Something bewilderingly crazy happened at the New York Times last week that should send an intellectual shudder through any educated person.
The New York Times sacked a brilliant male white journalist, Donald G. McNeil Jr. for using the N word during a journalism students junket to Peru in 2019.
Now, initially everyone believed that McNeil must have used the N word as a slur, because clearly that use of that word by a white person is drenched in problematic connotations, but what has transpired is that McNeil didn’t use the N word in that context whatsoever...
In the course of a dinner discussion, he was asked by a student whether a 12-year-old should have been suspended by her school for making a video in which she had used a racial slur.
In a written apology to staff, McNeil explained what happened next: “To understand what was in the video, I asked if she had called someone else the slur or whether she was rapping or quoting a book title. In asking the question, I used the slur itself.”
…let’s just get this completely straight.
A student asks McNeil about a specific case using the N word and in his response he uses the word to explain his thoughts???
That’s a sackable offence in the ultra puritanical woke world we now live in?
McNeil’s intent was to discuss the issue of using the N word as a slur and he used that word while discussing it – to sack him without any reflection on the context is very on trend and very woke Twitter, but sweet Jesus that’s fucking insane.
The virus of woke cancel culture will create a cultural backlash the likes we haven’t seen…
Late last month, a Massachusetts high school teacher boasted on social media that she was, “Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!”
In her view, Ancient Greece’s blind master storyteller, Homer, was guilty of “indulging and spreading sexism, racism, ableism, and Western-centrism”. She came to the conclusion that canceling the classics seemed to be the most effective way to make sure that today’s young generation could not, again in her view, be poisoned by the entirely fictional and mythical “sins” of Odysseus, Menelaus, and Priam.
Without engaging in a trial of Homer – which would have to include a discussion on his intentions, morals, and even his very existence – during which many pieces of exculpatory evidence would be openly discussed, including the presence of the strong and brave women characters in The Odyssey, the humanity of its defeated enemies, and – as a Bronze Age mythical figure – Odysseus’ complete unawareness of the concept of “Westernism” or “Western imperialism” – it is clear that the author of The Iliad and Odyssey is just one of many cultural icons who are being put in the dock by the iconoclastic court known as ‘cancel culture’.
The movement represents a contemporary form of ostracism which aggressively pushes for the complete boycott of individuals or works – regardless of the literary, artistic or historical value – that are deemed to have acted or represented controversial ideas, based on contemporary tastes. While its supporters’ intentions, which are aimed at creating a more respectful and inclusive cultural environment, might be justified to some degree by noble intentions, the extremism of the new cult of cancel culture and its radical/acritical contemporary moral applications to people and works of important world cultural heritage is highly problematic.
…People already censor themselves online for fear of a woke lynch mob and I believe that this coming hate speech laws that Labour are so madly keen to force through will cause that backlash to erupt.
Expect ACT to break 10% off the back of this hate speech madness.
The subjective rage and self centred individual offence above all objectivity is reminiscent of the self righteousness of the Inquisition and China’s Cultural Revolution, watch the BBCs incredible new documentary, ‘Can’t Get you out of my head’ to appreciate how the rise of woke cancel culture is a byproduct of neoliberalism.
Final word to the column that the NYT wouldn’t print in response to their sacking of McNeil…
We are living in a period of competing moral certitudes, of people who are awfully sure they’re right and fully prepared to be awful about it. Hence the culture of cancellations, firings, public humiliations and increasingly unforgiving judgments. The role of good journalism should be to lead us out of this dark defile. Last week, we went deeper into it.
…we must resist woke cancel culture with the same passion we resist any totalitarian thought policing, just because it’s coming from our side on the Left doesn’t make it right.
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