The trajectory of polarization has further divided the right and left
By CJ Sommerfeld, Staff Writer
The debate about Carano’s cancellation being caused by the perpetuation of a liberal narrative surrounding hate speech in Hollywood is further dividing the right from the left.
We are living in a time where cancel culture—a social revolution of sorts—looms. This grants the canceller the ability to quickly transform how the public perceives an individual. The thing with mass change, however, is that after most a counterrevolution will follow. What will the counterrevolution of this cancel culture look like, or has it already begun?
In brief, a counterrevolution is “a revolution directed toward overthrowing a government or social system established by a previous revolution; a movement to counteract revolutionary trends.” In the context of this article, a revolution is defined as “a fundamental change in political organization; activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation; a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something:a change of paradigm.”
While people often equate revolutions and counterrevolutions to something they have read about in history books, these uprisings are still occurring in present day. I think an example of this is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Its presence changed the conversation regarding racial injustices, unapologetically consuming those who previously were ill-informed about the topic, but also shifted social parameters which were earlier established as normal. Right-leaning media outlets began expressing the possibility of a counterrevolution as a revolt against the much-needed attention the movement was getting.
To answer my above question, yes, it seems that counterrevolution to the cancel culture movement has begun, and it is sending us on a trajectory towards further polarization. Let’s take the recent firing of Mandalorian star Gina Carano from Lucasfilm as an example. In February she was let go from both the production company as well as her talent agency following a series of right-leaning social media posts. One in particular, comparing present-day Republicans to Jewish people during the Holocaust, seems to have been the final straw. After this post a spokesperson from Lucasfilm publicly stated that “her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.” In short, she had been cancelled.
That was until right-wing media smothered her with adoration. Many right-leaning outlets began using Carano’s story to fight against what they call “the leftist narrative in Hollywood.” They excused her posts, noting that her intentions were misinterpreted and praising her for being a strong woman who stood up for herself after the initial #FireGinaCarano backlash. These media sources enticed the hashtag, #dropDisneyplus which not only brought more awareness to her getting fired, but also highlighted the different value systems and political stances that divided America.
Carano’s cancellation quickly gained momentum as the general right began to support her. Right-wingers deduced the situation to be the censorship of conservative voices that were unwelcome in Hollywood. Whereas left-leaning folk kept their feet down, acknowledging that sharing posts that could be considered transphobic and anti-Semitic ideas is not okay and if she had not intended her social media posts to have been interpreted in the way that they had, why did she not offer an apology to those groups who were seemingly targeted? Regardless, this debate about Carano’s cancellation being caused by the perpetuation of a liberal narrative surrounding hate speech in Hollywood is further dividing the right from the left.
Cancel culture is relatively new and until recently when an individual was dismissed by the public, they were left alone to pick up the pieces. Let’s use the 2016 example of Colin Kaepernick. I believe Kaepernick was unrightfully cancelled after taking a knee instead of standing for the United States anthem. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he explained post-game. Regardless of many people on the left siding with him, he was dropped from the NFL and has yet to be resigned. Not to mention, in 2018 Nike endorsed an ad featuring Kaepernick for their 30th anniversary only to be met with backlash. Social media became swamped with people burning their Nike apparel in response to the “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” ad featuring Kaepernick’s face. The hashtag #BoycottNike erupted. In contrast, only weeks after Carano was dropped by Lucasfilm, she was invited to work alongside right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire to produce her own film. The dynamics of cancel culture have changed.
While many who have gotten cancelled had it done for good reason—this is not the case for all. People are getting fed-up; instead of letting them drop like flies alone we are beginning to take sides and revolt. I think those who are left-leaning are straying further left and right-leaning people are straying further right; the divide between the two becomes more and more prominent. What is to come? What will an even more polarized society look like?