The baubau of cancel culture and my unmotivated superiority complex

The baubau of cancel culture and my unmotivated superiority complex
The baubau of cancel culture and my unmotivated superiority complex
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What if everything I’ve talked about in the last few years is false? On the contrary: if all that I have talked about in recent years I had been to make it exist, with my words that, skilled narrator of fairy tales that I am, have built worlds?

This is the thesis of Eve Fairbanks, South African, who in the new issue of Atlantic publishes an article entitled Why wasn’t I canceled?, Whose thesis can be summarized as: since I wrote a book in which there are black voices and I am white, and no one in the publishing house told me how dare you ?, and only two journalists among the many who interviewed me asked me for an account, then the cancel culture you invented it, and by inventing it you end up making it exist, or in any case you behave as if it existed, when I don’t know if I have already told you that it is all in your imagination.

I know that the readers here are aware of the difference between anecdotal and statistics, and that therefore there would be no need for me to point out that, for a Fairbanks that everything goes smoothly, there is a Chimamanda who has been explaining to us for years that certain that everything is fine and that even today no one has lynched us: we are so terrified that we are the first to censor ourselves.

Among other things, this is also the thesis of Fairbanks, who – after talking to a couple of students with experiences of non-censorship and non-cancellation – decides that it is we who censor ourselves, but it is because we believe in the worlds we invent: if we write everything we want, nothing would happen.

I could easily support the same thesis: I write what I think with irritating frequency, and nothing happens. Better still: every now and then I find myself in front of interlocutors who, to argue that the cancel culture is an invention of the right, they take me as an example. If there was the cancel culture, by now Soncini would be hoeing. (Wisely, they use other hyperboles: hoeing requires skills I don’t possess.)

But, as I explained recently, nothing happens if you have broad shoulders. If your product is in demand on the market, if there is a broadcaster or publisher on top of you who decides to give a damn about whoever yells on social media, if you don’t want to be the most popular girl at the prom. Don’t make me mention the names of those who support what the public wants to hear, and how much they make more than me.

Nothing happens if, like me, you suffer from an unmotivated superiority complex. In the autumn of 2017 I was writing a column in an Italian magazine that no longer exists (who knows why), published by an American publishing group. I wrote an editorial in MeToo for the New York Times and, generously, when they asked me for two biographical lines to put at the bottom of the article, I said to point to that magazine.

In the following days, some not very lucid Twitter accounts, nervous about some jokes about MeToo I made on Twitter, asked the New York Times to withdraw my article (five years have passed and I still do not understand how to withdraw an article; neither do they , I fear, they had probably never read a newspaper and did not fix it afterwards). When the New York Times didn’t leave them, they went to ask the Italian magazine for my head,

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I do not know what the wretched people of the magazine replied, I hope “we are not the custodians of what Soncini writes on Twitter”, but I saw the agitation and my heart tightened. You know, the parent company is very much on the side of MeToo. You know, Asia Argento is very angry (there was a moment in which she took into account the moods of Asia Argento: to tell it today, it doesn’t even seem true).

In short, I too could say that nothing happened (not lost jobs or some reputation), but it would be dishonest. And the Fairbanks article is moderately dishonest. For example on the question of capital letters. For a couple of years, many American newspapers have started writing capital letters Black, when it is a racial adjective. They wondered: at that point also White? Most said no (not all, the Washington Post for example capitalize even whites).

Fairbanks says they had told her that Simon and Schuster would never accept her writing lowercase black, but no one at the publishing house told her anything about drafting rules to that effect. Yes, Eve, but your book (The Inheritors, The Heirs; subtitle: An intimate portrait of how South Africa dealt with the racial question) begins with a page explaining why you keep the black skin color. . Biko used lowercase, write. It was the white rulers who started using capital letters to say they were like the Persians, distant cultures that would never integrate, you write. “Capitalizing Black and White was how the apartheid government appropriated semantic power.”

I won’t be the one to condemn you, Eve, because instead of following Elizabeth Windsor’s teaching, and avoiding explaining and justifying yourself, you opted for a little page placed before the prologue, so that no one could miss it, a little page that only serves to say : it is not a derogatory minuscule, on the contrary, it is minuscule precisely because I am anti-racist, look at me, I am one of the good guys, do not consider my book the work of an unpresentable, please.

However, I wonder how it came to your mind, with such a shaky premise, to then say to Atlantic: I would really like to write an article on the baubau of cancel culture, this imaginary bugbear that writers here in America dream of censoring themselves, when instead you can write everything you want, perhaps by putting at the beginning an explanatory note that says that Merlin wizard smokes, and this is an execrable behavior due to the fact that this cartoon comes from the dark times when, horror from which we distance ourselves, people smoked. (And, since we hadn’t invented the cancel culturewe were not sorry).

The article is in Italian

Tags: baubau cancel culture unmotivated superiority complex