Writer Meghan Daum Thinks You Need To Toughen Up

"If 2018 was the year that the concept of 'cancel culture' went mainstream, then 2019 may be the year that cancel culture cancels itself."


"If 2018 was the year that the concept of 'cancel culture' went mainstream," writes Meghan Daum near the beginning of The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars (Gallery Books), "then 2019 may be the year that cancel culture cancels itself."

The 49-year-old essayist and novelist writes regularly on feminism, liberalism, and the weaponization of political correctness. In her new book, she contends that "by framing Trumpism as a moral emergency that required an all-hands-on-deck, no-deviation-from-the narrative approach to cultural and political thought…the left has cleared the way for a kind of purity policing—enforced and amplified by social media—that is sure to backfire." The Problem With Everything is her clarion call to chill out and allow people to be more complicated, contradictory, and human.

In October, Daum sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to discuss generational warfare, the proper role of a writer in society, and why in the end she's (at least a little bit) optimistic for the future of American political discourse.

Reason: Your book is a critique of fourth-wave feminism. What does that mean and what's your beef with it?

Daum: I would describe fourth-wave feminism as something social media–based. It has to do with expressions of empowerment and solidarity in terms of memes and hashtags. I started noticing it maybe around 2014, early 2015. It coincided with the issues that were coming up around sexual assault policies on college campuses. But a lot of it was rooted in this idea that we're going to complain a lot about men and punch up at men.

Who's "we," Kemosabe?

These are young women—women in their 20s, women in high school. But a lot of older women and middle-aged women are glomming on to this the way one does if you want to stay with the times. I consider myself a feminist. I have always been a feminist. I'm a liberal—[though] increasingly I'm informed that I am not. But what troubled and interested me was that I had grown up alongside second-wave feminism.

To define our terms: First-wave feminism culminated in the right to vote.

Yeah, suffragists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Second-wave feminism is the postwar stuff: Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem. Third-wave feminism then gets a little bit tougher to define.

Third-wave feminism was actually coined by Rebecca Walker.

The novelist Alice Walker's estranged daughter.

That's right. They'd had a huge falling out over definitions of feminism. You can't get more feminist than becoming estranged from your feminist mother.

So third-wave feminism is like Bitch magazine, it's Alanis Morissette, it's girl power.

It's hard to say. I think it was Rebecca Walker herself who said, "The defining feature of third-wave feminism is that it's impossible to define."

What is now being called fourth-wave—and that's not a term that gets bandied around too much—is this kind of #KillAllMen; [it is also] the columnist Jessica Valenti,* who I quote a couple times throughout the book. She was the founder of Feministing, which was a feminist website. She's actually a Gen Xer, but she's very, very popular among younger millennial/Gen Z feminists.

In the book, you talk about an episode that exemplifies the tensions within fourth-wave feminism, when a writer at Babe came out with a story about Aziz Ansari's date with an anonymous woman. The author of the piece made an attack on Ashleigh Banfield, a Gen X newscaster. Banfield was talking about the story on the air and said, "This is a story about a bad date." And then the writer said, "Go fuck yourself with your bad dye job."

And your burgundy lipstick! Just to back up on that: This was early 2018, I believe. The comedian, Aziz Ansari, had this sort of woke reputation. He would show up on the red carpet with "Time's Up" pins [supporting an anti–sexual harassment organization]. This anonymous piece appeared on this website that nobody had ever heard of, which described a date that this woman had gone on with Aziz Ansari where she felt uncomfortable. It was not entirely clear what had gone on—it definitely did not sound like a fun time, but also not like anything that she couldn't get out of. It didn't ring to my ears as a particularly dangerous situation.

This as-told-to piece went viral. That was the moment the generational lines just split down the middle. The reaction from younger feminists was, "Oh my gosh, he is a terrible person. This is unacceptable. This is toxic masculinity. If you're in a sexual situation and he makes you feel uncomfortable, then that is on the rape spectrum in some way."

Older women were kind of like, "Whoa." The record scratched. "We're having serious discussions around people like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, and suddenly, you're putting this in the same category?" That was really a flashpoint because suddenly the two generations were not understanding each other.

You started writing the book before the 2016 election, expecting Hillary Clinton to win. What was the book you would've written had that happened?

I was going to write a contained, discrete book. The concept was "you are not a badass." There were these expressions in third-wave feminism, like, "Oh, you wake up every morning and face down the patriarchy. You're so under the thumb of this oppression that just paying your rent on time and showing up to work makes you a badass. It's so difficult to be a woman." I just thought it was strange because, as a Gen Xer, I had grown up in the '70s and '80s never having any concept that I was anything but equal to boys. In fact, most girls were better than boys. They were doing better in school.

There was not a sitcom that didn't have an episode where the girls beat the boys—The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Facts of Life.

There was something about growing up in the '70s. It was a much more androgynous period. You didn't have the extreme girliness, the blue toy aisle and the pink toy aisle.

So you were going to write about feminism, but then it became a Gen X memoir. Talk a bit about what you're calling attention to as somebody raised during the '70s and '80s. This was an era of David Bowie and Twiggy kind of being the same, or David Bowie and Patti Smith.

Patti Smith.

She was not really a tough broad, because she was female but androgynous as well.

Yeah. Even people like Chrissie Hynde [of The Pretenders]—there was just an aesthetic. Then suddenly the premise of feminism was that women were somehow weaker, or being weakened by men. Assuming that Hillary Clinton was going to be the president, I said, "OK. Let me just take a hammer to all of this. I'm going to do some sort of manifesto: Women, get your acts together. We have a woman in the White House. Let's move on." That didn't happen.

And it's not just that Clinton lost, it's that she lost to the return of the repressor. Donald Trump is a…he's not even like a '50s man. He's not a Leave It to Beaver father.

No, he's a cartoon villain.

He's a Harvey Weinstein.

He's like the Frankenstein of all toxic masculinity. So I had to open up the book. Ultimately, I thought that there was something much subtler and more important going on. I wanted to talk about this ethos of social justice and how the extreme right and the extreme left were almost meeting—horseshoe theory. But it was really abstract, and hard to get a handle on. So I realized that I needed to frame the book around my own coming of age as a person, as a woman, as a feminist, and also [as someone who's] getting older as a Gen Xer.

So you wanted to write about feminism in a world where we have a female president, and then Trump was elected. The subtitle is My Journey Through the New Culture Wars. Wokeness is one of the cruxes here. It's partly about being sensitive to everybody's identities and issues. But you seem to be framing it as: Gen X, and maybe even boomers, were tough, while millennials and Gen Z are really sensitive.

One of my working theories in the book is that Gen Xers really grew up fetishizing toughness. Our parents went to work, we were latchkey kids, and there was a real pride in making it on your own and taking care of yourself. There was something almost exciting if you broke your arm and went to school in a cast. As we grew older, the sort of '90s Gen X reputation was about aloofness, irony, and detachment.

I wonder if millennials and Gen Z have a similar way of fetishizing fairness. They have grown up with all sorts of messages about inclusivity, and if equality of opportunity should necessarily equal equality of outcome. Those are good ideas, the same way that being tough is a good thing. But maybe we have too much of each.

You've taught at a number of universities, and in the book you talk about conversations with your students. One example is when you have them discuss [the musical] Rent, and then you show them the Team America parody of Rent, done by the South Park guys.

I was a visiting professor in this program at the University of Iowa, so I could not get fired, and there was no point in anyone reporting me to the dean. I was teaching a cultural criticism seminar. And it became frustrating, because I couldn't get through a lot of the material. We would read cultural pieces that seemed anodyne to me—a Mary Gaitskill piece from Harper's from the '90s, and they would think, "There's too much internalized misogyny here." We'd read Christopher Hitchens, and they would have to go to the hospital, practically.

But I taught them an essay by the late David Rakoff, who was a brilliant writer. And he has this wonderful essay about the musical Rent. It was such a huge hit in the mid-'90s. It was the woke art piece of its time.

The woke version of La Bohème. Right?

Well, also, it was about AIDS.

Basically, by the end of the show, every character is infected with HIV—even people who'd never had sex, or people's dogs, or whatever. It was really emblematic of its time, because the public health message around HIV was alarmism. We had to have that in order to get anything done. So I had them look at this essay, and then I had them watch a clip from Rent itself, which really does not hold up very well. They were horrified by the schmaltziness of it. And then in the film Team America: World Police, which is one of these scatological marionette movies done by the South Park [creators], there's a scene where they have to recruit somebody to join this police force of saving the world. One of the people they have to recruit is this actor who is performing in a production of, it's called Lease. So there's this whole big [musical] number called "Everybody Has AIDS." And it's just this totally irreverent send-up of the message around the AIDS crisis.

I, as their 47-year-old professor, played this for them. I really think it's one of the funniest things in existence. I was practically falling out of my chair, practically peeing in my pants. And they just looked at me in utter horror. And I really had to ask myself, "What am I doing this for? Why do I even care? Why do I need to shove this down their throats? Why am I so obsessed with this generational divide and humor and irony? What does it matter if they think this is funny or not?"

If older people fetishize toughness and younger people fetishize wokeness, we need to meet somewhere in the middle, because each has its virtues.

In the book you talk about how during the '70s and '80s, women started [joining the workforce] in administrative and management and supervisory roles, in more or less equal positions to men. Suddenly, there was a moment when as a nation we had ongoing moral and social panics over abducted children. So right at a moment when women are being liberated from the kitchen—

Middle-class and upper-middle-class women, by the way, because poor women had always worked.

But then suddenly, every time we're eating breakfast cereal, we're seeing milk boxes with missing kids. What was going on there?

I just don't think it's any accident that this happened right when you had all these mothers going to work. You're swept up in the '80s, and all the women were putting their Nike running shoes on with their power suits. But then this sort of cross-current came in, saying, "Well, not so fast. You can't leave your kids. They're not safe. You need to go back into the home."

You've got to be playing Mozart to them in the womb and enriching their cribs with scientifically designed mobiles that will make them super geniuses.

And we have [the rise of] 24-hour news. It's not like crime has increased; it's actually gone down. But we're seeing every single thing that happens, and with social media that's exponentially worse. You would think there's a police shooting every five seconds on every block of every city. There became an obsession with safety.

Another thing—I entertained this in a half-baked way, and I think there might really be something here—is when you started being able to tell the sex of the baby in utero, I wonder if that set up a gender binary that became more pronounced than it was before. Babies are brought home to nurseries that have been decorated for boys or girls and parents have unconsciously set up a whole narrative around the child. I wonder if that created extreme gender roles that we just didn't have to deal with in the '70s. And that has perhaps caused the backlash that we're seeing around gender.

The coddling of kids who then are less resilient, and who take every real and perceived slight as a massive wound against their identity—in a way that [goes against what] we were taught in the '70s and '80s, which was like, "Rub some dirt on it, spit on it, and walk it off." Where do you see this all heading?

Well, the short answer is if everybody gets canceled, we can just hit "reset" and start over again. So in a way, I want cancel culture to go on a little bit longer so we can all be canceled. Beyond that, I think people are craving complexity. We're in this moment where we think in memes, we talk in tweets. If you try to make a complicated point, not only is that discouraged but you can also get penalized. If you try to say something like, "Yes, there is a gender wage gap. Let's look at why it might be. Is it because women make certain choices? Why do they make those choices?" People would slap me down as a victim blamer, an internalized misogynist, part of the problem.

On the one hand, we have things like Twitter and meme culture. There's that move toward absolute radical simplicity, where if it doesn't fit on a single panel, forget it. On the other hand, we increasingly see this move toward really long-form [multimedia] journalism. You think of YouTube shows or podcasts that go on for hours—Joe Rogan can have a million people watching or listening to a three-hour podcast. It's a very bizarre world, where the contrasts seem to be extremely stark and growing in many ways.

It's telling that podcasts are so popular. That, increasingly, is the space where you can listen in on private conversations. The most interesting conversations are being held in private, because it's so risky to have them in a public space. So the closest we have are these podcast discussions.

I got hooked on them. A huge part of the book talks about after I got divorced—my husband had really been the person that I talked to about everything. The Problem With Everything refers to the ongoing conversation that we had. He was my intellectual ally. And when I lost that, I turned to podcasts and YouTube conversations.

You wrote in August 2018 about your flirtation with what has become known as the "Intellectual Dark Web" (IDW).

Yeah. So the piece was called "Nuance: A Love Story." I hadn't planned on publishing this as a piece, but suddenly, everybody was talking about the IDW. And I said, "Hey, wait a sec. I knew this band before anybody else knew them."

Which is a very Gen X thing to do. You were bored with them by the time the IDW had signed with a major label.

I hated them before they had a second single. It's a very long piece, and it's really about how I had had this intellectual allyship with my husband. He's also a journalist. We were very amicably divorced. But in my new sort of singleness, in my new kind of aloneness, I became really drawn in to people having nuanced conversations on podcasts and online. At this time, there was an increasing gulf between what I thought—what I actually thought—and what I thought I was supposed to think, when wokeness was emerging and when Trump won the election. A lot of my friends, people I had considered very close who very much aligned with me politically, we started to have some differences that I found surprising and troubling. I started to feel very distanced from them. Loneliness is a lot of what animates this book as well—aging and loneliness.

You say we're all really lonely in a way that we may not have been before. There's sociological data to suggest that we interact less with other people than we might have 20 or 30 years ago. Then you also say—again, this is that contrast—that we know too much about what's going on in each other's lives, because there's not even a confessional dimension but an exhibitionist dimension to social media and the way we live now.

We can get completely caught up in ideas about school shootings or climate change—I don't want to say hysteria, because that sounds diminishing. But there is a sense that we are in a 24-hour emergency. We're in a crisis. If you go on Facebook, people are saying, "Oh, my gosh. I'm having to take antidepressants. I have anxiety. I'm afraid to send my daughter to college because one in four women are raped. The world is going to end in 10 years because of climate change. I'm not going to use any more straws." There's a reward system for carrying on like that, so I see why people do it. They're lonely, so they say it, and other people will echo it. But that just creates a default setting of alarmism that doesn't line up with reality.

There doesn't seem to be as much space for interior thought. Everything is immediate. Everything is public. How do we regain a sense of perspective on urgent (or maybe not-so-urgent) political or external threats? How do we regain a sense of identity rooted in something other than panic?

I think we have to just allow ourselves to be conflicted. That's at the root of this. I always say if you're not conflicted, you're either lying or you're not very smart. When I was a columnist for years, this was my approach: I'm not trying to convince you to come over to my side. I'm inviting the reader to think alongside me as I try to sort things through. So in this book, I'm self-scrutinizing. It's a self-examination. It's not a polemic.

To answer your question, what's missing is a willingness to sit in your own confusion because it's uncomfortable. That's not rewarded, frankly. And I think, again, the role of the writer is to say things that might confuse readers and upset them and [provoke them to] send you hate mail. That's actually the job. What I find astonishing is the amount of people in media who have just decided that they're going to say the obvious, that they're going to make a career out of identifying their audience and giving the audience what that audience expects again and again and again.

People will say things to me in private like, "Oh, well, what I really think is this. It's not quite as simple as what I write, or [what I put on] social media, or whatever. But I would never want to say that." Then why are you in the job? What are we doing here?

To me, what's satisfying about being a writer is being able to say the thing that a lot of people are thinking but are afraid to say, or can't articulate. Otherwise, what's the point? I would much rather be in a band or something.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity. You can listen to the full conversation, and don't forget to subscribe to The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie.

*CORRECTION: The original version of this interview stated that Valenti launched the #KillAllMen hashtag due to an editing error. She did not, nor is she otherwise responsible for that hashtag. (You can see Valenti's reply here on Twitter.) Reason regrets the error.

NEXT: Does the Demise of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Caliphate Vindicate 2014 Rand Paul?

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49 responses to “Meghan Daum Is Done with 'Cancel Culture.' But Is America?

  1. Meghan Daum Is Done with ‘Cancel Culture.’ But Is America?

    In my estimation, yes. Everywhere you look, people are beginning to stop apologizing, fans aren’t putting up with blue checkmark bullshit when it comes to popular culture, movies, video games etc. I get a distinct feeling that woke scolds and cancel culture have overplayed their hand and are on the retreat.

    1. I think you are right. The fact that even Obama is coming out against it is pretty solid evidence that the country has had enough. Whatever you think of Obama as President, anyone who got elected President twice is smart enough to see which way the wind is blowing.

    2. What’s happening on Universities today is always a good indicator of what the zeitgeist will be twenty years from now.
      It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

      1. Maybe. But I am inclined to think that given a choice people will not choose to be miserable woke morons and even if they do being so will get old quickly. I have a feeling there is a backlash coming and this nonsense is going to fade.

        1. I hope your right, but university cancel culture works great for party bosses and corporatist CEOs. Free speech and free markets have always been their bête noire, and they hold all the microphones.

          In addition, today’s university students are tomorrow’s leaders.
          I’m scared that this is just a last gasp before they really lean in on us.

          1. After every revolution, there is the counter-revolution, where things look like they might get back to normal. Trump is a classic counter-revolutionary.

            Unfortunately, the counter-revolution doesn’t last and the counter-counter-revolution is likely to be worse. See France, Russia, and China for examples.

        2. The problem is that miserable woke morons don’t know they’re miserable woke morons. They’ll last a lot longer than you think.

          1. Young people act like they know it all. Often they look back and realize they were wrong when they are older. Hopefully this is how it will play out.

            1. By the time the current young people are old enough to realize that they were wrong, there will be a new crop of young people getting it all wrong.

      2. Ehhhh, I dunno man. There’s a lot of stupid shit people do in college that they don’t necessarily carry over into the real world. I mean, like, how many guys are genuine believers in the cult and how many are trying to ape the motions because they want to bang one or several members of the sorority?

      3. I think that really applies to a narrow segment of the population though. For most, that crap is something they’re immersed in for the first time in college – and for most, once they leave that’s pretty much it.

      4. Of course, there are too many on that conveyor belt. We have to digest it as best we can and hope the damage is limited.

    3. Everywhere you look, people are beginning to stop apologizing

      I don’t see that. I see a handful of uniformly left targets (James Gunn, Chapelle) beginning to establish a leftist exception to cancel culture.

      1. This is what I was thinking. People aren’t getting sick of cancel culture. People on the left are just getting sick of being held to the same rules as ther people they hate. One set of rules for me, another for thee.

        1. And they will never understand that in their effort to get the “right” persons in big government to make everything great, what they empower that government to do to others will be done to them.

          1. Sure.

            So you need to prepare so if the evil one wins, you have a plan to contest and delegitimize the election.

  2. much-maligned Gen X

    What is this a reference to?

    1. Gen X isn’t maligned, it’s just roundly ignored.

    2. But yeah, not sure how it’s “much maligned”. It was certainly maligned during it’s rise to youthful prominence– but every generation is for one reason or another.

      We were the ‘slacker’ generation what with all our flannel, grunge music and permanent retirement.

      1. Considering Gen X cannot get the boomer politicians to stand down and fade into history, we may deserve it.

        1. Sorry, did you just criticize us for being decent enough people to not want our life’s work to be controlling other people’s lives?

          1. Well, the best they could muster was Beto, evidently, so it seems like it’s for the best they stayed out of the game?

            1. Beto should have stayed on his skateboard.

    3. Billy Idol’s relatively lame pop-punk band

      1. It’s a nice day for a …white wedding.

  3. What bothers me is the accusation that all those in the cancer culture are opposed to freedom of of speech.

    On the contrary, people calling for the canceling of events are exercising their freedom of speech.

    It becomes a problem when the state is the entity doing the canceling rather than private entities.

    1. Freedom of speech is a bigger concept that just government. If a mob shows up and burns your house down because you expressed a view they didn’t like, your freedom of speech is violated just as much as if the police had done it.

      Those people demanding events be canceled are demanding that others be silenced. Sure, they are exercising their freedom of speech in doing so. But that doesn’t make their demands any less oppressive or counter to a free society.

    2. That’s sophistry.
      If you’re stifling free speech, you’re stifling free speech. It doesn’t matter if your the Pope, the government or Mr. John Everyman.

      If I as a private citizen successfully stopped you from being heard, that would be just as wrong as if the government did it.
      Nobody has a right to silence anyone else.

      1. Hmmm, in the abstract, sure. But a lot of what they engage in is deplatforming, which when the platform is private, is perfectly legitimate (from an NAP standpoint, at least). Like, if you’re standing on your lawn holding a sign that offends me, tough shit, it’s your lawn and you can do as you like provided you don’t have an oppressive HOA (is there any other kind?). But if I rent megaphones, and you’re using one to say some stuff that offends me, well, I’m free to refund your money and collect my property. You can get into the weeds with university campus events since they’re a weird nexus of public funding and semi-private governance, but as a blanket statement I think “nobody has the right to prevent someone else from using their own property to communicate whatever message they like” is closer to true than your formulation.

        1. “But if I rent megaphones, and you’re using one to say some stuff that offends me”

          But that’s not what’s happening, and you know that.
          Companies don’t just come up with this all on their own. Censorious shitheads are actively cajoling and threatening them to deplatform people.

          For example, if you’ve rented a megaphone, and I threaten the megaphone company with bad press unless they take it away from you, and do the same with your phone, and PayPal, and Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, I’m deliberately stifling your speech. This is what super-PACs like Media Matters and the SPLC do… and it’s vile.

          1. See Carlos whatever his name was at Vox. Or Talcum X Shaun King. They derive pleasure in destroying lives.

            1. “Talcum X”

              Absolutely brilliant, and savage.
              Rufus wins the internet

    3. Calling to cancel other people’s events is opposing free speech. It is not necessarily a First Amendment violation but the concept of free speech is greater than the FA particularly in America.

    4. Yes, we know. When we talk about freedom of speech, sometimes we talk about legislative interference into matters of the first amendment, and then sometimes we talk about the cultural trend of censoring voices you disagree with.

      This article is about the latter.

      1. And to be sure, the people who engage in the latter are not for “freedom of speech”. At all. First amendment jurisprudence aside.

    5. all those in the cancel culture are opposed to freedom of speech.

    6. There is freedom of speech as a restriction on government, then there is freedom of speech as a cultural value. We are losing the latter.

      The Left is demanding that speech be controlled. And to the Left, government is the only tool of control. They are demanding the cessation of free speech on college campuses, 99% of whom are government institutions or receive the majority of their funding through government. And given the recent spate of congressional hearing hauling social media bigwigs before star chambers, the call to ban certain kinds of speech on private social media platforms is backed by a pretty damned big stick.

      Not to leave the Right out of this, but calls to bring back some form of the Fairness Doctrine is so only one baby step away from its own brand of cancel culture. There is stuff the Right does not want to hear and they are sniffing around the edges of cancel culture to see if it’s worth diving into.

  4. She’s done with cancel culture because she’s not an ugly nag. Cancel culture was not created for people like her.

    1. Agreed; I could look at those eyes for a while.

  5. “The Perverse Seductions of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: American women have never been freer. So why are we drawn to depictions of our own repression?”

    Sounds like someone read Douglas Murray’s new book, The Madness of Crowds.

  6. Gen X is tough? Seriously? BWAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. . . . celebrates Gen X’s “toughness.”

    I wonder if people realize how ironic this is. We used to be classified as ‘no-hope slackers’.

    But we turned out all right.

    Maybe the Millennials will too. We just have to get the last of them out of the ‘idiot ’20’s’.

    1. I think being the ‘latchkey’ generation was somewhat helpful. We were trained from an early age to be ignored, so it comes naturally to us as we get older.

    2. We were classified as cynics as well. But our critical thinking skills were sharp. We were informed; relatively speaking and definitely less indifferent to our Western social more and values than the generations who came after.

      I do think we were pretty tough given we came right after the over bearing, gigantic colossus that was the Boomers.

      And I read an article we’re also turning out to be pretty good parents because we’re not fools and have come to appreciate our values are worth defending and imparting.

      This is why I take utmost offence listening to these know-nothing Marxists somehow screech about how ‘backwards’ we are filling our kids with bull shit thoughts on toxic masculinity and cultural appropriation. That somehow we’re all ‘racists’ deep down and so on.

      Thought control and pseudo-intellectual stupidity is, well, a toxic mix.

      My highly educated and literate sister is a true, 60s bleeding heart, feminist liberal. She absolutely LOATHES the modern feminist and their anti-male and infanticide agenda.

      We’ve found common ground after all these years. She recognizes, as I do, our personal agency and freedom to express ourselves are being eroded by illiberal forces.

      Everyone (including that jerk off Richard Stengel), in sum, can go fuck themselves.

      Stop apologizing to these shitheads.

      1. And for the record, I submit we’re also the coolest generation.

    3. Must’ve been nice coming of age in the 80s and 90s, where you could roll out of bed and fall into a good paying job.
      Probably nicer than becoming a legal adult in the immediate wake of 9/11 and trying to start a career during “the great recession”

      1. That was the tail end of MAD and the S&L scandal which was preceded by another recession just a decade earlier. It was also a period of the highest unemployment of ANY recession.

        And there was the little matter of the Gulf War, and wondering if it was going to turn into another Viet Nam, and if could you manage conscientious objector status and still go to school.

        AND THEN having to go through “the great recession” and 9/11 as well.

        And even that wasn’t as bad as the broken people who came back from keeping the world safe from communism.

        But with all the hardship you’ve suffered; tell us how you mange to make it out alive?

  8. I’ll note that the US congress just took another bite at the apple with the CEO’s of the big internet social media companies. NBC was playing clips of AOC excoriating Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allowing Republican political advertisements on his platform. NBC prefaced that clip with a pull quote from some academic who said “Freedom of speech does not require that we allow money to be used to amplify speech nationwide. This is a new threat to our democracy that our current tools are not equipped to handle.”

    So no, cancel culture is not on the wane. The first rumblings you are hearing are because, as noted by others above, some prominent lefties are getting hoist by their own petard. You’ll note all the handwringing when a democrat congresswoman resigned over her sexual exploitation of her staffers. Many on the left openly called it misogyny and decried a double standard, believe it or not! The top #MeToo folks “reserved judgement until the facts come out”. Her own people are saying that no man would be treated that way….

    So no, a corner has not been turned. Obama’s remarks are just a reminder to keep your eye on the real enemy and not get carried away by allowing the right to do the same thing.