Radio show on Cancel Culture at 10 a.m. EST

July 20, 2020 • 8:40 am

As I write this, in about 20 minutes a syndicated discussion about “cancel culture” will be played on some NPR stations. I quote reader Doug, who reported it to me (his words are indented and the show’s description doubly indented):

Just wanted to let you know of an upcoming nationally syndicated radio talk show discussion Cancel Culture today around 10 am EST.  The tagline I heard on the radio this morning was something like “Are too many voices and ideas stifled by “cancelation?” Or is this long-overdue?”
WAMU’s 1A is short for “The First Amendment”.   The show is hosted here in Washington DC but is nationally syndicated on NPR.  Let’s see if this show lives up to its name and honors the  spirit of free speech.
Here is the lead-in for the show:

Spend even a little time on social media and you’re likely to come across someone mentioning “canceling” someone, or lamenting being “canceled,” or railing against the concept of “cancel culture.”

At its core, when someone is “canceled,” it means a withdrawal of support for perceived wrongdoing. Naturally, the highest-profile cases usually involve people who are well-known.

But some celebrities, media members, analysts and writers feel as though this culture has gotten out of control. Some think that now anyone who expresses an unpopular opinion will be the subject of an online mob declaring them over.

A group of professors, authors, television personalities and other thought leaders recently signed a letter published by Harper’s. The text decried “calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought,” and addressed what the signatories considered the degradation of free and open debate.

The letter drew immediate backlash. Critics pointed out that its signatories were people in positions of power, with a platform. They added that the comments or behaviors for which they had been canceled for could cause harm. In many cases, they said, these figures hadn’t been cancelled, they simply didn’t like public criticism and its consequences.

Are too many voices and ideas stifled by “cancelation?” Or is this a long-overdue movement calling out the powerful?

Looks like they are focusing on those in power.  I do hope they give a fair representation of all sides but I am not optimistic.  The last show I heard on 1A seemed very one sided.  It was about people who suffer from extreme sensitivity to chemicals which the medical industry doesn’t acknowledge as a disease.  EMF sensitivity was also raised. I listened to nearly the entire show and I did not hear a single scientist or any discussion of the studies looking into the science behind the symptoms. It was a disheartening show that left me without any actual understanding of the issue.  Years ago on this same radio station I heard the physicist Bob Park discuss EMF sensitivity pseudoscience.  I guess things have changed.
Here are the scheduled guests, with “Perdue” university misspelled. It doesn’t teach about chicken!

Faithe Day. CLIR post-doctoral fellow in African American data curation, Perdue University

Gabe Schneider, Washington correspondent, MinnPost

Thomas Chatterton Williams, columnist, Harper’s Magazine

Where can you listen? If you want to hear the WAMU show, go here and click the blue “LIVE” button at the top. Doug adds, ” For those listening on a mobile phone I recommend using the NPR app.  There is a listen live tab and you can search for WAMU (or your local station assuming it airs it live).  I assume there is an android version as well.”

The syndication schedule for this discussion on other NPR stations can be found here.

7 thoughts on “Radio show on Cancel Culture at 10 a.m. EST

  1. I listened to the conversation for quite a bit. About as long as I could take. The fellow did a pretty good job of explaining how dangerous this CC is and gave us plenty of examples. The other fellow seemed to not even hear it and repeatedly seem to ask for more specific examples. He even sounded like your typical CC or woke individual.

    A very clear point which I agree with is that the social media is the tool that makes all of this happen big time. Unless people understand this or even believe it, I do not see much hope. We will continue to eat people alive on line for our own satisfaction I guess.

    1. After listening to the interview I was fulminating over it all day. The Woke trotted out every talking point they had; I’ve heard it all before. But in the end to my thinking it comes down to this:
      The instrument that the Woke deploy when canceling is in effect a “Twitter rampage”, and we all know how mindless and headless that is. This instrument is incapable of being mounted a limited campaign that is appropriate to a real or accidental offense. It is incapable of differentiating between the powerful, who can weather the storm, and the non-powerful and innocent, who cannot well survive it.
      But the Woke — or at least the various opponents of “the letter” — just don’t or won’t measure the real damage they have done. They only see their instrument as a tool of justice, swinging against the powerful and the truly racist or misogynistic or anti-trans. They don’t see or care about the wide collateral damage that has also been caused by their stupid, mindless, and thoughtless instrument.

  2. The NYT ran an anti-cancel piece by op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg yesterday (Sunday):

    Today (Monday) the main real-estate on the left editorial page was taken up by columnist Roger Cohen’s defense of enlightenment principles, which ended with “The words that issued from Paris and Philadelphia between 1776 and 1791 have served the cause of freedom, even if they were the product of minds and cultures foreign to the Great Awokening of recent years, whose own chief flaw may prove to be self-righteous intolerance.”

    Yesterday, a long, searching and critical profile of racial sensitivity training ran in the NY Times Magazine:

    I am glad to see these counter-examples to a narrative that the NY Times is dogmatically “woke.” I also remain hopeful that a dialectic between the worldviews and values of the enlightenment and wokeness is possible and might prove fruitful. I am not “woke,” and I found some of the statements by the trainers in the latter profile to be horrifying dead-ends, but I am listening.

  3. This morning NPR’s “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep interviewed John McWhorter. Inskeep’s last statement was to-the-effect that McWhorter’s was “one view” on white fragility.

    As if there were any listeners who could not independently comprehend that McWhorter’s constituted “one view.” Inskeep was no less obligated to say that Diengelo’s constituted “one view.”

  4. I listened to the episode while driving out to a local park. Lots to parse. There were two guests who were opposed to the letter, and Thomas Williams, who I take to be one of the authors of ‘the letter’. The moderator did a decent job letting all guests have their voice, but it was two against one. I thought Williams did a good job, emphasizing how CC includes attacks on the regular people who are really damaged by it, and on the devastating attacks on the innocent. But the other side did not seem able to absorb that.

    The male opponent kept making annoying scoffing sounds, with a voice fairly dripping with suppressed sarcasm. He kept saying how the rebuttals were offensive or insulting.

    Once again I did a lot of yelling at my poor radio while listening to NPR. I will make it up to it later by playing some AM radio.

  5. The guy arguing in favor of cancel culture, Gabe Schneider, starts out with: The letter is too vague. No specifics.

    And, when Chatterton Williams gives specific incidents, the Schneider says, I don’t want to talk about isolated events. I’ve seen no data indicating this is wide-spread.

    So, flat denial.

    While, at the same time, saying it’s a legitimate tool for the “people without a voice”.

    Well, does it not exist (except very limited isolated cases) or is it a legitimate tool that anyone who “has no voice” should be able to use against anyone whose ideas (or clumsy error) they find offensive?

    There’s no balancing here (how has this person behaved in general. Is this a fluke or a pattern? Is there another interpretation?); rather, if you sin (against the woke standards, as they shift by the day) then you are damned, full stop. Forever. And your life is summed up as your worst possible moment.

    Yeah, that’s a way to work towards an open, egalitarian society.

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