One of domestic abusers most insidious forms of brainwashing is telling, and eventually convincing, their partners that the abuse is partly, or all, their own fault. “You provoked me”. “You shouldn’t have said __“. “You’re as much to blame as me. Maybe more”.
We’ll come back to that.
Years ago, I was at an event – political convention, election night coverage, something along those lines , in my capacity as a blogger and talk show host. I was hobnobbing with Big Minnesota Media.
As I was walking back from a concession stand, one of the Big Media people, someone who doesn’t have a byline or get seen on camera, walked up to me, and furtively whispered “Hey – PLEASE don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of you guys’s show. I’m a conservative. But I gotta keep it quiet. Anyway, keep up the good work”.
And then, as suddenly as the exchange began, it ended. The person peeled away and went back to work, making sure not to be seen talking to me. I felt like a Western reporter in East Berlin or Warsaw, in the seventies, getting a furtive, samizdat message from a covert dissident who was on the lookout for the Stasi or ZOMO.
This person – a successful media professional – was worried about being “canceled”. For being a conservative.
This was years ago – long before “Cancel Culture” was a term.
Last week, Erin Maye Quade, a former state rep and Lieutenant Governor candidate, tweeted this:
We covered this last week.
“People who rail against “cancel culture” are actually just upset about a culture of consequences.”
Is this just an isolated example of a person with an invincible sense of Urban Progressive Privilege #progsplaining people (“actually…”) to accept some premise that flies directly in the face of what they see with their own eyes?
A few weeks back, “progressive” theology site Patheos posted this article: “No, You’re Not Being Canceled Because You’re Conservative“
The article makes one plausible but misguided point – “conservatives and Christians do it too” – using the examples of John McCain (who got attacked for bucking conservative orthodoxy, and got a political response from people in a political party that has political stances they argue about – seeing a theme, yet?), and the Dixie Chicks (an example they undercut later in the piece). Nothing about non-political people losing non -political jobs, oddly enough.
The other points are worse.
The author posits “Either you’re for the free market or you’re not” – thereby cutting his own “Dixie Chicks” argument off at the knees. And he finishes with a slightly more elegant version of Maye Quade’s bit of #progsplaining – “the stuff you’re being canceled over is neither Christian nor Conservative”, holding that everyone that’s been “canceled” has gotten it because they peddle QAnon theories or are Kloset Klansmen.
And the author doesn’t even address the notion that dishing out consequences to a person’s personal and vocational life over political differences is appropriate “consequences” for any mainstream political view. Indeed, the Patheos article makes the “hear no evil / see no evil / speak no evil” monkey face and ignores the real issue entirely. To this “progressive” Christian author, it’s a non issue.
Which must’ve come as news to the conservative professors, and in the past 20 years teachers and school administrators who’ve been hounded into silence, or out of academia, as a “consequence” of having a considered worldview based on Friedman rather than Alinsky.
Or to the conservative students who are bullied into silence or exile as a “consequence” for dissenting from academia’s oppressive leftist slant.
Or the actors, artists, journalists and other soft-skills professionals and craftspeople who worry, legitimately, about the “consequences” to their career of being “outed”. Like the person in my story at the top of this piece. They worried about being slandered, pilloried and ousted from a decent job in their field, for *being a mainstream Republican and conservative” , albeit not even an activist – something that wasn’t considered “thoughtcrime” 20 years earlier, when that person entered the field.
Or Gina Carano, whose views leading to her defenestration from Disney have been misrepresented by the Left’s noise machine to the point of slander. Carano did *not* say Republicans today were like the Jews of the 1930s. She said – quite correctly – that tyrants succeed by turning neighbor against neighbor. That is Totalitarianism 101 , a point made in fiction by Orwell and in history by Solzhenitzyn, among many others.
I get some flak for my blog and my show – the occasional demented stalker, no big deal. But I’ve also gotten harassed by ex-co-workers who learned about my alter ego life . And there’ve been two jobs in the past ten years where managers with highly progressive views that they were (significantly) unafraid to espouse in the office gave off muted but pointed indications that my contracts were ending because while my work was just fine, even superlative, my views – which they had had to expend some significant effort to find, since not even a whiff of them came out in the office – were not.
So yes – “cancel” culture is about consequences. In most cases, consequences for principled, but not infrequently silent, dissent from a dominant world view.
And the current narrative – from Erin Maye Quade, Patheos, and much of the rest of the dominant culture in media, academia, education and Big Tech – that “you got canceled because you provoked it and have it coming?”
That’s gaslighting. It’s a key tactic of abusers – among many others that have become commonplace weapons in today’s culture war:
Is it any different from the tactics that abusers use to shut their partners up?
 I’m profusely concealing this person’s identity, to this day. Don’t even ask.
 Which I keep scrupulously out of the workplace – literally, I’ve never mentioned my radio or blog lives once over the past 19 years. In that time, I’ve had two people, both fans, ask me “aren’t you the Mitch Berg that’s on the radio”. And my response, every time, is “There IS a Mitch Berg who does that. But he’d never talk about that on company time”. Every single time.
UPDATE: Jenn at Redhead Ranting has a personal take on the whole thing.