Cancel culture is a tool of the communist intended to purge and punish any action seen as undesirable and any wrong-think as unfitting of humanity. So color me surprised when I see two Leftists, one in particularly who I took to be (and still do, for the most part) communist himself, denouncing cancel culture.
In a July 5th episode of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” the retired late night host asked fellow Leftist actor Sean Penn about the habit of destroying careers because of previous “wrong” actions.
O’Brien said: “Empathy is a very important word and also forgiveness. We found that someone did something in 1979 that is now not appropriate. They’re dead to us.” O’Brien then went on to describe cancel culture as “very Soviet”, adding, “People can also be forgiven. If they even need forgiving. What happened to that?”
And, surprisingly, I have nothing to disagree with the Leftist host. Empathy and forgiveness are certainly important. Matthew 18:21-22 says: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!”
Some translations say “Seventy times seven” but the general point that Jesus was making was that Christians ought to forgive their brothers and sisters in faith every time they sin against them, so long as said sinner is repentant of that sin. It is because this is how God acts towards His Children, who continuously sin against Him, wittingly or not, and must ask for forgiveness for said sins.
Now, that’s specifically about Christian brothers and sisters. People in general, or those who we might call “neighbors” do not have to be forgiven for all their sins against us, even if they ask for forgiveness, because mercy is never owed. So the situation O’Brien is describing is a bit different from the example I gave with that Bible verse, but the point remains that it is good to forgive others. When it comes to those who are not Christians, a Christian is not obligated to accept an apology, but may do so at his or her own leisure. Personally, I tend to forgive anyone who has wronged me if they asked for forgiveness (depending on how serious the situation is, of course, as a great wrong might not be easily forgiven and I may not want to restore a relationship with someone I don't trust), regardless of their own faith.
But this act of forgiveness is something O’Brien basically points out that proponents of cancel culture never really do. They will cancel someone and ruin their lives, whether or not such people apologize to the mob. Now, I don’t think anyone should ever apologize to the mob, since apologizing to them only gives them more credence and more authority, which they do not have nor deserve. But that the mob never even accepts such apologies indicates the little empathy they have in their hearts, if any is present at all.
Rush Limbaugh once apologized for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she wanted free birth control pills and the only reason she would want that is because she is a slut, which he was completely right about and had no reason at all to apologize (particularly since the Left calls us far worse things literally ALL the time), and Fluke didn’t accept his apology. I remember thinking “well, what’s the point in apologizing, then, if you wouldn’t even be forgiven? At that point, might as well double-down.” Such an attitude, I believe, is what a lot of conservatives share and why, among other reasons, we like Trump so much.
But getting back to the actual conversation, Penn also agreed with O’Brien, calling cancel culture “ludicrous.”
He brought up the example of Alexi McCammond, who was editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue but was fired after a few weeks on the job because of anti-Asian comments she had tweeted as a teenager. Generally, not a good idea to make bigoted comments about any particular race, unless the comments are only considered “bigoted” because they are actually factual statements (for example, the higher likelihood of a police officer being killed by a black man than the other way around would be considered “racist” despite its statistical truth), but it can be more easily forgiven if we are talking about a teenager.
Teenagers are immature, angsty, and sometimes try too hard to be “edgy” or to fit in to a certain group they wish to belong to, and so would do and say things which run contrary to their usual behavior. I won’t outright defend McCammond since she likely is a Leftist (working at such a high level on Teen Vogue, which spreads Marxist crap to teenagers probably makes her a Leftist) but generally speaking, it is illogical that anyone would be fired for actions committed when they were teenagers, so long as such actions weren’t explicitly and horrifyingly illegal. Since she is likely a Leftist, I don’t actually mind that cancel culture destroyed her, but not because I support cancel culture, rather because this is a Leftist tool being used against a Leftist.
Often times, people have to live by rules set by the Left and the Left doesn’t have to live by such rules, so it’s good to see, sometimes, that they get targeted by some of the same vile crap that they support and implement.
Penn, regarding the example of McCammond, said: “When we’re destroying careers like that, what are we really achieving? What are we doing?”
The two then went on to talk about how cancel culture affected their own particular genres of show biz, with Penn pointing out how “representation” has gone so far that he, a straight, white male, would no longer be considered for parts which don’t align with his own label. Namely, that he wouldn’t be able to play the part of gay activist Harvey Milk, which he did in 2008, were that movie to be made today because he isn’t gay himself.
“Today, almost certainly I would not be permitted to be cast in that role. We’re living in a time when, if you’re playing a gay lead character, you’d have to be a gay man or a trans character. And there have been these casting issues.”
He continued: “When you have a period of evolution that certainly has an opportunity for people who have had less opportunities to move forward, that has to be supported, and yet in this pendulum swing society that we’re in, you wonder at some point if only Danish Princes can play Hamlet. It is, I believe, too restrictive. People are looking for gotcha moments and to criticize.”
Ironically, the only times when casting staffs have no issue with not getting a label-appropriate actor for a label-appropriate lead is when casting for traditionally white and male characters. For example, there are people who have argued that a woman ought to play James Bond in a future film, which would practically change the entire character for the sake of “wokeness” because one of his most recognizable traits is, apart from being a man, he is a womanizer who often sleeps with the hot female lead. Unless they plan to also make female Bond gay, which isn’t exactly past them, that aspect of his character would be eliminated. Either way, what you have is not Bond, but a bastardization of Bond. And this is coming from someone who has never seen a Bond film in its entirety and really doesn’t care too much about the franchise.
Not to mention that they are actually and actively trying to make the next Bond film be led by a black James Bond. While I don’t really care about the color of Bond’s skin (again, not exactly a big fan, though it might be different if I were), it’s still an example of Leftists in Hollywood not only hypocritically not caring about the restrictiveness that Penn was talking about when it comes to something they want to change, but also of actively wanting to change the base character for agenda reasons.
Were you to make a film today about, say, Miles Morales (black Spider-Man) and a white actor were to play him, that would be an outrage to the Left. But were you to make a film today about Peter Parker (original Spider-Man) and hired a black actor to play him, they would have absolutely no issues with that, despite the fact that Peter Parker is white.
It’s nothing but hypocrisy, not that this is a rarity for the Left.
At any rate, it is surprising to see such notorious Leftists, particularly Sean Penn, talk so disparagingly about a Leftist tool of censorship and suppression. It’s good to see infighting within the Left, particularly if some of them actually stand on the side of sanity.
Here’s hoping that we see more of this and there is a real, concerted effort to push back against the insanity we are witnessing.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
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