[Ads-l] Cancel Culture

dave@wilton.net dave at WILTON.NET
Sat Feb 6 09:24:12 EST 2021


Is there a term for a buzzword/political label that is overwhelmingly used by one side in a debate but only has semantic valence in the context of that debate? 
 
The ur-examples may be "pro-life" and "pro-choice," but as has been pointed out, there are lots of examples.
 
I would distinguish them from words like "patriarcy" or "fascist" which in the current political context may be mostly used by one side but have a life of their own outside this context. "Cancel culture" is a term limited to one faction in our particular political moment.
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2021 7:57am
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Cancel Culture



The "opposing political view" being suppressed is often "one's own." So the
term is "used opprobriously."

JL

On Fri, Feb 5, 2021 at 9:44 PM Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net> wrote:

> On Fri, Feb 5, 2021 at 10:59 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > How about "a putative unjust or unethical partisan movement to suppress
> > opposing political views"?
> >
>
> This definition doesn't attach to anything I recognize.
>
> What you seem to be trying to do is akin to trying to define, say, racial
> hygiene as "as set of policy ideas intended by those who subscribed to them
> to discourage the mixing of races and the presence of disabled people" ...
> without reference to genocidal forms of white supremacy.
>
> That is, the meaning of terms like SJW, political correctness, cancel
> culture, welfare queen etc. emerges less from their denotative force - as
> referring to some definable, objective entity or situation - but in their
> illocutionary (if I'm using the term correctly) force as marking the
> speaker as subscribing to some identifiable ideological framework. If you
> want to define them I think you need to name that framework.
>
> Of course part of the public debate is about whether certain terms are, in
> fact, denotative or the kind of fighting words I described. I'm sure some
> would claim that words like patriarchy, military-industrial complex,
> allyship ... belong in the same category. It's our job as thinking members
> of society to listen to the arguments and take position. I could, for
> example, read an article deploring the effects of patriarchy and find it
> convincing (that is, I sort "patriarchy" in the category of denotative,
> useful terms and am willing to provide a definition and context), but then
> read one that deplores the effects of cancel culture, or argues for racial
> hygiene, and come to the opposite conclusion (that is, I find the writer's
> framework unconvincing, or do not share underlying values and goals that
> would lend these terms sufficient context to be useful ... I'm pretty sure
> for 1930s Nazis the term racial hygiene was subjectively very useful).
>
> Chris
>
>
>
>
>
> >
> > Getting closer?
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Fri, Feb 5, 2021 at 2:50 PM Dennis During <dcduring at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > If it is predominantly used disparagingly about anything, however vague
> > the
> > > targets and however unfair the disparagement, then the intent of
> > > disparagement is part of its meaning, as is the case for 'political
> > > correctness', 'social justice warrior' ("SJW") and similar terms.
> > Currently
> > > in the US 'fascism' and its sister terms 'fascist', 'neo-fascist', etc
> > and,
> > > probably 'communism' and its relatives are similarly predominantly used
> > > disparagingly. 'Socialism' not so much.
> > >
> > > The phenomena disparaged by the use of the term 'cancel culture' seem
> to
> > > include principally the boycotts, including secondary boycotts,
> > facilitated
> > > by social media, of businesses, especially consumer-oriented ones, and
> of
> > > entertainment personalities because they are deemed to violate some
> moral
> > > imperative, usually under the rubric of 'social justice' (a term which,
> > > unlike SJW, is not predominantly pejorative). I think both the deeming
> > and
> > > the boycotting are the objects of the disparagement intended by use of
> > the
> > > term 'cancel.culture'.
> > >
> > > On Fri, Feb 5, 2021 at 2:19 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > > On Feb 5, 2021, at 8:36 AM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
> > >
> > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > "Cancel culture" has broadened its meaning to become "a movement to
> > > > > suppress opposing political views.”
> > > >
> > > > Or, as an alternate gloss, ‘a movement to hold individuals
> accountable
> > > for
> > > > their actions and publicly stated views’. To demote a member who has
> > > > expressed racist threats is not precisely an instance of opposing
> their
> > > > political views.
> > > >
> > > > I’m also unclear on the scope--Do we really want to classify
> > > > denazification in Germany (= 'the process of bringing the leaders of
> > the
> > > > National Socialist regime in Germany to justice and of purging all
> > > elements
> > > > of Nazism from public life, carried out especially between 1945 and
> > > 1948’)
> > > > merely an instance of cancel culture, i.e. the Allies’ suppressing
> > > opposing
> > > > political views? Maybe I’m not sure what “cancel culture” meant
> before
> > it
> > > > was broadened; it’s always reminded me of the use of “political
> > > > correctness” to dismiss or ridicule those protesting hate speech or
> > > threats
> > > > of violence.
> > > >
> > > > LH
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > E.g., from Yahoo! News:
> > > > >
> > > > > "The former Trump and Bush adviser said the decision to root out
> > > > extremism
> > > > > in the military was 'cancel culture' and then disparaged Mr Biden's
> > > pick
> > > > > for Secretary of Defense by claiming he was likely hired solely
> > because
> > > > he
> > > > > is Black."
> > > > >
> > > > > JL
> > > > >
> > > > > On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 2:19 PM Jonathan Lighter <
> > > wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> > > > >
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >> CNN chyron:
> > > > >>
> > > > >> "Trump Wants To Cancel Goodyear."
> > > > >>
> > > > >> He wants us to boycott it.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> JL
> > > > >>
> > > > >> On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 10:26 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > > > >> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > >>
> > > > >>> Bill Mullins wrote:
> > > > >>>> Earlier in Twitter -- Oct 28, 2016:
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> https://twitter.com/unicorninkk/status/792025338616418304
> > > > >>>> "I hate cancel culture until I want to set things on fire! "
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Worthwhile topic, Fred. Great citation, Bill.
> > > > >>> I initiated a germane thread back in May 2019.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> [Ads-l] Word/Phrase: cancel, cancel culture, cancellation culture
> > > > >>>
> > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2019-May/154643.html
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> The mailing list message included some tweets with the phrase:
> "You
> > > > >>> have been cancelled". The precise meaning was not always clear.
> The
> > > > >>> tweet citations begin on Nov 22 2008.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Dave Wilton initiated a pertinent thread in February 2020.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> [Ads-l] Cancel culture, cancel (2018)
> > > > >>>
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2020-February/156597.html
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> John Baker mentioned the Mashable.com article dated Nov 18, 2017
> > > which
> > > > >>> was referenced in a tweet.
> > > > >>>
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2020-February/156598.html
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Dave Wilton presented a tweet together with a reply tweet that
> > > > >>> exhibited the desired sense on Feb 8, 2017.
> > > > >>>
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2020-February/156599.html
> > > > >>> https://twitter.com/DougieFresh818/status/829410105502400513
> > > > >>> https://twitter.com/chazzsplash/status/829410413091631105
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> The tweet found by Bill Mullins appears to be the earliest
> > currently
> > > > >>> mentioned on this mailing list.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Garson
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > >>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >> --
> > > > >> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle
> the
> > > > truth."
> > > > >>
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > --
> > > > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> > > > truth."
> > > > >
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Dennis C. During
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
> --
> Chris Waigl . chris.waigl at gmail.com . chris at lascribe.net
> http://eggcorns.lascribe.net . http://chryss.eu
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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