Timothy Speaks Out: “I Shall Not Be Cancelled!”

Outspoken and controversial international publisher Timothy the Talking Cat has taken a stand in an editorial in his vast network of newspapers, TV-stations and weird little notes he glues to shop front windows. As part of the Cattimothy House stable of magazines (along with Squirrel Watch Weekly and Better Homes & Litter Trays) this blog shall also be carrying this (mandatory) editorial. However, the staff of this blog would like to make it clear that the opinions expressed are those of management and are very specifically not the views of Susan who said “I’m going to kick his backside into next week when I find him”.

I Shall Not Be Cancelled: By Chief Editor and Publisher Timothy the Talking Cat

“In these trying times a spectre of illiberallity, illliberallllity, illiberality is stalking the land, the blogs and the few social media platforms that I haven’t been banned from using due to my over reliance on spam-bots.

The free exchange of information, ideology, ice-cream and ideas, the very lifeblood of a free society, is each day becoming more vasoconstrictively constricted as if we had encountered a giant illiberal python with a desire for cat for dinner. While we have come to expect this on the radical right (indeed we have come to passively accept it and perhaps even endorse it quitely in our way – after all we know who has the money) censoriousness is also spreading more widely from stroppy leftist and frankly HOW DARE THEY, ungrateful layabouts that they are. They should maybe take a shower or two while they are it! (Ha!) These damn lefties have an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty, exactly like Donald Trump keeps saying they do.

I, on the other hand uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from ALL quarters. Yes from everybody! And that is exactly why I am demanding that lousy leftist keep their loud mouths shut! How can I get to enjoy my precious (and frankly quite expensive) free speech in peace with these loudmouths running around pointing out my moral failings? I simply can’t! Free speech is absolutely precious and that means that I, as a wealthy and powerful and influential commentator on world events should not have to put up with scruffy ner-do-wells holding me to task just because I rehashed poorly thought out arguments that I cribbed from a neo-nazi adjacent website! This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time.

The restriction of my capacity to debate, whether by a repressive government (unless they pay me) or an intolerant bunch of blue haired protestors or “tik tok teens” or the frankly annoying Bortsworth K-Pop Appreciation Society who utterly ruined my evening constitutional yesterday with there lour music and syncopated dance move, invariably HURTS those who lack power. That is EXACTLY why I am telling those with LESS power than me that they need to SHUT UP because otherwise I might have to hurt them.

You see, the way to defeat bad ideas is by giving my bad ideas lots and lots of exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. Is that what we did with Flat Earthism? No, we ensured that every school child in Bortsworth was given a free text book by me explaining why heliocentricism is a lie in exchange for me funding repairs to the toilet block I had accidentaly ruined in that zepplin incident THAT WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT. We refuse any false choice between justice (for me) and freedom (for me), which cannot exist without each other but mainly cannot exist without me. As a creative professional I need a culture that leaves me room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes — lots and lots of sometimes expensive mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences, particularly for me. This is why I keep targetting my critics, to ensure they meet dire professional consequences and my bottom line remains unchanged.

Thank you for my time.

27 thoughts on “Timothy Speaks Out: “I Shall Not Be Cancelled!”

  1. I’m still trying to figure out what the fuck is going on with the Harper’s letter. We kind of vaguely (on the order of saying ‘hi’ and not having them call the police on us) know a couple of the academics on the signature list, and we’re still trying to figure out what they have in common with David Brooks AND Greil Marcus AND Bari Weiss AND Jeffrey Eugenides. A truly weird peice of ‘thought’. I like Tim’s version better, even if he does have a purple face.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is better _because_ of the purple face.

      (The fact that I may currently be purple in the face from coughing has nothing to do with this comment)

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    2. It’s very strange but interesting to see Francis Fukuyama’s name on that list of Harper’s signees, given that he was one of the signees to to the Project for the New American Century.

      The letter is a bizarre statement which doesn’t really say anything other than “we object to people being held accountable in public opinion for their words”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting choice of phrase, “held accountable”. One is “held accountable” for crimes, not for speech. Unless, of course, there are people seeking to make wrongspeech a crime, which is maybe why the letter was written.

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      2. hyrosen: Interesting choice of phrase, “held accountable”. One is “held accountable” for crimes, not for speech. Unless, of course, there are people seeking to make wrongspeech a crime, which is maybe why the letter was written.

        Free speech is the right to say whatever you want without government interference. It doesn’t shield you from criticism or consquences for what you say, and people can certainly be held accountable for what they say.

        https://xkcd.com/1357

        Liked by 2 people

      3. @JJ You’re not wrong. I remember being happy when Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour got canceled out of the Women’s March leadership, and with the fierce criticism directed against various Dyke Marches when they tried to ban rainbow flags with centered Stars of David, and the people who carried them.

        On the other hand, “being held accountable for words” has the problem that usually those most held accountable will be the weak and helpless. J. K. Rowling can chuckle while rolling around in her hundreds of millions of pounds, and Steven Pinker is already writing pityingly of the mob who think they can cancel him. They came for Stephen King, but gnats and elephants, you know? American Dirt is still happily ensconced on the NY Times bestseller list. But they got publication of Blood Heir delayed a little, and got Sue Schafer fired, so, yay?

        The most important thing about canceling is that you can never cancel your enemies, only your fellow travelers. A Twitter mob of wokerati isn’t going to mean anything to Tucker Carlson. A Twitter mob of MAGAs isn’t going to mean anything to Rachel Maddow. And none of this is going to result in a uniform and refined message expressing the principles of the group, just bitterness and internecine strife, and alienation of the people you need on your side.
        Meanwhile the other side munches popcorn and laughs and mocks, until they get involved in their own imbroglio.

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      4. The words “cancelled” and “cancel culture” have gone the way of “political correctness” — they are now being used by people who are attempting to evade having to accept responsibility for the things they do and say.

        Liked by 5 people

      5. @JJ “Having to accept responsibility” – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/arts/harpers-letter.html

        One of the signatories to the letter, Nicholas Lemann, a professor and dean emeritus at the Columbia School of Journalism, happens to be a member of my synagogue congregation, and is quoted in the article, ‘The principle of open argument, he added, becomes especially important outside liberal-leaning enclaves, “where people don’t have the option of shutting down these supposedly completely unacceptable views.”’

        What does “accepting responsibility” mean? Presumably the person who said something meant what they said and knew what they were saying, so this is just code for “We think you’re wrong and we’re going to bury you for it.”

        What does “having to accept responsibility” mean? When you say that someone “has” to do something, you are saying that the person is going to be forced to do that. The cancel mob (which, like political correctness, meaningfully exists despite your wish to pretend that it does not) does that by trying to attack the speaker through their school, through their job, and through their fellows. But as Lemann says, that only works when the speaker is embedded in an environment where most of those surrounding them can be persuaded to join the mob or are afraid of it. The only ones that can be threatened that way are low-level employees and students who want to keep their position or don’t feel like being besieged.

        The net result is that the people who will be silenced are the minor ones who are sympathetic to most but not all of the ideas of the silencers, and who might have something to contribute. The major sympathetic speakers will laugh off the cancellation attempts and the unsympathetic speakers will laugh at the cancellation attempts. The more prominent cancellation attempts will go viral for the same reason that the cancellation attempts do – as a way of destroying the enemy.

        Meanwhile, the doctrinaire liberals like to speak mockingly of “freeze peach” and how important it is never to make anyone feel bad with what you say. The funniest thing of all is that despite the panic of the free-speech supporters and the white fragility dudes, none of this is actually going to work. No one important is going to be silenced, and the would-be silencers are going to find themselves beset and failing. And I will so enjoy watching that, because I’m one of those “freeze peachers”.

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      6. hyrosen: What does “accepting responsibility” mean?

        It means that if one chooses to do or say things which are racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic, then one will have to accept responsibiltiy for one’s choices instead of trying to pass the blame off on a supposed “cancel culture”.

        For example, one of the Harper’s letter signees, J.K. Rowling, has repeatedly made transphobic remarks and continues to double-down on them. As a result, she’s lost a lot of fans and support, probably some percentage of future sales due to people not buying or recommending her works, and possibly some movie or TV or future book deals. These are all potential consequences of the choices she’s made, and she is the one who has to accept responsibility for that instead of trying to blame others. She is certainly free to make transphobic remarks, but the responsibility for the consequences are hers, which she needs to accept, instead of pretending that this is some unfair result caused by a mythical “cancel culture”.

        “political correctness”  “cancel culture” is just weasel words for “I don’t like the fact that I’m experiencing consequences for my words and actions”.

        Liked by 4 people

    3. Most of the people on the list are very happy participants in cancel culture, having worked hard to get people fired or blacklisted for their opinions. They are just angry that they themselves are getting critizism for their bigotry. And then there’s Chomsky for some reason.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. “Interesting choice of phrase, “held accountable”. One is “held accountable” for crimes, not for speech.”

    This is pure nonsense. I’ve been “held accountable” by parents, teachers, and employers all my life and sometimes for just good, old-fashioned mistakes rather than intentional actions. And I’m not young, so this isn’t an issue of recent change in how language is being used. Trying to frame that phrase as only ever used regarding criminal behavior is duplicitous.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I had no idea what Camestros was responding to until I saw a NYT article on the letter several hours later. As soon as I learned that David Brooks and Mark Lilla were signers I started rolling my eyes. Chomsky is the main one I’m scratching my head over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will say that I really liked Lilla’s book The Reckless Mind. His work since hasn’t really impressed me, but he still gets props for the first, enough that I’d be unwilling to willy-nilly lump him in with the like of Brooks. Much less Bari Weiss.

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  4. While cancel culture is going to fail, its one salutory effect, should people choose to embrace it, is to make them realize that if just a few examples send them into such a tailspin, how it must be for people who have been cancelled and devalued for their entire existence.

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  5. https://reason.com/2020/07/10/professor-put-on-administrative-leave-for-accurately-quoting-leading-campus-speech-code-case/

    If you’re a law or media college professor, the wokerati will try to destroy you for using the “n-word” when teaching court cases that are about the use of the “n-word”. Again, this will cow the ones who are desperate to hold on to their jobs and duck controversy, but that’s not nearly all of them, and the ones who fight back will do so vigorously and publicly, with the help of dedicated freedom organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and hold the would-be censors up to their own public ridicule and cancellation. Because sometimes people need to be taught the use-mention distinction with a jackhammer.

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  6. @hyrosen

    https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay-city/2020/07/central-michigan-university-investigates-professor-who-said-racial-slurs-in-class.html

    Important quote: “Contacted by MLive, Mills said the university has advised her not to discuss the matter with the media due to the open investigation. She did, however, clarify that Boudreau said the n-word outside of reading from a quote contained in a lawsuit he was discussing.”

    So I dunno if you’re just okay with the garbage fire that is reason.com, or if you’re actively lying yourself, but the teacher in question did more than just quote. But you’re a bigoted asshole who at best plays hard and fast with the truth to prove your points, so I doubt you care about the distinction.

    Liked by 1 person

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