Generations of Americans have now grown up in an era where MTV was not just music television. Before The Real World and Rob & Big. Back when the schedule was segmented simply into genres.
These days, MTV has fallen into the strange catch-all cable category, a la FX and USA.
But I say all that to say all this: There is a rather large chasm in our nation’s culture that occurred when MTV made the switch. When they gave in to the corporate dream instead of the artistic hunger.
Now it appears that Rolling Stone Magazine is making that same mistake and launching itself on a trajectory to the beige and slate shores of Bland Town, USA. Mediocre County.
Cancel culture is both “good for democracy” and a “way for a new generation of people to practice free speech,” according to a recent Rolling Stone piece celebrating the ostracization of those “guilty” of holding controversial positions, while assuring the practice is “here to stay.”
The Monday essay penned by journalist Ernest Owens and titled “Why Cancel Culture Is Good For Democracy,” begins by disputing the notion that cancel culture is a “new phenomenon that’s caused havoc on free expression and speech,” claiming it only “feels new” today “because of the digital platforms we have at our disposal.”
We’re supposed to now assume that we can’t say or do anything without an angry mob instantly judging us and preparing to end our careers before they start,” the author writes, charging that, in reality, “we are the people who make up the so-called mob, and we have control of our own actions.”
Then came the elementary school-style reverse psychology:
Whereas, in the past, canceling others was fraught with “many barriers, both technologically and socially,” Owens writes, the rise of the internet in the 1990s led to a “shift in how the public could consider canceling with less gatekeeping.”
Owens accused those who “fear” cancel culture of merely attempting to avoid “accountability,” despite their claims of fearing “suppression of speech.”
Watching Rolling Stone turn away from the edge, toward the lusher, green thickets of corporatism, is a shame that we have almost no precedent, save MTV. To end this era is to create an indelible cultural mark and one that cannot be ignored.
cross-posted with Liberty Hub