joe Manchin or Joe Lieberman."
posted by mph at 8:53 PM on October 24, 2021 [14 favorites]


I'm going to play devil's advocate here

And the devil needs an advocate here because… why?

Let me add to my previous recommendation of reading the article: I additionally recommend engaging with it in the comments. You (the general you) think it’s conclusions are incorrect? Ok, which specific conclusions and what was the factual or logical fallacy you think you’ve identified? In particular, you think that the unachieved intention of some subsets of folks on the left to “cancel” right-wing speakers or writers is a serious and dangerous problem and that Hobbes’ arguments against that don’t hold up? Explain why. Then re-read what you’ve written before posting to double check that you aren’t also simply using the same rhetorical strategy Hobbes describes, in an unilluminating bit of circular reasoning. “Nuh uh, this other opinion piece [that doesn’t address the critiques and does exhibit many or all of the same rhetoric] says cancel culture totally exists and is a problem” doesn’t cut it.
posted by eviemath at 9:31 PM on October 24, 2021 [9 favorites]


In it's original usage, "cancel culture" was specific to intra-community disputes among largely marginalized people. Getting canceled wasn't about losing a speaking engagement, or even losing your job - it was about losing your community and support structure, particularly as mediated by stuff like online collection of receipts and callout posts.

Now, the phrase hardly evokes that conversation anymore, but I think it's still a useful touchstone. You can't cancel a celebrity. They will be fine. Losing your platform, or losing a public-facing job: they will be fine. Does it suck to go through? Sure. Is it a crisis? No.

I will also continue to mention this is all cancel culture threads because the original useage was a real phenomenon, and a real conversation worth having, and it's a real shame that it became just another phrase that the right picked up to use as a cudgel until it loses all meaning and they have to pick a new phrase to weaponize and drain of meaning.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:51 PM on October 24, 2021 [25 favorites]


They aren't very interested in civil liberties or the democratic process. Some of them are openly negative about them.

They've spent their adult(ish) lives watching those mechanisms fail spectacularly, so that's no big surprise.
posted by Dysk at 11:34 PM on October 24, 2021 [11 favorites]


Thanks, this was an interesting read.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:45 PM on October 24, 2021


Moral panics entrench misinformation and foment reactionary backlash. The parents storming town halls and taking over school boards to ban critical race theory have been explicit that their efforts are in response to the alleged “wokeness” of K-12 teaching. This is precisely, word for word, the narrative that the Economist and Atlantic articles, and dozens like them, have promoted.

Great read, thanks OP!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:34 AM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]


But it makes no sense to talk about a “political climate” that suppresses ideas without being specific about what those ideas are. Sixty years ago you could say, “Black people and white people shouldn’t get married” in nearly every church, workplace and college campus in the country. These days, people who hold that view hesitate to express it just about everywhere. Good.

From the article, and damn, it’s a solid point.

At deep issue, though, is something the author acknowledges: the seventh paragraph caveat that things aren’t as bad as the headline suggests, or that the actions of the right are much more insidious and effective are inconsequential compared to the power of the headline or opening lines that most people don’t read beyond.

This is a a solid, well written, well reasoned piece of writing. How do we get something like this to have as wide of an audience as, say, Van Jones conceding that, yea, Donald Trump Jr. has a point about how the left wants to put truth commissions in day care centers to police the thought crimes of toddlers?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:33 AM on October 25, 2021 [8 favorites]


Why is it such a bugbear for the political right?

It wasn't, at first--it was one of a thousand nonsensical things they complained about, along with minimum wage laws and welfare queens and gay Mexican immigrants taking our jobs and outsourcing them to China. Then they noticed that it's a particularly divisive wedge in leftist groups; all you have to do is mention the subject in passing, and every person to the ideological left of Thanos will chime in angrily. This not only wastes the time of everyone they hate, it also weakens the already-tenuous alliance between wildly different groups of people in the big tent of the American left, and helps deter socially conservative minorities from voting for mainstream candidates. It's the perfect wedge issue, and since it was nominally popularized by leftists, it also lets the Fox News talking heads of the world cackle and crow about progressives being hoisted by their own petard.
posted by Mayor West at 5:43 AM on October 25, 2021 [7 favorites]


From TFA: It may appear that Republicans are a threat to democracy, but the true threat lies on the left is a more compelling story than things are what they seem.
posted by signal at 6:00 AM on October 25, 2021 [10 favorites]


See also the Paradox of Intolerance.

Yes. College campuses--which for most of their history explicitly excluded women and black people--cannot claim they are now genuinely including women and black people as equals if they are willing to host debates about whether women and black people deserve to be there.
posted by straight at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2021 [14 favorites]


I can't believe that the example being brought up here of a clear case of damaging "cancel culture" is MIT asking someone who is opposed to DEI efforts not to be a part of their DEI efforts and then the resignation in response by the Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center who claims he is very very concerned that "diversity of thought" is somehow being hurt by not letting this opinion be heard, even though it was the most common viewpoint about DEI in the 20th century and still the overwhelmingly most common one among white men in leadership positions in science. I promise that viewpoint remains well represented and in many conversations continues to completely shout over all other viewpoints.

In the 21st century, when we're finally working hard to address the huge levels of discrimination and intentional neglect of communities that has led to a lack of diversity of all kinds in science. In other words, we are working for really the first time in any meaningful way to end the previous widely acceptable "cancellation" of Black, Latinx, first gen, disabled, and LGBTQ people from science. I am not at all worried about excluding from the conversation the viewpoint of those opposed to that work. It's simply not possible that they have actually been excluded. There are too damn many of them.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2021 [27 favorites]


Or, you know, what straight said in a lot fewer words.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2021


I can't get a job right now because a google search of my IRL name brings up a lot of very confrontational protest work at the intersections of race, religion, and the alt-right (I fought the proud boys and won, but that doesn't make any damned difference.)

I guess I've been cancelled? Except this is the very first time I've ever written or used those words. In other words, I find it utterly predictable that I can't get a job right now, I fully expected this to be the case when I militated against these morons, and I'm not at all bitter about it. It's literally just the way market economies and employment function.

Maybe I should be outraged or something? It just seems so exhausting... and entitled. I don't blame the institutions for not hiring me - I'm not entitled to anything. I can't imagine carrying around that kind of expectation.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:10 AM on October 25, 2021 [17 favorites]


having a thought and not expressing it is not the rights violation that it is otherwise described as
This is a great point that highlights the central equivocation of this particular brand of moral panic: having a thought is one thing, a wholly private act beyond the ethical reach of any outside authority. Expressing that thought, including the choices of how, when, where and to whom to express them, is a social act that invites an equally free social response. Conflating the two is dishonest. In choosing the context for expressing the thought, one is not just absently allowing free-floating ideas out into some vast idea-plasma willy-nilly (the “marketplace” analogy, which as klanawa points out, would be a very dysfunctional marketplace indeed), but rather advancing a personal agenda, to declare a social affiliation, to gain status, to influence, to encourage or discourage others’ behavior. By choosing to express, you are choosing to impact others, and have a responsibility for that impact.

There is a difference, not just in degree but kind, between social consequences for social behavior (even when those consequences are relatively severe, such as becoming unemployable within one’s chosen profession) and a government that determines certain personal thoughts to be dangerous and actively seeks to eliminate those thoughts by monitoring the population for signs of them. One is not a slippery slope to the other.

In short, if you choose to behave like a jerk, even by your choice to express a sincerely-held but unpopular opinion, nobody owes you the time of day let alone a platform upon which to act out, and they might even respond in kind. You don’t win any “brave” points by saying something provocative just to prove you have the freedom to do so and then complaining when people are provoked as intended. Freedom isn’t a free-for-all, but if that’s how you want to view it, don’t get mad when your audience gives as good as they get.

And let us not forget that the phrase “cancel culture” is not merely limited to expressive acts, but has been used to discourage accountability for genuine harm, such as serial sexual assault and attempting to overthrow the government and murder elected officials, just to name a couple.

Like “political correctness” before it, “cancel culture” and “woke” panic are the gripes of people who expect (and by their expressions assert) that their viewpoints and behavior should be privileged above those of their detractors. It is an argument not for freedom of expression, but instead for a duel where only one duelist gets a gun.
posted by gelfin at 8:52 AM on October 25, 2021 [13 favorites]


In other words the most terrifying thing to cishet white males is being held accountable for their actions and not having an audience
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:18 AM on October 25, 2021 [14 favorites]


I definitely notice a strong illiberal tendency among the burgeoning ranks of younger leftists online. Many of them use the word "liberal" as an epithet of contempt, like old-timey leftists from the mid-20th century, from whom they mysteriously seemed to have inherited a whole bunch of stale bad ideas.

Not to downplay the utter asininity of David Chappelle's recent rant on the whole, but there was one very valid point he did make in the midst of all that hogwash: "Twitter is not a real place."

There are several key issues involved here that play into the biased nature of using Twitter and adjacent 'communities' as representative of actual political realities: first, there is obviously the issue of selection bias. Now I'm not going to accuse Artifice_Eternity of resorting to weasel words in a display of confirmation bias as well as selection bias, but using terms like "strong illiberal tendency" and "many of them" implies that these notions have close to majority support, or are broadly popular among actual leftists.

Clearly "leftist" itself can be quite a loaded term but among the people on the left I know in reality, the closest I can come to finding this alleged "strong illiberal tendency" is a suggestion that the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville maybe wasn't such a good idea in light of the murder of Heather Heyer by the fascist sympathizers. I'm on the fence there personally, I do think that freedom of speech and assembly are fundamental rights but these are of course mitigated by considerations of public safety. (Also, freedom of speech does not implicitly extend to an obligation of private media companies etc to platform hateful content.)

Aside from the observer's selection bias when using Twitter as representative of reality, there is the corporate bias which we are currently hearing much about regarding Facebook. The fact is that these platforms thrive mainly on engagement, and what's clear now is that in their view, extremism drives engagement. Whether Twitter views that as a bug or a feature remains to be seen but there's little doubt left that in the Zuckerverse, extremism is generally seen as an unalloyed positive for the corporation.

Third, aside from the bias of the observer and the corporate manipulation inherent in modern social media, there is the factor of bad actors manipulating discussion as well. I don't think I need to provide sources to back this up here, it's basically common knowledge among informed people at this point, although I think many social media junkies tend to have a blinkered view of how trolling and bad faith manipulation affect the actual discussions they're involved in. (Irregardless I will be glad to provide sources if requested, heh.)

The point I'm trying to make regarding bad actors and bad faith manipulation of social media is this: the goal of much of this manipulation is effectively to kill any reasonable dialogue online. The goal is to call the very notion of "truth" into doubt, and that is accomplished by dressing unreasonable ideas in the most moderate display of seeming rationality. To put hateful and rash concepts about the nature of our constant social conflict into terms which make them seem like centrist positions. So while I won't claim that "many" of these alleged illiberal leftists are actually bad faith trolls, I would respectfully suggest that targeted manipulation by well-organized brigades of bad actors, often using specialized techniques of psychological manipulation honed by intelligence agencies and other experts, have contributed to the overall nature of online discourse, particularly among more marginal groups.

(Also kudos to mph for thoroughly dissecting the "illiberal tendencies among many on the left" claim, just a few issues that weren't mentioned. Please to disregard my mini-novella here as needed.)
posted by viborg at 9:42 AM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]


klanawa: "It's not even that the only way to win is not to play, it's that the only possible outcome is to lose. It's basically Calvinball."

I feel this is a misrepresentation of Calvinball.
posted by chavenet at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2021 [9 favorites]


I feel this is a misrepresentation of Calvinball.

Are you cancelling me? Am I being cancelled?

Typical Maoist.
posted by klanawa at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]


Look on the bright side, getting cancelled seems to be a far more lucrative career path than actually improving the world.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 10:36 AM on October 25, 2021 [12 favorites]


klanawa:"Are you cancelling me? Am I being cancelled?"

No, the score is still Q to 12.
posted by chavenet at 11:03 AM on October 25, 2021 [3 favorites]


"Are you cancelling me? Am I being cancelled?"

Are you holding the uncancelling stick?
posted by straight at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]


M Hobbes essay is great.

I'm going to play devil's advocate here...

Oh, Joseph Heath. I'd be skeptical, he's good at making reasonable-sounding arguments twisted into odd conclusions.
posted by ovvl at 5:05 PM on October 25, 2021


Civil cases were actually falling throughout the 1990s. Seven-digit payouts attracted headlines, but they were vanishingly rare — just 3% of plaintiffs got punitive damages at all; the median award was $38,000 — and nearly always got overturned on appeal.

The central premise of the “frivolous lawsuits” panic — it is too easy for citizens to sue corporations — was an obvious lie, a blinking, howling whopper that would have been laughed off of front pages if it weren’t for all the overblown anecdotes making it seem plausible.
That's not an obvious lie to me. An alternative hypothesis would be "corporations got better at avoiding being sued by operating in a more safety-conscious and litigation-averse manner." I have no knowledge if either hypothesis is correct (like, I don't have any statistics) but I can observe around me the signs of more safety-conscious and litigation-averse behaviour, though.

Continuing this parallel, you don't have to have too many cancellations for a chilling effect. Professor Kathleen Stock, for example, recently forced out of her philosophy job at the University of Sussex over her gender-critical views: how many academics will look at that and decide to keep their mouths shut? Does the subsequent fall in gender-critical writing, speech and work indicate that cancel culture was an "obvious lie" or that cancel culture won?
posted by Exercise Bike at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2021 [4 favorites]


Students should not have to be subject to faculty who are transphobic, any more than they should be subject to faculty who are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic, antisemitic, ableist, or who hate their students in any other ways. You can't effectively teach students if you think they shouldn't exist. I've had colleagues who were fired for being sexist and for being xenophobic because their actions and words were incompatible with their jobs as faculty.

There are lots of ways to make money off of being a hater. Look at Charles Murray. He has gotten rich by selling hatefilled books, appearing on hatefilled cable channels, and accepting funds from hatefilled think tanks. All of those are fine avenues for "gender critical" transphobic scholars to look into. But universities cannot and should not welcome people who hate their students as teachers in their classrooms. That's not cancel culture. It's just contrary to the actual functions of being a professor.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2021 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I think firing transphobic professors is actually a good thing, and it's the exact sort of thing that should have a chilling effect.
posted by sagc at 12:16 PM on October 29, 2021 [9 favorites]


Continuing this parallel, you don't have to have too many cancellations for a chilling effect. Professor Kathleen Stock, for example, recently forced out of her philosophy job at the University of Sussex over her gender-critical views: how many academics will look at that and decide to keep their mouths shut?

Not e-fucking-nough, if the background level of transphobia in the UK is anything to go by. MetaFilter should not be a safe space for transmisia.
posted by ambrosen at 1:41 PM on October 29, 2021 [8 favorites]


That's not an obvious lie to me. An alternative hypothesis would be "corporations got better at avoiding being sued by operating in a more safety-conscious and litigation-averse manner." I have no knowledge if either hypothesis is correct (like, I don't have any statistics) but I can observe around me the signs of more safety-conscious and litigation-averse behaviour, though.

These are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they work incredibly well together.
posted by Dysk at 3:14 PM on October 29, 2021


I have no knowledge if either hypothesis is correct (like, I don't have any statistics)

Fortunately for you, they’re provided right in the first paragraph that you quoted, so you only need a little reading comprehension to remedy your lack of knowledge.
posted by eviemath at 8:07 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Mod note: One deleted. Please speak for yourself, not others. FAQ for more complete info.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:11 AM on October 30, 2021


forced out of her philosophy job

This is the academic who quit, and had the full support of her institution?
posted by ominous_paws at 2:49 AM on October 31, 2021 [3 favorites]


This is the academic who quit, and had the full support of her institution?

yes.

saying she was "forced out" may not be an "obvious lie" until one looks at the facts.
posted by i used to be someone else at 7:21 AM on November 1, 2021 [2 favorites]


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