I spoke to my old friend the other day about Gina Carano. He covers the film beat and has for years. He opposes “cancel culture” and has actually been mostly cancelled himself: kicked out of film festivals and considered a “bad” person on Film Twitter. Surely he would be sympathetic at Disney’s firing of Gina Carano for being way too outspoken and “problematic” on social media. His answer to me? “She’s an anti-vaxxer who voted for Trump. F*ck her.”
Wait a second, I said, you are agreeing that “cancel culture” is okay as long as you believe it’s justified, as long as there is a Trump connection? Of course that is what he was saying. The Trump line. If Trump is involved in any way dehumanization is not only demanded but welcomed.
Ever wonder why Trump draws his support mostly from people who have no money, no power, no leverage and no real prospects in America? Well, this is why. They have been thrown away like human garbage but Trump treats them like they’re worthy and important. Now, a smart person might think: why are we dehumanizing so many people by insisting they’re human garbage? Shouldn’t we all try to get along? Nope, the answer comes back. We demand total compliance on the left and that means you have to be down with ALL OF IT.
My friend and so many others, like the brilliant Sam Harris and John McWharter and Andrew Sullivan and Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal and even Bret Weinstein all believe that they can mount a strong defense against “cancel culture” while also drawing the Trump line. They don’t want to be thought of us as people who would go along with the things Trump said and did. 99% of that has nothing to do with policy but with what Trump represents to the left.
The closer you get to the Trump line the more likely you are to be vaporized. These high minded folks thought they could play it in the middle, keep some kind of foot in the world of the powerful and popular and included while also pushing back against the part of that world they are terrified of.
The thing is, I don’t think that’s possible. I never really did. I too have done the dance and so far remain just inside of the line - I humanize Trump and his supporters. I don’t call them racists or q’anon or terrorists. But I protect myself by always repeating “I voted for Biden” and “I’m not a Trump supporter” and “my politics are on the left.” That protects me, but just barely, from the Trump line. If I ever dare cross it, that’s dunzo for me. Just look at how little mercy my friend could offer up for Gina Carano who made the fateful mistake of crossing the Trump line. Now there is no turning back for her.
I believe you can’t dance around it. You have to object to all of it. You have to defend the Trump supporter who wears a MAGA hat to work and gets fired. You have to defend the talent agent who is a member of Parler and gets fired because of it. You have to defend someone whose social media feed shows support for Trump and she gets fired and her family becomes the target for massive amounts of threats and hate. You have to push back against all of it because all of it is wrong. All of it. Is. Wrong.
Why is it wrong? Because painting whole groups of people with the same brush is stereotyping at best, dehumanizing at worst. It is also wrong because we are living through a time where “spectral evidence” counts as proof of guilt. What is spectral evidence? It is what the courts of Salem used in place of actual evidence:
In the Salem witch trials, spectral evidence was used as evidence in the courts, especially in the early trials. If a witness could testify to seeing the spirit of someone and could testify to interacting with that spirit, perhaps even bargaining with that spirit, that was considered evidence that the person possessed had consented to the possession and thus was responsible. [source]
On the left, one can be fired for doing anything that can be interpreted as being racist or offensive. Amazon is now calling any objection to transgender debate “hate speech.” This is simply accepted as doctrine within our utopian empire. They decide who is guilty and who isn’t based on nothing so much as one person being offended. That is spectral because it’s can’t be proven. No white person can say “I’m not a racist” and be believed.
Here are a few recent examples:
1) Donald McNeil loses his job after a white student on a field trip rats him out for using the “nword” in context of whether it is appropriate to ever say the word.
2) Armie Hammer loses his entire career after what amounts to kinky texts going public. Spectral evidence says … he’s a cannibal. Note how in this article he is accused of abuse when, by all accounts, it isn’t abuse. It is weird sex with consenting adults and maybe a privacy breech.
3) Mike Pesca suspended without pay for having a debate on a Slack channel about whether or not it is ever appropriate for a white person to say the “nword” out loud. Ever. Imagine how many films, how many books, how many news stories, how many texts where that word appears.
4) Jodi Shaw objects to antiracist policies at Smith, resigns rather than take their settlement. They then turn around and try to smear her reputation. The New York Times wrote about Shaw and about the absolute mouth of madness Smith College now finds itself in.
5) Chris Harrison of The Bachelor steps aside after having a conversation about whether or not the public should be forgiving on a young woman having once appeared in costume at an antebellum themed party (even though Blake Lively had an entire lifestyle site dedicated to that). Former black contestants “not comfortable” with Harrison returning as host.
6) An online vigilante has been scouring the internet to “get racists fired.” And while that sounds like a good and heroic deed, we live in a time when Chris Harrison is now considered a racist for having a conversation about forgiveness. So that means it becomes like Salem in 1692 where anyone and everyone can be dragged out and called a racist - and that includes if they voted for Trump.
In our utopia we see witches everywhere. We’re on the hunt, always, for anyone who slips up, says one wrong thing, or did one wrong thing to expose our true selves as “bad.” Nothing can get you there quicker than being a Trump supporter. That is the Trump line. But it won’t save you from cancel culture if you don’t dance close to it. Nothing can really save you from cancel culture, even cancelling others can’t save you.
Here is the translation dictionary that is leading to justification for actions taken against people for what they believe:
Hate speech - anything that goes against the strict doctrine of what is allowed and not allowed. Used to mean: actual hate speech.
Incites violence - any Trump supporter. Used to mean: actual incitement of violence.
Offensive - anyone is offended. Used to mean: a set of criteria that decides what is deemed offensive through due process.
Unsafe - anyone is offended. Used to mean: life in actual danger.
Violence - anyone is offended by anything said. Used to mean: actual violence
Fascism - anything in Trump world, anyone who voted for Trump, any Trump supporter. Used to mean: actual fascism.
Racist - anyone accused of it. And all Trump supporters, almost all white people until proven otherwise by being antiracist (it’s one or the other). Used to mean: actual racism.
Abusive - a disagreement on Twitter, a column written that is offensive. Used to mean: actual abuse.
Extremism - any Trump supporter or anyone who voted for Trump. Used to mean: actual extremism.
Q’anon - any Trump supporter or anyone who ever voted for Trump. Used to mean: actual members of the ideology.
Infantilizing - saying things that mean well. Or are simple observations aimed at women. Used to mean: condescending caretaking of people seen as beneath you. The line keeps moving. You thought it was insulting to comment on a woman’s appearance, or even look at a woman on the job? Oh, that was so 2018. Now it’s:
Harassment/assault - can be anything deemed harassing or invasive in any way, even in a consenting relationship. Bad relationship? Assault. Kinky, creepy texts? Harassment. If a man does it and a woman receives it, anything goes. All that is necessary is the accusation itself. Used to mean: actual harassment and actual assault.
Men and Women and other ways of describing people - potentially hate speech. Trans men and Trans Women are actually men and women without being criticized. But biological women and biological men can’t be described that way because that is hate speech. So there can be no “breast-feeding” but there has to be “chest-feeding.” However, singling out trans rights is valid. Singling out rights for biological women is not valid. It’s hate speech.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t full of hate for trans people. It is like being called a racist and saying “I’m not racist.” You have to adopt an entire ideology or else it is considered hate speech.
Where does all this go? Well, it means, eventually, unless you are 100% down with Big Brother — I mean, the ideology in the new utopia - Cancel Culture will come for you.
Michael Tracey @mtraceyTwo Democratic members of Congress are pressuring the CEOs of the country's major TV providers to essentially purge the news networks these Members don't like, on the basis of the alleged danger posed by "misinformation and conspiracy theories" https://t.co/QyNyy0dPdX https://t.co/DcxX68sLNt
When Cancel Culture comes for you it will be because you trusted that standing on the right side of the Trump line will protect you. It won’t. You have to fight for the rights of even Trump supporters if you truly oppose the constant policing of thought and ongoing fear and accusations covering out entire country at the moment.
You oppose “cancel culture” or you don’t
Turns out, Carano is no “anti-vaxxer.” Her tweet about vaccines was really about the gaslighting delivered by the Democrats in order to push for universal mail-in voting. Carano said she’d take the vaccine if they mailed it to her since clearly it is not safe to go in person.
When I pointed out the tweet to him my friend went radio silent. The truth is that Carano voted for Trump so spectral evidence says she’s a racist or racist adjacent.
That’s the line. The Trump line. To my friend she deserves whatever happens to her. That means to me he should stop complaining about “cancel culture” because he’s part of it.
And if you oppose it for yourself and others on the left, you have to also oppose it for those who are being fired for having voted for or supported Trump. You have to fight for those on the Trump line too.
For those who think America doesn’t care about this, you are wrong. The proof will be in how the votes start coming down in 2022 and 2024. Americans will be voting in droves to stop this bizarre episode in American history. When future generations look back and try to process this madness they will be asking who stood by, who went along with it and who fought it.
I will continue to support anyone who is building alternative sources of information streams like Ben Shapiro at the Daily Wire or Dave Rubin’s Locals or Parler. Does that make me too close to the Trump line? Yes, it does. But the alternative is the mouth of madness and I can’t go there.
When Cancel Culture comes for you I will fight for you as I would fight for Gina Carano or anyone else unfairly maligned by a force that is becoming too big and too powerful to ignore. You think hating Trump will protect you. It won’t.