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.