Thursday, March 28, 2019

Stephen L. Carter -- Michael Jackson’s Influence Cannot Be Canceled

Credible accusations of abuse against an artist don’t make his art less great. But they do make it less enjoyable.

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- "This is cancel culture at its best: an appeal at once to the individual’s conscience and aesthetic sensibility. The effort is not to force anyone’s judgment on anyone else; rather, the effort is to discipline the self to set aside an affinity for that which is now tainted. Viewed this way, cancel culture falls within a long tradition of stoical movements that disdained part or all of the larger world. The very inwardness of cancel culture creates its moral appeal.

The movement becomes more insidious, however, when it marches beyond the borders of nonparticipation and into the realm of prohibition. This has arguably happened in young adult fiction, where social media campaigns can lead to the postponement or even cancellation of a title. That’s a bad result, in part because books themselves, in their infinitely provocative diversity, are a good; but also because the movement is then engaged in trying to make unavailable to everybody else whatever its own members would prefer not to read. History teaches that “No one should have access to the things I hate” is a dangerous claim."

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