Think Cancel Culture Doesn’t Exist? My Own ‘Lived Experience’ Says Otherwise
written by Colin Wright

Given the moral authority that many progressives assign to the lessons of “lived experience,” it seems counterintuitive that they are the ones now strenuously downplaying the scourge of cancel culture. No less a progressive icon than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently brushed off the phenomenon as just a bunch of entitled people being “challenged” and “held accountable” for their problematic views. New York Times columnist Charles Blow believes cancel culture doesn’t even exist, except to the extent it’s simply a desirable by-product of grass-roots activism:

A common theme is that the faux-victims complaining about cancel culture are high-profile cynics, playing the martyr for the benefit of clicks and fans. Ocasio-Cortez describes the complainants as people who “get their thoughts published and amplified in major outlets,” while Blow tells us that “the rich and powerful are just upset that the masses can now organize their dissent.” It’s hard not to see this as a rhetorical shell game. If canceled individuals fade into obscurity, we never hear their stories. But if they do manage to get their story out to the media, they’re dismissed as pampered pundits. By means of this damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t logic, cancel-culture Truthers can pretend away the existence of thousands of victims.

Of course, it’s absolutely true that wealthy cancel-culture targets such as J. K. Rowling get enormous attention. But that’s not just because of their wealth and fame: It’s because their stories act as a stand-in for the many other, more obscure, figures who’ve been mobbed in the press, on campuses, on social-media forums, and in arts and literary subcultures. The vast majority of cancel culture’s victims are people you’ve never heard of, who don’t have the means to fight back, or who have learned to keep quiet so they don’t lose whatever reputation or job security they still have.

I know, because I was once one of them.