I have written a more personal take on this story which you can read by clicking on my Substack,
Jonathan Chait is the first journalist I have seen write about what is a troubling action taken by Disney to fire Gina Carano for an Instagram post. They have a right to do whatever they want with their own corporation but in this case the action seemed extreme. She had deleted the post, after all, but the Twitter mob went after her anyway, as they do all of the time, every minute of every day, creating a hashtag and substituting this for activism. It is not activism. It is whipped up hysteria and, as Jonathan Chait points out in New York Magazine, a new “black list.”
Now, I have no doubt that as I post this there will be plenty of high-status tweeters attacking Chait and trying reclaim the moral high ground. But that is wrong. His point is well taken. This is just one example. The pattern is always the same: only a person with something to lose is attacked. They can be attacked for anything. An old tweet. A photo from high school. A private DM or a text. Even their personal lives are carefully scrutinized and if any offense is found — like the mysterious and inexplicable case of Armie Hammer who has been exiled for no known reason other than having a kink that others indulged in.
The objective here is conformity and compliance. It seeks to create a monolith of ideology and behavior. But it is not based on any kind of fact or due process — it based on fear and mounting hysteria.
Here is what Carano posted:
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors … even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views”
Where is the lie? We are well beyond the point where the government has made us hate our neighbors for being Trump supporters. We did it ourselves. Four years ago. I have been shunned just for humanizing them, just for sticking up for some of them, just for being friends with them. We created a situation very much like any mass hysteria/dehumanization situation — the most extreme of which being Nazi Germany. It is not an unusual behavior pattern in humans. In fact, it is all too common. How do you think you get to genocide, or expulsion of whole groups of people? Why do you think religious wars are fought for centuries? It is always wrong and it must always be fought with everything we have.
Here is Jonathan Chait – among the few actual journalists to write about it (while others cower in fear):
What’s most striking about the news coverage of Carano’s defenestration is the utter absence of any scrutiny of her employer or her (now-former) agency. The tone of the reporting simply conveys her posts as though they were a series of petty crimes, the punishment of which is inevitable and self-evidently justified. The principle that an actor ought to be fired for expressing unsound political views has simply faded into the background.
If you think blacklisting is only bad if its targets have sensible views, I have some bad news for you about communism. While some victims of the McCarthy-era blacklist were liberals or progressives who refused to turn in the names of their colleagues, others were bona fide communists. Dalton Trumbo — a Hollywood writer who was blacklisted, then wrote under front names, and whose story was told in a recent hagiographic movie starring Bryan Cranston — followed the Communist Party line in the Stalin era. When many fellow communists dropped out of the movement after Stalin formed an alliance with Hitler, Trumbo followed the new party line.
Trumbo gained some martyrdom when he was hauled to Washington to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. “This is the beginning of the American concentration camp,” he warned. (Fortunately for Trumbo, his antagonists, unlike Carano’s, were not witless enough to confuse hyperbolic Nazi comparisons with anti-Semitism.)
It is not easy pushing back on any of this. But those of us who are old enough to know better are the ones tasked with teaching the younger generations why this is the wrong path for both the country and the film industry to take.
Chait also writes what is true — that Disney had the right to fire her — they can curate their utopia any way they choose but in this case specifically it was absurd overreach. We have to be able to get beyond the witch hunt phase we find ourselves in. President Biden’s victory only seems to have made it all much much worse. It is due in large part to a media machine invested in keeping us scared all of the time, and social media that rewards fear and anger and discourages nuance.
Worse, our extreme policing of thoughts, speech, beliefs, ideology will choke the life out of art and free expression. Art can’t survive under these circumstances and thus a subversive path will have to be taken for it to thrive. We will come out of this eventually. We will find our way back to sanity but for now, don’t be one of the people going along with it. Either speak up or say nothing. But don’t be a member of a pitchfork mob. Readers of this site know I have been speaking out against this for years now. I am not going to stop any time soon.
Carano was pointing out that incidents of dehumanization start with irrational hatred. Then they move to actions taken against people without benefit of the doubt, without due process. To compare what is happening to victims of cancel culture with the Holocaust is overdramatic, to be sure, but Carano’s hyperbole stems from her genuine concern. I have made similar comparisons to point out that dehumanization is always wrong. Always. No matter who is doing it. Fear leads to anger which leads to dehumanization. The Holocaust is the most extreme example, but it is baked into our DNA. Homophobia and transphobia are forms of it. As was Trump’s treatment of migrants and Muslims coming into our country. It is an easy switch to flip but we must resist it, no matter how hard that seems.
While we’ve been living with this odd sort of calling out and cancelling people for a while now, it didn’t reach the extremes we’re seeing now until Trump won in 2016. His presence, which was a major threat to everything we’d built under Obama, everything we valued in our society, sent us into what can only be described as waves of mass hysteria or panic. Suddenly, anyone could be accused of being a racist or a rapist or a transphobe or a homophobe. Once accused forever guilty.
The problem is that the press has been sucked into the machine and either is this cowardly and manipulative or they pretend to be for ratings, clicks and engagement.
Here is how CNN covered the story:
The posts invoked Nazi Germany and made fun of masks
One of Carano’s posts, which she appeared to repost from another account, referenced the Holocaust, during which an estimated six million Jewish people were murdered, and how the conditions then were similar to contemporary political divides.
“How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?” part of the post read, according to Variety.
She later deleted that story and another that appeared to poke fun at mask-wearing with an image of a person whose entire head was covered with masks, captioned “Meanwhile in California.”
Note how their emphasis is intended to make it look much worse than it actually was, perhaps because they felt ridiculous posting about it at all. We accept lies by omission all of the time now because the truth has been deemed “harmful” – protecting people from it is the objective.
Gina Carano will do just fine. In fact, she’s just signed a deal with Daily Wire to star in and produce her own films.
These views are my own – they do not represent anyone on this site other than my own so if you want to chase after someone come after me.