How much better would Twitter be without the Toxic Left?
If you’re even a little active on Twitter, the sudden toxicity drop mid-January after the platform removed right-wing QAnon-connected accounts following the Trump-fuelled terrorist attack on Washington was nothing short of breathtaking.
One day, you saw the usual trending hashtags from trolls, cyberbullies, and bots from both ideological sides: #TrumpIsNotWell #TrumpSavesAmerica #TrumpForever #TrumpTrainWreck #Trump2020 #DestroyTrump #TrumpsMyBabyDaddy.
(Okay I made that last one up. Ha ha! No one has sex with Donald Trump anymore!)
The next day, you clicked your Twitter button, and trending topics spanned the sublime to the ridiculous: The latest news on the pandemic and public vaccines progress; politics involving people not named Trump; the never-ending British Royals; vacuous celebrity gossip; some musician’s or band’s latest album or video.
And of course, who’s getting cancelled for petty stupid crap, blown out of proportion mostly by younger generations riddled with depression, stress, anxiety, and dim prospects for their future; and that was before the pandemic. Now they’re forced to stay home, with even more time to take out their hostilities on anyone and anything.
With real villains like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Derek Chauvin, and Jake Angeli in jail, and Donald Trump cowering in Mar-A-Lago, Generation Self-Esteem consoles itself for its unfortunate unspecial averageness by attacking others over perceived slights and insults, desperately seeking a holier-than-thou narcissism supply fix.
As Rowan Atkinson famously described cancel culture, it’s a ‘medieval mob looking for someone to burn.’
After enduring years of criticism for allowing too much fake news, conspiracy theories, disinformation and extremist views, not to mention having enabled the 2016 election to swing to a narcissistic manchild with troubling signs of dementia, social media responded by banning the right’s Great Orange God. Or now, officially, their Golden God.
Twitter banned over 70,000 QAnon-connected accounts, and the next morning, you could almost hear the birds singing and feel the sun shining down on Twitter. Almost.
Then Gina Carano and Chris Harrison got ‘cancelled’ for saying things that upset unemployed children. The grand irony about Carano is she got cancelled for making a ridiculous overblown comparison, of Republicans to Jews in Nazi Germany, by people who committed the same error, with an overblown comparison to Nazis, leaving actual Nazis to wonder, “Which side is ours?”
Harrison’s unforgivable crime? To defend someone whose old photos of her attending an Antebellum South party surfaced.
In the court of self-righteous, ‘social justice’ warriors’ opinion, the fifty shades of grey harm don’t exist. It’s Pass/Fail, and the punishment for failure is career and reputation execution.
For those of us in the Murky Middle, the Toxic Left reminds us that with the worst of the Orange God’s cult banished to the underground, now they were Masters of the Twitterverse.
Twitter makes me feel like a pre-9/11 Afghan caught between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. No matter who’s in charge, it’s going not going to be good.
The good, the bad and the ugly of cancel culture
Cancel culture isn’t all evil. It plays an important role — sometimes — in addressing important grievances like sexual assault and racism. When people are guilty of genuine crimes or put others’ lives in danger, like ‘Karens’ with itchy 911 fingers, cancel culture serves the public interest by removing dangerous people from the public sphere and giving them something else to worry about than black birdwatchers.
Digging up someone’s hidden past is fair game for the same reasons, like with now-notorious celebrity sexual predators. Not so much for ancient grievances not quite on the same level as Bill Cosby. Like going to an Antebellum South party fifteen minutes before white people got ‘woke’ about slavery or being an un-woke mid-twentieth-century movie star like John Wayne.
Wayne was a product of his time; we all are. Many of us will find our views, values, and practices quite ‘unwoke’ for 2071. As for minor grievances like antebellum parties or blackface, sure, they’re offensive and we can call them out but no one needs to lose their job over it. Not even if they do it today.
Not everyone who offends the Toxic Left gets ‘cancelled’. They may get called out and shamed a bit but still keep their job and career. Sometimes, even, public shaming reveals ‘good to know’ information.
Like Armie Hammer’s violent and cannibalistic sexual fantasies. He hasn’t, to anyone’s knowledge, committed any actual crimes but it’s valuable for women to know this about a guy if the information’s available. Not many of us mortals are likely to get asked out by Hammer, but if I was a female celebrity with a brain and concern for my personal safety, I’d want to know.
Female celebrities don’t always draw warnings from important celebrity public service announcements, but whatever. Ya makes yer choices.