Cancel Culture

What Cancel Culture Has In Common With Medieval Outlawry

Both outlawry and cancel culture grow out of the same human impulse toward ostracism, the desire to exclude offenders from “respectable” society.

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Cancel culture has often been compared to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's (R–Wisc.) hunt for communists in the 1950s. That's not a bad parallel, so far as it goes. But I think a more useful analog is found in more distant history: Cancellation is remarkably similar in spirit to the outlawry of medieval England.

If Robin Hood and his men were as merry as is widely reported and secure in their Sherwood haunts, they were the exception among outlaws. To be made an outlaw was, quite literally, to be put outside the law—which is to say, to lose its protection of your life.

That's not all the outlaw lost. "Outlawry required forfeiture of goods to the king and liability to be killed with impunity," explains historian Melissa Sartore in Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England. "An outlaw was stripped of any property and was essentially a 'friendless' and 'lawless' man. He had no more rights than a hunted animal." An outlaw could not use his home, perform his work, or see his family without the risk of violent death.

Outlawry was a favored punishment in a justice system with much less information and power than ours. It was frequently assigned by justices in eyre, who were judges traveling a circuit and holding court in various villages as they went. Because these courts weren't continuously in session and rural communities' ability to jail people was limited, it wasn't uncommon for those accused of serious crimes to hide or run when a justice arrived.

"The court's response to the absconding felon was to proclaim him an outlaw," writes Susan Stewart in Outlaws in Medieval and Early Modern England. If he did not appear at one of five subsequent court sessions to which he was summoned, the outlaw's status was confirmed and publicized along with his alleged guilt. (Kings could also outlaw people for treason, and abuse of the royal outlaw power is addressed in the Magna Carta.)

Outlawry could be undone by royal pardon or demonstration of innocence, but most outlaws didn't wait around for that slim possibility of restoration to normal life. They typically fled, Stewart says, believing "their safest route was to escape to the depths of the forest, and then possibly to emerge at some later date to a vill or better still a town where their face and history were unknown."

Outlawry fell out of use as imprisonment became more widely practiced. Though a few belated writs of outlawry (or its close cousin, exile) were issued in the United Kingdom as recently as the 19th century, by the time it was officially abolished in 1938, contemporary commentary described the shift as "sweep[ing] away some legal deadwood." In cancel culture, however, we find a sort of outlawry revived.

Cancel culture is slippery in the taxonomist's hands, but I think something like columnist Ross Douthat's definition is about right: "Cancellation, properly understood, refers to an attack on someone's employment and reputation by a determined collective of critics, based on an opinion or an action that is alleged to be disgraceful and disqualifying."

This description highlights the differences of function between medieval outlawry and cancel culture today: Outlawry was a formal, legal punishment backed by the threat of violence and usually intended to punish people accused of felony crimes like murder, arson, or conspiracy. Cancel culture has no such legal force. It's a movement of social censure, and in its quintessential cases—e.g., Justine Sacco or, more recently, David Shor or the woman from The Washington Post Halloween party story—there's no criminal allegation or, many times, even a lean outside the Overton Window. (The "Central Park Karen," somewhat unusually among high-profile cancellation stories, is being prosecuted.)

Beyond these distinctions, however, outlawry and cancel culture have much in common: They grow out of the same human impulse of ostracism, the desire to exclude offenders from "respectable" society. They give the broader community permission to attack their targets, whether with physical violence (as in outlawry) or via verbal abuse, doxxing, or threats (as in cancel culture). They oust offenders from their social class (today, typically the professional-managerial class) and deprive them of their normal means of livelihood.

That last similarity is what first led me to make this comparison. "[Racist p]eople who go to college end up becoming racist lawyers and doctors. I don't want people like that to keep getting jobs," a teenager from Long Island recently told The New York Times in defense of her operation of a call-out account on Instagram. "Many students believe the only consequence their peers will take seriously is having their college admissions letter rescinded," the Times report says, quoting a second teenager similarly eager to stop future "racist lawyers or doctors" from "advancing." Ending targets' professional lives (here, before they begin) is the feature, not a bug.

But there's one more important difference between cancel culture and the outlawry of yore: As Douthat notes, "under the rule of the internet there's no leaving the village" or running to the forest deep. 

Cancel culture normally won't kill you—though stories like that of Geoffrey Corbis or Wilson Gavin should caution us against dismissing that risk too lightly—but it can certainly kill your career. It may be possible to change your name and start a new life, but this is no longer as simple as popping up in some unfamiliar hamlet to ply your trade anew. Our modern writ of outlawry is always just a Google away.

NEXT: How Have Judges Responded To The Press?

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  1. Cancel culture will eventually be viewed the same way as McCarthyism and the Salem witch hunts. It’s only a matter of time. It’ll all blow over in a few years because it’s simply unsustainable. We’re already starting to see the SJWs eat themselves with it. Normal people just need to keep our heads low and stick together until the insanity blows over. Or, better yet, we can all speak out against it in unity and end it even quicker.

    1. Except McCarthy was correct and there were Communists in the government. And he did try to keep the investigations secret in case somebody was falsely accused but the Dems refused to do so.

      1. BS

        he found how many?
        yeah, and who found them?
        and when?
        The few communists were found by others before McCarthy started his crap

        historical revisionism

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        2. Not sure where I said McCarthy himself found them. His investigations simply revealed the reality.

          1. His investigations simply revealed the reality.

            No, they didn’t. Leaked documents from the Kremlin following the collapse of the Soviet Union did. If McCarthy succeeded at anything, it was in providing the communists cover and making them sympathetic victims.

            1. Leaked documents from the Kremlin following the collapse of the Soviet Union did.

              This is false too. Communist infiltration of government and academia was proven long before Venona was declassified. Many were identified and caught. McCarthy’s attempts to weaponize this against others doesn’t change the facts.

              Venona gave us more specifics but the core issues had been understood for decades.

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            2. “No, they didn’t. Leaked documents from the Kremlin following the collapse of the Soviet Union did.”

              …which is him not revealing facts…how? The docs from the Kremlin VERIFIED it was correct.

              “If McCarthy succeeded at anything, it was in providing the communists cover and making them sympathetic victims.”

              Describe how. Please try and avoid referencing HUAC, if you possibly can.

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        3. The few communists were found by others before McCarthy started his crap

          If that were true left wingers wouldn’t have been defending Alger Hiss et al all these years. By denying reality left wingers show they are still defending communism which they wouldn’t bother doing if they actually opposed it.

      2. Professor Ann Coulter turns another mind to soft mush.

        1. I went with the Congressional Record. What’s your proof to the contrary?

          1. The issue is why you think people should be hunted down and destroyed for their political beliefs.

            1. The issue is why you think people should be hunted down and destroyed for their political beliefs.

              An amusing complaint from cancel culture supporters. Sometimes it seems nothing Tony asserts has any relationship to reality whatsoever.

              1. So “I know you are but what am I” is your response?

                1. So “I know you are but what am I” is your response?

                  I suppose that’s what you pretend all critics say since anything else would have to include introspection. I find it interesting that while there’s no rational way for that characterization to apply to me it clearly does apply to you. Yet you’re unfazed by clearly failing the standard you apply to others. But admitting the standard shouldn’t apply to you is a clear admission the standard is bullshit.

                  Nobody gives a shit what someone so utterly incapable of rational thought comes up with.

            2. Trump talks to the Ukrainian PM and its treason.

              Communist infiltrators leak all kinds of nuke info, etc and that is…”Well, how dare you criticize people’s views?”

        2. Good comeback Tony Clifton, well cited as usual. McCarthy was right about the problem, just late to the party.

          1. Just as Ms. Coulter argued in her book. Why is it a problem if people are communists? Do I get to make a list of proven Trumptards for persecution? I think they’re a threat to decency and civilization.

            1. Because there is not a single element of communism consistent with the Constitution a government agent swears to preserve, protect and defend. If they are stealing state secrets from the Manhattan Project or are agents of government and negotiating against America’s interests at Yalta they are committing treason.

              1. So being a communist should be a crime in and of itself? What does the beloved constitution think about treating political beliefs as a crime?

            2. Why is it a problem if people are communists?

              These people were taking direction from a foreign government to harm America. Isn’t it interesting a few weeks after left wingers make a big deal about traitors dead for a century and a half he admits he has no problem with traitors.

              The Kinsley Gaffe: when someone slips up and admits what they really think.

              1. Trumptards constantly take direction from Russians to hurt America, wittingly or no. Should it be a crime to be a Trumptard?

                1. Trumptards constantly take direction from Russians to hurt America, wittingly or no.

                  It was Obama who told Medvedev he’d have greater flexibility after the election to accede to Russia’s wishes. It was he and Clinton who offered the idiotic and juvenile “reset” button [a middle school stunt they couldn’t even pull off] effectively blaming America for tension between the countries. Dems and other left wingers want to end fracking – the number one policy goal the Russians have.

                  Meanwhile every effort at showing Trump – Russian collusion has been proven not just false but supported by no serious evidence and justified only by comically inept conspiracy theories.

                  So it’s revealing you assert this nonsense as fact keeping intact your perfect record of mistaking your fantasies for reality.

                  1. I just said Russians were polluting the internet with the exact same horseshit talking points as Trump supporters, and it’s hard to tell which is which. The fact that it’s all paranoid partisan nonsense doesn’t seem to bother you guys any more than the fact that you are unwitting dupes of the Russian government.

                    Nor does it bother you that all your ideas and thoughts have been vomited our the weird mouth of Donald Trump verbatim. Do you always believe every word that comes out of a politician’s mouth in his own defense? Or just the ones known to be the world’s biggest liars? Collusion was disproven. Right. I’ll take a link for that.

                    1. Nor does it bother you that all your ideas and thoughts have been vomited our the weird mouth of Donald Trump verbatim.

                      It not surprising Tony cannot respond to my words but instead falls back this idiotic and content free claim. He has no interest or ability to understand what other people say.

                      What a completely useless person.

                  2. indeed marshal, for anyone to state (or imply) that trump needed russia to get elected ignores that LOTS of folks quietly go about their business spending NO TIME tweeting, posting or engaging in the debate. they go to work, knock off, go golfing and fishing and bowling and watch TV and coach the the kids and vote and then do it again…all without making any statement louder than a bumper sticker. the mistake that the lefty whiners make is thinking that everyone wants to hear their half baked mewlings like their lefty dope friends do. they can blather all they want about some conspiracy but the fact remains that the dems lob up organically flawed candidates like clinton and biden and warren and harris and o’rourke. keep it up guys…you’re only stepping on your own dicks

        3. You couldn’t stay on subject if your life depended on it. Much easier to deflect and prevaricate especially when you have nothing of substance to offer.

      3. What do you mean, “were” communists?

      4. Reagan was a snitch, turning in his fellow actors and writers for being commies. His reward for being an apparatchik was the governor’s office, then the presidency.

        But now doing business with the commies is cool. Wall street capitalists have been in bed with the commies for decades now, having sent just about all US manufacturing to the commies in China. Trump the chump couldn’t even produce simple face masks.

        1. …yet the US is producing them.

          Mind you, the Left and Reason both bitched, incessantly, about his efforts to bring manufacturing back to the US to deal with such issues.

    2. “Normal people just need to keep our heads low and stick together until the insanity blows over.”

      That’s what the Germans said.

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    4. Years ago I saw the movie ‘Man of Iron’, by Andrzej Wajda, about the then recent history of communist ruled Poland. The man, when he wasn’t jailed, was blacklisted for his “subversive” activities, and scraped for jobs.

      I am also reminded of the current scene in Cuba, where if you are on the wrong side mobs will scream at your door and destroy your home. Everyone except regime apologists know that the mobs are ‘militiamen’ of the regime, mobilized as needed for these efforts.

  2. A couple of points:
    ‘tail-gunner Joe’ did in fact find communists in the government, trying to undermine democracy. So he would be more like a person attacking the cancel culture/resistance.
    Robin Hood did not steal form the rich to give to the poor; he took back illegal taxes taken by the government and returned them to the citizens. (OK, minus a small fee for food and drink)

    1. I’m sure Cancel Culture has targeted at least a few actual racists, too, even if only by accident. Occasional success doesn’t automatically mean your methods are acceptable.

    2. But the delusional irony about Robin Hood, at least among the left, is that he fought injustice by stealing back immoral taxes imposed by the king. Similar taxes imposed by the Peoples’ Republic, though, are just fine.

      1. notice how the left subverted the story, to make Robin Hood’s victims “the rich”, instead of “the government”.

    3. Yes! I have often said that Robin Hood robbed from those who taxed unfairly and gave back to those who were unfairly taxed.

  3. How the hell would the people ID someone back then?

    1. yeah, just walk a day or two to a town where no one knows you and start over.

      1. walking into a town where no one knows you seems a bad idea in those times.

    2. My impression studying history is that it is kind of surprising how effective word-of-mouth could be in tracking down people in times when there was really no effective mass communication, and essentially no visual communication. That said, a lot of people WEREN’T ID’d, so if one got into sufficient trouble and were willing to turn over a new leaf, they could likely resurface elsewhere and have a decent chance of living a new life. Of course, if they didn’t change their ways and simply started back doing the same things that got them in trouble in the first place, chances were much greater that they would be exposed and punished not only for their current misdeeds but also their past.

      Of course you don’t need to go back to the middle ages for it to be this way. It’s easy to forget that as recently as a century ago, in the US and other developed countries, disappearing and starting a new life was as simple as going someplace far enough away where no one knew you and starting a new life, with or without a new identity. Provided there was no reason for people to have to investigate your back story in-depth, it wasn’t that difficult. The advent of the income tax and social security were the only things that started to fundamentally change this. Even then, though more difficult, it was possible to “get lost” until fairly recently. Now there is a paper trail for EVERYTHING- you can’t get a hotel room without a damn ID- so it requires much more sophistication and resources to pull off.

      IMO, this is another of the factors that has been pushing society towards a boiling point- first we lost the “new worlds” where you could sail to an unknown land and hardly anyone would even know whether you made it there alive, much less where you were once you got there. Then we lost the frontiers in the new worlds once they were settled. But at least then, even if we lost much of the ability to leave society altogether, we at least could still disappear WITHIN society, and reinvent ourselves if we so chose. Now THAT is no longer even an option. There is no escape. You are forced to play by society’s rules, forever.

      1. Mars. Antarctica. Alaska even?

    3. Medieval cultures were heavily dependent on social networks. A stranger showing up in a village would be viewed with suspicion because few people had reason to leave the area they were born in. Administration of an area often depended on the parish rolls, which restricted unauthorized movement and made it difficult to exist unnoticed even in cities.

      1. made it difficult to exist unnoticed even in cities

        Especially given that what they called “cities” back then we would call “very small towns.”

  4. “If he did not appear at one of five subsequent court sessions to which he was summoned, the outlaw’s status was confirmed and publicized along with his alleged guilt.”

    So the outlaw was first offered several chances to appear for trial, and only in the case of a persistent failure to do so would the court declare him an outlaw.

    A “cancellee” isn’t given the option of a trial, it’s punishment first and trial never.

    1. Yep. In the cancel culture, an accusation is proof of guilt.

      1. an accusation is proof of guilt.

        And an apology is treated the same as a confession. That’s why it’s critical to never apologize or bend the knee to these fuckwits even a little bit. Not even to try and get them off your back. Because they see an apology as an admission that you did something wrong, which in turn justifies, in their minds, everything they’ve done to you and then some.

        1. hear hear! the apologizers don’t seem to realize they are apologizing to a razor thin slice of the population. an inconsequential hyper-minority. my first suggestion is to tell them to shut the fuck up but a better idea is to ignore them entirely and let them get their drawers in a wad.

    2. I think you can argue about the fairness of a medieval trial, though. I’m sure it was often decided by either who had more money or who was more liked in the community. In such cases, an accusation would be proof of guilt and the accused would be better off running for it.

      1. So, just like cancel culture “trials”?

      2. “I’m sure it was often decided by either who had more money or who was more liked in the community.”

        Some things never change.

      3. Also, IIRC, the American legal system was the first to be based around the presumption of innocence. I’m pretty sure back then if you were accused of a crime you were presumed guilty and had to prove your innocence instead of the other way around (another cancel culture parallel). Only since cancel culture deals with thoughtcrime, it’s impossible to prove your innocence because no one knows your true thoughts except for you.

        1. No, that’s totally incorrect

        2. The American jury system is derived from the Scandinavian Thing where the freeman of the village would render judgement. The Anglo-Saxons had a similar system based around the the local lords/Carl’s/jarls etc decided many disputes. Even the King could be petitioned to settle disputes. Even manslaughter was often settled by the paying of a fine to the victims family. Being placed outside the law was only for the most serious crimes. The lords had some incentive to be as unbiased as possible, in that they relied on the lower classes for their wealth and for troops during war. Undoubtedly some bias did occur and some bribes were undoubtedly paid but the idea of presumption of innocence and bring judged by a jury of your peers has it’s roots in iron age Germanic tribes traditions.

      4. you could always appeal to Divine judgment, like seeing if you could hold on to a red hot bar for a while without getting burned.

    3. A “cancellee” isn’t given the option of a trial, it’s punishment first and trial never.

      Yeah – if you’re looking to medieval times for an analogy, I don’t think outlawery is a good one. Heresy is a better one, but even heretics were given the opportunity to recant and were only punished if they refused.

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  6. Both outlawry and cancel culture grow out of the same human impulse toward ostracism, the desire to exclude offenders from “respectable” society.

    There is nothing per se wrong with ostracism: ostracizing people is a non-violent, voluntary way of implementing law and order; it’s an essential aspect of libertarianism.

    But cancel culture isn’t about excluding people from society, it’s imposing the will of a small elite on large numbers of people, and it’s about depriving people of access to government-established monopolies and institutions.

    1. “There is nothing per se wrong with ostracism: ostracizing people is a non-violent, voluntary way of implementing law and order; it’s an essential aspect of libertarianism.”

      So the Nuremberg laws were libertarian?

  7. “”[Racist p]eople who go to college end up becoming racist lawyers and doctors. I don’t want people like that to keep getting jobs,” a teenager from Long Island recently told The New York Times in defense of her operation of a call-out account on Instagram. “Many students believe the only consequence their peers will take seriously is having their college admissions letter rescinded,””

    And you know they’re racist because someone you don’t know said so on Twitter, with zero specifics.

    1. All I said to my wife was, “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

      1. You said JEHOVAH….

    2. “And you know they’re racist because” … they refused to bend the knee to Woke culture.

    3. As when someone decided the Betsy Ross flag was white supremacist. They just have to say so and there you have it.

      Can I get an “Ok” sign on that?

    4. Is it wrong to want to deep dive on this irritating cunt’s accounts and drag all problematic shit to the surface?

  8. “Outlawry was a formal, legal punishment backed by the threat of violence and usually intended to punish people accused of felony crimes like murder, arson, or conspiracy. Cancel culture has no such legal force.”

    At least not yet.

    And we have been told that the offenses committed by the unwoke are just as violent and damaging as murder and arson. In any case, people are always looking to punish anyone who violates or questions their morality–no physical crime required.

    1. As bad as murder, no, but violence yes, even silence.
      But arson is just peaceful protest now.

  9. Bad take. Outlawry existed in various forms but it wasn’t a mob-rule approach, which cancel-culture is. There was an opportunity to defends oneself. Cancel culture attempts to eliminate any such opportunity. There are also the matters of proximity and scale: the outlaw faced ostracism or punishment from a community he might have wronged; the cancellee is often attacked from outside the community and faces ostracism or punishment across nearly all communities.

    *Some* of the underlying impulses toward ostracism, punishment, justice, and the like might be the same, but overall they are not very similar.

  10. Yeh, like the republicans ostracizing anyone who is not pro pro rah rah trumpski

    1. Yes, cancel culture but whatabout…..?

      Fuck off.

    2. I wish a mob of antifa on your house and family. I’m Puglian. My curses are as strong as your cancelled brain.

    3. Yup. Billions of people are losing their jobs cuz they ain’t “pro pro rah rah trumpsky”.

      Everything is so terrible and unfair!

      Haha. What a doosh.

  11. We know who’s doing this – the left – and reason still pretends they need to have a discourse with them. As if they are reasonable people willing to listen instead of throwing a tantrum when you say something they don’t like.

    Stop enabling bad behavior. You can’t argue with a proggo leftard.

    1. Russian spambot or someone who thinks Russian spambots have some pretty good ideas?

      1. Amusing seeing Leftists constantly parroting thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories.

        1. It’s been debunked that Russia uses spambots (well, spam humans I guess) to influence political discourse in America? Since when? You people are the easiest goddamn marks in the world. I thought you were supposed to think politicians were corrupt and malicious. Just not the ones who make it blindingly obvious, I guess.

          Go ahead and send me that link to some reliable source on how the Russian influence campaign is a hoax.

          1. Yes, RUSSIA is the country to concern ourselves with. Not China. RUSSIA!!

            You know Flynn got investigated because he had the gall — the GALL — to say that China was a bigger issue for the USA than Russia?

            That was the reason for the whole fraud to start.

  12. “Outlawry required forfeiture of goods to the king and liability to be killed with impunity,”

    Wow. Even back then they had asset forfeiture and qualified immunity.

  13. “Many students believe the only consequence their peers will take seriously is having their college admissions letter rescinded,” the Times report says, quoting a second teenager similarly eager to stop future “racist lawyers or doctors” from “advancing.” Ending targets’ professional lives (here, before they begin) is the feature, not a bug.

    And like most evil people, this idiot thinks they’re doing a good thing.

    1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” CS Lewis

  14. Somebody has a weed gummy and opened Wikipedia. Come one, you know you did!

    My favorite is when grown ass men get invited to prestigious lectures at major universities to whine about how they aren’t allowed to offer their opinions in public, though almost as amusing is watching them pollute like half the political internet with their incessant moaning that they just don’t have a platform!

    1. How many Democrat press conferences are deleted off Facebook?

      How often is anything deemed important by the DNC whitewashed from social media?

      Can you name one single time it happened?

      Hell, YouTube went along with Obama imprisoning a guy over literally nothing.

      1. Well, see, social media isn’t deleting things for being from the wrong party, nor are they under any nonsensical obligation to delete parties equally. They delete Republicans and not Democrats because Democrats don’t tweet seventeen lies before breakfast. They do not engage in conspiracy theories or propagate evil racist shit all the time.

        See, the crucial thing is understanding truth from falsehood. You can read about it on Wikipedia.

        1. Just odd that Democrats NEVER run afoul of their TOS. Literally not one single time. And they change their TOS fairly regularly. Must just be good fortune.

          Tony, you’re aware Democrats STILL push a thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory involving Russia helping Trump, right?

          No? I’m not shocked.

        2. Democrats don’t tweet seventeen lies before breakfast

          Of course they do:

          1 in 4 women on campus are sexually assaulted.

          Half of personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical bills.

          Obamacare will save the “typical” family 2,500 / year.

          The key difference between Dem and Trump lies is that Dems are part of a coordinated propaganda campaigns which include the major media.

          They do not engage in conspiracy theories

          Russian collusion is the most widespread politically driven conspiracy theory in history.

  15. It may be possible to change your name and start a new life, but this is no longer as simple as popping up in some unfamiliar hamlet to ply your trade anew.

    OT. This reminded of an interesting bit of family trivia:

    One of my relatives was doing genealogy research on my family and discovered our last name may not be our “real” last name. Apparently she hit a dead end with a relative of ours who seemed to pop up out of nowhere back in the 1800’s. No birth certificate could be found and no record of their mother and father, they just seemed to appear out of nowhere a fully grown adult.

    After a lot of digging she came across a bank robber from the next state over with the same first name but different last name. Apparently she somehow found photos of the two men and they looked extremely similar. Different facial hair, etc., but same basic features (although it’s hard to know for sure in old grainy black and white photos).

    Apparently I come from a family of outlaws, and knowing some of my more recent relatives, I’m not surprised.

    1. Digging around in the past can be unsettling; I learned that my great grandmother was illegitimate, and her father in fact had three families going simultaneously, in different States. At least I now know a reason for her reputation for being such a bitter bitch!

  16. “An outlaw could not use his home, perform his work, or see his family without the risk of violent death.”

    So the coronavirus shutdowns are halfway there.

  17. naming it all cutsie like “cancel culture” breathes life into it

  18. I don’t see this just blowing over for the simple reason we have been doing this forever, talking smack about people whose opinions we don’t like, wishing bad thing would happen to them. The only difference is today with social networking we can make it come true. The only way to stop it would be either the platforms step in and forbid doxing and make the ID’s more anonymous or the government steps in and makes laws to slow the firing. I was wondering could Trump do this with and EO? One that forbids companies doing business with the government from summarily firing people over canceling?

    1. The only way to stop it would be either the platforms step in and forbid doxing and make the ID’s more anonymous or the government steps in and makes laws to slow the firing.
      Nope. The answer to censorship isn’t censorship.
      The problem with cancel culture isn’t the ones screeching, it’s the grownups, who should know better, enabling them.
      The Boeing president should have stood up and said, “Our V.P. is qualified and competent, and is doing a good job helping to fulfill Boeing’s primary mission, making sure our customers fly safely and land on time. A 20-year-old article he published isn’t pertain to his work performance. He is a valued member of the Boeing team and we stand behind him.”
      If you don’t think that would bring a screeching halt to the cancel folks, look what happened when the twitterverse boycotted Goya foods. The people in the real world turned it into a buy-cott.

      1. Or when the WSJ told its reporters to eat shit about their editorial board complaints.

      2. Not the point I was trying to make but that shows your thinking and I like that. My point about social media is they boot people all the time for sprouting opinions they don’t agree with, for example the whole trans gender issue, their reasoning being it can harm them…well doxing can harm people as well so why aren’t they booting user for that reason as well?

        My point on the Presidential OE, presidents have issued OE to companies working with the government for all kinds of politically motivated reasons, forcing them to hand over all kinds of non-relevant data on employees for example. If the President issued an OE saying you cannot fire someone for one of these canceling events, liking the wrong thing or posting something someone does not like or heaven forbid the spouse tweeted something bad, if that happens they must go through this process before they could fire you it would give both sides some breathing room. The company time to evaluate the decision instead of just kneejerk reaction and at the same time they could say they are looking into the matter to mollify the crowd. The employee would have time to research the issue and discover if they have legal recourse. Give it a month and hopefully cooler minds will prevail not to mention the cancel mob would have moved on.

        Neither of these is censoring, the first is applying the policies fairly, the second is just common sense.

  19. “Cancellation, properly understood, refers to an attack on someone’s employment and reputation by a determined collective of critics, based on an opinion or an action that is alleged to be disgraceful and disqualifying.”

    There is one key element omitted from this definition although it is hinted at with the word “alleged”. Cancel culture relies on extreme interpretations of the targets’ actions or statements. For example they often rely on claims of violence or that someone’s safety is threatened which are manifestly false. In other cases they rely on allegations of racist motivation which are unproven because other motivations are likely and undistinguished. In still others they rely on extremist definitions which form a kind of coded language to obscure the facts from the public while repeating the conclusion, a common propaganda technique.

    For example the dog park incident relied on the claim that calling police put the man’s life in danger. Remember these are the same people who claim concern over terrorism is Islamophobia because the statistical chances of it happening are remote. This man’s life was in less danger from having the cops called on him than it was in going to the park in the first place. Yet this assertion was treated as real.

    In the James Damore case no leftist gave an accurate summary of his opinions or actions. He was merely referred to as misogynist even though his opinion cited women’s preferences rather than their ability ability as the reason for their disproportionate under-participation in coding. This over-interpretation element is important because most people do agree that some events – such as actual racist events – do warrant cancelling. So the Cancel Culture we object to is the effort to apply the penalty for those actions to a far broader range of events.

    Further this element is important because it highlights how to fight cancel culture. The best remedy is to challenge the language. If you accept that Damore’s comments were misogynist it’s hard to argue his presence doesn’t create a problem. But by noting it’s absurd to consider accepting women’s preferences as misogyny the solution changes. All of this comes back to the left’s manipulation of language and abstraction to justify outcomes they could not reach based on reality.

    1. “…manipulation of language and abstraction to justify outcomes they could not reach based on reality.”

      I see you’ve met Tony.

  20. Any boss who heeds to the mob isn’t worth working for anyways.

    The REAL issue here is —
    If the government would stop sending stolen money to mob members the mob wouldn’t have any power to speak of. Boycotted by the insignificant mob of incompetents who “coincidentally” (actually no coincidence at all) have no money?

    Americans need to stop believing that wealth is by coincidence. Those who shame, vote to steal, lie, are lazy, incompetent SHOULD be “poor”.. Those are not ‘traits’ that create success. It’s a HUGE mistake to be stealing for the incompetent. It encourages ‘mob rules’ theft over creation and competency.

  21. So cancel cultists are heroes like Robin Hood? He did steel from the rich and give to the poor.

    1. … and the “poor” gave it all back to the “rich” for the “goods” the rich had produced until one day the rich realized they were being robbed blind and stopped producing so Robin Hood got thrown in jail for being a crook.

      1. You don’t even have a concept of what “producing” is, do you? To you, it’s simply synonymous with being wealthy. And thus half a century of bullshit and demonstrably terribly economic policy was born.

        1. In a “free” and just (granite we no longer live in one) market it IS synonymous. ANYONE that produces what others want receives wealth (i.e. money) from them and those that produce NOTHING gets “nothing”. That is justice at it’s basic fundamentals.

          The last half-a-century has been piles of “economic policy” (i.e. legislative commie money/regulations) which cheats the basic fundamentals of justice (its unjust theft). That is what has made such a “terrible economy” to be born.

        2. Funny how wages stagnated as globalization boomed.

          Just a coincidence. Some people became fabulously wealthy so, yes, the average wealth of people went up.

          But, fuck, Carnegie was infinitely better for the country than Dorsey.

    2. In the analogy given, Robin was the one being cancelled. Prince John was the cancel culture.
      Or did I miss your [sarc] tag?

  22. It’s very hard to differentiate ruining someone’s reputation from free speech. Libel is very hard to prove especially when someone is quoting you exactly and just interpreting your words in an unflattering way. “Cancel Culture” has been going on for 100s of years. McCarthy was an expert at it. The right wing is only upset about it now that it’s being used against the right wing. If those who espoused the left-tilting version of political correctness didn’t have a lot of buying power that corporations needed to heed, left-tilting “Cancel Culture” would not have any power. They do have buying power and they are allowed to spend their money where they want to.

    1. It’s very hard to differentiate ruining someone’s reputation from free speech.
      Actually, there isn’t a difference. Cancel culture is protected by the First Amendment, just like other hate-speech is.
      The solution isn’t silencing those seeking to cancel others, it’s to tell them to pound sand, and grow up.

  23. People furiously canceling Kaepernick and every black person who speaks up against racism, whining about Cancel Culture. Priceless!

    1. People furiously canceling Kaepernick

      Nobody cancelled Kaepernick. He lost his job to Blaine Gabbert because he sucks, and he made more from Nike than he would have in the NFL.

      1. A fate worse than exile. Haha.

    2. Kaepernick lost his job because he sucked as a QB. And the NFL gave him another chance to play and he sucked there too. And then the XFL offered him a deal and he said no.

      Go back to wherever the hell the idiots who wrote for Deadspin are going to.

  24. What is “force of law”? It is the initiation of violence, threat thereof, if one resists, irrespective of the reason, e.g., conscience, common sense violations, common decency. Obedience is all that matters to those in authority. Resistance is a death sentence.
    What is excluded? Reason, rights, choice!
    This is the worldwide paradigm. The authorities call it freedom. Do you? What are you going to do about it? Is this how you want to live?

  25. The comparison is unconvincing. Targets of cancel culture do not forfeit their goods to a king (none here in the USA), and are not liable “to be killed with impunity.” Those denounced by the cancellistas are not “stripped of any property”, still have their friends and supporters, still have far “more rights than a hunted animal” and can go home at night, “perform (their) work, or see (their) family without the risk of violent death.”

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  27. It is more like Amish shunning or excommunication which has been practiced by multiple religions.

  28. Much of what is considered bleeding edge theory in sociology today consists of articles propounding theories that cannot be falsified, that are grounded in confirmation bias, that are crafted in a strange and inaccessible argot, and that appeal to pathos in the creation of a Moloch upon which to hang blame for the world’s ills. Any one of these contentions about modern sociological writing could and probably should be the subject of expanded study – taken together, they constitute a tendency in sociology toward a New Metaphysics. This tendency represents a profound change in the modern zeitgeist – a reversal, in fact. We are experiencing a reversal of the ascendancy of science and scientific thinking and a resurgence of medievalist magical thinking about society – how we live, how we exchange with each other, how we are governed. This essay ranges far in this regard and charts a course for further exploration. It examines the rise of the New Metaphysics and its primary means of communicating its ideas. It draws parallels between today’s new metaphysicians and those schoolmen of the middle ages, whose embrace of magic thinking was so complete that its straitened medieval orthodoxy not only hindered scientific, economic, and commercial progress, but also often punished such progress as heretical. Finally, this essay suggests that in its embrace of its own truth and with its “praxis-oriented” posture, the New Metaphysics poses a growing threat to the scholarly traditions of the university and itself constitutes a barbarous pseudo-science that begs unmasking.

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  31. Cancel culture is exemplified by extreme right-winger Mike Ditka, who told the majority of Americans they must leave the country for not agreeing with him. https://www.wxyz.com/sports/mike-ditka-on-athletes-who-kneel-during-anthem-get-the-hell-out-of-the-country?fbclid=IwAR2IkkSRfAR4vpJ5QS5vXtYXOuGwpHeAgIYSnaGxx59ZFI9ftlGV7ocrg0Y

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