MEDIA WATCH: New York Times and the grim madness of cancel culture

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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.”

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…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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16 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you about free speech although I would not need to read too many of your articles to find that you reject any concept of Christianity. Usually the people you ridicule don’t deserve any sympathy as they do not meet scriptures call for loving Christians who exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in their life.
    History has provided an almost continuous stream (torrent?) of problems caused by religion but that is no reason to presume that true faith does not exist, indeed the existence of so many counterfeits could be seen to support the scripture record of the war in heaven that moved to this Earth.
    Time will tell which worldview is correct although expecting politicians or most of the popular religious leaders to provide a solution to the increasing problems on the Earth is an exercise in futility in my opinion.

  2. Martyn, Stop it.
    This is the second time this week that I totally agree with!!
    I am usually the other side of the political fence to you 🙂
    But whatever you write keep writing.
    I enjoy reflecting on it…or shouting ferkin idiot at my computer screen

  3. Yep, there should be a lot more intellectual shudder through any educated person.

    Crazy stuff is happening. You could think we were back in the Middle Ages where they burn’t woman as witches and lords ruled the villages is coming back. Looking at human rights in China and Russia, now it’s acceptable for state sponsored killings and disappearances in modern media and foreign governments. Lets give Saudi a chance at leading the human rights organisations while we are about it.

    In NZ, another neoliberal solution seems to be to avoid educating people (domestic tertiary study declining as rich international students seeking residency on the back of a ‘masters’ in ‘business’ or ‘chef’ climb) while making NZ educational offerings slop and the institutions themselves useless to drive standards!

    Another note on academic decline. Worth reading!!!
    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2021/02/another-note-on-academic-decline/

    They don’t even notice domestic students dead bodies in NZ. Apparently Campus Living Villages were chasing up the unpaid bills while not discovering the body for weeks and Canberbury uni were none the wiser. Who cares about students when it’s about fees and bums on seats!
    https://7news.com.au/news/new-zealand/canterbury-university-in-shock-as-christchurch-students-body-lies-undiscovered-for-two-months-c-473242

  4. Reminds me of the ‘saying Jehovah’ scene in the the Life of Brian movie.

    Except the public stoning is online today, and will never end as the internet never forgets.

    • Damn I was going to to write that and you beat me to it. BLASPHEMER: “All I said was that this halibut was good enough for Jehovah.” / WOMAN IN CROWD”: “There, he’s done it again.” / ROMAN SOLDIER: “You’re only making things worse for yourself.” / BLASPHEMER: “Worse! How could things possibly be worse? Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah . . .” [blasphemer is buried under sudden pile of rocks] I quote from memory.

      Interesting point also in the linked NY Post article that a very famous Lee Atwater quote, crudely offensive but also crucial for understanding the rise of neoliberalism as a form of coded racism, would now be regarded as unprintable in the NYT after being printed in the NYT “at least seven times,” apparently, in its more authentically liberal days.

  5. The NY Times has been a toxic cesspit for years. There’s nothing new here.

    The fun bit is that now the left is eating its own.

    Put the popcorn on and watch Trump be proven right.

  6. Well said Bomber. Couple of points.

    Im a socialist. Every time I hear identity politics latest cause I say well thats great but what does that do for the economic well-being of the dispossessed of the neolib status quo. It is obvious to me that corporates are just fine and dandy with identity politics, divide and rule.

    Second every ruling aristocracy has its own moral code to demonstrate their superiority over the hoi poloi. Think of the morals of Victorian ruling classes. Woke is strongest amongst the professional middle classes, the educted, thetop ten percent. Tradies in my town think it is crap. That might explain why working people dont do identity, it is class warfare against them.

  7. Well said Bomber. Couple of points.

    Im a socialist. Every time I hear identity politics latest cause I say well thats great but what does that do for the economic well-being of the dispossessed of the neolib status quo. It is obvious to me that corporates are just fine and dandy with identity politics, divide and rule.

    Second every ruling aristocracy has its own moral code to demonstrate their superiority over the hoi poloi. Think of the morals of Victorian ruling classes. Woke is strongest amongst the professional middle classes, the educted, thetop ten percent. Tradies in my town think it is crap. That might explain why working people dont do identity, it is class warfare against them.

  8. So Huckleberry Finn is on that raft with the runaway slave, Jim, and after that dispute Huck says. ‘ I apologized and I ain’t ashamed to say that I said sorry to a nigger ’cause he wuz a better friend to me than anyone I knowed.’
    There – now no-one can read Mark Twain again and I must never again comment in the Daily Blog. None of you must not read William Faulkner, Jack London or John Steinbeck because they put this dreadful word into the mouths of fictional characters.
    No Socrates either( he said his critics were ‘no better than women’) or Aristotle.
    Incidentially who knows that Truby King, founder of the Plunket Society, believed women should not study advanced sciences or mathematics because it would return with their maternal functions? He also said it was important to safeguard the health of white women and their offspring to offset the rising tide of ‘inferior’ races.
    Obviously we need to abolish the Plunket Society immediately and destroy anything Dr King wrote about childcare – oh yes, Marie Stopes, George Bernard Shaw, Abraham Lincoln. Enough said

  9. I thought Glen Greenwald on Useful Idiots nailed the whole NYT episode, he then went on to give a incredibly good critic of what is currently wrong with journalism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjzkUMup-Hw&ab_channel=RollingStone

    Those who raise their voices and act in ways to help and lift up the poor are our friends. Those who get humans are less than perfect, and know forgiveness are our friends. Those who are quick to judgement and think they, and only they, know the truth, are not our friends.

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