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.
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.