Cancel culture part of postmodernist critical theory
Re: “Cancel culture not a real thing” (online letters, July 2)
Oh no, “cancel culture” is a very real thing. If all it was about was holding people of power “accountable” for serious misdeeds, nobody would care. Unfortunately, it’s gone far, far beyond that.
People have had their careers destroyed and even ended their own lives over being targeted by the crowd in question, for incidents that were either ambiguous at best, completely innocent interactions misinterpreted by others, or edgy jokes from years ago. We’re not talking about ousting possible KKK members from positions of power; we’re talking about people on the left who are even falling victim to this because they were “insufficiently woke” and said a little thing that went counter to the narrative, so now they are punished as heretics.
The main issue here is, should people basically be fired and starved for having “wrongthink”? Maybe the letter-writer is unaware of the shifting terminology that comes of postmodernist critical theory philosophy currently embedded in universities, which spawned “cancel culture”.
“Woke” as a pejorative does not mean someone who is interested in equality and justice. It means someone who’s so embedded in critical theory that logic isn’t even seen as valid, but rather, oppressive, and who will unilaterally change the definitions of words to confuse people and gain the upper hand in a discussion. Even “bigoted” has been redefined so that it can literally mean anything, and thus, nothing.
With postmodernism everything is subjective and there is no absolute truth; but in critical theory, everything is subjective until a person of a protected class claims something is bigoted, and then suddenly it becomes objective and absolute, regardless of whether it actually was; because in their eyes, intention is irrelevant. The definitions change so fast that nobody can keep up. Many will be ensnared because what was not seen as bad yesterday is suddenly the worst sin tomorrow.
But the worst part is that there is no “redemption” in critical theory. Once condemned, one cannot receive forgiveness or absolution. The thing is, “cancel culture” wouldn’t even be a thing if people stood up to it. If companies, governments, and individuals ignored the tiny number of activists on Twitter, and refused to cave in, this wouldn’t be a thing at all. Orwell’s 1984 was meant to be a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual.
April J. Gibson