To acknowledge there is both a baby and some bathwater is not to flush them both.
For anyone still following the conversation, in response to the interpretation I am urging to throw the baby out with the bathwater:
Since it it pertains specifically to me, I’d like to clarify that by no means was I “urging to throw the baby out with the bathwater”.
To express concern that a habit has the potential (and I’d argue it already has) to get out of hand should not be conflated with, nor construed as, me urging we do away with ever calling out intolerance, and sit idly by letting all say as they please.
“For we are what we repeatedly do”.
Forgive me in advance if this seems like a crude reduction of comparison; I once drank alcohol because it made me feel good, and I considered myself exempt from ever accruing a dependence upon it, and ignored and denied its capacity for pernicious consequences.
That didn’t stop me from ending up blind to said dependence for years, and falling victim to said pernicious conequences. Because not everyone is addicted to it, does not remove the fact it is an addictive substance.
Someone tells me “hey, be careful it’s addictive you know” and I say “don’t be silly, I have this under control, I’m not like them.
And then I start making excuses, and I start justifying why it’s okay to have just one more drink.
And I say “well how can it be that bad? Everyone else is doing it?” and society morphs itself into a place where it’s more frowned upon to refuse a drink than it is to partake.
And then there’s a glossy TV advert that takes the image I want to have of myself, packages it up and sells me it, and I drink it down, hook line and sinker.
Sinker being the operative word here.
And in preemptive response to those who shall surely see this and (perhaps rightly) say: “Look at this privileged white-guy grasping to draw comparisons to alcoholism and conbatting racism”, I’ll say there’s a reason allegory and parables exist. There’s a reason why we tell stories to paint the picture that would be otherwise missed…
“Well now, that coarseness that’s so upsetting to Ann’s feelings, is to my mind a recommendation, for it do always prove a story to be true. And for the same reason I like a story wi’ a bad moral. My sonnies, all true stories have a coarseness or a bad moral, depend upon’t. If the story-tellers could ha’ got decency and good morals from true stories, who’d ha’ troubled to invent parables?” – Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree
And in light of the claim I am regurgitating “nonsense”, referencing what is said here I’d say I hadn’t read this post, and in light of having done so, I’d say it doesn’t actually say anything at all, except takes quotes from the original piece.
If we were to say I was regurgitating anything at all, I’d be more inclined to say I’m regurgitating what is said here.
And I enclose the word “nonsense” in air-quotes not because I am refuting it to not be nonsense, and more that I think hand-waiving-away a sincere request that we pause and say “are we sure we’re actually heading in the right direction here?” as nonsense, is in itself, quite poor “reasoning”.
The problem with the Washington Post publishing a 3000 word featrue article (online and in print), is, amongst many other things, it “twice violated its own editorial policy” forgetting that it claims “fairness includes relevance,”. Not about whether people at the party did anything about it (which they did), but about whether it is right for a major news publication to decide to run a piece like this, claiming it to be newsworthy, and of upmost importance is signifcantly undermimed by the fact that the employee in question who did nothing was meted out a punishment that amounted to… well… nothing:
But the lack of any managerial consequences for Toles would seem to undermine the newspaper’s case that the story was newsworthy: How can Toles’s failure to promptly order Schafer out of his house be simultaneously so important that it merits feature-length coverage in the paper and not important enough to merit workplace discipline?
And when we’re at a place where powerful news oganisations (on both sides) are being defended and applauded for deeming it their prerogative to run something like this, or anything or a similar nature, I think there’s enough “reasoning” to warrant someone pointing out that the snowball we currently see getting rolled up the mountain right now, however small or large it may presently be, has to, at some point, come bumbling down the otherside.
To save yourself, all you have to do is circumavigate, and start pushing it up with every one else. Or sit quietly by, and let them have at it.
If a person voicing their being concerned is equivalent to “insulting any community which engages in cancel culture” is what’s happening here, then so be it. (I don’t, however, believe it is), and insinutating any such thing is getting dangerously close to the tone policing that is decried.
To regurgitate some of my other thoughts on this, I’ll copy them below:
Just because something becomes (or looks liable to become) a runaway train does not mean it didn’t have a (worthy and necessary) destination to begin with.
However it simply feels reckless to dismiss the potential ramifications and clumsy-negative habits formed from allowing something such as this to go unchecked, granted immunity and impunity to moonlight as progressive, protected from any inquiry or criticism by virtue of its virtuous beginning.
Things build from the bottom up, and because there is, and was, good in the beginning does not mean there is no room for misuse and when misuse becomes the norm the damage is done and must be unpicked in reluctant bashful hindsight.
When the oppressor becomes simply anyone at all that is other than the one/group that calls out the oppressing, you’ve lost sight of the actual villain:
“Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.” —Hannah Arendt
To accept it as a justified end beccause it “turns out, that’s a shitty thing to experience.” would be to see the victims being only whites, which isn’t the case. Everyone and anyone is fair-game, except when a rival mob turns the cancelling on one of its own, when suddenly, conveniently, rules and bounds are now introduced. I also fail to see how a “see we ruined your life, it’s not very nice is it?” can be the most efficacious tract to take towards a unifying of cause. The mob eats its own, directing its ire redundantly at those who were already on board. The criteria of admission to the “good-side” becomes increasingly small. Deviation from the line is tantamount to Dissent; dissent then tantamount to herecy; the punishment; exile.
I’ll remind you, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bruenig:
“There’s something unsustainable about an environment that demands constant atonement but actively disdains forgiveness.”
I wonder: is this the snowball-ridden hill I wish to die on?