Annoyed today by casual flinging of terms, so I’ll just say: We don’t have "cancel culture.”

We have the internet’s low barriers for entry helping people create new types of institutions that disrupt the power of status quo set by legacy institutional groups.
One way they do that is to create consequences for those who used to be the only ones boycotting.

Boycotts have long been a thing, but they were the domain of institutions at the centers of power. Ask anyone who grew up Evangelical in the ‘80s.
I remember going to church as a kid and in the courtyard outside they’d have these info booths that passed out half sheets of paper loaded with companies we should be boycotting.

People in my church went wild when they learned McDonald’s had given to Planned Parenthood.
If you grew up in EV churches, odds are you knew about boycotts. I can rattle off 5-10 companies even now. Like how we heard that Procter & Gamble was a satanist company.

I see my friends from those days decrying cancel culture now and just
So all those claims about the “woke left” canceling things is just nonsense. This is a power redistribution toward groups weren’t organized to raise objections and ask for accountability.

This is fear of losing grip on the ability to dominate who gets to face accountability.
So look, boycotts have been around a while. But that’s not what the people crying “cancel culture” are really worried about. Look at the people boycotting Disney+ after the Carano firing because they are, uh, mad about cancel culture.
No, we’re talking about people who could boycott what they liked and not have to deal with something they liked being boycotted. Privilege of the status quo, and the internet is dismantling that power base. So they’re trying to scare you by making it seem like a left phenomenon.
Now I’m remembering how many EVs (including teen me!) boycotted Amy Grant, one of the most successful Christian music artists ever, because she made an album for secular audiences. Seriously, they removed the album for Christian bookstores.

This has been a thing FOREVER.
Anyhow, we don’t have “cancel culture.” We have accountability that’s more broadly distributed than it used to be because the internet lets us band together in ways we once couldn’t. But let’s not pretend like boycotts just got invented.

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More from @JeremyLittau

24 Feb
I wrote this just a few days ago and it held up pretty damn well in light of the news about Facebook announcing a favorable deal with Australia on the news regulation issue. (Link here: ImageImage
The news itself is here:

My read on it is FB did a nice carve-out that allows the company to avoid forced arbitration if it shows sufficient investment in news partnerships. It’s pretty vaguely defined, but a pile of partnerships means a lot.
Facebook made its point. Yanking news offline was not great for Australian media. But as I said, what replaces the news on the platform isn’t great either, and that was the case here. @sree said it well.
Read 4 tweets
17 Feb
Curious what changes my teacher friends have made in the pandemic that they plan to keep.

Mine: I’ve changed on being tough on deadlines. I thought it was training them for professional journalism, but really it was causing rushed work with less value in feedback.
Another one I haven’t fully practiced but won’t ever do again is the zero for gross factual errors/misspellings. A residual of my own education, again I thought it reinforces accuracy. But if the goal is learning, they won’t read the other feedback on a zero, I’ve realized.
My old journalism profs are probably not going to be happy about the latter. At some point, I just realized this is education and asking them to be perfect by making penalties harsh is counterproductive to the overall goal of teaching.
Read 4 tweets
11 Feb
Honest to God, how do Romney’s GOP colleagues vote no and look him in the eye again?
There were a lot more people in danger, of course. But start small as a way to convince. These are people in his party and a bunch of them are just going to let it go? I’d de-caucus in a heartbeat. If power is all they love, make them feel it.
Honestly this is why the Bruce ad upset me so much. What is the middle here, exactly, between defending democratic processes and doing mob violence?
Read 4 tweets
9 Feb
I can’t recommend this piece enough from my colleague. It gets at the heart of the matter, and please don’t miss the crucial rhetorical angle in the conclusion.
Seventeen of the 28 voting members of our Faculty Senate released a statement that I signed on to.

Collective statements never are everything you want to say as an individual, but I signed it because it had two crucial elements:
First, it called this what it was: structurally racist thinking. We don’t go there enough among faculty.

Second, freedom to publish aside, there is a qualitative difference between speaking and being given a platform. COB bears some responsibility here.
Read 14 tweets
3 Feb
It’s worth underlining a critical piece of information about the audience loss. Fox was the first to call Arizona after the election. The audience left in anger because the channel wasn’t promoting the GOP line, even though it ended up being the correct call. Truth didn’t matter.
If you listen to Jonathan Swan’s excellent How It Happened Podcast, you’ll understand how that Fox call of Arizona ruined Trump’s whole plan. The idea of banking the red mirage and creating a narrative on election night depended on him keeping AZ red.
If there’s one thing Trump grasps really well, it’s the power news has to create narratives around data. Particularly television. He really did plan to claim victory by being far ahead on election night before mail votes were counted. Yes, it was a sham. But it was TV spectacle.
Read 5 tweets
20 Jan
With Biden preparing to take office today, a short reflection about being in higher ed teaching media courses the past four years: 1/
One of the core memories I have of the 2016 campaign were the class discussions. Most of my students feared Trump winning, but didn’t think it’d happen. He was a clown. Voters weren’t that dumb. Etc. 2/
What that belief did is create space for privilege that came out in discussions (bear in mind a lot of my students are white). I had a *lot* of students disaffected and ambivalent about the choice. They didn’t read political coverage. Both sides were the same. A lot of that. 3/
Read 18 tweets

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