An allegory in three acts:
SCENE: An elementary school classroom.BULLY is sitting at the desk next to KID. A half dozen pencils lie strewn about the floor around KID’s desk.
BULLY: Throws a pencil at KID. KID looks annoyed, but shakes it off.
BULLY: (Sotto Voce) Hey, kid! (KID looks over as BULLY whips another pencil at him. KID, more annoyed, shakes it off)
BULLY: (Sotto Voce again). Hey, kid!
KID: Tries to ignore BULLY.
BULLY: (Flings pencil, hard . The pencil catches KID in the corner of the eye, and it hurts.
KID: (Jumps up). What’s your problem?
BULLY: Ms. Walburn! Ms. Walburn! The Kid is trying to pick a fight with me!
MS. WALBURN: Kid, you have detention tonight!
BULLY: Ms. Walburn, have I not been warning you about Kid’s propensity to bullying for days, now ?
KID: What the…?
SCENE: In the kitchen of a single-wide trailer. WIFE Is sitting on the floor sobbing. HUSBAND is looking around, apparently making sure nobody saw what just happened.
HUSBAND: Look, you provoked me.
HUSBAND: I mean, OK, hitting was wrong, but you have to admit, the way you badger me about things is emotional abuse. And you know what they way – emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse.
HUSBAND: And you were badgering me. I mean, criminy, we both have big problems, here.
HUSBAND: I mean, since emotional abuse is worse, and you do a lot of it, we’re really still not even even-up, here…
HUSBAND: I mean, you’re lucky I’m willing to call it even. It’s a gift.
SCENE: The United States, today.
BIG LEFT: “Whiteness” is a mental disorder that goes along with merely being white. Whiteness and systemic racism are inseparable.
NORMALS: That’s bulls#it.
BIG LEFT: That’s your privilege, racism, misogyny, transphobia and ethnocentrism talking.
NORMALS: That’s just word salad at best. “Inclusion language” – an arcane code designed to show you’re one of the “good ones” – at worst.
BIG LEFT: What if your employer were to find out about your retrograde thinking? They might not appreciated it.
NORMALS: So you’re going to try to cancel me, now?
BIG LEFT: Pffft. There is no such thing as “cancel culture”.
NORMALS: Sure there is. If we’re mainstream conservatives, and haven’t gone as undercover as a Mossad operative in Tehran, we can’t get jobs in Academia, public education, much of private education, Hollywood, many public employee unions, the news media, a whooole lot of BIg Tech, an increasing number of smaller companies. And if we break cover – or any “evidence” of mainstream conservatism is found, we can get hounded out of our jobs, our hobbies, our volunteer work, deplatformed, and have our personal lives upended as well.
BIG LEFT: Republicans do it too!
NORMALS: So let me get this straight – it doesn’t exist, but Republicans do it too?
BIG LEFT: Evangelical groups picketed LGBTQ bookstores! Gays were oppressed!
NORMALS: OK, so that’s a “yes”. And let’s be clear on this – you go back almost forty years, to very localized episodes, to find behavior that pretty much every significant conservative repudiates today. As opposed to people being barred or drummed out of whole swathes of academia, business and culture. No cancel culture? Please.
BIG LEFT: Nope. There is only “accountability culture”.
NORMALS: “Accountability” for what? Having, much less voicing, utterly mainstream Republican views?
BIG LEFT: For the results of your Privilege and Whiteness!
NORMALS: Privilege – an Orwellian deflection of classist and cultural privilege shared by the left’s “elites” over to race? “Whiteness” – a bit of made-up pseudo-social-science designed entirely to denigrate and invalidate people without needing to engage in any facts?
BIG LEFT: Sounds like “white fragility” talking…
NORMALS: More word salad, with a siding of making facts up as you go along.
BIG LEFT: Here’s the only “fact” you need: January 6! The worst act of terrorism in American history!
NORMALS: Leaving aside the fact that it’s far from the only partisan violence at the seat of American democracy, January 6 was something that every significant conservative repudiated. But you keep on trying to apply it to everyone you disagree with, as if it gives The Left a permanent intellectual get out of jail free card.
BIG LEFT: Bet you wouldn’t be talking so big if you had a bunch of protesters in front of your house, would you? It’d be a shame if something…broke.
NORMALS: Go ahead. Make my day.
BIG LEFT: It’s a threat! It’s a threat! Behold the wave of white supremacist terror we’ve been warning you about for the past fifteen years!