Tuesday Talk*: Hawley’s Offense or Offensiveness

At Techdirt, Mike Masnick’s headline sums up the reaction.

Disingenuous, Lying, Whining, Bloviating, Insurrection Encouraging Senator Josh Hawley Given Pages Of Major Newspaper To Explain How He’s Being Silenced

This comes from the “oh-fuck-off dept,” which is usually staffed by Tim Cushing. Mike’s referring to a New York Post op-ed by Josh Hawley, graduate of Stanford University (2002) and Yale Law School (2006) and elected in 2019 as senator from the Show-Me state of Missouri.

Like the old-fashioned kind of credit score, your social credit requires a lot of maintenance. You’ll need to get good grades in school and stay out of trouble with the law. But that’s just the start — you have to earn your right to live in polite society these days. So if you want to get a good job, stay at hotels and be served at restaurants, you will need to do a few other things. You will need to voice the right opinions. You will need to endorse the right ideas. You will need to conform. That’s what the corporate chieftains tell us, anyway.

What the hell is he talking about? Why, cancel culture, of course. He, he explains, is a victim.

They tried to reprimand me this month because I didn’t. On behalf of the voters of my state, I raised a challenge to the presidential electors from Pennsylvania after that state conducted the election in violation of the state constitution. Maybe you agree with me. Maybe you don’t. But whatever your view, corporate America’s rush to cancel those it dislikes should trouble you.

But, but, but, you say, he’s not the senator from Pennsylvania, so what business is it of his to raise a challenge when the senators from Pennsylvania do not? But wait, there’s more: it’s complete crap, which Hawley has the education to realize, but not the integrity to admit.

It will get worse. The tech titans have already booted dozens of conservatives off social media, and if they have their way, half the House Republican conference will be expelled from Congress. The corporate titans seem to believe that the only way to get a democracy to their liking is to eliminate all threats to the Democratic Party’s unified control of government.

Hawley has a point here, disingenuous though it may be. But his only interest is in rehabilitating his own stained reputation as being so devoid of conscience as to spew utter nonsense when all of his own party, save the ever-husbandly Ted Cruz, had enough following the Trump Insurrection.

The best defense is a good offense, as the old adage goes, and Hawley is nothing if not offensive. The problem is that by trying to wrap himself in the swaddling clothes of cancel culture, what does Hawley do to the otherwise very real problem of addressing the secondary effects destroying the lives of people who don’t get an op-ed in the New York Post to whine about their victimhood?

Beware Josh Hawley’s attempt to rehabilitate his reputation with this nonsense. He’s a lying demagogue who appears unwilling to ever accept any personal responsibility for his role in inspiring a literal insurrection and mob that ended with five people dead.

Yet, this doesn’t prevent Hawley from claiming victimhood, and seizing upon the cries of cancel culture. This reflects one of the problems with engaging weaponry without definition or limits: anyone can do it. This reflects another problem in that it reduces a very serious problem for others to a farce to be seized upon to whine about consequences.

Having tried to express factors that distinguish “cancel culture” from criticism and consequences, to provide some definition, some limits, to a vagary that has very real consequences, is it sufficient? What is cancel culture? What isn’t it? Does it really exist or is it just a facile phrase to defend against earned condemnation?

Forget about Hawley, and consider instead the people who aren’t poor, maligned United States Senators who get their grievances aired in newspaper op-eds. There have been many people whose names aren’t familiar whose lives and careers have been terminated with extreme prejudice upon baseless accusations. How does cancel culture distinguish these victims from Disingenuous, Lying, Whining, Bloviating, Insurrection-Encouraging Senator Josh Hawley?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

23 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: Hawley’s Offense or Offensiveness

  1. John Barleycorn

    Is there an odor associated with the offense or offensiveness quandary?

    If so, what do you figure I could charge for Hawley scratch and sniff stickers?
    Or is it an offensive offence just thinking about it?

  2. Pedantic Grammar Police

    There’s a good reason why Hawley is being cancelled so relentlessly. It’s because he speaks for tens of millions of people who believe that the election was stolen and that Biden is a usurper who is leading America in the wrong direction. By making an example of Hawley and others like him, they hope to convince half the population to sit down and shut up.

    1. SHG Post author

      You don’t disappoint, dear PGP. What does McConnell, together with an array of Republicans on the national and state level, know that you don’t?

      1. KeyserSoze

        At some point in your life you realize: Good men have died so you can vote.

        Voting, like Caesar’s wife should be beyond reproach. This election was not and that leads to everything else including the belief that it was stolen (contrary to fact) and therefore to Senator Hawley’s actions.

        The Senator has a right to his speech. He does not have the right to be without criticism for that speech. particularly since he put himself out there. If he does not want to be criticized, then STFU and don’t run for office.

        As for cancel culture he is a sitting U.S. Senator and all that he has to do is speak and he will be heard. Facebook, et. al., can deplatform him (legal but not good) because they are private entities and have the right to do so. Other platforms will arise in their place.

        As for cancel culture, a few posts ago you wrote of a fifteen year girl who was cancelled because she uttered the wrong word at age fifteen. Cancel culture is composed of cowards who choose victims that cannot fight back. When the perpetrators get some real pain, they will stop. How does a fifteen year old bring that kind of pain? I don’t know. Perhaps a good lawsuit for conspiracy to deny Constitutional rights? Nothing changes behavior better than a few public executions.

      2. Pedantic Grammar Police

        I’m not saying that I think that. I think that election fraud is as American as apple pie, and that the result is always what our rulers want, including 2016 and 2020. Crying about election fraud is like going to a pizza party and then complaining that you don’t like pizza. I haven’t voted since 2008 when I campaigned and voted for Obama. I’m very grateful to Obama for helping me realize that “representative” government is a TV show.

        However, even the lying polls say that a substantial number of Americans distrust the election result.

          1. Pedantic Grammar Police

            I agree with you that they are believing lies. They believe that elections are normally “fair” and that this one was an anomaly. The reality is that elections always have been a sham and a fraud, and always will be.

    2. Charles

      “By making an example of Hawley and others like him, they hope to convince half the population to sit down and shut up.”

      Are you saying “half the population” because Trump received 46.9% of the vote?

      1. SHG Post author

        Please don’t go down that rabbit hole with PGP. Everyone else already knows the fallacy of the assumption that everyone who voted for Trump is part of the inexplicable cult.

  3. Jake

    The term ‘cancel culture’ is now stretched to being devoid of meaning and should be canceled. Originating in the #metoo movement, it gained steam in warring fandoms dunking on each other about their chosen idols’ sins.

    Now it’s used to describe any consequence for any action. Break a rule and get de-platformed? Canceled. Ignore a policy and lose your job? Canceled. Trigger an insurrection? That’s right: Canceled.

    Senator Hawley and any other person employed by the government who uses the term ‘cancel culture’ are conflating issues and flirting with fascism.

    He is presently experiencing public backlash for his behavior as a member of the United States Senate. This backlash falls squarely under the 1A rights of anyone who wishes to voice their grievances or chooses not to associate with him.

    There is a phenomenon whereby ideological swarms mindlessly seek to destroy private individuals’ lives through collective harassment. Often for little more than making the wrong mouth noises in public. Solving this problem is essential, but it is not the same as Josh Hawley’s problems, and the solutions are unlikely to be the same.

    1. Paleo

      Today a woman got fired from a literary agency because some of the woke pointed out to her boss that she had a Parler account. Not that she said anything mean or racist or about stolen elections. Just picked an apparently forbidden app.

      I don’t care what you call it. It’s just wrong.

      Hawley using “cancel culture” as some sort of defense is pitiful. Like when the squad gets publicly criticized and starts crying about how their lives are endangered. We donut elect the sharpest, most ethical people to govern us. Our bad.

      But don’t let douches like Hawley take away from the real problem.

  4. Charles

    So apparently Hawley now has filed an ethics complaint against those who filed an ethics complaint against him. There aren’t even words.

    1. Rengit

      It’s taken a while, but in the past few years we’ve finally consolidated government by poker.

      “I see your ethics complaint, and I raise you two ethics complaints.”

  5. Bryan Burroughs

    I am easily distracted by squirrels, but did I just witness a “Republican” fussing about corporate titans?

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