Cancel culture v. Dave Chappelle's cancel culture

Boomer fantasies we must bury

A boomer I respect shared this article by a British political reporter, a Mr. Brendan O’Neill, about Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix Special, Closer, the burning political issue in Britain these days, I guess. So I discovered that this dude has discovered very heaven & the way to get there: A British Political Reporter Figures Out How To Reform The Woke:

Chappelle’s comedy has an increasingly Lutheran vibe. ‘Here I stand; I can do no other.’

This is the way arrogant children write, trying to conform to their institutional superiors in college. For my part, I can’t believe this dude spent an hour of his life reading Luther; I can’t even believe he spent half an hour on wikipedia reading about Luther. He apparently has no shame, however, & is a little mad, so he comes up with this comparison between a theologian who founded a sect & a comedian, like those college kids do, looking for a handy reference with some popularity & some prestige to make himself seem clever. I suppose he doesn’t even care if his audience knows the saying or ever heard of Luther, it’s certainly in a strange context… Maybe he’s thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. so it’s relevant to Chappelle, also a black leader? Or perhaps he doesn’t care about any coherence of theme or tone. He certainly doesn’t care about the religion, or his ability to keep historical references coherent, because he later says:

As any ‘gender critical’ woman will tell you, criticising, or even just questioning, the ideology of transgenderism is to the 21st century what denying the truth of the Bible was to the 15th century.

Does this dude think such women are for some reason students of medieval European history? Is that part of “gender-critical” education? Does he skip from referring admiringly to a Christian who would now be called fanatic to anti-Christian atheism for some esoteric purpose? Or are the supposedly intelligent political writers of our time mindless, artless, & sanctimonious? Who can tell—it’s all a mystery—the important thing is to worry about the wicked cancel culture. Then again, maybe it’s all an act, maybe the dude doesn’t believe any of it matters, after all, he writes phrases like this:

Chappelle laid a funny flag in the earth on behalf of truth.

Dude’s apparently not only a “chief political reporter” but also a seasoned schoolmarm full of earnest metaphors! Now, the conclusion of course has to be:

But here’s the good news: Chappelle won’t be cancelled. He can’t be. He is that rarest of creatures–a public figure who has successfully immunised himself against the disease of woke intolerance. & he has achieved this partly by being well-loved & well-known, yes, but mainly by refusing to sacrifice what he knows to be true at the altar of 21st-ce. orthodoxy. He refuses to lie. That’s it. Even if it would endear him to a new generation, win him accolades from the new political class, & maybe make more secure the platforms from which he plies his trade, he still refuses to do it. He values the truth & just being funny more highly than the shrivelled respect you win when you succumb to the diktats of the clerisy. & that makes him a cultural hero, whether he likes it or not.
(Here’s the link to this fantasy…)

This dude, I can tell you this much, has neither guts nor wit, or he would have been less sanctimonious, he would have included some jokes about the things that annoy him, & he would have dared to say, you can’t cancel Chappelle because he’s black. Chappelle says it! Just quote him! He owns civil rights, the victim status, & morality in America—blacks were slaves: Game over! Well, maybe, but what if instead of being denounced by white people claiming trans status, some black people claiming trans status try to make a career of ruining his name & humiliating him out of public speaking? I dunno—we’ll see—Chappelle has said meanwhile that he’s done with comedy, or at least this brand that our dude is sure is “speaking truth to power.” This dude says, the indignant reaction to Chappelle’s special is like some comic work of art by Chappelle—he predicted it, there it is, like clockwork, like set up & punchline, it’s comedy gold! But what if the joke’s on Chappelle, or at least, this dude, & it’s more like spitting into the wind instead? What if despite the somewhat hysterical enthusiasm, the crazy people win?

Well, that was a mouthful—by now, you will have noticed, I really dislike this moralistic partisan writing, which is thoughtless when it tries to be edifying & vulgar when it tries to be elegant. I could add another fault, this dude makes Chappelle seem rather humorless, even thought he quotes more than a few jokes. Maybe he’s a good political reporter & British politicians or journalists are humorless—or maybe he has taken a vow of humorlessness to dedicate himself to the anti-woke crusade, one deluded sermon at a time, in the hope that hanging on to the words of celebrities will assure him an audience. But it is altogether better to think one cannot guarantee any audience & instead judge celebrities coolly, but also treat them with enough respect that one hears what they are shouting at us.

Mournfully, I am a simpler man, I don’t have this dude’s level of sophistication, so I am baffled by the nonsense he so exuberantly shares with us, to delude the boomers who listen to him. I listened to the show as well: Chappelle says there plainly what he has said for a long time: America is racist whites who have to be replaced by a coalition of the oppressed, patterned on & spiritually led by empathetic black Americans. He wants trans people to join this coalition, like homosexuals & feminists, whom he is however angry with, for acting like white supremacists occasionally. Chappelle also says he has long said this, that his entire career is a fight against white supremacy. Do the dudes not have ears to hear?

Chappelle is explicitly for a cancel culture of a somewhat different kind than the one we have, among other reasons, of course, to defend himself. His explicit advice is—listen to the words coming out of his mouth—that feminists should fire their agents & instead hire women agents &c. How could he want anything different for black people, for people claiming trans status, or for any other part of the coalition of the oppressed? You can see how this generalizes to quotas once it is institutionalized, since even talent agents are now institutionalized...

People who are anti-woke but pride themselves on their reasonableness have gone mad, as I suggested, because the times are so strange they cannot make sense of things anymore. They do not understand what they see or hear & have long since learned to not hear certain unpleasant things & not to see certain fearful things. They should all retire & enjoy their nostalgia, but of course, there is enough desperation in them that they cannot leave it at being willfully deluded. They are continuously trying to reassure or to criticize people in accordance with their fantasies—their way of thinking is not nonsense, it just describes a society that no longer exists. It was never wisdom—these people not only did not prevent the present madness, but they didn’t predict it either, & they’re not even immune to it. Whoever wants to rescue the name of reasonableness should consider robbing them of their arrogance before they completely make a mockery of it.

We should make simple, clear demands on ourselves & each other, especially for public speaking—to begin with, to hear what we are being told, or else how can we be reporters! I suppose the wishful are fools & yet they deceive others innocently, since they're self-deceived first, but that does not mean they do no harm. It’s for the most part wiser to begin by reporting the plain facts, instead: Chappelle is pro-trans, he's trying to learn to help these people go through their human experience, he accepts their claims as the truth of their experience, & he wants to change to be even more empathetic. That's what he says in his show, loud & clear. My best understanding is, that’s also the meaning of his show as a whole, indeed of all his Netflix shows. He doesn't want to be cancelled or harassed about it, but honored for his woke leadership. Don’t believe he’s not excited about canceling everybody else who isn’t woke, however, nor that he has any interest in defending comedy or free speech. Let him speak to those matters or do something about them, before you judge him either way.

I’ll end with the strange shamelessness, as I suggested, that makes these dudes bring Luther into their petty concerns. Me, I can respect Chappelle. I cannot respect this dude, who prostitutes his soul, as Luther would say about him before calling him anti-Christ. These days, I feel Luther knew what the human drama is...