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[00:00:00]

From The New York Times, I'm Michael Barbaro. This is the daily careful what you tweet because you don't know when it's going to come back to haunt you. As the world moves even more online during the pandemic, greater attention and weight is being given to the things that happen there.

[00:00:18]

We live at a time now where we have what we call cancel culture, especially when it comes to perceived wrongs. If you do something wrong, you're supposed to be out of here and it could have been five minutes ago or it could have been 20, 30 years ago.

[00:00:31]

That has led to a growing phenomenon of public call it that for some are a necessary way of demanding accountability from public figures and those in power.

[00:00:42]

You know, it's a sort of testament to the power of a medium like Twitter that has really democratized thought and opinion.

[00:00:50]

And for others, our mob attacks in which a specific point of view is imposed on everyone, even those with little power through rising intolerance and public shaming.

[00:01:02]

What I find and I find a little discouraging is that it appears to me that social media is a nuanced destruction machine. And I don't think that's helpful for a democracy.

[00:01:11]

And increasingly, it's all being described by the same phrase cancel culture, cancel culture. It's public shaming by mob. This is dangerous.

[00:01:21]

Today, in the first of two parts, my colleague Joan Abramovitch on Kinsel culture and why it's actually a 20-20 election story worth paying attention to. It's Monday, August 10th. So on Friday, we spoke to the CEO of Twitter about the ways in which that platform is incentivizing a particular kind of communication and engagement, one that rewards emotion. And one of the specific phenomena that we talked about in this interview is the idea of console culture, which I'm feeling slightly nervous about discussing, but I'm ready to do so if you are.

[00:02:11]

I think I'm feeling the same way, but let's go for it. Right. This is from but my instinct is that depending on your demographic and how much time you spend on Twitter in particular, you have either known about council culture for a couple of years or you've heard about it about a month ago.

[00:02:30]

Does that feel like the right assessment? I think that's exactly right. And I would add that for me, it actually doesn't start with the two word phrase council culture, but with just the one word cancel or canceled.

[00:02:43]

And when does that word into your life?

[00:02:46]

So growing up, I was an enormous fan of Kanye West 19 years ago, denied him.

[00:02:54]

When I pay a ton of attention to everything he says, we born artists, we born free, and then we held down by society's perception of us and everything he does.

[00:03:04]

Now, Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'll let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. And in spring of twenty eighteen, our great reporter, John Caramanica did this big story with him and he's interviewing Connie there out in Wyoming. And Connie can't stop worrying about whether or not he's going to be canceled. He says, you know, I'm going to be canceled. They're going to cancel me because I didn't cancel Trump all this stuff.

[00:03:33]

And I was like, wow, he's really saying canceled a lot.

[00:03:36]

What did that mean to you? And I guess what did that mean to him?

[00:03:40]

So he is worried about what's going to happen to his reputation. I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation.

[00:03:49]

Kanye West has built this enormous fan base. Right. His first album comes out in 2004. So it's been more than a decade where he's been building a fan base.

[00:03:56]

I am Shakespeare in the flesh.

[00:03:58]

Walt Disney, the fan base is there for the music, but they're also OK with Connie's persona.

[00:04:02]

Unconscious persona is Nike Google knowingly arrogant and you know, he's outspoken. And one of his most famous points of being outspoken is he gets on TV and he says George Bush doesn't care about black people.

[00:04:15]

George Bush doesn't care about black people.

[00:04:17]

But in twenty sixteen, I don't want to put you in that spot, but I can't stand it. And that's why I love this guy right here. Let me get this. And he starts supporting Donald Trump.

[00:04:27]

I just love Trump. That's my boy like, you know.

[00:04:31]

And so by twenty eighteen, the height of carnage. Trump praise has got to be what he tweeted. You don't have to agree with Trump.

[00:04:41]

You support for Donald Trump is a known thing. But the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragging energy. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.

[00:04:54]

And he's worried about those people with whom he's cultivated that reputation, his fans turning their backs on him. And so that's why he's worrying about being canceled.

[00:05:02]

Yes, we have the right to independent thought, and I independently think that Kanye has lost his mind.

[00:05:09]

Oh, but it's worth mentioning, by the way, that Kanye had a best selling album right after that. So he did hurt his reputation with a ton of fans, but not enough to keep him from having a best selling album being Castle, I think, Castle, before they cancel culture.

[00:05:23]

And what does cancel culture actually mean in the realm that we're talking about?

[00:05:28]

So I feel like instead of asking what it means, the best question is like where did this come from? And twenty eighteen, as you probably remember, is the midst of the Metoo movement. And people like Al Franken and Louis C.K. and Bill O'Reilly are definitely in the midst of having challenges to their reputations. But people didn't actually call that being canceled then.

[00:05:49]

So the word canceled comes from somewhere totally different.

[00:05:53]

And that place is actually black. Twitter, you've arrived. Finally, welcome to my Caucasian home. Come inside. This is my house. This is how I live.

[00:06:02]

This is a word that was in circulation for a long time. Twenty, fourteen, twenty, fifteen, twenty, sixteen. And it's really important to emphasize this. It's a joke. It was being used as a joke.

[00:06:13]

You know what damn is so rude. I didn't even offer you coffee. I know you want some because I do.

[00:06:17]

And it's it's so one really early example of that is there's this online character, Joanne, the scammer.

[00:06:23]

You just you you said you just you kind of and you and the scammer has this video where she's dealing with this espresso maker, you know.

[00:06:31]

Well, that's over. It's canceled. We don't need coffee when we have sparkling water. And she's like this espresso maker is canceled and it's that kind of thing. So people will use it in this very flip way to express, you know, I'm done with this.

[00:06:44]

All right, let's move on. Something that really matters. The thing that's not there in twenty eighteen to the same degree is cancel culture. Right. Like canceled is there already. But cancel culture and call out culture are not yet.

[00:06:57]

On Sunday, the Atlanta Braves pitcher Shawn Newcome came within one strike of a no hitter. But all the conversation in the dugout was about these tweets that he sent out almost seven years ago.

[00:07:10]

So in twenty eighteen, we start seeing people use the word canceled in the way that Konya used it. And it pertains to a surprising number of situations in the news.

[00:07:22]

This is proof that even if you've changed or you're not the same person you were when you were 17 or 18, it looks really bad.

[00:07:28]

So one of the things that kind of immediately comes to mind is the situation that happened with James Gunn. Hey, you know what?

[00:07:33]

There's another name you might know me by Star Law, who is star and legendary outlaw.

[00:07:43]

So James Gunn was a director of this Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy, multi hundred million dollar director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

[00:07:51]

But after James Gunn tweeted something that was anti Trump, a lot of supporters of the president were frustrated.

[00:07:58]

Oh, tweets of his began to resurface.

[00:08:01]

They started unearthing old tweets of his tweets in which he joked about the Holocaust and AIDS. They included jokes about issues such as rape and molestation. And so there was this firestorm because James.

[00:08:15]

Had said these things and after these tweets were unserviced, Disney to fire James Gunn from directing his third movie in the Disney, essentially booted him from making Guardians of the Galaxy three, stating that guns tweets are, quote, indefensible and inconsistent with our studios values.

[00:08:31]

So this dynamic, the thing that happened to James Gunn, the thing that Kanye is worried about, it starts to become a dynamic that many people are noticing.

[00:08:41]

One danger I see among young people, particularly on college campuses, Molly and I talk about this, it prompts Barack Obama to weigh in. But I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people.

[00:09:03]

So in the fall of twenty nineteen, Barack Obama is addressing these youth activists and he says that he takes issue very specifically with it culture.

[00:09:12]

I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, man, you see how weak I was.

[00:09:15]

I called you up, which is kind of slightly more out of touch synonym for cancer culture me get on TV and watch my show.

[00:09:25]

And what's really interesting about what he says is he actually kind of gets behind what he thinks the motivation for culture is this idea of purity.

[00:09:33]

And you're never compromised and you're always politically broke and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world the world is messy.

[00:09:42]

So he decries the idea of purity and the idea that people who are calling other people out have no issues of their own.

[00:09:49]

If all you're doing is casting stones, you know, you're not going to get that far. That's easy to do.

[00:09:56]

President Obama has keyed in on something that people who are less familiar with this term and with the so-called culture are genuinely worried about with this unseriousness, which is black and white, thinking about how people are. And for the most part, his comments really seem to resonate with people. But there are other people who kind of feel like he's ignoring something. And that's the power of being able to assemble in numbers online and really kind of talk about and determine new norms for what's acceptable and what isn't.

[00:10:26]

So rather than let those decisions be made by those who are already in power, you get to kind of make those decisions for yourself, what is acceptable to say and what isn't. So those people, they might say that President Obama's view of kind of call-out culture, as he calls it, is overly narrow and even dismissive.

[00:10:43]

Mm hmm. So, Jonah, how do we get from Obama delivering this admonition, which I suspect was not adopted widely across the Internet to now?

[00:10:54]

Well, what's crazy is that when I was looking back at when Obama gave the speech to me, it felt like so, so long ago. And I was like, November twenty nineteen. Are you kidding me? And the reason I think that it feels like so long ago is because, of course, the pandemic and because of the weird things that have happened with time since it started for us in New York in March.

[00:11:15]

And how is the pandemic influenced that? So think about your own social life for a second.

[00:11:20]

I would imagine you use social media and that is a supplement to your much broader social life where you see real people and you have real interactions and you are probably more concerned with what happens offline at the end of the day than you are with what happens online. But now we're all indoors. Your social life is really narrowed. You're probably not seeing all that many people. And so social media that becomes your social world and you start to really care what happens on there in a way that you probably weren't quite as invested in before we all went indoors.

[00:11:53]

I mean, we've seen that social media usage in particular during the pandemic in the US has just shot up. I think Twitter reported that its usage grew something like twenty three percent since last year during the same period. And then Facebook actually said that in countries that were hit hardest by the pandemic, usage of their apps went up by 70 percent. And how does that connect to this idea of cancellations?

[00:12:17]

The dynamics that feed cancellation or cancel culture are intensified by what's happening.

[00:12:23]

And nowhere is that really more obvious than in what happens to and Roman. Welcome back to Late Night.

[00:12:29]

Everyone else in Rome and everyone around me. This is our colleague, the food writer.

[00:12:36]

That's right. So Allison Roman had this really kind of whirlwind coronavirus experience just from the outside looking in.

[00:12:43]

Allison Roman is the best selling cookbook author of Nothing Fancy and Dining in Advice We All Need right Now. Alison, thanks for stopping by.

[00:12:52]

Hi, thanks for having me. Because in the initial month of the pandemic, her recipes were gaining popularity.

[00:12:57]

It's nice to sort of be together even under these strange and anxious circumstances. But what is better for strange anxiety than filling your belly?

[00:13:08]

People were cooking from her cookbooks. People were discussing how much they loved her. She got a lot of press, I think, at one. She was called the pandemic queen. I mean, she really had this run where many, many people seemed obsessed with her. Let's cook something.

[00:13:22]

What do we make of this? We're going to make a salad partner.

[00:13:27]

But then in May, kind of everything changes on a dime.

[00:13:31]

It's a cookbook author and New York Times food columnist Allison Roamin, whose recipes The Stew and the Cookies have been viral sensations coming, fatigue and success.

[00:13:40]

And what happens is she gives this interview and the interview is really about all this newfound fame. And so she's talking about what it's like. And in the interview, she discusses the concept of selling out.

[00:13:51]

What Chrissy Teigen has done is so crazy to me. And she describes how these two other very famous women, Ricardo, who's Japanese, and Chrissy Teigen, who's half Thai, how she thinks they kind of sold out.

[00:14:03]

Now she has an Instagram page that has over a million followers where it's just like people running a content farm for her. That horrifies me. And it's not something that I ever want to do.

[00:14:12]

And Allison Roman. Right, begins to get canceled. That's right.

[00:14:17]

The backlash to Roman's criticism, Swift. There's a firestorm on Twitter about this Tiguan tweeting her disappointment.

[00:14:24]

I don't think I've ever been so bummed out by the words of a fellow food lover, Chef Sunny Anderson on Instagram, summing up what so many felt online, saying, let me know if you need me to side any privileged cookbook authors. Acting like the way they make their pennies is better than the way you make your dollars.

[00:14:40]

It's not a directed action necessarily.

[00:14:44]

It's just this huge groundswell of opinion about Allison Roman Roman eventually apologizing online, saying in part, I'm genuinely sorry I caused you pain with what I said. It was flippant, careless, and I'm so sorry.

[00:14:57]

So pretty soon after that, it was announced that Alison Roman's column had been placed on temporary leave.

[00:15:03]

Jimmy Fallon is in hot water over resurfaced SNL sketch in a clip that aired on the show in 2000. The TV host can be seen wearing blackface while impersonating comedian Chris Rock Fallon.

[00:15:13]

So this drama with Allison Roman starts to repeat itself with all these various different people. And what's kind of interesting about it is it's happening with celebrities.

[00:15:23]

The story came out about me on SNL doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface, and I was horrified not of the fact that people were trying to cancel me or cancel the show, which is scary enough. But the thing that haunted me the most was how do I say I love this person, I'm not a racist. I don't feel this way. And instead, what I kept getting advised was to just stay quiet and to not say anything, and that's the advice because we're all afraid and it's happening with people who aren't celebrities.

[00:15:55]

And a good example of non celebrities is the situation that happened with Amy Cooper and Chris Cooper in Central Park.

[00:16:04]

Sorry, I'm asking you to stop. Please don't come close to me, sir. I'm asking you please don't come close to me, please.

[00:16:11]

And of course, this story goes that Amy Cooper was walking her dog in Central Park off a leash. Chris Cooper is a birder. He likes to go birding there. And you're supposed to keep your dog on leash in the area where they were. He asked her to do that, to put her dog on a leash.

[00:16:26]

Please, please call the cops. Please call the cops and tell them there's an African-American man threatening my life. Please tell them whatever you like.

[00:16:34]

And soon thereafter, she called the cops because of their interaction.

[00:16:38]

There is an African-American man who is recording me, threatening myself and my dog.

[00:16:44]

And she called the cops and specifically said that he was a black man and that he was threatening her life, threatened by a bad cop. I don't know. Thank you.

[00:16:59]

So there's a Twitter uproar after this video with Amy Cooper and Chris Cooper goes viral.

[00:17:05]

And some people are trying to promote Chris Cooper and say, wow, look at this guy. Why aren't we talking about him? Let's ignore her. And some people are really gunning for Amy Cooper.

[00:17:14]

They're trying to figure out who she is and where she works. And they're saying, you know, why should this person have a job if they're going to act this way, especially in a moment where the country is becoming more and more aware that calling the police on a black person can be really, really bad for that person.

[00:17:28]

Tonight, a white woman who wrongfully called the police on a black man in New York City's Central Park has been fired from her job at an investment company. And Amy Cooper does end up losing her job.

[00:17:39]

Chris Cooper is a Harvard graduate, a pioneer in comic book. So what's interesting about this is that Chris Cooper, he's interviewed and he's asked whether he thinks what happened to her was very appropriate. He says, no, not in the least.

[00:17:52]

I don't I'm uncomfortable with defining someone by a couple of seconds of what they've done. No, no. Excusing that it was a racist act because it was a racist, but that defined her entire life. I don't know. Only she can tell us if that defines her entire life by what she does going forward and what she's done in the past. I can't answer that. So, you know, the threat makes me uncomfortable.

[00:18:19]

And this is a great example of kind of what happens when these dramas go from being interpersonal and then they go on Twitter and suddenly it's a society wide thing. And so what Chris Cooper thinks of their interaction is actually less relevant than what these factions on Twitter think of the interaction.

[00:18:33]

Hmm. So finally, the last person kind of worth considering here is J.K. Rowling. So J.K. Rowling, of course, is known for writing the Harry Potter books, but she also tweets a lot, and particularly in the last several years, J.K. Rowling has tweeted a lot of things that people find to be transferred back.

[00:18:51]

And so she this summer wrote an open letter, long open letter about her views on trans people, her own mental health, her own experiences. And in that letter, she said that she expected that people would meet it with outrage and vitriol and it would become the kind of firestorm that we're seeing and all these other situations. And she was right. I mean, she was right.

[00:19:17]

J.K. Rowling is defending herself after making controversial transgender comment.

[00:19:22]

The woman who is likely the world's best known children's author is defending herself against growing accusations of transphobia.

[00:19:30]

It has spiraled out of control, so much so that amongst the top trends on Twitter, three of them were related to this story here.

[00:19:36]

J.K. Rowling has been canceled. And so J.K. Rowling just got canceled on Twitter yet again. So she anticipates an effort to cancel her in this letter and then it more or less happens.

[00:19:49]

That's exactly right.

[00:19:50]

I have decided that I am quitting Harry Potter simply because I do not want to support a woman who is using her power, her clout and her authority.

[00:20:02]

So we're seeing these increasingly complicated and nuanced situations getting grouped together under this phrase. You've got a pretty clearly racist act that is documented by Chris Cooper, who posted online. And in doing so, this woman is challenged for her actions. And Chris Cooper doesn't find himself in a situation where he has to convince the police that he was not, in fact, trying to threaten this woman. So in some ways, the reaction on Twitter begins by ensuring justice.

[00:20:32]

But then actually in Chris Cooper's eyes, it goes too far. She loses her job. She receives death threats. Her reputation is demolished over this incident. And then there's this totally separate incident where you've. Got a series of comments by J.K. Rowling that are offensive to a lot of people and perceived to be transphobia and Rowling and writing this letter, explaining her comments and thoughts that she sees as far more nuanced, is able to predict the response that she will receive, that she'll be, quote unquote, cancelled.

[00:21:04]

That said, unlike Amy Cooper, Rowling is a hugely public figure with a huge fortune. So what it means to cancel J.K. Rowling is sort of unclear, right? I mean, these are different situations. Both are very complicated.

[00:21:19]

And they're now being reduced down to this simple form and they're categorised as the same thing, which is cancel culture.

[00:21:28]

Right. I mean, this is a perfect distillation of how complicated this all is, because each single incident that gets chalked up to cancel culture has its own particulars. It has its own details. It has its own context. And the phrase has just become this incredibly broad brush for each of these kind of complicated, nuanced scenarios, each of which really deserves to be unpacked on its own terms.

[00:21:51]

Well, thank you very much. And Governor and Secretary Bernhart.

[00:21:56]

So that brings us to the Fourth of July and a very special hello to South Dakota.

[00:22:04]

President Trump comes out and he gives this big speech at Mount Rushmore, angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders to face our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they're doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing.

[00:22:27]

And the president was talking about his enemies. One of their political weapons is cancel culture.

[00:22:34]

And he said that one of his enemies weapons driving people from their jobs with cancer culture, shaming dissenters and demanding total separation from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.

[00:23:04]

So here we have this thing. It starts years ago as a joke on black Twitter 10 months ago. Barack Obama is starting to worry about it now. It's this broad, kind of increasingly meaningless term. It refers to all sorts of situations. And Donald Trump has taken it up and weaponized it as a shorthand for everything he says is wrong with liberals and Democrats, which is kind of ironic because President Trump tweets about someone, then a whole host of people are going to go bother that person and, you know, quote unquote, cancel them.

[00:23:33]

Mm hmm. And then three days later, the Harper's letter publishes, huh?

[00:23:41]

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[00:24:14]

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[00:24:17]

This is Sarah Koenig, host of the Serial podcast. I want to tell you about our new show, Nice White Parents. It's reported by Chana Joffe. Walt, who's made some of the best, most thought provoking, most emotional radio stories I've ever heard back in 2015.

[00:24:31]

Hannah wanted to find out what would happen inside this one public school in her neighborhood during a sudden influx of white students into a school that had barely had any white students before. And they're not satisfied that she fully understood what she was seeing. She went all the way back to the founding of the school in the 1960s and then fought again up to the present day. And eventually Hannah realized she could put a name to the unspoken force that kept getting in the way of making the school better.

[00:24:55]

White parents, I've been waiting so long to tell people about this show and now I can finally say it. Go listen to nice white parents. Nice White Parents is made by Zero Productions, a New York Times company. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:25:14]

This week, a letter was published online by Harper's Magazine under the headline A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.

[00:25:21]

And tell me about this letter. It comes from one hundred fifty three people, their academics, their artists, their thinkers and their big names.

[00:25:30]

It bore signatures from people all over the political landscape like Malcolm Gladwell, David Brooks, neocon Francis Fukuyama, Salman Rushdie is on there.

[00:25:38]

George Packer, the magazine writer, is on there. Gloria Steinem is on there. J.K. Rowling is on there. Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood and CNN's own Fareed Zakaria.

[00:25:48]

Mm hmm.

[00:25:50]

And the letter is essentially arguing for something that seems on its face, both harmless and also just something that most people would defend.

[00:25:58]

We were saying that you cannot have a just environment without that environment being free. So freedom and justice are inextricably linked.

[00:26:05]

So simple, straightforward statement almost to elementary concern, which is what everybody believes. That doesn't mean it's not important to certain.

[00:26:16]

They asked for the free exchange of information and ideas. And what they say is that that exchange is essentially becoming constricted.

[00:26:25]

It's as if people can't bear to hear an opinion that they disagree with or that they've never heard before, that it is that there's more censorious ness in our culture.

[00:26:34]

We are reacting more strongly to each other. There's a kind of perversity to the pleasure people get from ripping someone down that oftentimes is extraordinarily disproportionate.

[00:26:43]

And we are kind of hammering away at people with whom we disagree.

[00:26:47]

And what it does is it makes examples out of certain people so that everybody watching now knows that you're not going near not just that person, but that type of behavior. And so it constricts how you can behave. And it's very, very effective.

[00:27:01]

And even though they never actually use the phrase cancer culture, it's still basically inescapable that three days after the president came out against cancer culture, they, too, are kind of taking issue with this thing, despite the fact that most of them are are big critics of his.

[00:27:16]

And when I read this letter and there's one passage I want to zero in on about what alarms these writers, they say that they are worried about, quote, 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.

[00:27:37]

It certainly sounds like they are describing Kensal culture, right?

[00:27:41]

I would agree. And then, of course, we learned later on that the phrase cancer culture was actually in this letter at one point and then it was removed because people said this. This is a phrase that's confusing that people argue over. Let's talk about what we're talking about instead of using this phrase.

[00:27:58]

Mm hmm. Well, what is the reaction to this letter? What's kind of amazing about this letter is it's really the perfect document of cancer culture, because the text, you know, like we said, is harmless. Most people would agree with it if they didn't know what it was referring to. But the subtext of this letter is everything. And so when it's published, it immediately sets off.

[00:28:18]

A firestorm of an angry debate has erupted on social media after several prominent writers, academics and celebrities signed an open letter calling for an end to so-called canceled classes.

[00:28:29]

Are now now that you see this uprising going on about social justice, all of a sudden they are offended by the culture that seeks to hold people accountable. The only thing that has changed is that people are being held accountable to folks who always thought they were untouchable and now they realize they're not.

[00:28:45]

So the first thing they look at is the position of the people who sign this. You know, almost everyone on this letter is a powerful voice, many of them very recognizable. They have these positions that come with elite institutions.

[00:28:57]

I thought it was really ironic that these people who have a great platform to say whatever they want to say and great if they feel like there are some problems going on, if they wanted to articulate, they've got the platforms to do it. But for the first time in quite a long time, I'm going to speak for our journalists of color. There has been space for them to say some things they haven't been able to say. Who knows how long the window is open.

[00:29:21]

So critics of the latter look at that and they say these people, these powerful people are just scared some of their power is being taken away from them. And they're using this cancer culture to try and claw back their power to try and say, oh, there's a problem with people seeking the power that we have.

[00:29:36]

Now, to be clear, a good argument that an author of this letter might make is, well, I have stature, I have maybe tenure, and I'm able to say things that people who are also worried about this would not publicly say.

[00:29:48]

The letter is not about us. It's really about the people who have been cowed into not expressing opinions out of a legitimate fear that they will be fired or shamed.

[00:29:59]

But other people really key in on individual names on the list. So there are people they know they're familiar with and they know what these people have said that have offended them. So J.K. Rowling is a great example of this. We already talked about how J.K. Rowling had said something that. Many people found trans phobic, so if someone familiar with that sees J.K. Rowling's name on the list, they're going to read the letter is not being about the free exchange of ideas.

[00:30:21]

They're going to read the letter as being about J.K. Rowling's freedom to say trans phobic things. And that's what's frustrating to them. And you can see why that would be frustrating for some people, so let's say I'm really, really upset about things J.K. Rowling has been saying for years that I find trans phobic. If people call my reaction to J.K. Rowling an example of cancer culture, then it's almost as if I'm being dismissed for being too sensitive or unfairly judging her argument, when really I might think that, hey, I reject with this person with an enormous platform of saying and I'm expressing that view.

[00:30:53]

So in a span of 10 months between Barack Obama and the Harper's letter, even though they're saying very similar things, they're getting such a different response. Right. So when Obama says this, it's just one person saying it and it's novel even that he would address it. So people really seem willing to hear him out. But by the time the Harper's letter publishes, even though it's not that much time that passes, people are starting to kind of read the subtext behind who is it that signing this thing.

[00:31:23]

And that's really where the division and how the letter is read comes from. Right. So there's the people who read it for what it says and then there's people who read it for what it kind of like air quotes says. And then I would also return to the the role of the pandemic and all of this, the primary place where people dealt with the letter. So kind of engaged with the Harper's letter, it wasn't actually like Harper's Magazine, it was on Twitter.

[00:31:45]

So so the medium that is really incentivizing the kinds of conversations that the Harper signatories are talking about is the medium that first reacts and really picks apart this letter. Right.

[00:31:56]

I mean, swirling around all of this is that sort of chicken and egg thing that we talked about on Friday with the CEO of Twitter, the fact that some of these kinds of situations that are being grouped into this idea of cancel culture, they are good for user engagement.

[00:32:10]

And so the social media apps are actually rewarding the behavior and not rewarding the nuanced discussions around these situations and the specifics surrounding each one on its own terms. That's exactly right. So, you know, I remain fascinated by this subject. I still want to engage with it. I'm still thinking about it. But at the same time, it's not something I want to talk about publicly at this point. It's become so, so controversial. It makes people so, so angry.

[00:32:44]

And it feels like it's this incredibly difficult thing to get right. To say something to you about, to say something smart about, to help people understand without getting caught in the exact situation that you're meant to be writing about. So I'm really withholding I'm not saying a thing about it. And then I kind of look over on Twitter one day and in fact, the exact same day that the Harper's letter published. And I saw a friend of mine doing exactly that, engaging with it, wading right into it and getting almost immediately consumed by it.

[00:33:21]

Tomorrow, in part two, Juno returns with the story of his friend and a complicated canceling. We'll be right back. Anyone who loves books knows there's never enough time for all the titles they want to read, and that's where Audible comes in. Audible has the world's largest collection of audio books from best selling mysteries, thrillers and memoirs to science, sci fi and motivation. Audible also includes audible originals, stories, scripted shows and documentaries created exclusively for audio that you can't hear anywhere else.

[00:34:08]

Try it free for 30 days. You'll get one audio book of your choice plus to select audible originals. Absolutely free get started at audible dot com. Slash the daily or text the daily to 500.

[00:34:18]

Dash five hundred. Here's what else you need to know. The Times reports that as of Sunday, there have been more than five million coronavirus infections in the U.S., more than in any other country on Earth. Brazil ranks second with more than three million confirmed cases and India is third with two million.

[00:34:45]

Brazil reached its own grim milestone on Saturday with more than 100000 deaths from the virus and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have chosen to hold this vital assistance hostage on behalf of very extreme partisan demands and the radical left Democrats. We just can't do that. So hopefully we can do something with them at a later date, but we're going to be signing some bills in a little while that are going to be very important. And we'll take care of pretty much this entire situation over the weekend.

[00:35:18]

President Trump signed a series of executive orders that he said would circumvent Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits, defer taxes and slow evictions. But The Times reports that the orders were legally dubious and unlikely to have immediate impact. Trump's order on unemployment benefits, for instance, requires states to kick in money that they may not have. And his eviction order states that it's U.S. policy to minimize evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, but does nothing to enforce that position. On Sunday, Democrats mocked the orders as meaningless and called for a comprehensive relief deal.

[00:36:07]

The president's meager, weakened and unconstitutional actions further demand that we have an agreement and any time.

[00:36:29]

That's it for the day. I'm Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow. Would you pay 100 dollars for a six pack of beer, could you, as climate change disrupts global agriculture? We're approaching a future where everyday items, including beer, will be far more expensive. Of course, beer will be the least of our problems. The economic consequences of climate change will make 2020 look small in comparison. That's why fat tire amber ale is now America's first national carbon neutral certified beer.

[00:37:01]

It's a good start, but it's not enough. Learn more and take action to solve climate change at drink sustainably. Dotcom.