Yes indeed. And to quote the inimitable Lillian Hellman: ‘I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.’ https://t.co/ZBvRs1PV5w
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 7, 2020
More than 100 writers and scholars — including Noam Chomsky, J.K. Rowling and Malcolm Gladwell — signed a public letter this week decrying cancel culture and the rising “intolerance of opposing views.”
NORMAL PERSON: “I disagree with what you said.”
CANCEL CULTURE: “Let’s see what your employer thinks about what you said.”
This isn’t complicated.
— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) July 8, 2020
Published in Harper’s Magazine on Tuesday, the letter argued that the recent “needed reckoning” on racial and social justice has also “intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments” that tend to stifle the norms of public debate and tolerating differences.
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter states.
Cancel culture lets flawed human beings judge other flawed human beings through vicious mob action. Often, accusations and rumor reign over facts and evidence. Journalists then print articles based on what the mob says and inhumanely immortalize false accusations to ruin lives.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 8, 2020
It warns that censorship, while something “we have come to expect this on the radical right,” is also spreading more widely on the left through “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
“The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.”
All in, 150 figures signed the letter. However, as expected, some have denied #cancelculture exists and even a few of the signatories have asked for their names to be removed.
#CancelCulture doesn’t really exist. It’s a myth created by people who have been used to saying whatever they want without being challenged and are now surprised when there are consequences to their words. #Rowling is still a very rich bestselling author with a massive platform.
— Natasha Devon 🌈 (@_NatashaDevon) July 8, 2020
I did not know who else had signed that letter. I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company.
The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry.
— Jennifer Finney Boylan 🐕 (@JennyBoylan) July 7, 2020