In Anne Laurie’s morning thread, during a discussion about The New York Times’ astoundingly dumb “cancel culture” editorial, Kay called our attention to the quintessential cancel culture story:
(Reuters) A conservative federal appeals court judge on Thursday in an unusual email urged judges to think twice about hiring as clerks any Yale Law School students who protested a recent event hosted by the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society.
Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman sent the message to federal judges nationwide in response to an event at Yale last week featuring a conservative lawyer who at the U.S. Supreme Court defended a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding.
“All federal judges – and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech – should carefully consider whether any such student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships,” Silberman wrote, according to two recipients of the email.
It’s hilarious in a way — if you’re not one of the 120 students targeted by Judge Silberman for professional sabotage, that is. According to the Yale Law School spokesperson quoted by Reuters, the students chanted “this protest is free speech” while the panel’s moderator read the university’s free speech policy, and then “the students exited the event, and [the panel discussion] went forward.”
So to recap, the anti-gay wedding cake baker’s lawyer wasn’t “canceled” at all — she just had to sit through a brief interruption in opening remarks and then held forth as planned. Then the old fart whom Reagan appointed to the federal bench in the 1980s before the Yale students were even born emailed ALL federal judges in an attempt to preemptively “cancel” the students’ clerkships.
Irony, having survived more murder attempts than Grigori Rasputin, then threw itself into the icy Neva River to end it all. I mean, what is even the point anymore?
That they didn’t see any problems with their cancel culture theory – that it was always and inevitably going to result in actual cancelling, means to me that they are morons.
Yes. Yes, they are morons, and of course it was always and inevitably going to lead to actual canceling. We should probably pay more attention to the complicity of the cancel culture panic purveyors. Their incessant whining created an environment in which free speech in states like Florida and Texas is being abridged for real — in the name of freedom.
None of this is to suggest that there aren’t self-righteous hotheads who obnoxiously shout others down or that people online and off never overreact and cause pile-ons that hurt people who don’t deserve it. It happens. The immature and/or malicious behavior behind such incidents is nothing new, but social media amplifies it. Maybe that’s why organizations that take social media more seriously than they should foment this dumb panic — it’s about what they perceive as their own victimization.
But the bottom line, IMO, is that the kernel of truth underlying the endless obsession with cancel culture isn’t even among the top 1,000 of this country’s very real and pressing concerns. And the reality is that the copious attention paid to cancel culture by prominent media figures actively aids the censorious and anti-democratic forces that should be our #1 national concern.