Putin Is Getting CANCELLED!


Putin Is Getting CANCELLED!

Jack Holmes – March 2, 2022

Photo credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV - Getty Images
Photo credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV – Getty Images

Vladimir Putin has united much of the world in opposition to his barbarism in Ukraine, and he has also united a Fox News talking head and Washington Post columnist in a particular assessment of the situation: the Russian dictator and the state he controls are getting “cancelled.” “We are witnessing the first geopolitical ‘cancellation’ of the 21st century,” said the WaPo‘s Jason Willick. Monica Crowley, once of the Trump Treasury Department, offered that “Russia is being cancelled” and cited the sweeping international sanctions levied against its economy, its ejection from international sporting competition, and…the Ukrainian military resistance?

To be fair, both seem to think the cancellation is justified. Willick called it “righteous.” But it remains hilarious, if concerning, to watch people attempt to cram a land war in Europe into the tiny box of a worldview that seems to be entirely defined by culture wars here at home. Sometimes, the tired maxims of America’s ritualized political combat are not suited to the moment, particularly when the moment is dominated by an international crisis. Putin and his oligarchy are being punished and isolated in perhaps an unprecedented way. At the very least, we’ve never organized such a crushing sanctions regime against an economy of Russia’s size. But maybe this requires a different term than the one we use for Louis C.K.

This is all enlightening, though, because the admission here is that there are scenarios in which people are justifiably cancelled. The handwringing about Cancel Culture usually revolves around cases that are unjustified, and they certainly exist, though it’s worth interrogating whether the worst outcomes are primarily the fault of the Woke Mob or corporate H.R. departments that overreact to an incident of public shaming. A Georgetown Law professor made a fool of himself regarding Biden’s Supreme Court pick, but that doesn’t mean he should lose his job. Jennifer Jacquet, a professor at New York University and the author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool, sees shame as necessary and useful. The problem is not that members of the public will organize to engage in public opprobrium against someone they think has done something unacceptable according to the norms of our society. It’s that, when these pitchfork brigades roll into town—sometimes with excessive force, or targeting someone based on a misreading of what they said—the target’s employer folds too easily and destroys their livelihoods. Public shaming is inevitable in a free society, it’s about how institutions respond in these moments.

And as Jacquet told me for an article in January 2018—and as has become fairly obvious to everyone in the time since—shame is in precipitous decline as a social force. Shamelessness is now a superpower. Our siloed media ecosystems and political tribalism have blunted shame considerably. A sitting member of Congress addressed a conference organized by a white nationalist last weekend and was welcomed to speak at a mainstream event alongside all the most prominent figures of the Republican Party the next day. Will she face any real repercussions within the congressional caucus, beyond a passing rebuke from the House Minority Leader? Seems like a problem for the ball club, particularly when you’ve got players in the farm system venturing even father into the abyss. The decline of public opprobrium, a nonviolent way to sanction people for antisocial behavior, is dangerous in a democratic context. It allows people to get away with ghastly shit, and leaves those who oppose them with few options in response.-

So maybe it’s time to be clear that all of us have a line that we draw, and on the other side is behavior we consider completely unacceptable in today’s society. We are fighting over where to draw it. Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing star of yesteryear, has seen his career destroyed after video emerged of him offering his particular thoughts on pedophilia. This seems entirely appropriate. There are cases where Cancellation is justified, and cases where it is not. We ought to evaluate them individually, along with the responses from powerful institutions that can determine the fate of those involved. And we probably ought to use a different term when we attempt to punish a dictator for war crimes. Let’s pull our gaze away from our own navels for a minute, shall we?

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.