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What happens after you’re cancelled? The misery of becoming a non-person is described in agonising detail in a new book by Kevin Myers

Greg Clarke, former Chairman of The FA. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Greg Clarke, former Chairman of The FA. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images


November 13, 2020   5 mins

The term “cancel culture” has become one of the phrases of the age. But as with all such terms, it not only encompasses a range of trends, but also conceals them. By focusing on the question of how, where, when and why people are “cancelled” it is easy to pass over the question of what happens next. What — if anything — happens to people once they have been “cancelled”.

A new book by Kevin Myers, Burning Heresies: A Memoir of a Life in Conflict 1979-2020, arrives at an important juncture. For Myers himself was “cancelled” in 2017 over a single sentence of his column in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times. This one clumsily-worded sentence brought accusations of misogyny, anti-Semitism and even “Holocaust denial” down on his head, all of them unfairly and ignorantly levelled, but significant enough in number and volume to see Myers not only sacked from his column but effectively ending his 40-year career in journalism.

I say the book arrives at an important juncture, because every day there is a fresh example of the cancelling phenomenon and every day there is a failure to contend with what people are meant to do once they have been so “unpersonned”, and what attitude the rest of society is meant to take towards them.

Just this week there have been two suggestive examples. First there was the case of of Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association — now former chairman of the Football Association, since on Wednesday, Clarke resigned from this position after making what the BBC described as a “remark about black players“. As with all such reports, if you were only to have read the headline you might come away with the impression that Clarke had specifically, deliberately or otherwise reprehensively insulted some black football players for being black.

Indeed the headline could encompass everything from the most appalling racial slurs, to what Clarke in fact did do, which was to use the term “coloured footballers”. The rules of the moment demand that Clarke should have used the term “people of colour” rather than “coloured people” and therefore perhaps should have said “players of colour” rather than “coloured players”. Of course the era has been through this linguistic discussion before, with some people pointing out that if the term “coloured people” is so offensive, what are we to make of the NAACP?

But all these debates are put to one side once somebody is found to have uttered remarks which some people take to be racist. Once again the words are made to transcend the context or purpose with which they are used. On this occasion Clarke was speaking to MPs about diversity and racial abuse directed against black players. Had Clarke been calling for more racial abuse of black players then perhaps his use of a slightly outmoded term would have been suggestive.

But he was talking about how to prevent such offences. So it might ordinarily be thought uncharitable to interpret the language he used as going completely against the spirit of the sentences he was uttering. Clarke himself apologised for the remarks, saying that they were “a product of having worked overseas” for years where different language norms had been in place. But he was forced to resign anyway for his “unacceptable language”.

Another person who had their career ended this week was Jeffrey Toobin, the lawyer, CNN regular and New Yorker contributor. He made news last month when he was reported as having exposed himself during a Zoom call with colleagues. Embarrassingly for everyone involved, during an election “simulation” involving staff from the New Yorker and WYNC radio Mr Toobin was seen by some colleagues pleasuring himself on camera.

The first reports of this could hardly have been more embarrassing. Though it does not completely excuse the lapse, it soon emerged that Toobin had been responsible for a reprehensible technological gaffe. He had obviously been multitasking and was darting between different video calls of a clearly different nature (something he should doubtless not have been doing).

Clearly his intention had not been to expose himself to his colleagues, although that would be the conclusion anybody reading the briefest reports of the incident might have come to. And so again on Wednesday it was announced that the New Yorker was ending its 27-year relationship with Toobin, whose career — like Clarke’s — would appear to be over. This is where the Myers memoir provides some much-needed context to our times as well as his own life story.

As it happens, a second volume of memoirs from Myers should have been eagerly awaited by everyone. His first, Watching the Door [2008], was an account of covering the Troubles in Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1978. It is one of the best books I know about that dirty, squalid, vicious war, and when it first came out Watching the Door was immediately, widely and justly acclaimed.

It is a book which, as Andrew Marr memorably said in a jacket quote, “stinks of the truth”. His second volume of memoirs is at least as good, covering Myers’s exceptionally brave work as a war correspondent in Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia. In between there are hilarious memories of the Dublin press world and a serious and important account of Myers’s — for a time — one-man work to revive the memory of the Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War.

All of this would ordinarily have meant Burning Heresies receiving at least as much — if not more — acclaim than his 2008 book. And yet this time the notices have been fewer and the media grandees of Marr’s stature have kept away. For, of course, in between those books is the downfall which Myers explains in painful and self-lacerating detail in this book. Like Toobin and Clarke this week, Myers was a victim of a whirlwind of accusations, originating in one terrible mistake.

As in those cases it allowed headlines to suggest that his crimes were not only agreed upon but much worse than they in fact were. They allowed old enemies to come out and settle old scores, while new enemies managed to leap to ignorant conclusions that they could lay on top. The fact that Myers ended up fighting (and winning) a defamation case against RTÉ is probably known by a fraction of those around the world who read of his first “offence”.

But as in all such cases, there has to be a way through. People cannot, or should not, just be picked up, whirled around and dumped in this fashion because of a momentary slip-up or infelicity. We know by now that social media gives the world the opportunity to put a microphone to the smallest slip-up and we should also know by now how easily this device might be turned onto any of us. Since we live in an era where we have all volunteered to have multiple camera and recording devices in our own homes, and where we have at the touch of our fingers the ability to draw the attention (negatively or otherwise) of the whole world, we should have at least started to try to work out how people get out of cancellation as well as into it.

It seems to me that the case of Myers suggests several broad principles that could be applied. The first is to accept apologies when they are sincerely and clearly uttered — to accept that a sincere apology can put a line under things rather than giving them another cycle of recrimination.

A second is that we should try to incline towards generosity in our interpretation of the remarks and actions of others. I have never had any special liking for Jeffrey Toobin, but I would assume that he did not intend to expose himself to his work colleagues. There was a time when the embarrassment brought down on him might have been enough.

What we should try to work out is whether there is any line today between total career destruction and having to never slip up in any way in life or utterance. The case of Clarke presents a similar occasion. It is possible to pretend that somebody of a certain age forgetting the precise, correct phrase of the time is revealing some deep-seated racial prejudice. But more likely he is a person who got muddled, intended no offence, is sincere in his apology and should be treated reasonably in response. Yet all this is something the age seems intent on not doing.

No two cases are precisely analogous. But what is clear by now is that our era has developed a vengeance which is troubling, and a lack of opportunity for repentance which is worse. Perhaps people are just hoping that they will never slip up in their lives and will be able to sidle along through the whole thing. Perhaps we will. Perhaps we won’t.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

Treating people differently based on the their skin colour is racist. Cancelling someone is an expression of modern tribal power by the “cancellers” no better than bullying, or even possibly it is a fruit from the same hate tree as racism. Like skin colour the past cannot be changed by its owner, which indicates the truely despicable nature of twitter trawlers looking for past indiscretions to drag out to show their power to subjugate and punish without limit and outside of any statute; these are not good words especially when enacted by a mob. Interestingly, it has shown me why past offences are not presented as prima facie evidence during a trial as it means redemption or change is impossible, denying the accused the basic right of realising and learning from their mistakes.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

Thank you for such a concise expression of one of the most reprehensible aspects of cancel culture, its deficiencies, and its appeal to the worst aspects of human nature:

the truely despicable nature of twitter trawlers looking for past indiscretions

And thanks also for the observation about why past offences are not presented as prima facie evidence in a trial.

Sadly, I have little hope that the trawlers, or the far larger number who follow in their wake, will demonstrate any capacity to listen to such argument. But the argument must still be made, as publicly as possible.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

I agree with the general point, but these are 2 very different cases. Toobin was caught “knocking one out” at work, and rightly got fired. Clarke just failed to keep up with the latest newspeak, which is frankly impossible for most people, and has been publicly crucified while doing nothing wrong.

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I have little sympathy with either. Clarke was paid £190k to ‘keep up’. I’m quite sure he’s not racist and I think the opprobrium hurled his way is way over the top – ‘abhorrent’? Hardly. However, being paid that sum of money demands that you keep on top of your brief and, if part of that is knowing your ‘coloured footballer’ from your ‘footballer of colour’, then you’d better get that bit right. So, resignation? Yes. Social media pile-on? No. His job prospects after this? Not good for anything requiring attention to detail or any kind of political nous.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

Nice troll.

Mark M
Mark M
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

Knowing ‘coloured footballer’ from ‘footballer of colour’ was not part of his job – or anybody’s. After all, it is only a matter of opinion as to whether one is good and one is bad or whether both are acceptable or neither are acceptable. Whose opinion do you go with? It’s seems that you have to go with the opinions of those who shout the loudest and are the most intolerant and unforgiving. Personally, I would avoid sharing opinions with people like that.

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark M

As head of the Football Association with a very well publicised ‘Kick Out Racism’ campaign; with a high proportion of young, black, English players in the England set-up (some of whom have been subjected to godawful racism in some European backwaters), I would suggest:

Knowing ‘coloured footballer’ from ‘footballer of colour’

is exactly part of his job.
It’s knowing the correct terminology to use in your profession and why. He didn’t.
As I said elsewhere, his subsequent hounding is unacceptable, undeserved and ugly.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

When so much money is floating round in what is just a game, played mainly by idiots, then priorities have gone wrong somewhere along the line.
What’s worse is the fact that, its most ardent followers are those who are poorest and complain most often about industry bosses getting too much money.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Football is played mainly by idiots and supported by by the poorest? What planet are you on?

pedanticjase
pedanticjase
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

What’s the arbitrary figure you have to be paid to keep up with all the lingo then?

I think someone should have taken him to one side after a this remark and suggest the preferred term, I feel like binning someone off like this would make anyone new coming in even more skittish about trying to help. It’s become a bit of a circular firing squad as soon as you start playing that game.

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago
Reply to  pedanticjase

I don’t know all the details, but I understand the ‘taking him to one side’ had happened after a previous slip of the tongue. Essentially, he’s taken a highly political, high-profile job for a large sum of money. Like it or not, being ‘on message’ is part of the jobs these days. For clarity, I find the confected outrage directed at him awful, dangerous for public debate and utterly intolerant; I find the wilful misunderstanding and exaggeration of his remarks infuriating and manipulative. I think those making these statements are playing to their bubble of outrage seekers. They reduce the meaning of the word ‘racist’ to an exercise in semantics rather than tackling the issue itself and do a huge disservice to the cause they profess to support. This is the bigger issue here. But on the specific point of Clarke’s resignation – he wasn’t up to the job. Should he be publicly vilified? Absolutely not.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

In what way is being a ‘heid-yin’ in football in any way ‘political’? Seems to me that some people never grow up.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

OK Janus, I mean Neil. So he deserved to get fired but not be publicly vilified? Well, if its serious enough to fire him with immediate effect, then it must be serious enough for people to be outraged about it if it comes to their attention. After all, he was FIRED for offending a substantial section of the PUBLIC, right? So it follows that the public will naturally villify him for his comments if the issue is treated as worthy of vilification, you know, like when you fire someone publicly. Don’ try and play that “Oh is isn’t just awful what’s happening to him!” while simultaneously patting the instigators on the back.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago
Reply to  pedanticjase

It was just announced on NPR = a station that only the educated elite listen to in the US – that the powers that be in Portland have erased he/she in the City Charter to be replaced by “gender neutral” language which I am thinking must be they. Thank God I am one of those educated elite who listen to NPR or I would never have known. The only good thing, is that I am far too old to be cancelled.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  pedanticjase

As you mention firing squads, can somebody not blindfold and stand such people against a wall? By “such people” I mean the people who run things like ‘facebook’ and twitter’ etc.
Anyway, why should anybody be blacklisted by a load of fascists for using an out-of- date phrase?

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

OK. I’ll bite. Let’s get specific on what the phrase ”keep up’ really means – Can you point to an authoritative source? a list? Where do I find this source documentation I need to read to ‘keep up’?

If there is not such a list, maybe you just have a list of approved people I can read? And how do you know they are an exhaustive list? And where did their legitimacy and authority come from? Who are they accountable to?

Because I’m actually rather worried that the approved words are mostly just in your head, and you are happy for people to get fired if their words don’t accord with your own inner dialogue. Stable societies cant function at scale like that.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

So, resignation? Yes.
How totalitarian of you. Failing to be sufficiently is now a firing offense. How long before it becomes a capital crime?

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

resignation for one misspoke (and not really even that) word??? Perhaps you should apply that low bar to yourself first.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

I agree Neil. Clarke was already in trouble over his involvement in Project Big Picture and chose to fall on his sword. If he was that confident of his position, he would have stayed on. As regards Toobin, any employer would have fired him. These two examples bring to mind the saying, “move along, nothing to see here”.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

Why is there an “up” with which to keep, do you suppose? Why was the inoffensive form given, then changed, presumably to be changed again? Could it be that settling matters once and for all would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to the entire industry of “victims” who derive lucrative livelihoods from being permanently offended, and that the reason that rules are constantly changed is to ensure a constant supply of fresh victims?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Knocking out at work in front of a camera? Mm most people would get fired by doing that at work. The fault is in enlarging it out of all proportion, but there was something wrong at the start surely? With Clarke I agree totally. He never should have been sacked.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

It seems to me that the reason describing people as ‘coloured’ is offensive, and it’s a good one, is that basically it means ‘non-white’, and dividing people into white or non-white is racist.
Quite why BAME, which appears to be a synonym, isn’t every bit as offensive eludes me. That this chap would have had no problems at all if he’d used the approved word instead of the admittedly archaic term he chose is at once beyond dispute and also frightening, in how much it reveals of the degree to which we are already in a ‘Newspeak’ environment.
He’s lost his job and career for heaven’s sake. And the great censorious machine goes rolling on.

Good point about NAACP by the way. I hadn’t noticed that before.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

‘BAME’, as you rightly point out, is a dreadful, I would say offensively reductive acronym used to lump a hugely disparate number of people in one convenient place, and one that upsets a good many who are lumped there.

Needless to say this catch-all term, though ‘currently’ considered just about acceptable by the majority of the MSM and public institutions as a means to describe ‘ethnic minorities’, will likely be the next lexicographical landmine designed to catch out the unsuspecting…..

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

… and presumably those who chose to use the term will soon be “cancelled” and have their statues toppled ….

Madness indeed ….

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

…. on the plus side, the logical conclusion might be that the “identity” monster ends up eating itself.

How sweet that would be ….

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

There was a report out the other day saying exactly that – in a survey of people who would be classed as BAME, they definitely did not like the abbreviation, and for the reasons you mention. As others have observed, this whole area is a complete minefield and I suspect it’s simply not possible to come up with a term that is simple to use and does not offend someone. (The difference between the completely verboten ‘coloured’ and the perfectly acceptable ‘people of colour’ makes no sense and is therefore not one that the uninitiated can readily apply.) Which supports Douglas’s argument for some tolerance here. Sadly, the woke left and their followers are not a very tolerant group.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

“Which supports Douglas’s argument for some tolerance here.”

Yes, now go and convince the intolerant left. I may be dead by the time you return.

Peter Walker
Peter Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

How are we supposed to know what the “approved word”(s) are? And do those approved words vary depending upon with whom you converse?

A ludicrous minefield with consequences far beyond any perceived crime.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Walker

That’s the point. Expressing an opinion becomes such a minefield that you don’t. You shut up and the narrative is owned by those who control which words are acceptable in the next 24 hours.

Shane Dunworth-crompton
Shane Dunworth-crompton
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

And then you get a big surprise as pollsters did in US election

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago

And Brexit, and the 2019 UK election.
The silent majority are becoming more silent, and more of a majority.

Gary Richmond
Gary Richmond
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

And, that’s part of the problem. If sensible and well intentioned people ‘daren’t’ engage with certain discussions then, that’s a real concern because, they are exactly the kind of people that should be engaging and helping to educate others. Surely, that’s how you get an intelligent and balanced discussion and, that’s how you find solutions.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

So instead of being productive you have to be analysing your words continually? I don’t know how one can work in that atmosphere. Expressing good ideas must surely be limited.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Exactly. It’s the demotion of competence.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Agreed. It’s nice to be so old and marginalised that none of the woke bullies think its worth stamping on you :0)

Shane Dunworth-crompton
Shane Dunworth-crompton
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Walker

The Thought Police should provide weekly (or daily?) updates as to currently acceptable Right Speak

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

I think Titania McGrath does, from time to time, on her Twitter feedðƾℱ‚

Ned Costello
Ned Costello
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Andrew Doyle here on exactly this point, he believes that purpose all these anti-racist linguistic gymnastics is to instill fear and thereby prevent the whole marxist – led agenda being challenged.

https://www.youtube.com/wat

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Walker

Careful though – saying ‘I just don’t know what words we are supposed to use now’ will be taken to betray your offensive ‘and I don’t really care either’ attitude to the language thing, and get you cancelled just for asking. You should be making time and effort to keep up, as this is a very critical human issue.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

I don’t get. Of course there are differences between the races and I don’t mean just colour.People of different racial origins Have different views on all sorts of things. As long as all are treated fairly within the law there should be no problem, but don’t think for a minute that the White Westerners are the baddies because of assumed privilege or our colonial past, most races have a history that no one should be particularly proud of.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Walker

You are not supposed to be able to know what the approved language is. You are supposed to shut your mouth and keep your head down.That is the whole point of the circus.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Since ‘minority ethnic’ also includes gypsies and travellers it doesn’t even mean non-white.

Tobias Olds
Tobias Olds
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

And eastern europeans (slavs)?

Shane Dunworth-crompton
Shane Dunworth-crompton
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

We should stop describing people by their skin colour. Period. An Englishman is an Englishman regardless of skin colour or ethnicity Americans of colour are Americans regardless of skin colour or ethnicity. Period. But heh. Call yourself what you want

samuel.goulding
samuel.goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Excellent point. Thank you.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

dividing people into white or non-white is racist.
How so? Set aside the group identity aspect, but how is calling people what they obviously are racist? It would be nice if we could get past beyond skin color, that quaint thing MLK used to talk about, but the left insists on group identity uber alles.

What seems offensive is lumping anyone who is non-white into the same bucket, as if every single such person is of like mind. You can’t get Cubans to believe they’re the same as Mexicans even though both fall under the broader Hispanics; how in the world do you know convince both that they and blacks and Asians and Indians are functionally identical?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

MLK of course did not want skin colour to be used at all.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Try telling that to the new “Woke”.

trudyluz.y
trudyluz.y
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

While we’re at it, dumping all whites into the same bucket isn’t a good idea either. All people come in units of one.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

And then there’s the United Negro College Fund.

Dennis Lewis
Dennis Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Kindly explain to me how the term “people of colour” is not judged to be offensive since, like “coloured,” it basically means ‘non-white.’ As you rightly point out, the term “BAME” is equally as absurd and offensive.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I’d assumed that the difference was that “coloured people” suggests that these people are essentially different. A different class or type of people. “People of colour” suggests they are superficially different. They are people with different colour skin.

It’s a bit like “disabled people” and “people with disabilities”.

This makes sense to me, though it’s a pretty subtle distinction. But since identity politics has gone all essentialist (“whiteness” doesn’t just refer to skin colour) I’m not sure any more.

In any case, this demonstrates that nobody really has a clue what the distinction is and why it is so important that you would get sacked over it. “Coloured” just sounds dated.

sam.poulton
sam.poulton
3 years ago

Until people stop apologising and resigning for doing nothing wrong cancel culture will persist. Bullies are never defeated by backing down or by watching and quietly hoping they won’t come for you next.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  sam.poulton

Agreed – I am by no means a Democrat (USA), but for Democrat Sen. Al Franken resigning for goofing around several years ago, perhaps slightly inappropriately was just ridiculous. He was after all a comedian in his pre-political life. No one in his party defended him. No one took any sort of ‘high ground’ leadership that Michelle Obama constantly flogs. So one can only conclude that Franken himself was spineless. One thing is for sure, ‘secularism’ has obliterated Christian ‘forgiveness’.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

The appalling madness in all of this is beautifully illustrated by the fact that the man that “mis-spoke” had to go… but the leading man in one of the (many) religious organisations that shelter paedophiles did not.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago

I’m slightly troubled that those who hound out clumsy speakers who mean well, like Clarke, have forgotten what an actual racist sounds like and how one behaves. We still live in an age where some morons at football matches make monkey noises at black players and throw bananas on the pitch. Those are the ones who need to be cancelled, not people who are trying to tackle this sort of thing but express themselves poorly.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

I take your point, but aren’t you falling into the trap by saying Clarke expressed himself poorly i.e. by using an everyday word that the ignorant fascist woke mob deems offensive?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

Would you like to cite any specific examples where football fans have actually been charged? The BBC are fond of flagging up alleged racist incidents at Premier matches only for the story to disappear after a ‘investigation’. I’ve been going to football matches s long enough to have heard racist behaviour in the1970s but nothing of that ilk since the early 1990s but your football attending experience may well be different to mine.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

Thankfully I am old enough and in a position in which I am able to speak my mind on a forum such as this, but I notice that the phenomena described by Mr Murray is circulating ever more widely in real life. One really has to be careful in conversation lest someone “take offence”, which among young people seems to be the default position. Do people no longer think for themselves? Is there a need in this brave new world to be programmed with the correct social and political views and more importantly is it to late to remedy the situation?
I read with interest the tale of Mr Clarke, who seems to be a plain speaking man who has lived and worked in an environment more or less free from bullshit and has fallen victim to those who would prohibit anything which hinders their agenda. In my youth it was considered insulting to call people African origin “black”, as the word had very negative connotations in everyday speech and to be honest very few are truly black just a whole range of skin colours from Scandinavian pink to African dark brown. I have always thought “coloured” to be a good choice thought to be honest we are all coloured to some extent.
The other reason for the vilification of Mr Clarke, was because he described homosexuality as “a Lifestyle” and I cant help but notice that Mr Murray has not opined on that remark….To me it certainly does represent a lifestyle with its own mores and social norms both among male and female homosexuals. If it is not a lifestyle, exactly what is it and why are we continually legislating in its favour?

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Some good points, Alex. Back in the eighties I managed a fair number of sports centres in Germany. My business partner was a black man who loathed the word ‘coloured’ to describe himself and other black people. For him black was accurate and that was fine – by him and by me.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Alex, you just have to let them take offense. I used to have fun introducing a former colleague of mine, a white man originally from S. Africa as “My African-American friend”

You have to push back at these soulless ghouls.That is the one and only way out of this mess.

Michael J. McEachern
Michael J. McEachern
3 years ago

The pervasive cancelling of people for perceived or non-offensive speech will only increase unless it meets powerful resistance. Myers should not be made or coerced to apologize when he made no racially offensive statement. Rather, he should push back and fight, in court if necessary. We had a black US congressman who took offense at the use of the word “niggardly” (stingy to the even moderately educated) claiming it was a racial slur. A black state judge went on a tirade over the term “black hole”, an astronomical term, for the same reason. Calling out this ignorance for what it is may do no short-term good, but it is necessary just the same. Anyone who doubts this should read the novella, “Anthem” by Ayn Rand.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

I found this article frustrating in that I would have liked to see push- back advocated. Getting others to accept apologies and “incline towards generosity in our interpretation of remarks” probably won’t get us far in these particular circumstances. In the nasty culture we have at the moment some people seem to be intent on destroying others if they can.
We have terrifying injustices being perpetrated here and I think we should resist. Accusations are being made and cruel decisions are being taken on their basis and people’s lives are being irreparably damaged. These accusations and cruel decisions such as sacking people like Greg Clarke should be challenged in court.
Going to law is costly and it would be good to have organisations around who would help people in Mr. Clarke’s position if necessary. The Christian Institute do a wonderful job helping people who are taken to court for possible breaches of the law due to conscience. It seems to me that Unions are uninvolved in these situations. I’m presuming Kevin Myers was a Union member. If so where were they? Possibly captured by wokedom.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Well I have no sympathy for Toobin, whose ‘cancellation’ is surely based on a matter of personal behaviour and not of political belief or ‘wrong speak’.

trudyluz.y
trudyluz.y
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I have sympathy for people who make honest mistakes that don’t”or at least shouldn’t” hurt anyone. That was Douglas Murray’s point I believe. And isn’t getting fired ‘cancellation’?

T Arn
T Arn
3 years ago

Worst thing about Clarke, is that according to the head of ‘Kick It Out’, it was “staggering” that Clarke felt that girls were more likely to be scared of being hit by a football. Was the Kick It Out leader not ever a kid in a playground?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  T Arn

Yes. I have played football with quite a few women, and a pretty good female footballer sometimes joins our 4 a-side games. It is noticeable that when she goes in goal, or when the ball approaches her upper body at any speed, she is more likely to avoid the ball than most of the men.

This is not to say that I do not do the same thing myself sometimes – it is only natural to duck when someone whacks a spherical object in the direction of your head from a few yards away.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Sometimes watch women’s football……and once rugby! I played football in my youth and although the game has changed dramatically, I do believe that it is too physical for women, considering the large number of injuries being suffered. The female body is simply not designed for heavy contact sports, bones more easily shattered muscles unable to develop to the required extent and no amount of training will make any difference. The male professionals have learned that avoiding injury is one of the most important criteria for a long and successful career in football. I doubt if these options are available to female players.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Of course, these problems could be avoided, if we all played the one true sport

(Hockey (field), since you are asking)ðƾℱ‚

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

‘we live in an era where we have all volunteered to have multiple camera and recording devices in our own homes, and where we have at the touch of our fingers the ability to draw the attention (negatively or otherwise) of the whole world’.

Well, don’t volunteer to do that, and keep your fingers to yourself! Boycott Amazon, Alexa and all social media! Slay the sanctimonious, hateful, fascistic and intrusive monster to which you’ve chained yourself!

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Starting with not commenting on Unherd, I suppose…

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

That doesn’t count! Nobody’s listening…

Shane Dunworth-crompton
Shane Dunworth-crompton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Hahaha

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

We should not forget Alistair Stewart who was sacked because he quoted Shakespeare and Shakespeare had unwisely referred to an ape when writing that particular line.

samuel.goulding
samuel.goulding
3 years ago

It is quite obvious that Greg Clarke was on the side of calling out racism, There are no good enough reasons to take him out of his position because he used the term “coloured people”

As Mr Murray notes the NAACP (The USA based, National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People”) still uses this term. It did not alter the usage of this term since it became replaced by “people of colour”.

I agree with Mr Murray that we need to show forgiveness and to allow people to apologise for a slip up. We need to give someone “a pass” if they slip up. We are otherwise creating an environment of fear in public and private speaking lest we say the “wrong thing”. Additionally what is truly important is what is in the person’s heart.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

Apologize for what exactly.
we need to stop reacting as if the problem is that there is no room for apology and start asserting the fact that there is nothing to apologize for.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

“Perhaps people are just hoping that they will never slip up in their
lives and will be able to sidle along through the whole thing. Perhaps
we will. Perhaps we won’t.”

No, you are missing the obvious here. People will just shut down the discussion and will have to just go with the mob because the risk in speaking is too high..

That is the whole point and purpose of the “cancel culture”.

David Dingley
David Dingley
3 years ago

What are the consequences for the Twitter trolls ginning up the outrage? What should it be? I am over 60 and self employed and financially secure. As such I don’t feel very vulnerable to cancellation. But if one of my employees participated in such a Maoist exercise, I would consider firing them for the shocking lack of human charity shown by such activity. I certainly wouldn’t trust their judgment. Cruelty and bullying should have consequences.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

But he was talking about how to prevent such offences.
and I can think of at least two instances in the US where a person was ousted for using a particular word while giving a training class to say “do not use this word.” The context, as with the FA guy, simply did not matter. That’s too much for the woke brain to conceptualize and headlines like the one quoted do not help.

Including Toobin in this piece is an insult to straw man arguments everywhere. There is no setting and never has been a setting where pleasuring oneself in a business meeting is acceptable. What was the point of that?

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The head teacher of Bedales (? I think) recently….

sally12716901
sally12716901
3 years ago

Followers of “Yes Minister” may recall Mr Hacker referring to a fictional new African republic as a “tin pot little African country” and Sir Humphrey’s horrified response reminding Jim Hacker that The Civil Service had moved from “Under Developed countries” to “Developing countries” and the next approved phrase was “Human Resource Rich countries”

I am sure that everybody can see that the phrase “Coloured People” is deeply offensive while the phrase “People of Colour” is respectful and positive.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  sally12716901

I can’t. But then I’m only a stupid foreigner.

sally12716901
sally12716901
3 years ago

The phrase “cancel culture” is new to me but the concept is not. I have read Myers’ new book and agree strongly that he was very badly treated by RTE. RTE is the Republic’s national broadcaster and should have the ability to present the news in an impartial manner. Regretfully RTE has adopted a one sided approach to Irish nationalism and a less than rigorous approach to Sinn Fein and the IRA. In one recent interview Michelle O’Neill was allowed to describe her job as “protecting public health” It would have been nice had the interviewer reminded her that Sinn Fein / IRA have been responsible for more deaths in Northern Ireland than the Army, the RUC. the UDR, Loyalist paramilitaries AND corona virus put together.

Still it is nice to see her new policy of saving lives being introduced.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

My questions in a case such as that of Greg Clarke are:
Who does the cancelling?
Why are they allowed to get away with it?

There seems to be so little resistance. Does a person really have to be cancelled just to pacify a twitter lynch mob?

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

I’m pretty much with Douglas on the whole cancel culture thing, but I have to say, if I were launching a fightback, Kevin Myers is not the man I’d put on the posters for the protest march. Really, I just wouldn’t.

eamonngaines
eamonngaines
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Myers is an uncomfortable neighbour to have, politically, certainly but he has a long history of speaking truths discomfiting to the stifling conformity of Irish public life. I haven’t yet bought his new book but I shall, today. He actually takes the trouble to tell the truth to the best of his ability, which is more than most of the Irish commentariat ever get to.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  eamonngaines

The conformity of Irish public life is as stifling today as it ever was during the era of the so-called “confessional state”. Ultimately, nothing in Ireland ever changes, however much those who run the country congratulate themselves on how woke and evolved they are nowadays. However, it doesn’t follow axiomatically that everyone on the outside is a true prophet.

John Kirk
John Kirk
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Exactly as in Scotland, except for Confessional State we have Calvinist pitilessness.

eamonngaines
eamonngaines
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

You are right about the “true prophet” claim but then I don’t look for a true prophet in human affairs generally. I once praised a book by the clinician and philosopher Raymond Tallis in conversation at a “conservative” Catholic event, and was told about how he was hostile to Pope Benedict XVI visiting England etc etc. My attitude is that I don’t care. His book was good and valuable even if I think his politics stink. Likewise, I enjoy reading Douglas Murray, and if he has written something it is usually worth the time and effort to read it. But I don’t look to him as a true prophet either. So, if Myers has something to say that I can learn from, even if I don’t ultimately agree with it, I’ll be happy with that. I would rather have more voices than fewer, even if some are a bit contrarian.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  eamonngaines

Yes, good word that – “contrarian”.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Ireland has replaced catholic conformity with woke conformity, for sure.

Ned Costello
Ned Costello
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Why not?

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
3 years ago

This last week or so has provided a fantastic example of cancel culture, based around a single TV show – The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spinoff on Disney+.

One actor, Gina Carano, said (effectively) that elections should be fair, transparent, and any seeming issues should be investigated. Cue cancellation and a tsunami of abuse from the “tolerant” section, especially on Twitter and IG.

Another actor, Pedro Pascal, directly compared the ~70,000,000 Trump voters in the US election to the baddies in WWII and the Confederates in the American Civil War. He has been lauded and praised for doing so in most media, though understandably many of the “not media” that he insulted are less than happy and are conducting their own, lesser-visible, cancellation.

Finally, a puppet in the show ate some eggs. I kid you not. This puppet, “Baby Yoda”, has been the darling of the internet since the show started last year, and is known for trying to eat things he shouldn’t. Well, last Friday he ate some eggs, and is now Puppeta-non-grata for doing so. A puppet, a fictional one, cancelled for the thing that people loved him for.

In season 1, this show was generally acclaimed, aside from the usual claims of misogyny and transphobia (only 2 badass women! No main characters are non-binary!). Season 2 seems to be crashing down around their ears. None of it coming from the “Toxic Star Wars Fans” that were blamed for the lacklustre performance of the newer movies, ironically.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

What is wrong with eating eggs?

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Presumably because they contain the embryo of fluffy chicks? Pity the woke brigade don’t have the same attitude to baby humans.

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

There are two main issues, as far as I can tell.
1. “it’s genocide” because these eggs were the last remaining batch of a non-human species. And the infant puppet alien should have known that and therefore not regarded them as a tasty snack.
2. It might upset people who have undergone / may undergo IVF because of the casual disregard for eating “reproductive” eggs – again, the infant puppet alien should have known better.

In both cases, the infant puppet alien, who has the capacity of a 2yo human, should have exercised better judgement. With an expected lifespan of 900 years, he has a long time to contemplate his errors and issue apologies…

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

He’s 50, apparently.

Dennis Lewis
Dennis Lewis
3 years ago

I have to call you out on your use of the outdated and non-inclusive term “women.” Your casual use of such terms causes real harm. The correct term is “people who menstruate.” Come correct, please!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Lewis

The correct term is “people who menstruate.”
The wokerati tell us that ‘menstruate’ no longer applies to women only.

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Lewis

Ask JK Rowling about that one!!

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
3 years ago

Kudos for the phrase “Puppeta-non-grata”!

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

As oppressed black intellectuals are wont to say, I’m so tired of all this.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago

Good commentary, Douglas, apart from quoting Andrew Marr – a sneering and insulting creature, a wretched interviewer and a biased historian whose opinions, while he can spew them out freely on TV and in books, I invariably take issue with.

Iliya Kuryakin
Iliya Kuryakin
3 years ago

Clarke doesn’t get much sympathy from me. He should have said he intended no offence and so he wasn’t going to resign. Instead he folded like a cheap suit. He should have manned up.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Sorry, I am not familiar with this journalist at all, but if Douglas thinks he is a fine reporter I will take his word for it. Cancel culture goes after some people and not others. Why that is so is a question best asked of the cancellers. When Joe Biden told a black radio host: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” that should have been a career-ending remark, much more than anything in the column that got Myers fired.

Christopher Steane
Christopher Steane
3 years ago

Isn’t much of this missing the point about Mr Clarke? A Black football coach tells me that the football authorities and clubs retain many prejudicial attitudes. The FA asserts it opposes racism, but my acquaintance asserts that the facts on the ground are at odds with this. The fact that many of the superstars are Black means many believe the sport does not have a problem. Is this actually the tip of an iceberg?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

so the opinion of a single coach who happens to be black settles the discussion? The point about Clarke is, or should be, intent. Was he intended to be insulting? Doesn’t appear that he was. As the saying goes – no harm, no foul.

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago

Social media trolling is the 21st century technological equivalent of the lynch mob. And we all know how rational they are. Whatever happened to “love they neighbour as thyself”? And “forgive thine enemies”?

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
3 years ago

I was put out of a political party and am being vilified as a “transphobic bigot” for standing against the poisoning of children in the name of gender dysphoria.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Congratulations on making a stand! The screaming of this particular “rights” brigade requires only the courage of the mob. Taking a stand requires personal courage.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

The problem with this article and Mr Murray in general is that neither serve any useful purpose. There is nothing useful to be gained in calling out the left for inconsistency, hypocrisy and dishonesty. These are their tools, their stock in trade. Not only do they not care but the relish in it.
Indeed, it must be the cause for amusement on the left that right wing commentators seem to believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that calling out the left for hypocrisy and dishonesty is a means of challenging what has become almost their hegemony. The left do not care about argument or debate and are quite to leave the right to these bourgeois pursuits while they get on with the serious business of dismantling society.
In fact, I fear that Mr Murray and his fellow travellers serve as little better than useful idiots. By giving the impression of taking on the excesses of the left are distract away from the fact the real fight is taking place elsewhere and ground is being lost.

sally12716901
sally12716901
3 years ago

Mr Biden, President Elect, used the words at one of hi rallies “anyone wearing orange is not welcome here” This passed almost without notice and no thought was given to how people in Northern Ireland might feel excluded from Biden’s Irish Catholic Nationalist background philosophy. Had he used this phrase in relation to coloured people (sorry people of colour) he would rightly have been widely criticised. But i was forgetting his dependence on the Irish vote in the US.

Interesting that he is so determined to protect the Belfast Agreement which inter alia supports “parity of esteem” between Orange and Green. Perhaps he hasn’t read it?

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  sally12716901

Wasn’t he rather referring to Trump supporters? (as in “Orange man bad”?)

But i agree with your point – one rule for the left wing mob, another for the rest of us.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

Has an anti–white ever been cancelled, or even a non-white where they’re not the same thing given being anti-white is a media requirement for both whites and non-whites?

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

Absolutely. The easiest example that springs to mind is Andy Ngo – Vietnamese parentage (US born), gay, describes himself as centre-right (I would place him a little further along).
There are many American black commentators who are simply “not left” who are regularly vilified. Eric July (libertarian), the Hodge Twins (conservative) and Edward Lucas (various – doesn’t go along with the woke stuff, but left-leaning on some topics) from my own YouTube subs off the top of my head.
(Edited to correct a name)

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

For sure they get vilified but not *cancelled*. And they are vilified for *not* being anti-white. Andy Ngo’s a remarkable figure. Tremendous courage.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

As others have pointed out the cancel culture lacks any concept of repentance or of forgiveness. The portrayal of The Magisterium in Philip Pullman’s books was written as an attack on organised religion. The Magisterium of the woke is an equally totalitarian, but secular, intrusion into civil society: the successors to the Occupy movement in the Public Square.

Michael Rose
Michael Rose
3 years ago

What I find disturbing is the joy with which the “cancellers” and “twitter trawlers” set about their prey. A bit like a heron clearing a garden pool, with no intention of eating the catch. Is it just for fun? The irony is that these are (supposedly) caring people, anxious to demonstrate their humanity and tolerance, both of which traits seem completely absent in either their processes or their decisions. And where is the humour? I have no knowledge of Mr Toobin, but did nobody else find his tale funny? It’s the stuff of panto and farce, although they should probably be cancelled too. It’s similarly amazing that at a time of pandemic, of economic collapse, of extreme civil unrest in any number of locations, that we have time to be bothered about a slip of the wrist. Do we have to take everything so seriously and critically, especially when there is real stuff happening in the world? I read Douglas Murray avidly, although on this occasion I think the pairing of Toobin and Clarke is a bit of a mismatch. Clarke has repeatedly failed to see the changes around him and should have left the FA years ago – the same clueless characters permeate English cricket, rugby, tennis and athletics and while they remain, our progress on many fronts will suffer. We should thank them nicely and hold the door open. Toobin, on the other hand, is the stuff of seaside postcards – or have they already gone?

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Rose

If humanity and tolerance are absent in the processes or the decisions of some people, and they show neither attributes in their actions, then what is the basis for assuming or supposing these are caring people?

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

Some much needed nuance to the debate. It seems to me that there are a lot of jealous and ambitious people out there, wanting other people to fail. The problem is there is no rule or agreed standard as to where the line is drawn, so if in doubt they are fired by their cowardly bosses. We will end up with the most boring, woke people in charge, which I suppose is the goal. The effect is that no one will be able to risk saying anything of interest or original or funny, in case they are fired.

Peter LastSpurrier
Peter LastSpurrier
3 years ago

Perhaps we should form a parallel society, which you’re only allowed to join, and receive the benefits of, if you’ve been cancelled or vilified by the current PC society. Make being cancelled a desirable thing to aspire to.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

For the optimists who think cancel culture will eventually fade away, do note that oddball religious groups, which the new purists resemble, employ similar tactics against those who do not toe the line. Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. have not faded away.

James Moss
James Moss
3 years ago

What happens? What do you do? Well build an alternative career as a racist, homophobe, anti-semite or whatever the thing is you got cancelled for. It’s all about the market and there is a big market for all kinds of stuff like this. Just refine your message and get it out there. Find the right platform and pretty soon you’ll find a btl audience doting on your every pronouncement. Some people get right to it without ever going through the cancellation step.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

To be fair the cancelling of Myers wasn’t the mob but the Sunday Times. They could have put him on leave from the Irish Sunday Times for a few weeks and the British Twitter outcry would have abated, since most didn’t know who he was.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

There is no longer a significant battle in our society between Left and Right in the old political senses of the words: as being about distribution of wealth and opportunity.

What instead we have now is a raging war – mostly conducted by one side – between those who want to bully everyone else and make other people miserable (all bullies’ chiefest need and pleasure), and those who don’t.

The Political Left is now mostly totalitarian nihilist and into all forms of bullying with a vengeance.

We have seen this in America particularly starkly where BLM rioters have burned buildings, including small businesses owned by and employing black people; or have thrown at random passers-by to the ground and stamped on them, some of their victims being middle-aged and elderly black women. If Black Lives Matter to them, why would they ruin them?

The contemporary ‘Left’ bangs the drum about women’s and gay rights but is silent on the score of what happens to women and homosexuals in Muslim communities: the forced marriages, honour killings, female circumcision, the building of walls in Afghanistan for the purpose of toppling them on people found guilty of homosexual practices.

No charity can be expected, no apologies will ever suffice; and more and more, the boundaries of what cannot be said will be drawn till eventually even total lifelong Trappist Silence will be construed as an offence.

The point is not to have a culture of political correctness which abolishes all unkind remarks or insensitive slips of the tongue.

The purpose is to have everyone, absolutely everyone, cringing and cowering, and browbeaten desperate. All the time.

That is the totalitarian nihilist bullies’ Nirvana.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago

When i was at school in the 60s the polite term was “coloured” calling people” black” was a no no. I expect sometime in the future calling somebody a “person of colour’ will get you cancelled, we can only guess what the term will be then. As for calling somebody a queer that is another term used now that will soon be “not allowed”

simon says
simon says
3 years ago

“There was no holocaust (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths.” – Kevin Myers

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

my parents are holocaust survivors. Myers is full of shit. But unless he’s teaching kids or is in a similar position of responsibility, one shouldn’t lose one’s job simply for an opinion, even if it’s horrendous and stupid. And certainly not for an opinion expressed years earlier.

simon says
simon says
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

Perhaps I shouldn’t find it shocking that a direct quote from the person lauded by the writer – ie the truth – gets downvoted here. But I do. I’m deeply anti-Theory, but not at the expense of fact

Ned Costello
Ned Costello
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

It would be helpful if you enlarged on this and put his comments in context?

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago

The theme of the article is good, but the specific examples don’t match up to that. Clarke isn’t being “cancelled”, he is rightly getting heat for stupid comments he made specifically relating to being involved in trying to improve things. A person in his job knows not to call people “coloured” ffs. EVERYONE in the U.K should know that by now, anyone implying otherwise is being deliberately disingenuous. He also stereotyped Asians and women whilst being in a direct position to influence the involvement of Asians and women in his organisation. (The FA). Yes, cancel culture goes wildly too far, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get the consequences of making ridiculously stupid statements when they should know better. Having people in these comments inevitably having the fake debate “Why coloured/people of colour” is also nonsense. You know the difference. If you don’t, go learn. If you can’t figure it out, just accept that you’ve lost that particular battle and move on.

Toobin may have made a blunder and not much else, but literally everyone reading this would face serious ramifications if they were masturbating visibily in a working environment, come on. People can be punished or fined or fired for doing bad things at work. This is not new.

You’ve also slightly misrepresented the Kevin Myers thing. He was openly talking about Jews, saying “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their
talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure
there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity”. This is an obvious reference to a specific trope. Keeping in mind he had also made previous comments in the past casting doubts on the Holocaust numbers, meaning, and even using the term Holocaust in the first place.

If you want to make a very valid point about the overreaches of cancel culture, you will need to select much stronger examples. Like the various Youtubers losing their entire actual careers, or people getting kicked out of Uni ending various career paths because of a joke or whatever.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  F Wallace

Who gets to define “stronger”? There is quite the gap between masturbating at work and using a term that gives someone the vapors. When ‘coloured’ becomes a firing offense, even the shark being jumped takes notice.

What’s worse with Clarke is ignoring context and moving straight to pearl-clutching. It’s not like his intent was to make things harder on minority players, nor was he disparaging them.

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The context is why he had to leave. :S He’s in charge of the FA, yet he is still using coloured, saying women don’t like having balls kicked at them hard, and that Asians are more likely to want to do a certain job, whilst taking part in initiatives to help those groups get more involved in HIS sport.

Are these responses real?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  F Wallace

Got it. You’re not into ‘forgiveness’.

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

You’ll need to explain that one, champ. Forgiveness isn’t relevant to this discussion. :S Clarke isn’t being executed FFS.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  F Wallace

RE: Having people in these comments inevitably having the fake debate “Why coloured/people of colour” is also nonsense. You know the difference. If you don’t, go learn. If you can’t figure it out, just accept that you’ve lost that particular battle and move on.

I don’t know the difference. There is no difference, other than some people think (not the NAACP though, obviously) that “coloured” is bad and “of colour” is good. As for your condescending and paternalistic attitude, two words that ain’t happy birthday.

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

Hear, hear, Henry. I don’t know the difference either. And may I guess that about 59+ million of us don’t know the difference, either. And don’t care.

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

Then go ask a black person to explain it to you. You people keep making these comments, you can’t POSSIBLY think it’s ok to call someone coloured. Come on. Stop this nonsense.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  F Wallace

get lost. I don’t believe a black person could explain it much better than you just didn’t.

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

I don’t believe you have the brainpower to understand the explanation regardless of how it is told to you. Just ask yourself why you WANT to call someone coloured in the first place. Well into my 30s, it has literally never been ok to call a black person coloured. If you can’t understand why, you literally have a world of information at your fingertips. If you STILL refuse to figure it out, then you are, like most right wingers, a racist piece of shit.

That’s not how you wear a mask, btw.