What is Cancel Culture and who gets to define it?

Betty BeanKnox Scene

If Republicans seize control of Santa’s Naughty or Nice list between now and Christmas, gun-grabbers and socialists and ANTIFA and RINOs needn’t bother to hang any stockings. And the Cancel Culture crowd shouldn’t be counting on any sugar plums, either. MAGA Santa hates him some Cancel Culture.


But what the heck is it? I get the Republican distaste for gun control and commies and anarchists and Liz Cheney, but Cancel Culture is a shapeshifting chimera that defies precise definition – that, or it’s just another piece of Trumpian hypocrisy.

Merriam-Webster tried to nail it down in January 2021:

Cancel is getting a new use. Canceling and cancel culture have to do with the removing of support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions. This can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.”

So, the term Cancel Culture has a very selectively applied definition that seeks to protect right-wing talk show hosts like Alex Jones, loose-lipped country music stars like Hank Williams Jr. and ex-presidents who get themselves banned on social media platforms for failing to incorporate even the slightest nod to verisimilitude in their musings.

And it offers no quarter to the likes of Colin Kaepernick or the 1619 Project or the parents of medically fragile children who want their kids to be safe at school or anyone who is transgender, or medical professionals like Dr. Martha Buchanan, the soon-to-be-ex Knox County Public Health officer who isn’t saying how many threats she got for trying to keep Knox Countians safe from Covid.

On a high-profile scale, you need look no further than Nashville to find the most egregious show biz example of proto-Cancel Culture hypocrisy. Remember the Dixie Chicks? The trio from Texas got started in 1989 and had become massively popular until 2003 when lead singer Natalie Maines, stepped to the front during a London concert and trashed President George W. Bush and the war he rode in on.

“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

The crowd cheered. A bandmate stepped up and offered a caveat:

“But you know we’re behind the troops 100 percent.”

Nobody paid much attention to that part.

In addition to getting a hail of insults and even death threats from country music fans, the Dixie Chicks got boycotted and banned and dropped from radio playlists all over the USA. They’re making a modest comeback and have dropped “Dixie” from their name, and they’ve been shored up after being defended by the likes of Taylor Swift, and of course G.W. Bush has fallen out of favor for criticizing Trump, but the Chicks have never regained their pre-Iraq War popularity.

But meanwhile, another Bush-era target of the Cancel Culture crowd weathered the storm without a hitch. Remember, back before Trump told them the Iraq war was bad, how Republicans were so ticked at France for not contributing troops to the hunt for Saddam Hussein that they attempted to re-name French fries?

“I’ll have six Cheese Krystals and two orders of Freedom Fries,” said nobody, ever.

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.

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