Cancel Culture


Hall of Fame Member
Dec 25, 2005
Eagle Creek
Jonathan Kay: The main victims of progressive ‘cancel culture’ are progressives themselves

In the many op-ed denunciations of cancel culture that get churned out (of which I suppose this is one), a common theme is that we’ve all become too quick to take “offence.” But having spent the last few years interviewing cancel-culture victims, from Steven Galloway to Meghan Murphy to James Damore, I can attest that the real driver of mob-run silencing campaigns isn’t “offence.” It’s a desire to demonstrate power. When a heretic’s agonies (and eventual confessions) play out on a public medium such as Twitter, the spectacle serves to warn other thought criminals. It’s all about offering a show of force “pour encourager les autres” (as Voltaire once put it).

This explains why cancel-culture mobs often channel the tribalistic language and imagery of territorial warfare, with activists seeking to prevent the forces of “hate” penetrating the secular-sacred confines of a campus, library, literary festival, public event or online discussion group. What they truly fear isn’t the substantive content of the heretic’s message (of which many mob members will be ignorant), but the symbolic effect of a heretic speaking freely in a space seen as traditionally controlled by dogmatists. Mob censorship only works when the mob is feared. Let a single heretic go unpunished, and the mob loses its power.

Even so, we free-speech types often exaggerate the censorial powers of modern outrage mobs. As Meghan McArdle wrote in the Washington Post this week, J.K. Rowling’s recent decision to go public with common-sense views on gender and biology show that we’ve reached a tipping point on cancel culture. South Park and Ricky Gervais have both survived their own heresies. And even Louis C.K. has been able to go on a sold-out public comedy tour amid a torrent of columns and hashtags demanding his cancelation. Yes, there are some recent examples of mainstream figures such as Don Cherry losing their jobs over controversial statements. But for the most part, cancel culture truly suffocates thought and discussion only when it takes root within gated subcultures such as academia, literature and arts journalism, whose structures permit a small number of ideologically motivated players to monopolize power.

By way of example: I can say pretty much anything I want in this column (within reason), and the mobs won’t come at me demanding my “cancelation” by the National Post, because they know they won’t succeed. When I worked at a left-wing arts magazine years ago, by contrast, cancel-culture trolls were my constant companion, because they believed (rightly) that targeting a smaller publication operating within an ideologically monolithic, government-subsidized subculture offered them a greater chance of success. Mobbers may be annoying and vicious. But they’re not dumb. They usually channel the same ruthless logic as speculators, applying their available assets (Tweets, likes, blogs) so as to achieve the highest expected rate of return.

Ironically, this means that progressive cancel-culture enthusiasts now spend a lot of time attacking each other — since their social and professional affiliations within activist, academic and artistic milieus render them uniquely vulnerable to mob pressure. Witness last year’s bizarre fight within Canadian recording circles, when one group of Indigenous artists boycotted the Indigenous Music Awards because two other Indigenous artists — Ayalik and Kayley Mackaya — had “appropriated” their particular style of Indigenous music.

There also has been a vicious (and unsuccessful) attempt by second-tier Canadian writers to deplatform Margaret Atwood because she had the temerity to suggest that the University of British Columbia should provide Steven Galloway with due process. In a particularly jaw-dropping case, a Toronto-based book publisher pulped the original run of a book by Indigenous poet Shannon Webb Campbell because, according to the (white) publishers, the book was “causing pain” to other Indigenous people.

“Like Saturn, the revolution devours its children,” Jacques Mallet du Pan wrote in 1793, amidst La Terreur. Thus has come to pass that even giants of progressive leftism come under mob suspicion. This now includes George Elliott Clarke, an impeccably progressive Africadian (his word) giant of Canadian arts and letters, whose work as poet, playwright, editor and critic have earned him the Order of Canada and a dozen other prestigious awards besides. This week, the University of Regina found itself fending off calls to cancel Clarke’s upcoming lecture about Indigenous poetry on the basis that he had edited verse by Steven Kummerfield, who killed an Indigenous woman, Pamela George, in 1995.

Kummerfield’s crime was premeditated and horrendous: He and Alex Ternowetsky beat the woman and left her to die on the city’s outskirts. And I found it objectionable that he was paroled in 2000, only five years later, even if he followed this by reforming himself and dedicating his life to writing what is (by Clarke’s expert appraisal) extremely good poetry under the name Stephen Brown. It is true that, in formal terms, he has served his debt to society. But some crimes truly do stain the memory of a whole community, and this was one of them.

Yet the ranks of well-known poets are full of truly horrible and wicked people. Lord Byron was a predatory lothario and occasional pedophile. Swinburne went in for child sex and bestiality. Ezra Pound was an anti-Semite. Gabriele D’Annunzio was a fascist crackpot.

Shelley’s pregnant teenage paramour killed herself when the poet abandoned her. (The poet’s half-sister took to the grave under somewhat analogous circumstances.) Of course, none of these men can be compared directly to Kummerfield, because his crimes occurred within recent, living memory. But then again, it won’t be Kummerfield who’ll appear at the University of Regina. It will instead be Clarke, a black academic and writer with both Cherokee and Mi’kmaq heritage, whose only crime is of a strictly ideological nature — i.e., his failure to disavow Brown, whom he describes as not only a collaborator, but also a friend. Clarke is perfectly correct to complain that his critics are judging him “guilty by association.”

(Clarke issued a statement Thursday evening saying he would not recite Kummerfield’s poetry out of respect for his victim’s family.)

To their credit, the faculty members who invited Clarke in the first place have announced they “will stand by the invitation and looks forward to hearing Clarke’s strong message against violence and racism.” But the U of R Faculty Association equity committee voted unanimously to urge cancellation of the talk, on the basis that “there is not sufficient time to ensure that this (event) has the potential to (offer) healing…in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Given the nature of Kummerfield’s vile crime, I can see why some members of the university community would opt to stay away from Clarke’s lecture. And they might fairly cast such a decision as a principled rebuke of Clarke and the event organizers. But that choice should be left to individual attendees. And it’s wrong to pretend that the campaign to shut the event down altogether is about “healing.” It’s an effort to punish an acclaimed artist and intellectual on the basis that he has prioritized forgiveness, friendship and respect for a fellow poet’s art above the dictates of ideology.
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Hoof Hearted

House Member
Jul 23, 2016
I custom-made a T-Shirt for Christmas for my 20 year old nephew. It read...

Attempting to Care

Loading...Please wait

It was a knock against social media like Twitter and the perpetually outraged snowflakes. He loved it and wears it every day, so I'm told by my brother. :)

Hoof Hearted

House Member
Jul 23, 2016
And there's an old saying which goes...

"You aren't famous for what you say, until you are famous for what you do."

But Twitter has turned this on it's ear. Now you become famous for your Tweet, even though you are a perpetually outraged snowflake living in your parent's basement...having never achieved squat!


The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
Moccasin Flats
Jonathan Kay: The main victims of progressive ‘cancel culture’ are progressives themselves
Just today....


Canadian poet George Elliott Clarke cancels Regina lecture after controversy over convicted killer's poetry

Daughter of slain woman says killer's poetry should not be celebrated
Alex Soloducha - CBC News

Posted: January 03, 2020
Last Updated: 9 Hours Ago

Pamela George
Pamela George was beaten to death by Steven Kummerfield and Alex Ternowetsky outside Regina in April 1995. Kummerfield is now living in Mexico and publishing poetry under a different name. Canadian poet George Elliott Clarke has edited some of Kummerfield's work and initially did not rule out reading it at the Jan. 23 lecture at the University of Regina, which has now been cancelled. (CBC)


Hall of Fame Member
Dec 25, 2005
Eagle Creek
Barbara Kay: Will 2020 will be the year of reason in the cancel-culture wars?

In the hard news business, it is well understood that “if it bleeds, it leads.” In cultural news, the same principle applies. Not a day goes by that we don’t see a story of a panel discussion in jeopardy or cancelled, a controversial film withdrawn, or an academic on the “incorrect” side of a cultural debate de-platformed. One could be forgiven for assuming that cancel culture reigns supreme in the public forum.

It’s gratifying, therefore, to report that a speaking engagement featuring a highly controversial researcher and clinician in the hot-button field of gender dysphoria will take place as planned at McGill University. The cancel-culture mould in this case was not broken by chance. A good strategic plan prevented a predictable brush fire of protest from becoming a conflagration.

Within the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry (DSTP) pursues and promotes research, training and consultation in the domains of social and cultural psychiatry. Under the rubric of the Culture, Mind and Brain Program, an ongoing sub-division of the DSTP, with links to affiliated faculty in other McGill departments and worldwide, the DSTP is presenting a lecture, titled “Children and Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria: Some contemporary research and clinical issues,” to be delivered Jan. 23 by Dr. Ken Zucker, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Zucker, a pioneer and leading expert in the field of gender dysphoria, is a cancel-culture veteran, and remains a magnet for trans activists’ ire. In 2015, when he headed up the Gender Identity Clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a post he’d held for decades, he was targeted for condemnation by trans activists, who accused him of practicing “conversion therapy,” a false allegation that led to his summary dismissal. Dr. Zucker successfully refuted the charge in a later lawsuit against CAMH, resulting in a payout and retractions, but not in reinstatement. Dr. Zucker does in fact endorse supervised hormone therapy where warranted for adolescents on a case-by-case basis, but is a proponent of watchful waiting and for treating patients holistically.

DSTP Professor Samuel Veissière, organizer of this event, has been keeping me up to date on responses. To be honest, when I received his invitation to the talk and I saw Dr. Zucker’s name, I entered it into my calendar with a question mark. I assumed the odds were high that he would be de-platformed by an administration browbeaten by activists. I’m happy to be proven wrong.

That’s not to say there was no opposition. Queer McGill issued a warning on its Facebook page, repeating the canard about “conversion therapy” and advising friends that the talk would be given from “a non-trans perspective.” Prof. Veissière made a point of meeting with Queer McGill to hear their complaints and concern. Their position was basically “no conversation without us” at first, but he argued persuasively and respectfully that it is also reasonable for parents to assume their right and to honour their responsibility to be involved in decisions around radical physical changes in their children. This outreach in itself, letting people who object to the talk know that their perspectives are welcome in the conversation, I imagine went some distance in calming potentially roiled waters.

The Facebook page’s comments were refreshingly diverse, and maturely considered. One “queer woman of colour” posted, “I understand that this talk isn’t for everyone, but I feel like we tend to be quick on condemning what we perceive like an attack, and police each other instead of practicing patience with different levels of understanding or even taking the opportunity to speak our truth.”

Prof. Veissière also sent out a call for support on a sex research email list. Other scholars then shared it on Twitter. Responses were intended for both the administration at McGill and the public record, to show people or groups who had asked for the talk to be cancelled that there was widespread support for Dr. Zucker.

Letters attesting to Dr. Zucker’s eminence in his field flowed in from authoritative colleagues, such as Northwestern University psychology professor J. Michael Bailey, Columbia University’s Developmental Psychoendocrinology Program director Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, University of Toronto psychiatry professor Ray Blanchard, and Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker.

Most touching was an ardent testimonial from Pique Resilience Project, a support group for detransitioned women. They wrote that they themselves “would greatly have benefited from the more careful, evidence-based treatment approach that Dr. Zucker uses in his clinical practice.” Their email concludes, “Perspectives like Dr. Zucker’s are critical to ensuring that more individuals don’t make the mistake we did.”

Most people, Prof. Veissière believes, want to see more “brave conversations” on difficult topics, but are reluctant to be publicly associated with politically unorthodox views. His private conversations with students have convinced him that when they “see evidence that other people they trust are also open to these conversations, people’s fears ease up a bit.”

Perhaps, as Prof. Veissière mused, “2020 will be the year of reason in the culture wars spin.” Perhaps. Just minutes before filing this column, I was made aware that the Pride Therapy Network of Montreal had sent a letter dated Jan. 20 to Prof. Veissières asking that Dr. Zucker be de-platformed. And on Wednesday McGill’s Joint Board-Senate Subcommittee on Queer People also wrote the organizers to express disappointment and ask that the event be cancelled. It won’t be. A more constructive approach would be for their members to attend the presentation and contribute their perspectives to the discussion in a civil fashion.
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Hall of Fame Member
Dec 25, 2005
Eagle Creek
Just when one thinks that the left has almost reached the epitome of idiocy, this latest screed shows that it is alive and well and mushrooming. If anyone is at all interested in the magical thinking behind some of the choices, each comes with a "justification" which can be found on the website. .

12 Common Words And Phrases With Racist Origins Or Connotations

1. “Peanut Gallery”

2. “Grandfathered In” or “Grandfather Clause”

3. “Gyp,” “Gypped,” “Jip” and “Jipped”

4. “Uppity”

My personal favorite
5. “Articulate”

6. “Spirit Animal”

7. “Paddy Wagon”

8. “Long Time No See” and “No Can Do”

9. “Sold Down The River”

10. “Blacklist,” “Blackball,” “Black Mark,” and on and on

11. “Off The Reservation”

12. “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe”
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Hall of Fame Member
Dec 25, 2005
Eagle Creek
When that darling of the left, Margaret Attwood is under attack for defense of free speech, you gotta know the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

Backlash after cultural icons including Margaret Atwood warn free speech is under threat

More than 150 writers, journalists, academics and artists – including J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and Margaret Atwood – signed an open letter published Tuesday arguing that stifled free speech is creating an “intolerant climate” within society.

While their pointed message acknowledges the national reckoning over racism and social injustice and celebrates “overdue demands for police reform,” it also argues that the protest movements have helped “weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.”

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” states the missive, titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.” “While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: 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.”

"Richard Thompson Ford, a Stanford Law School professor and one of the letter’s signatories, told The Post in an email that Williams had sent him the text and asked for his endorsement. Ford, who is also black, said he signed the letter because he “thought it was important and necessary.”

“I’ve witnessed too many cases of ferocious takedowns for defensible if ideologically unorthodox views or relatively minor breaches of political etiquette,” he said. “This is more true of Trumpian conservatives than anyone, but it is also true of some progressives.”

It goes on to criticize the increasing number of “calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought,” and lists several vague examples of people losing positions or being subjected to intense backlash as a result of “cancel culture.”

“This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time,” it reads. “The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation.”

The letter concludes with a demand from writers for “a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes.”
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Executive Branch Member
Sep 6, 2015
Olympus Mons
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Hall of Fame Member
Dec 25, 2005
Eagle Creek

Rex Murphy: Now that Pepé Le Pew has been 'cancelled,' who will be next? Marge Simpson?

To: Mr. Charles M. Blow, The New York Times.

To address, from the frozen tundra of Canadian journalism, one so long encamped on the very upper slopes of journalism’s Mount Olympus, might be seen as a presumptive folly. But if a cat may look at a king, then I surely may rely on the largesse of your lofty station to attend to a few observations regarding your recent and extremely tendentious reading of the affair of Monsieur Pepé Le Pew, a member of the skunk class.

You gratuitously singled out M. Le Pew, a most endearing skunk — witness his many fans over the years — as a progenitor of rape culture. A monstrous accusation. You backed up this dark assertion on Twitter, where, with merciless briskness, you stated your position — I quote:

“Let’s see. 1. He (this would be Monsieur Le Pew) grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.”

I suppose the first thing to state is that the cartoon was not a 60 Minutes exposé. Neither the protagonist, Pepé Le Pew, the romantic skunk, nor his reluctant amour, the cat, were, or were meant to be seen as, human beings.

Here are the facts, Mr. Blow. Dear Pepé identifies as a proud skunk, not to be confused with Homo sapiens, and it is not for you to deride his species.

There is another bitter flaw in your column — the implication that all skunks are sex-mad. You, Mr. Blow, are conflating the skunk community with the explosively carnal mink, or the equally randy rabbit class. Have you no shame?

Now to the other business, that of Monsieur Le Pew’s association, as you assert falsely in your column, with the deplorable phenomenon of rape culture.
I have seen the names of Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and others being called out under the banner of #MeToo.

None of them is a skunk of the true animal variety, Mr. Blow. Nor, I should note, are they French. None of them as far as I know was bent on romancing a cat under the misapprehension the cat in question was a skunk. So you see, there is no Le Pew factor here.

They are human males of high power and liberal mindset. To call up Pepé, a cartoon character born 76 years ago, and desecrate his legacy by associating him with the behaviour of these present-day goons is despicable.

A further observation. You adverted in your Twitter diatribe that Pepé “locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” So many assertions in that phrase and no evidence whatsoever. Is this a male or a female cat? The poor puss in question was given no determinative signature of sexual identity. Why then Mr. Blow, do you presume it’s a “her?”

Moreover, where do you get these wild ideas and careless slanders of the skunk community? Do you have a special cable channel none of the rest of us knows about? Skunks Gone Wild?

Your column, Sir, is a haystack, a pyramid of straw, of prejudicial assumptions. It is replete with anti-skunkicity, and a deplorable misreading of the feline class. Cats are friends of the lonely and the old, and skunks are the most marginalized of the marginalized of all woodland citizens. In short, Mr. Blow, you should be ashamed of yourself.

What’s next, I wonder. A hit job on Marge Simpson? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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Dec 18, 2007
Halifax, NS & Melbourne, VIC
Jonathan Kay, huh? I went to school with someone by that name. I wonder....

Anywho, ah yes. Cancel Culture. What a fun little name. What a stupid premise.

It's just yet one more bandwagon movement people love to jump onto because it's all the rave these days.

Like Feminism, MeToo, Incels, MGTOW and all the other BS groups out there.

You join into one of these groups because some of their ideas align with your own. You can relate. You feel if you join in, you're part of something bigger, that you're making a difference and that you're not alone.

The problem with these groups and movements is that you stop thinking for yourself and start to follow and abide by their rules and their perspective 100%. They begin to control your life and how you conduct yourself. And people will accept this and let these groups control their way of life, because if they disagree or don't follow one single doctrine of said group, they're not truly a part of the group. They're an enemy like everybody else.

Its the exact same thing with people who side with specific political parties or label themselves as the left or the right.

You can't just look at situations on a case by case basis and determine for yourself what you think is right or wrong. Your decisions are based on what keeps you Conservative/Republican or Liberal/Democrat. Whatever their view is, so is yours, otherwise you're not really a part of the group.

But is that really a bad thing?

Nobody can just agree to disagree anymore. If someone is of the other political view, you can't have a civil discussion anymore. They're the enemy. They're out to ruin your life and your well being. It's not about challenging different views and hearing each other out. It's they're wrong and I'm right and if they don't agree with me, then they're idiots and personal insults ensue.

Another Example, Feminism. They say it's original goal was for equality. They say the movement was also to support women AND men, but if that was really the case, why is it called Feminism? If that was the case, where are the examples of them fighting for men's rights as well?

They haven't and never will. And with the new wave of Feminism, whatever it might have been, it's not that anymore and has turned into a All Men Are Pigs, Rapists, Evil Warmongers who can't be trusted around kids or anyone else for that matter.

The guys today who call themselves feminists are either doing so in order to avoid any wrath and to cover their own ass, or they're calling themselves a feminist to get in bed with more women, or have been told so often for so long how terrible their own gender is, they actually believe they're terrible and must atone for their gender's wrong doings, even when they never did anything wrong in the first place.

It's all about conforming to the group you want to be a part of and to feel like you belong, but it's not worth it.

And see, Feminism is a good example of what happens with these groups and movements. The longer they exist, the further they begin to lose site of their original purpose and get hijacked into being something else.

Feminism isn't Equality. Equality is Equality. If you think something isn't equal or wrong, don't just fight to fix it just for the one group you support or relate to, fight to fix it for everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, disability, religious beliefs, orientation, etc. That's Equality.

Ok, so enough of all that shit.

Cancel Culture.

Look, if you don't like something or if something offends you, like a book, show, movie, song, actor, musician, whatever.... Don't support them, don't buy their products. We all have the right to make that choice.

But you do not have the right to have those things shut down for everybody else or to shut those people out their jobs, their careers, their damn way of life, just because you don't like something or find something offensive, or because they did something bad one time, years ago.... We all have and we all screw up. We all also learn from our past and change through time.

Punishing me and making me lose my job because I did something stupid in college 25 or 30 years ago is fk'n daft.

Rather than banning books, editing old songs, shows and movies to take away the bad things that were acceptable 50 or 100 years ago isn't a solution. That's just sweeping shit under the rug and pretending it never existed.

Let's say I don't like what I saw or read over the years about WWII. We should ban and cancel all discussion about WWII and the holocaust and sweep it under the rug as well like it didn't happen.

No, fk'wit, you discuss these things and you educate people about the past. About history and how cultures and how things changed over the years.

If something is no longer culturally acceptable today, you don't ban it. You use it as a tool for history and a tool for showing people how things have changed and why these things are no longer the norm.

Just because a book from the 1950s has some racist undertones in it, that isn't going to magically turn me into a racist. I can think for myself.

So we've come full circle to what I started off with.... Thinking for yourself.

People join these movements so they don't have to think for themselves anymore, and Cancel Culture is the end result, where these people believe others can't think for themselves, so they have to shut all these offensive things down so us dumbasses don't get influenced by the wrong things.

People need to stop joining these stupid groups and movements and actually take a step back, look at what's going on and use their damn brains to think what they believe is right and wrong.

These groups/movements are like weight loss programs. There's always a new one around the corner, but at the end of the day, they're just as useless as the ones that came before.


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
Cancel culture strikes at schools named after Lincoln, Washington
Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:Apr 07, 2021 • 3 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Woke warriors aimed to see schools named after former U.S. presidents like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington renamed owing to their connection to racism, slavery, or oppression,
Woke warriors aimed to see schools named after former U.S. presidents like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington renamed owing to their connection to racism, slavery, or oppression, PHOTO BY SAMUEL CORUM /Getty Images
Article content
Cancel Culture couldn’t win out in a bizarre row in San Francisco.

Woke warriors aimed to see schools named after former U.S. presidents like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington renamed owing to their connection to racism, slavery, or oppression, FOX News said, citing the San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco’s school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to reverse a decision impacting 44 schools in the area, saying they wanted to avoid “frivolous litigation” from a current lawsuit.

Other presidents involved included Thomas Jefferson, as well as revolutionary warrior Paul Revere and author Robert Louis Stevenson, according to the report.

The previous decision was also reversed because of the cost that would have been involved in making the changes.


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The board initially voted 6-1 in January to remove the names.

In February, it decided to halt the plan until children had returned to classrooms after receiving considerable backlash for focusing on renaming schools instead of more pressing matters during the pandemic, according to FOX.