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It may be the curse of my advanced age, but for about a month I have been inundated with complaints about cancel culture from otherwise allegedly liberal, Democratic social and business acquaintances. I actually broke up a dinner party recently refusing to listen to another word about the tragedy of losing Huckleberry Finn. Has something changed to make it worse lately? I'm going to wind up in a monastic cell somewhere. Thank you Jessica.

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I used to listen to Jian Ghomeshi on CBC radio most days, either driving to work or the repeat when coming home. He had a lovely voice for radio and a sympathetic manner. I trusted him. I was out of Canada on vacation when the shit hit the fan. He wasn’t denying his behaviour just denying that punching woman was wrong because that was the kind of sex they liked and should expect. When I was back driving to work, I couldn’t even listen to CBC anymore. I felt betrayed. That he lost his job did not bother me. I suppose they could say I was cancelling but isn’t it my right to decide as a consumer or a business owner how I invest my time or money? We have had too many examples lately of entitled people who believe they are above the law and don’t have to face the consequences of their behaviour.

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

As countless people have stated before:

All those public figures claiming they can't say anything anymore these days, have no problem at all finding newspapers, magazines and TV shows that invite them to do their moaning at great length.

Anyway, almost all this moaning is indeed about privilege and accountability; they want to have all of the first and none of the later.

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Right! Like, I have been silenced and I'm going to tell you about it on Fox News lol

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Re: apologies... I generally haaaate podcasts, but there is a great podcast between Harriet Lerner and Brene Brown on what heartfelt apologies are / look like, and how to do them (link at end for the curious). Among the nine inclusions it suggests are "includes an offer of reparation or restitution that fits the situation" and "shouldn't be offered to make you feel better if it risks making the hurt party feel worse."

I think you are totally right that we have not yet seen any apologies for harassment, assault, racism, etc. that meet even those two (of nine) standards.

And I love when they talk more about 'making amends' - Dr. Lerner gives the example of borrowing and losing someone's scarf: "If I borrow your scarf and I lose it, it’s not enough to say, “Brené, I’m really sorry that I lost your scarf.” I mean, obviously, I need to buy you a new scarf or offer to pay for the scarf. And that’s a very simple example."

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/harriet-lerner-and-brene-im-sorry-how-to-apologize-why-it-matters/

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author

Don't apologize, this is great! I am going to listen to it today :) Sounds perfect

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Thank you! This piece really nailed it.

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author

Thanks!!

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

This was spot on. When people doing and saying bad things are held accountable, they cry cancel culture. In most cases, the institutions they work for protect them and it takes a massive effort by the victimized to force accountability to occur.

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

Thanks for swatting that down! A culture of consequences is a good thing. You'd think a scholar of the Gulag would have more perspective.

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

Yes. I'm so tired of jerks complaining about being "cancelled" as if they didn't deserve censure for their galling or criminal behavior. Especially the ones who can quite easily live on what they've accumulated up till their behavior caught up with them, or those whose relevance has expired. Hey, if they want to reform and rebuild themselves, and attempt to make up for what they've done, or at least pay their dues, there are ways, and they don't involve whining about being held accountable.

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author

Right! I keep hearing about these ruined lives meanwhile they're sitting pretty with $$$ and power

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

Escorted from power user to trouble maker… that’s what will happen if you breathe harassment. Eventually escorted out the door. Not pretty or young enough to put with and definitely not one of the cute boys. So, hello unemployment. The toxic nature of corporate America is enough to make a girl crazy. The gaslighting, the under representation, the false HR “we care” guise. It took me 10 months to climb down from the “it must be me, I’m crazy” wall.

This relates only because it’s my personal experience and I am totally writing to the Atlantic to give the FULL perspective not just the sound bite version. Thanks for lighting a fire under my ass!

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author

That's what I'm here for!

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

Thank you!!! I was so disgusted by that Atlantic article, comparing people being held accountable for reprehensible actions is in no way similar to victims of Puritanical extremism. I loved LeVar Burton's comeback to the whining about "cancel culture"-- we are accustomed to such a degree of inequity that certain groups of people are used to total impunity, so simply calling them out and holding them accountable for their actions is seen as persecution. While as you so accurately point out, women and minorities who complain about actual injustices get punished but that somehow is never considered "cancellation". We've reached a point where cancel= code for privileged person being held accountable, and the fact that is a source of such outrage for so many is really telling.

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Oh that's a *great* comeback

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It was one of the most satisfying comebacks I've seen- it was in an interview with Meghan McCain about Dr. Seuss, the look on her face when he said it should instead be called consequence culture and explained exactly why...it was priceless!

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Aug 31, 2021Liked by Jessica Valenti

Yes! And thank you!

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