It bothers me when people trivialize serious things and empty words of all meaning.
For example, the refusal of the UNC to grant tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones doesn’t mean she was cancelled. It’s a minor annoyance that will have no impact on her life. If she were really cancelled, that would mean everything she ever published would be deleted, her name would be erased from every publication where she appeared at any time in her life, she’d be fired and become unemployable. This is what happened to poet Joseph Massey who is now indigent and lives in obscurity. If Hannah-Jones experienced what Massey did, I’d absolutely speak out against that.
But the whole point is that this can’t happen to Hannah-Jones. Cancel culture doesn’t strike “both sides” because only one side has the cultural power to deliver such devastating results. The right isn’t too moral to destroy a person like the left destroyed Joe Massey. It’s too weak.
And the reason why the left has this power is that it’s really good at playing these word games. It has realized that simply denying the existence of cancel culture isn’t working. So now they are turning cancel culture into a meaningless concept by attaching it to every minor inconvenience they experience. And the right is once again buying into this game. I already saw a bunch of right-wing accounts in my Twitter feed subserviently declare that NHJ was cancelled and it’s a shame.