Cancel culture is a bad thing. People shouldn’t need to be told, but plenty of folks do.
Yet cancel culture will eventually end. It’ll end not because we successfully fight it, but because eventually, everyone will get sick of it. With apologies to Andy Warhol, “Everyone will be canceled for fifteen minutes.”
Now, it seems that the worm has turned. Teen Vogue hired a black woman to be editor-in-chief. It seemed safe for a woke publication to hire a black woman, I’m sure.
It didn’t work out well.
She was fired for old, racist tweets aimed at Asian-Americans.
For the right, it was a glorious moment. As my friend Kira Davis notes at RedState, the left needs to see the ramifications of their actions.
Alexi McCammond is an accomplished journalist and media personality who now has been tossed into the dustbin of cancel culture. I understand she holds political views that put her in direct opposition to mine. I even understand that she is part of a progressive culture that will not allow her to view me as a thinking, feeling, perhaps even humorous, human being. I understand that if she even knew who I was, her immediate impressions of me would be based on her stereotypes of right-wingers and Black conservatives and anyone who isn’t a professed liberal. I understand that’s not fair, but I also understand most people are helpless to resist those stereotypes until they are forced to.
McCammond is just 27 years old. Those of us blessed with years beyond that can look at our 27-year-old selves and think, “Wow. I was such a baby. I hardly knew anything but the world was my oyster!” and I cannot help but feel that motherly affinity when I look at her. Our similar racial background might also play a part. I see me when I look at her.
As a conservative pundit, I’ve, of course, rolled my eyes watching the young journalist take conservatives out of context, toeing the liberal line without curiosity, and engaging in cancel culture denial. As I said, we’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum. But as a mother, my heart grieved for her as I read through her Twitter timeline recently. Mere weeks ago she was excitedly sharing with the world that she would become an Editor-In-Chief at one of the most prestigious magazine publications in the world. At 27 that is quite an accomplishment, and worthy of excitement. Her friends and coworkers heaped praise and congratulations upon her. What a proud moment. I felt it too, reading the tweets. Politics aside, she deserved every moment of that pride.
But the cancel culture comes with the same problems every other system of political moralizing comes with – eventually, it will apply to everyone, not just the people you don’t like. It came for Alexi McCammond just as she was about to seize the brass ring.
Let me be clear, there’s no excuse for McCammond’s comments, but did she really need to be fired for years-old tweets?
Yet cancel culture waits for no one.
However, Kira and I disagree to some degree on one thing. See, I don’t actually see this as a bad thing.
For far too long, cancel culture has been a one-way street. Progressives could blast whoever they wanted with some degree of impunity. McCammond may or may not have been part of that crowd, but I know she didn’t call them on their antic.
Now, she’s the victim.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t some right-wing rebellion, an attempt to hold the other side just as accountable for their entire history. This was simply the left turning and eating one of their own.
I suppose that’s just as good for my purposes.
See, the only way we’re likely to ever see cancel culture die is for it to become too costly to continue. I’ve advocated for us to basically return fire, making it so that eventually we settle into a kind of mutually assured destruction. However, if they turn to eat their own, that may be even better.
If they start to go after one another, eventually they’ll come to recognize not only that cancel culture exists, but that it will destroy and devour anything and anyone. It’s no respecter of ideology, either.
McCammond’s case makes that clear.
At some point, the woke are going to have to decide whether or not they really want to keep going down this road. If they do, we need to make them regret it.
Right now, McCammond is probably resenting the hell out of cancel culture. She has every single reason to resent it, too. As Kira notes, she was about to grab the brass ring. It was snatched away from her at the last moment. It sucks for her.
I suspect she won’t be too quick to remain silent the next time someone is canceled.
Whether we do it or they eat their own doesn’t matter. What does is putting an end to cancel culture forever.