That’s What Cancel Culture Is

Controversy that followed race-baiting by cartoonist Scott Adams that led to the cancellation of the iconic comic strip “Dilbert” included numerous people denying the meaning of words and terms involved. Those who were angry and wanted action against him. But they didn’t want to be seen as taking action.

7 Comments. Leave new

  • I like the depiction of the mob – it nicely captures their nonchalance about their own violent methods being sanctioned by whatever the perceived sleight was.

    However I’m confused about the use of the term censorship in panel #2, perhaps someone could explain this to me?

    In their manufacturing consent Herman and Chomsky define censorship as referring to brutal methods of suppression. They deliberately set this against more subtle methods – the set of practices alluded to in panel #2 – which they described as filters to account for media bias.

    In a nutshell, the Soviets did not run dissident letters to the editor of Pravda – that was establishment media bias. The Soviet Union also censored dissidents by banning their books and deporting them.

    I recognize that many people such as Matt Taibbi are now using the term “censorship” to instead refer to the softer practices as well.

    This is particularly current now as big tech has been trying to re-establish those filters in internet channels from Twitter and wikipedia to podcasts – especially the “credentialism” filter.

    I still prefer to use censorship in the Herman and Chomsky way – but perhaps I am missing something?

    • I use the dictionary definition. Censorship definitely applies to “softer” editorial decision-making that excludes content.

    • News is what someone (frequently a powerful someone whose decisions are adversely consequential to the many) doesn’t want to be seen.

      All else is advertising.

      The fact that Russia was provoked is contrary to pro-war advertising.

      “Not-see-ism” is censorship.

      • Look, I know I may come across as nitpicky.

        My point is that if we use “censorship” this way now, everybody and their nephew can correctly claim that they are censored because their pet opinion does not get traction.

        If the LA Times were somewhat sane they would have simply dropped Ted’s work.

        But they had to smear him.

        My point is that Ted can now go and say “I was actively smeared” which in my book is much more than merely “The LA Times is not picking up my cartoons”. “Google Search is downranking my site” and “Twitter is visibility filtering me” probably fall in between. (They don’t pretend to be News organizations).

        They are trying to avoid blatant censorship – their ideal workforce learns to self-censor, which is pretty bad but not the same thing.

        I want us to be able to make those distinctions.

        Talking to the proverbial person on the street all this inflationary talk of “censoring” seems whiny and unclear. I don’t think it connects.

        I looked at several dictionary definitions and I take them to mean acts such as removing physical copies of books or magazines. Perhaps we should reserve the term for stuff like this.

  • Huh-what? This isn’t complicated. It’s censorship if:
    * You are in possession of truthful information that is important to a critical mass of people
    * You have the avenues to disemminate said information to those people
    * You deliberately choose not to because of a personal agenda

    • Ok, so let’s say you research and submit a story about trains not exploding regularly in most countries. Or about the death toll of a war that is not covered (Ethiopia) or about the death toll of the war that is covered 24/7 but in a way that does not follow the establishment line. How about a story about sanctions as a form of economic warfare that cites Marxist rather than Harvard economists?

      You are unlikely to get much traction with any of these stories in most of what remains of the US press.

      Instead they will likely run a story about that they took away 90 cats from a local woman who are now placed in shelters. This story explicitly talks about cats so the algorithm can place cat food ads in the story for 0.50$.

      Needless to say, the algorithm did not like any of your stories which you likely regard as truthful (most “experts” would disagree) and important to peoples’ lives (again most “experts” who look down on the masses would disagree).

      Was this process of elimination “deliberate”?

      I think there is merit to call it censorship when Bezos stomps in the WaPo control room to spike a story.

      As opposed to the mainstream mills churning out crap because of an acquired distaste for stories which do not pay well nor advance one’s career. The left used to call this “gatekeeping”, “bias”, and, indeed, “filtering”.

      How about all those people who are pushing stories about chemtrails, covid being a hoax and/or a Chinese weapon and/or harmless if one follows traditional Germanic herb-lore, lizards being in charge, great reset and/or replacement …

      Are they all being censored?

      Is this language serving anyone?

      • “Is this language serving anyone?”

        Language is a bad deal.

        I always remember that no matter how convincing, anyone can say anything to any purpose.

        And truth is cheap while fortunes are made in the bad fact invention industry.

        Without thought it’s possible that almost anything can and will look true to someone.

        And in the absence of capable thinkers it’s even worse.

        It’s hard to get to truth from mere words without an exploration of the external physical reality that our primitive brains try to assemble from their inventions known as facts.

        I could try to make this more clear but its likely only to become more of a mere muddle. You know, the tyranny of background assumptions.

You must be logged in to post a comment.