Cancel Culture earned its toxic nickname.
Celebrities and average citizens alike suffer at its hands, even if the latter doesn’t often generate headlines. That reality makes news outlets who preface the phrase with “alleged” or “so-called” guilty of propaganda.
Cancel Culture exists. It’s real. It hurts plenty of people, and who knows how many more will be damaged by it next.
Still, Cancel Culture’s reach has its limits. We’re seeing that now on several hopeful fronts.
Author J.K. Rowling’s new children’s book, “The Ickabog,” earned a snark-free, positive review from The New York Times, of all places. That comes after months, and months, of Cancel Culture attacks on the “Harry Potter” author for not reciting every page of the trans movement’s playbook.
Jordan Peterson’s latest book deal caused publishing house employees to literally cry in anguish, but the book’s publishing schedule remains unaffected.
And then there’s Joe Rogan.
The comic turned podcasting superstar spent 2020 triggering the far Left. He interviewed personalities deemed beyond the bounds of polite society, like InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Rogan also chatted up Abigail Shrier, whose book “Irreversible Damage” questions trans groupthink.
The podcaster even dared to critique Joe Biden’s mental decline, a reality camouflaged by the corporate press.
That’s just a partial list of Rogan’s thought crimes, and why the Cancel Culture mob came for him this year. It didn’t help that he went corporate, joining the Spotify podcasting lineup for a reported $100 million.
That allowed woke Spotify employees to rage against Rogan, demanding editorial control over “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
They mostly failed.
Yes, a few “classic” JRE episodes didn’t make the transition to Spotify’s library, but Rogan retains full control over his show. He flexed that muscle a few weeks back by inviting Jones back on his program.
Guess what happened next? Both nothing and everything.
Rogan’s show went on as usual (nothing) and he conquered his new landscape (everything) Spotify announced last week that Rogan’s show became its star attraction in record time.
The often controversial Joe Rogan Experience hit Spotify on Sept. 1 and becomes exclusive to the platform in December. After making its debut on Spotify, it quickly rocketed to the top of the service’s podcast rankings and, in just three months, has become the most popular audio show of 2020 among its global listenership.
Cancel Culture fought hard, but it appears to have lost the battle (for now).
So what do Rogan, Peterson and Rowling have in common?
Each is either stupendously wealthy or able to generate great sums of wealth when needed. That’s the kind of power that can fend off Cancel Culture attacks. Yet not every power player leans on that defense. Remember how swiftly Scarlett Johansson bowed to the PC mob after taking a role as a trans character in “Rub and Tug?”
It’s easy to say Rogan and his peers showed little courage in standing tall given their considerable wealth.
That isn’t true.
They could have gone the ScarJo route instead, earning positive press from scribes eager to embolden Cancel Culture. They didn’t. As a result stroke, they landed a small but telling blow against Cancel Culture.
They also struck a blow for all of us in the process.
The less power Cancel Culture has, the more likely people without their platforms and wealth can survive it.