Eamonn Kelly: Moving Statues

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From left at top: Senator Michael McDowell, Louise Byrne and Ebun Joseph, of UCD, on last night’s Prime Time; Eamonn Kelly

Cancel Culture

The RTÉ One Prime Time discussion last night on cancel culture, hosted by Louise Byrne, involving the removal of four statues from outside the Shelbourne Hotel, was a timely demonstration of how perplexing cancel culture can be. The row appears to have been ignited by Niall O’ Dowd of Irish Central, the Irish American website.

The contention, put forward by Ms Ebun Joseph of UCD Black Studies department on Prime Time, was that the statues represented white privilege and black servitude.

Senator Michael McDowell, representing white privilege, I guess, and it was fair casting, it has to be said, held that the statues were of two Egyptian women with ankle bracelets, whereas Ms Joseph held that they were two African women in shackles.

Ms Ebun challenged Senator McDowell to consult with Egyptian archaeologists to support his contention that the ankle chains were bracelets.

But in an equal world it was equally incumbent on Ms Joseph to consult with experts to confirm if the chains were shackles. Though she appeared to believe that the responsibility to consult experts was McDowell’s alone.

Since neither had consulted with experts it was now a clear difference of opinion by two non-experts; the epitome really of cancel culture.

Though, given the implicit understandings of cancel culture, this particular argument seemed unfairly weighted in pitching an African woman against a white middle-aged, heterosexual man who, as everyone knows by now, by the rules of cancel culture, is usually the villain. You sense a woman’s touch in the rigging of the debate.

Interestingly, in a film montage before the debate, various individuals accused or convicted of sex crimes were shown; Woody Allen, Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski; but not Bill Cosby. This had the effect of suggesting, in guilt by association, that white men in particular were on trial.

Over these images the voice of Tina Sikka, a lecturer in media and culture from Newcastle University, described cancel culture as public censure and, in the case of people working in the creative arts, may result in, as she put it, “a little bit of a media blackout.”

This attempt to downplay the destructive effect of cancel culture is totally counter to the warning issued in the Harper’s letter of a few weeks ago.

Louise Byrne’s introduction to the segment appeared to share this view of cancel culture as a perfectly legitimate practise, insinuating that those opposed to cancel culture, ie, all the signatories of the Harper’s letter, were being a bit precious.

The subsequent discussion ended…nowhere really.

All we know is that following a suggestion by someone in the US who consulted Irish Central, that the statues outside the Shelbourne Hotel are now “cancelled”; albeit voluntarily, since the Shelbourne management removed them, in fear, apparently, of transgressing the new codes imposed by cancel culture.

Street Fight

The Harper’s letter a few weeks back, warning of cancel culture’s threat to freedom of speech was like coming across a street fight that causes you to avert your eyes and hurry on past thinking, it’s got nothing to do with me.

With the Harper’s letter the fight seemed to be about J.K. Rowling who appeared to have gotten herself into a squabble with some transgender people; and Salman Rushdie who, as far as you can recall, got into some kind of bother some years back with Islamic extremists who wanted to kill him.

This is not a fight that you want to be involved in.

You notice that the mainstream press also seems disinterested, careful even, inclined to only mention Rowling and Rushdie as being among the signatories of the Harper’s letter.

The Irish Times and the Irish Indo report the existence of the Harper’s letter but offer no opinion on the matter. Are the mainstream press intimidated? As the Shelbourne management apparently were?

If a view is volunteered, as The Guardian dared to do, it tends towards the idea that the signatories of the Harper’s letter are piqued because everyone has freedom of speech now via social media, and the elite simply want their exclusivity back.

This is cancel culture’s argument, based on the feminists’ idea of a patriarchy controlling social structures. But you find it hard to imagine someone of the status and vintage of Noam Chomsky, another signatory, being overly preoccupied by such petty concerns.

Cancelling

John Banville, an Irish writer of impeccable quality and international repute, but notably lacking in the general Irish public cheer-leading that often accompanies Irish international success stories, appears on RTE’s Brendan O’Connor morning radio show to talk about the Harper’s letter.

Banville is a signatory of the Harper’s letter too and he says he knows personally of writers who have had works cancelled by their publishers fearing that the content might stoke the anger of the cancel culture watchdogs who might turn on the publishers.

A paragraph from the Harper’s letter reads:

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. 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. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.”

Did Shelbourne management, by removing the statues, do so in fear of retribution? It seems clear that they did.

Women’s Studies

Bruce Bawer in his 2012 book “The Victim’s Revolution: The Rise of Identity Politics” contains a very helpful overview of the history of women’s studies through what is called Second Wave feminism, featuring people like Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem, among others, and Third Wave feminism, notably not featuring Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem, among others.

In fact, Gloria Steinem is one of the signatories of the Harper’s letter. As is the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Margaret Atwood. It seems that Third Wave feminism is even intolerant of some outspoken Second Wave feminists.

Bawer writes that:

“Many Women’s Studies students are taught to be suspicious of strictly intellectual endeavours – or endeavours, in others words, that don’t prioritize feelings.”

Which means that Bawer’s book, this article and any other ideas generated by people, whether male or female, in an intellectual, objective manner, are deemed invalid as “male constructs”.

That has to be the best cancellation of the lot, built right into the ideology of identity politics: all critiques are constructs of the “enemy” and therefore inadmissible.

In “Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systematic Discrimination Against Men”, Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson argue that ideological feminists even regard science as a cultural construction, a mirror of maleness.

“They believe that Western culture in the seventeenth century was fatally contaminated by the ultimate poison of patriarchy…”

As a consequence, the goal, for extreme feminists, is to undermine science, or the concept of objectivity and objective truth that is the hallmark of science – and journalism for that matter – as dubious male constructs, and replace these parts of the culture with subjective truth, along the lines of women’s intuition and gut feelings. Qualities, it is argued, that women excel in.

“Andrea Dworkin… [late radical feminist]” write Young and Nathanson, “…claims that her own intuition or insight supersedes any other form of evidence.”

Such a claim is not unlike the dictator who claims that he has only to look into his own heart to know what the people want. Often what the people apparently desire in such instances is for state assets to be lodged into a private Swiss bank account.

Young and Nathanson write that:

“once the subjective voice of women (or minorities) has been established as a new standard…no dissonant voices need to be taken seriously; women can presumably ‘know’ things by virtue of being women and affirming their own subjectivity, things that men cannot know by insisting on the ostensibly universal standard of objectivity.”

Bawer, writing of the goals of Women’s Studies groups, remarks:

“…on the surface, there’s plenty of pretty rhetoric about women’s mutual support and nurturing and openness to diversity; the underlying reality however, is one of hard-core ideological indoctrination and enforcement.”

The Harper’s letter says:

“We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.”

It seems as if the same rules of enforcement and indoctrination are now operating in the wider community.

Strategies and Narratives

The conclusion, as I understand it, is that Women’s Studies groups that have flourished in the universities of the West, gave birth to a culture of silencing opposition with a range of strategies from simple elusive argument using post-modern terminology.

This allows the user, if losing an argument, to simply “recontextualise” the question and start again – right down to the threat of reputational destruction of opponents through the very female aggressive tactics of spreading gossip and innuendo against dissenting individuals.

These strategies have now evolved into political correctness and cancel culture, effectively endangering free speech and instilling the type of fear that caused the management of the Shelbourne Hotel to remove four decorative statues from outside its premises because some anonymous person in the US claimed they were celebrating white privilege.

The signatories of the Harper’s letter recognize that they themselves, being professionally above the fray, are unlikely to be destroyed by cancel culture.

They wrote the letter on behalf of less famous people who are being routinely side-lined and silenced by advocates of this apparently closed-minded and pernicious ideology.

Men who oppose the ideology are often framed as potentially violent, sexist and racist; while women who oppose the ideology are characterised as blind puppets of the patriarchy.

The Patriarchy

But even the idea of the patriarchy itself also seems problematical, as an academic postmodern deconstructionist might say.

If masculinity is as toxic as extreme feminists claim, how did women’s studies groups gain so much so quickly in the universities?

Bruce Bawer cites an anthology from 2000 called “The Politics of Women’s Studies: Testimony from the Thirty Founding Mothers.”

Having discussed the various essays in the book he goes on to say:

“Although the founders of Women’s Studies are routinely portrayed as brave pioneers who struggled valiantly against the patriarchy to carve out a space for themselves in the male-dominated academy, they would in fact have never gotten so far, so fast, if not for the readiness of liberal male administrators and faculty to approve and fund Women’s Studies. Indeed, the very rise of Women’s Studies belies its own rhetoric about the ruthless hegemonic power of the patriarchy.”

This apparent exaggeration of male hegemony, combined with the dismissal of the scientific method as a patriarchal construct, might leave you inclined to wonder what the difference is between the idea of the patriarchy and any other conspiracy theory doing the rounds.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance Writer and Playwright.

Previously: Eamonn Kelly on Broadsheet

Yesterday: The Naked Truth

140 thoughts on “Eamonn Kelly: Moving Statues

  1. Broadbag

    As a white, CIS male, Eamonn isn’t allowed have an opinion on anything unless he has sufficiently checked his privilege, which will usually be measured by white, CIS females, or so it seems.

    Reply
    1. Nigel

      As a white cis male, anyone disagreeing with him is equivalent to not allowing him have an opinion unless blah blah blah. WHY IS THIS ‘DEBATE’ SO RELENTLESSLY STUPID.

      Reply
        1. Nigel

          Those poor white men living in fear of waking up in the morning and finding a critical tweet in the bed beside them on their phone.

          Reply
          1. Nigel

            Some of my best friends are white men. I love touching their hair and asking them where they’re from and calling them palefaces but sure it’s all in good crack.

    1. Rob_G

      I agree.

      More fool McDowell for agreeing to go on the show as the spokesperson for white male privilege…

      Reply
        1. The Dude

          +1

          I’ll just leave this here.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Baltimore

          The first inter-racial slavery on this island was when North Africans raided County Cork in 1631, and took 100 – 200 Irish natives captive who were sold off into slavery .

          Reinstate the Egyptian Princesses back, as the law is broken until such occurs.

          Boycott Marriott Hotels and avoid ignorant law breakers.

          Reply
  2. Tarfton Clax

    Very good piece. But if you have a twitter account… Sweet Baby Jebus are you ever in for a (totally undeserved) Pile On. Avē Imperātor, moritūrī tē salūtant

    Reply
  3. Jack

    Always surprised how quickly Germaine Greer was discarded by the BBC and Guardian after her comments on trans issues. A hero of feminism one day and gagged the next

    Reply
    1. Scundered

      Sure Kanye West was told he wasn’t black anymore since he declared being a supporter of Trump.

      Someone’s group identity should never dictate their political thoughts.

      Douglas Murray has talked about this trend in great detail, worth a watch.

      Reply
      1. Clampers Outside

        You’ll find BLM supporters saying Africans are not black because they didn’t experience slavery…. A right and proper ‘wtf?’
        Thankfully much of the Africans I read responding to such comments all came back by taking the mick… It was twitter of course :)

        Reply
    2. Mary (Never) Wong

      she was a bit of a horse out to pasture in recent years though, like a sort of national treasure and lacking in relevant information

      Reply
  4. Edel

    Speaking of cancel culture, I stopped reading at the misogynistic “You sense a woman’s touch in the rigging of the debate”.

    Reply
      1. sidhe

        speaking of, Ciara Kelly made some great points yesterday regarding that big fuss made about that tampax ad

        you don’t have to like her or newstalk, but she was absolutely dead right yesterday

        Reply
        1. Mary (Never) Wong

          I like her and newstalk
          It gives a real insight into how this country is actually run but you have to listen hard enough
          The gloves are off and the floor is lava, it’s not like the fake debates on RTE.

          Reply
      1. sidhe

        well it’s nice to see you can take criticism like a man

        unless you care to elaborate on that statement and clarify your point? how exactly is there a ‘woman’s touch’? I’d be curious

        Reply
        1. EK

          Sidhe. Since the article is concerned with radical feminism, the “woman’s touch” comment refers to a radical feminist touch in pairing a white heterosexual male, who are considered the “enemy” by radical feminists, with a black female, who I believe are used, along with trans gender people, as instruments by which radical feminism seeks to further its political goals. If either are criticized, the response then is to charge the critic with racism or transphobia. In military terms, such people might be seen as the infantry, as are the students who picket and protest very visibly. The article was concerned with the generals of radical feminism and their political aims. The woman’s touch comment arose from a sense of dislike I have for such manipulative people, regardless of what gender they may be.

          Reply
  5. Johnnythree

    ‘Speaking of cancel culture, I stopped reading at the misogynistic “You sense a woman’s touch in the rigging of the debate” said Edel not realising she/he… was part of the issue. Why don’t you read it and not be offended? If you read it you’d have realised it was all about people who think just like you, quick to label, snowflake orientation, unable to believe any other opinion matters than your own. Go expose yourself to unpalatable thinking and you will find you get a nice well rounded attitude to life as opposed to shrinking away when the written word does not fit your narrative.

    And they should also put the statues up for lots of reasons. Dr Joseph is a total dose regardless of gender, race, nationality, orientation or qualification.

    Reply
  6. Micko

    I think the main issue (among many) with the identity politics trick that the postmodernists play, is that they focus on a very narrow band of identity markers in order to play ‘the oppression game’

    Usually, race, gender, ethnicity and sex.

    Of course a person can be privileged in many other ways also.

    Attractiveness, wealth, charm etc

    In fact, you could eventually categorise a person by so many separate “privlages”

    Reply
    1. Micko

      …that you end up with an individual again.

      Stephen Hicks has a very good book on it called ‘Explaining postmodernism’

      (Pressed send by accident)

      Reply
    2. Nigel

      That’s not postmodernism. I don’t know what you think postmodernism is, but that’s not it. Playing ‘the opression game’ usually involves talking about parts of history glossed over or hidden altogether, telling stories of the marginaised and minorities that are usually ignored. It is literally a process of expanding your understanding and knowledge of the world and how it works. Would you dimiss the uncovering of the stories of the Magdalene Laundries as an ‘opression game?’ Or the list of ways in which women in Ireand were discriminated against in ireland through the 20th century? They’re the same thing. Exactly the same thing. What does it have to do with these statues? Fecked if I know, haven’t been paying attention, but it’s all too bloody typcal that some stupid gesture gets turned into an Orwellian Apocalypse by fragile idiots.

      Reply
        1. Nigel

          Yeah, when James Joyce reinvented the novel using techniques that would shape both modernism and postmodernism, he was mainly focuings on a very narrow band of identity markers in order to play ‘the oppression game’

          Reply
  7. Jonboy

    Have the Shelbourne even released a statement as to why the statues were removed?
    It seems like cancel culture is being cited as an excuse here, despite no one actually asking for them to be removed.

    Reply
        1. Cian

          I believe the “private property” is also a listed building – which means they need planning permission to remove those statues.

          Reply
          1. Rob_G

            Indeed.

            I’m first and foremost outraged at the notion of a private business riding roughshod over the planning laws willy-nilly.

          2. Mary (Never) Wong

            Yea I’m sure you are Robert A.

            Like that time they tore down the Glen of the Downs to build the N11 through it, or the motorway near the Hill of Tara, you were one of those lads living in the trees I’d say.

          3. Mary (Never) Wong

            Depends smarty-pants on whether they are part of the conserved heritage of the building or not. You can look that up yourself being so good at the oul Google and all.

            I doubt it considering they are like something out of a pound shop.

            Which would also explain why a player like yourself would consider them the epitome of shtyle. Sure you can get them yokes in LIDL.

        2. Johnnythree

          Mary (Never) Wong -‘ Who needs a reason? It’s private property’…. They are part of a protected structure and are for public enjoyment so they won’t be allowed remove them.It’s contravention of planning to do so. So whether the woke brigade like it or not they will be re-instated. What a stupid move by the Shelbourne to take them out in the first place.

          Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            Answered this already johnny. Try not to be so outraged hun, it’s the Bank Holiday now and kids are off school. They don’t want Angry Dad around this weekend. Again.

    1. class wario

      yeah, it’s pretty much as you say it. I love the “we can only assume it was for fear of retribution!” stuff above too. Months after there were actual BLM protests in Dublin.

      Reply
  8. cecil

    Louise Byrne is the worst presenter RTE have ever hired, and that’s saying something

    Ms Ebun Joseph, doesn’t need to prove her point, just throw out allegations, blame the white man, cal the racism card. She even went so far as to make out the the blowing up of Nelson’s pillar was somehow related to black lives matter, and then accuses McDowell of not doing his homework!

    Reply
      1. Mary (Never) Wong

        Fair play to Ebun Joseph for annoying the hell out of Giggidy and everyone here. I suspect the main problem is that no matter what the issue is, an intelligent black foreign woman will be seen as a racist herself for her admittedly stinging point of view, and the people the tide left behind up will all rise up to condemn her ( whereas if it was a reasonable-“looking” person instead would just grumble about her behind her back instead).

        I personally was proud I hadn’t paid the license fee seeing this tabloid nonsense on our main hard hitting news analysis program, though I did think watching Mr MacDowell get a taste of his own hand bagging medicine was enormous fun, and greatly enjoyed seeing how bereft he was at arguing with someone clearly not from the Law Library set.

        Reply
  9. Matt Pilates

    Cancel culture includes removing Irish citienzeship from babies born here because of their parents background. Even TRUMP has not done that.

    Reply
    1. Mary (Never) Wong

      haha that must have been the woman’s touch EK referred to. Good one EK. We are a bit slow this morning

      Reply
  10. curmudgeon

    Ebun Joseph is an absolute disgrace. Her modus operandi is to call everyone and anything racist.

    Every single interview she is given carte blanch to call Ireland racist, despite all it has has done for her and the obvious fact it flipping well isn’t (go ask the black kids you know from school and college, go ask all the new citizens who get a ceremony at the convention centre). She never gives any compelling arguments either just a wail of faux outrage.

    Reply
  11. Mary (Never) Wong

    Fair play to Ebun Joseph for annoying the hell out of everyone here. I suspect the main problem is that no matter what the issue is, an intelligent black foreign woman will be seen as a racist herself for her admittedly stinging point of view, and the people the tide left behind up will all rise up to condemn her ( whereas if it was a reasonable-“looking” person instead would just grumble about her behind her back instead).

    I personally was proud I hadn’t paid the license fee seeing this tabloid nonsense on our main hard hitting news analysis program, though I did think watching Mr MacDowell get a taste of his own hand bagging medicine was enormous fun, and greatly enjoyed seeing how bereft he was at arguing with someone clearly not from the Law Library set.

    Reply
    1. Broadbag

      Watch out everyone, we have a rebel here who tells people she doesn’t pay the license fee, Emily Pankhurst would be so proud.

      If you disagree with Ebun Joseph it’s because she’s not pretty enough, not because she’s a wrong-headed loop the loop? Fantastic stuff, well played!

      Reply
      1. Mary (Never) Wong

        Thanks- that’s Dr Ebun Joseph actually
        I think she should be given her due title

        Now go away. Thanks

        Reply
        1. Broadbag

          My reply is to YOUR OWN POST where you call her ‘Ebun Joseph’, if you weren’t so self-righteous you’d be hilarious.

          I won’t go away, but thanks for the offer. Maybe spend more time checking you’re not being a ginormous hypocrite and less time pontificating on who should be allowed comment on an article on the internet.

          Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            Yes I made a mistake too when first referring to Dr Ebun Joseph. You on the other hand are just being rude and now, also facetious. No-one said you couldn’t comment. You could try though to have respect for the credentials of one of Ireland’s most recognised and innovative academics. Troll harder baby..

        2. Broadbag

          so ”now go away thanks” from yourself isn’t rude?

          and you made the horrendous ‘mistake’ multiple times, not just the first time. So woke you’ve collapsed in on yourself.

          Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            I made it twice in a duo of posts that was practically identical, I included Giggidy in the second one as he is one of my special friends online here. In fact we are ‘in a relationship’. Don’t tell anyone though! He gets very cross when I say that.

            I asked you to go away because you are behaving like a troll who is bullying and harassing me for stating my well-formed and crystal clear opinion. For clarity this is that people who are achievers in life should be duly recognised. Probably an alien concept to someone like you who is yet to fulfil your potential. Trust me on it.

            Later when I owned up to my mistake, I asked you to do the same. So far you’ve refused, out of rudeness, petulance, ignorance or perhaps all three.

            I also thanked you in advance. Please do it this time. Goodbye.

          2. Broadbag

            ”someone like you who is yet to fulfil your potential”

            Erm..okay then! That’s me told.

          3. Clampers Outside

            Broadbag’s school report must been like mine which said.. “Could do better, but can’t be bothered” (no joke… But it still cracks me up)

    1. Mary (Never) Wong

      what the hell do you mean by that question?

      I mean not born in Cavan General

      Joseph was born Ebun Joseph Akpoveta in Nigeria in 1970, first living in Okpe and later Benin City

      Reply
      1. Johnnythree

        Mary (Never) Wong what the hell do you mean by that question?

        I mean exactly what I asked – whats Foreign? Not born here? Not Irish? Not white? Geographical? Societal? Cultural? Its a very un-woke word to use so crassly.
        Would you use non- foreign to describe someone ‘Irish’ who was born here? Would you use non national? I think you got to the party pretty late.

        Reply
          1. Johnnythree

            Mary (Never) Wong Oh ‘Baby’? Erm Ok. Live alone maybe?
            Anyway you might answer my question about the use of foreign instead of trying to deflect from your thin veneer of ‘with it’ commentary. You might apologise to the other posters who rightfully pointed out the errors you made.

          2. Mary (Never) Wong

            Already answered that love. Someone not born in Ireland.
            Still not sure what is the relevance of your questions.
            Bye love.

  12. Mary (Never) Wong

    Bodger that’s Dr Ebun Joseph actually
    I think she should be given her due title
    Please feel free to correct my posts please

    Reply
    1. Broadbag

      Ha! Too little too late. ”Please correct my posts so I don’t have large quantities of egg on my face after giving out to everyone for doing the exact same thing I did”

      Reply
      1. Mary (Never) Wong

        Poor Broadbag. The flatulence does be at him something terrible in the warm weather.
        Notice anything below? When I realised my own error I corrected it.
        What’s your excuse for rudeness?

        Mary (Never) Wong
        July 31, 2020 at 11:33 am
        Bodger that’s Dr Ebun Joseph actually

        Mary (Never) Wong
        July 31, 2020 at 11:30 am
        Fair play to Ebun Joseph

        Reply
        1. Broadbag

          Wow, flatulence! Consider me burned, hard!

          You only corrected your own error after castigating others and then realising you had been a hypocritical dumb-dumb, well done!

          Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            No – wrong again. I corrected you after I had realised my own error.
            You can still tell the time despite the loud borborygmi I take it?

            Mary (Never) Wong
            July 31, 2020 at 11:35 am
            Thanks- that’s Dr Ebun Joseph actually

      1. Nigel

        It’s a fancy way for people to claim the poors and the minorities are censoring them by disagreeing with them.

        Reply
        1. Broadbag

          It’s more than disagreeing though, often they’re trying to end their careers outright in the court of public opinion, sometimes it goes too far.

          Jon Ronson’s ”So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” is a great read/listen on the general subject, even though it came out before the more recent waves of cancel culture.

          Reply
          1. Micko

            +1

            Great book alright.

            Stephen Fry refers to a thing called the “The Oxford Manner”.

            Basically it’s the ability to play with ideas gracefully – without everyone losing their minds and calling each other racist of sexist for playing with hypothetical ideas

            Somthing that is short supply in our culture.

          2. Nigel

            Even Jon Ronson has been at pains to point out that the bad consequences of so-called cancel culture are firstly a function of social media’s tendency to disproportionate uncontrollable responses, not a phenomoenon confined to so-called ‘cancel culture,’ and he currently draws a distinction between what we understand as cancel culture – well-meaning criticism of others that can get out of hand with somethines unfortunate and unfair consequences, versus the targeted, weaponised bad-faith harassment and disinformation of the online right. Cancel culture has been isolated and decontextualised from the overall use of the internet and connectivity to harass and attack and destroy people, when there are examples of far, far worse and more widespread and damaging ‘cancellations’ that have nothing to do with the ‘woke,’ in which, in fact the ‘woke’ are themselves the targets of endless, relentless, horrifying harassment and attack.

          3. Nigel

            Let me supplement this by adding that I am not saying that the right has a monopoly on harassment and disinformation, just that it has weaponised it to an incredible degree, and that gets completely ignored in the discussions on cancel culture. Any form of online discourse is completely vulnerable to malicious and vicious actors of any or no ideology. By focusing on cancel culture to the exclusion of all else, it seems to me that people are using, whether consciously or by default, the pretext of viciousness and harassment, something to which all online and current political and cultural discourse is subjected, to silence minority and marginalised voices, holding them responsible for bad and unfair outcomes over which they have no control other than by remaining silent.

            The vast majority of harassment occurs outside cancel culture. Most people singled out as proponents of cancel culture are themselves subjected to it. I think this has come about through a mixture of calculation, laziness, and actual fear of being targeted by the real vicious and dangerous online mobs.

          4. Broadbag

            @Nigel’s long responses x 2 to my Jon Ronson post:

            interesting, I agree in most part and perhaps should train myself to think of cancel culture from both right and left, rather than exclusively leftist, I do know it’s from both sides but tend to think of it as a leftist weapon (although their cancellings seem to get the most airtime these days).

          5. Nigel

            Thank you Broadbag! Getting the most attention while barely being the tip of the iceberg!

        2. SOQ

          Attempting to get someone fired from their job is a lot more than a disagreement Nigel- it is vindictive bulling- something you agree with of course.

          Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            Lol. This from a guy who wants to know where the Romanian gardener is going on his holidays.

          2. Micko

            Do you believe the world is full of “racist nazis” – really?

            Really?

            We must be living in different worlds so, or maybe that’s my white privilege. ;-)

          3. SOQ

            @ Hairy Mary- Mixing me up with someone else there I think. Anyways- are you going to allow anyone to have a adult conversation on this thread at all without elbowing in?

            @ Nigel- if you think that doxing is acceptable behavior then there is not a lot more to be said. Let me give you an example- Dr Ella Hill- grooming gang survivor- two of her friends doxed by antifia- is she a nazi?

            Really?

          4. Nigel

            Micko – not so full of them as that they can’t be called out whenever they occur.
            SOQ – I’ve no idea. Were the friends Nazis?

          5. Micko

            Fair play to ya

            I’m sure you’ll have the world fixed in no time

            You’re like a cancel culture Captain Planet !

          6. Nigel

            You know what? My Nazi comment was flippant, no more than SOQ deserves in terms of the way he engages in debate. If you want my real thoughts on the issue, go to my 12.47 and 1.30 comments above. Respond to those, or not, and we can keep silly sniping, Whatevs.

          7. Termagant

            Nigel the high horse from which you could be looking down on other people for the way they conduct a discussion bolted a long, long time ago

  13. Micko

    I’d just like to point out and congratulate both Mary and Nigel for waiting an entire 83 posts before bringing up Hilter and the Nazi’s on this thread.

    Well done both – that must have taken some restraint.

    Godwin level – Experienced

    Reply
          1. Mary (Never) Wong

            I wanted to change my name today to Hairy Wing Wang but not sure if BS will allow
            It probably will trigger you CIS-white butch males too much

        1. Mary (Never) Wong

          ‘They’ have been oppressing my free speech rights Clampers
          Editing my comments,
          Toning down my rants,
          Putting words I didn’t actually use under my name, I could go on

          Not to mention not allowing me to freely self-identify in the modern style
          I thought the world’s best online news source was a more inclusive place, I really did.

          Reply
  14. Basque Frog

    I am not sure how a discussion of ‘cancel culture’ degenerated into an anti feminist rant… This is most unfortunate in a writer who can think independently, backing up his claims, very often helping us to see more clearly issues that are muddled in mainstream media.

    References to “the feminists”, “the ideological feminists”, etc, sound like an anthropologist’s field notes after encountering an exotic tribe for the first time (i suggest Monique Wittig’s ‘Les Guerrilleres’; it makes mincemeat of John “Manly-Man” Banville’s pseudo-arty work).

    Statements such as “Third Wave feminism [may be] even intolerant of some outspoken Second Wave feminists”, sound like a work diary entry on some rash-causing powder used on lab mice (i suggest Simone de Beauvoir’s encyclopaedic ‘The Second Sex’ for a truly heroic attempt to write women into science and history; rather than all those commentators of comentators cited to automatically legitimise random claims).

    Talking about ‘Women’s Studies’ as some kind of hatred-incubator and doctrinarian-funnel is absurd, because the hard fought inclusion of women’s history, literature, or art into university curricula was simply about Inclusion and Analysis (I suggest a quick google of the listings of university departments in Europe and the UK to see how those ‘Women’s Studies’ Departments have been utterly demolished in the last 15 years, in an anti-feminist backlash allied to the neoliberal commercialisation of third level education)
    …..
    Feminism = the belief that men and women should have the same rights.
    ……
    Feminists are not a block. And they dont have ‘factions’. We are diverse. There have been currents in the history of feminism, and different periods and countries have focused feminist activism on different areas, as is the case in any other field of knowledge, or experience (I suggest Kate O’Brien’s novel ‘The Land of Spices’ to see how an Irish feminist thinker articulated a contemporary response to De Valera’s ‘gender-sex’ regressive constitution; and ìt is worth pondering why a boy killed by a paedophile in the novel is proudly wearing the suffragette ribbon).
    ……
    Please dont think feminism does not concern you, because you are a man. The legal, social, cultural advantages granted to men mean that men are complicit in perpetuating inequality, and also prevented from developing and expressing themselves freely.

    Gender, the culturally constructed way of distinguishing men and women which we have inherited, affects what we wear, what we eat, what we own, what we earn, how we love, how we speak, what we think. It’s a big deal. It affects everyone. And it’s a political issue. Feminism is the tool that studies how gender operates, in the big picture of social organisation across the globe, and in the little picture of what our umbrellas, our lunches,
    or our CVs look like.

    Feminism should be a key tool in every progressive tool kit.

    Reply
    1. EK

      Basquefrog. I suggest you read the article again. I cited from sources that have a particular view of a strain of radical politics in Third Wave Feminism that the Harper’s letter seemed to be a reaction to. You appear to want the article to be about something else. But it is about what it is about. When you refer to the “culturally constructed way of distinguishing men and women” you are speaking from the doctrine of the ideology I critiqued. An ideology that I and others disagree with. You suggesting that I should learn to subscribe to this ideology and then, presumably, everything would be fine, is badly missing the point.

      Reply
  15. Basque Frog

    I am not sure how a discussion of ‘cancel culture’ degenerated into an anti feminist rant… This is most unfortunate in a writer who can think independently, backing up his claims, very often helping us to see more clearly issues that are muddled in mainstream media.

    References to “the feminists”, “the ideological feminists”, etc, sound like an anthropologist’s field notes after encountering an exotic tribe for the first time — (i suggest Monique Wittig’s ‘Les Guerrilleres’; it makes mincemeat of John “Manly-Man” Banville’s pseudo-arty work).

    Statements such as “Third Wave feminism [may be] even intolerant of some outspoken Second Wave feminists”, sound like a work diary entry on some rash-causing powder used on lab mice — (i suggest Simone de Beauvoir’s encyclopaedic ‘The Second Sex’ for a truly heroic attempt to write women into science and history; rather than all those commentators of comentators cited to automatically legitimise random claims).

    Talking about ‘Women’s Studies’ as some kind of hatred-incubator and doctrinarian-funnel is absurd, because the hard fought inclusion of women’s history, literature, or art into university curricula was simply about Inclusion and Analysis — (I suggest a quick google of the listings of university departments in Europe and the UK to see how those ‘Women’s Studies’ Departments have been utterly demolished in the last 15 years, in an anti-feminist backlash allied to the neoliberal commercialisation of third level education)
    …..
    Feminism = the belief that men and women have the same rights.
    ……
    Feminists are not a block. And they dont have ‘factions’. We are diverse. There have been currents in the history of feminism, and different periods and countries have focused feminist activism on different areas, as is the case in any other field of knowledge, or experience — (I suggest Kate O’Brien’s novel ‘The Land of Spices’ to see how an Irish feminist thinker articulated a contemporary response to De Valera’s ‘gender-sex’ regressive Constitution; and ìt is worth pondering why a boy killed by a paedophile in the novel is proudly wearing the suffragette ribbon).
    ……
    Please dont think feminism does not concern you, because you are a man. The legal, social, cultural advantages granted to men mean that men are complicit in perpetuating inequality, and also prevented from developing and expressing themselves freely.

    Gender, the culturally constructed way of distinguishing men and women which we have inherited, affects what we wear, what we eat, what we own, what we earn, how we love, how we speak, what we think. It’s a big deal. It affects everyone. And it’s a political issue. Feminism is the tool that studies how gender operates, in the big picture of social organisation across the globe, and in the little picture of what our umbrellas, our lunches,
    or our CVs look like.

    Feminism should be a key tool in every progressive tool kit.

    Reply
  16. Basque Frog

    I am not sure how a discussion of ‘cancel culture’ degenerated into an anti feminist rant in Eamonn Kelly’s ‘Moving Statues’ article… This is most unfortunate in a writer who can think independently, backing up his claims, very often helping us to see more clearly issues that are muddled in mainstream media.

    References to “the feminists”, “the ideological feminists”, etc, sound like an anthropologist’s field notes after encountering an exotic tribe for the first time — (i suggest Monique Wittig’s ‘Les Guerrilleres’; it makes mincemeat of John “Manly-Man” Banville’s pseudo-arty work).

    Statements such as “Third Wave feminism [may be] even intolerant of some outspoken Second Wave feminists”, sound like a work diary entry on some rash-causing powder used on lab mice — (i suggest Simone de Beauvoir’s encyclopaedic ‘The Second Sex’ for a truly heroic attempt to write women into science and history; rather than all those commentators of comentators cited to automatically legitimise random claims).

    Talking about ‘Women’s Studies’ as some kind of hatred-incubator and doctrinarian-funnel is absurd, because the hard fought inclusion of women’s history, literature, or art into university curricula was simply about Inclusion and Analysis — (I suggest a quick google of the listings of university departments in Europe and the UK to see how those ‘Women’s Studies’ Departments have been utterly demolished in the last 15 years, in an anti-feminist backlash allied to the neoliberal commercialisation of third level education)
    …..
    Feminism = the belief that men and women have the same rights.
    ……
    Feminists are not a block. And they dont have ‘factions’. We are diverse. There have been currents in the history of feminism, and different periods and countries have focused feminist activism on different areas, as is the case in any other field of knowledge, or experience — (I suggest Kate O’Brien’s novel ‘The Land of Spices’ to see how an Irish feminist thinker articulated a contemporary response to De Valera’s ‘gender-sex’ regressive Constitution; and ìt is worth pondering why a boy killed by a paedophile in the novel is proudly wearing the suffragette ribbon).
    ……
    Please dont think feminism does not concern you, because you are a man. The legal, social, cultural advantages granted to men mean that men are complicit in perpetuating inequality, and also prevented from developing and expressing themselves freely.

    Gender, the culturally constructed way of distinguishing men and women which we have inherited, affects what we wear, what we eat, what we own, what we earn, how we love, how we speak, what we think. It’s a big deal. It affects everyone. And it’s a political issue. Feminism is the tool that studies how gender operates, in the big picture of social organisation across the globe, and in the little picture of what our umbrellas, our lunches,
    or our CVs look like.

    Feminism should be a key tool in every progressive tool kit.

    Reply
  17. Basque Frog

    I am not sure how a discussion of ‘cancel culture’ degenerated into an anti feminist rant in Eamonn Kelly’s ‘Moving Statues’ article… This is most unfortunate in a writer who can think independently, backing up his claims, very often helping us to see more clearly issues that are muddled in mainstream media.

    References to “the feminists”, “the ideological feminists”, etc, sound like an anthropologist’s field notes after encountering an exotic tribe for the first time — (i suggest reading Monique Wittig’s ‘Les Guerrilleres’; it makes mincemeat of John “Manly-Man” Banville’s pseudo-arty work).

    Statements such as “Third Wave feminism [may be] even intolerant of some outspoken Second Wave feminists”, sound like a work diary entry on some rash-causing powder sprinkled on lab mice — (i suggest reading Simone de Beauvoir’s encyclopaedic ‘The Second Sex’ for a truly heroic attempt to write women into science and history; rather than all those commentators of comentators cited to automatically legitimise random claims).

    Talking about ‘Women’s Studies’ as some kind of hatred-incubator and doctrinarian-funnel is absurd, because the hard fought inclusion of women’s history, literature, or art into university curricula was simply about Inclusion and Analysis — (I suggest a quick google search of the listings of university departments in Europe and the UK to see how those ‘Women’s Studies’ Departments have been utterly demolished in the last 15 years, in an anti-feminist backlash allied to the neoliberal commercialisation of third level education)
    …..
    Feminism = the belief that men and women are equal and have the same rights.
    ……
    Feminists are not a block. And they dont have ‘factions’. We are diverse. There have been currents in the history of feminism, and different periods and countries have focused feminist activism on different areas, as is the case in any other field of knowledge, or experience — (I suggest reading Kate O’Brien’s novel ‘The Land of Spices’ to see how an Irish feminist thinker articulated a contemporary response to De Valera’s ‘gender-sex’ regressive Constitution; and ìt is worth pondering why a boy killed by a paedophile in the novel is proudly wearing the suffragette ribbon).
    ……
    Please dont think feminism does not concern you, because you are a man. The legal, social, cultural advantages granted to men mean that men are complicit in perpetuating inequality, and also prevented from developing and expressing themselves freely.

    Gender, the culturally constructed way of distinguishing men and women which we have inherited, affects what we wear, what we eat, what we own, what we earn, how we love, how we speak, what we think. It’s a big deal. It affects everyone. And it’s a political issue.
    Feminism is the tool that studies how gender operates, in the big picture of social organisation across the globe, and in the little picture of what our umbrellas, our lunches, or our CVs look like.

    Feminism should be a key tool in every progressive tool kit.

    Reply

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