Just to recap what I mentioned yesterday. A college football coach, while on a family fishing trip, was photographed wearing an OAN T-shirt. A CBS Sports writer saw the picture and blasted it far and wide. Naturally the online “Cancel Culture” mob descended. And yesterday, in an effort no doubt to save his job, the coach in question posted a one-minute groveling apology video on Twitter.
After seeing the video, Australian conservative Rita Panahi made this astute observation.
I think she’s spot-on. The Cancel Culture and the Coward Culture are symbiotic. One cannot exist without the other — sine qua non.
Though they may not mean to, those from the Coward Culture fuel the insatiable mob that seeks to destroy people. Once a scalp is taken, not only will the appeaser not be forgiven, the mob is further emboldened to seek out another scalp.
But the Coward Culture doesn’t just consist of those who back down and issue a groveling apology. That’s only part of it.
The greater part of the Coward Culture consists of those who, when one of their own is targeted, take a giant step backward in order to avoid any fallout splashing onto them. So fearful are they of getting smeared by proximity, they distance themselves from the target of the Cancel Culture.
Rather than speak up and defend the targeted, they cower at a distance, or worse, they offer up disclaimers pledging that this offending target does not reflect their own beliefs or values.
This segment of the Coward Culture is more than happy to look the other way and leave someone twisting in the wind.
Or, for the utterly cowed among them, they gutlessly join in on the attacks.
The most telling example of this was in January 2019 when a Catholic high school boy was targeted by the Cancel Culture for smiling and wearing a MAGA hat while an asshole banged a drum in his face. The news media, Hollywood, even some Democrat politicians attacked and smeared this boy. He received death threats – as did his classmates and his school. And members of the Coward Culture on the Right joined in the pig-pile and attacked the kid as well – no doubt hoping the Cancel Culture mob would devour them last.
They’re like the Hebrew slaves painting lamb’s blood on their doorpost in hopes the Angel of Death passes over them on the way to its next target.
I get it. I do. Nobody wants to be the target of a hateful mob – not when the present day mob is willing to not only attack a target online, but seek out the target’s employer, business associates, family, and friends to bully and threaten them as well.
Defending someone from a mob that often consists of the corporate news media, Hollywood, social media and activists groups is daunting. It is so much easier to keep your head down and look the other way.
On top of that, we’ve become a voyeuristic culture. Why rush to defend someone getting beaten up in the street when you can pull out your smart phone and film it instead? That way, you can post it to your social media accounts and express your outrage over what happened without having to get into the fray yourself.
Back in 2019, I did a satirical version of the Good Samaritan with that very dynamic in mind.
Every time I see a video like that on Twitter my first thought, my only thought really, is “For God’s sake put down your damn phone and help him!”
The Cancel Culture mob is no different than a group of thugs attacking someone on the street. They know the Coward Culture will hang back and watch rather than step in and fight back. Plus, since this kind of mob attack isn’t happening right in front of you, it is much easier to absolve yourself of any responsibility to act.
Back in the late eighties, I and some friends went to see a production of “The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs” – a play about a South African judge who was jailed for his involvement in the anti-Apartheid movement.
Before the play began, in order to get the audience in the right frame of mind, they had white male actors dressed as police who patrolled the theater, and African American actresses who were trying to sneak in while avoiding “police” detection.
One of the actresses who snuck into the theater ducked behind our row of seats and begged us to hide her. We held up our programs and bunched together to keep her from view. But she was spotted.
The “policeman” who found her grabbed her arm and tried to drag her away. She, of course, began fighting him and screaming. On one level, I knew it was theater. I knew they were actors. But it upset me so much, I twisted out of my seat, grabbed the “policeman” around the leg and wouldn’t let go. So as he dragged her, I was getting dragged along as well.
My friends, stunned by my reaction, started pulling me off the guy. One of them stuck her face by my ear and yelled, “Let go! Diann! They’re actors! They’re just actors!” Finally, I relinquished my grip and let the “policeman” drag the woman away.
Everyone else in the theater had no problem simply letting the “policemen” drag away their targets. Now, in this particular case, I’m sure it’s because they all understood that it was play-acting. On some level, I did too. But even knowing that it wasn’t real, I couldn’t bring myself to just sit there and let it happen.
Now, I don’t share this because I think I’m some kind of hero. I’m not. Nor do I think I’m particularly brave. But all of us, as humans, have this “fight or flight” instinct in us. There are times when we can’t just sit by and do nothing. I share this story because there are times, as Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer once said, “I feel the need for some vigorous doing.”
But lately, it looks like far too many have disabled the “fight” portion of this instinct and rely exclusively on “flight.”
We don’t want to get involved.
We don’t want to find ourselves sucked into the vortex that the Cancel Culture creates.
So we stand back comforting ourselves by saying, “Well, not to do with me.”
Even many who supported Donald Trump in 2016 because “he fights back” aren’t willing to fight back when Cancel Culture targets one of their own.
Even those who, for years, complained bitterly at how the Republicans are too quick to surrender to the virulent Left, watch from the sidelines and do nothing as the virulent Cancel Culture claims another victim.
Sure, they might be begging for a fighter, but too few of us are willing to step up and fill that role.
No doubt a lot of those in the Coward Culture will mock this football coach for his groveling apology. We’re voyeurs, after all. They’ll smugly say, “Never apologize to the mob” while they do nothing to defend those targeted by the mob.
Is it any wonder that Cancel Culture has had free rein for so many years?
It is any wonder it’s only getting worse?
Panahi is right. The Cancel Culture would die if not for the Coward Culture permanently stuck on “flight” while it passively feeds the beast.
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