At the beginning of the year, I wrote a column about how 2021 needed to be the year that “cancel culture,” a cruel practice whereby people are “canceled” from their careers and ostracized from polite society for daring to utter WrongSpeak, suffered a fiery, painful, earth-shattering death.
It has been on the rise over the last several years, as leftists in academia and beyond have become even more politically correct and uber-sensitive. It’s clear the urge to render kingly judgments upon the masses and cast out supposed “undesirables” has firmly taken root in their collective psyche.
But while cancel culture is unfortunately still thriving, it has also taken a bruising recently courtesy of comedian Dave Chappelle, who had the nerve to speak an inconvenient truth about the differences between men and women during a recent comedy special that aired on Netflix. He also defended “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling after she was targeted by transgender-rights activists for standing her ground in declaring, in so many words, that identifying as a woman did not, in fact, actually make a man into a woman.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my God,” Chappelle, a frequent target of cancel culturalists himself, said. “Effectually she said gender was fact; the trans community got mad as sh**. They started calling her a TERF … I’m team TERF.”
TERF stands for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists” and is a term transgender-rights proponents use to describe feminists who don’t think the trans agenda necessarily overlaps with their own.
“Gender is a fact,” he continued. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact.”
The rest of his commentary used terms about the male and female anatomy that can’t be repeated here, but I think at this point you get the picture of where he was coming from. Predictably, outrage mobs ensued, demanding apologies and for Netflix to “cancel” Chappelle’s special from their line-up. This would, in effect, go a long way towards canceling him, too.
But a funny — and marvelous — thing has happened in the aftermath of the uproar over his controversial remarks.
Chappelle has refused to back down. Netflix hasn’t bowed to the mobs, either, and as of this writing, they say they have no plans to remove his series of comedy specials from their line-up.
Is the tide slowly turning against cancel culturalists? I think so, though it’s a slow process that won’t magically happen overnight. It will take a while to undo the damage they’ve done, to change mindsets, to get people to understand that not every perceived slight is indeed a slight. And even when it is, why not argue against it instead of stomping your feet and trying to shut the person up?
Rowling herself proved you can beat cancel culture, after the firestorm that erupted from her comments, and she continues to be an outspoken advocate for women, offering no olive branches to cancel culture types anywhere.
Chappelle, Rowling, and the British woman she defended in December 2019, Maya Forstater, are in their own ways providing blueprints for how to move forward in the face of intense backlash for stating uncomfortable facts about women’s rights and bodies.
In the case of Forstater, she has not even let a British court’s ruling silence her. She, too, continues speaking out against the hate directed her way, using it as a motivator to keep pushing.
In Rowling’s case, her way of fighting back against cancel culture mobs is by simply ignoring them or mocking them. And though Chappelle’s approach is to basically tell critics to go pound sound (albeit in much stronger terms, if you catch my meaning), he’s shown, too, that not bending the knee to mobs is the best way to respond to them.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.