Tuesday, March 10, 2015


  • My local supermarket is now selling Oscar Wilde cheese?
  • I agree with Andy Gill here (I'm a big Gang of Four fan), but with a few caveats. He says, "We can all think of dozens of bands with really quite offensive names and as soon as you get into being the guardian of public morality, taking it upon yourself to decide whats ok and what is not, you are acting in an illiberal, undemocratic and anti-progressive way." I support this wholeheartedly, but in 2015, if you're the band with the questionable name, you shouldn't be surprised when no one wants to book you. And I wonder where to draw the line. Joy Division? New Order? Do we retroactively apply these standards? Neither seem in danger of losing their status as critics' darlings. 
  • I should be excited about this, but I'm like, "eh."
  • For the past few months, I've been writing about censorship, self-censorship, and things that look censorship-y that aren't but still make me uncomfortable. I re-read Michelle Goldberg's piece for the Nation on the #CancelColbert controversy, and this quote from Alice Echol's book about 60s radicalism stood out: "'One of the most striking characteristics of ‘60s radicalism was its aversion to liberalism,' wrote Alice Echols in Daring to Be Bad, her history of radical feminism. 'Radicals’ repudiation of liberalism was not immediate; rather, it developed in response to liberalism’s defaults—specifically, its timidity regarding black civil rights and its escalation of the Vietnam War.' Something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, happened after Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it, and it’s happening now, as economic misery persists under Barack Obama. There’s disenchantment not just with electoral politics, but with liberal values as a whole. 'White liberal' has, once again, emerged as a favorite left-wing epithet." I don't know if that's true, that, like Jonathan Chait as posited, "PC values" come in waves, bubbling to the surface during periods of liberal dissatisfaction. It's an interesting theory, albeit a flawed one when it seems that the biggest change in the past few years has been the rise of social media. The playing field has leveled. Anyone can air their grievances and sometimes they catch on and become memes. Sometimes for good, as in the #blacklivesmatter movement, and sometimes they're just plain ridiculous, as in the #cancelcolbert hashtag. The problem is not being able to distinguish between the two, particularly when an established publication or website like gloms onto a meme quickly. All rage is now newsworthy, and since no lefty wants to seem insensitive, critical thinking falls by the wayside.