'Ultimately the only power a label has is the fear of it'
The more the cancelled are condemned, the more they seem to be onto something. When Laurence Fox called out an audience member for perceived racism on BBC1's Question Time at the end of the 2010s, offers for work dried up, as the industry considered him too toxic to touch. Not long afterwards, the Black Lives Matter movement was exposed as being largely grift (as later flagged on a Kanye West hoodie).
Graham Linehan couldn't sell a script for years after coming out against the teaching of transexualism in schools, the media and co-morbidly attached entertainment industry outraged that the much feted Father Ted creator could be so apparently non-progressive. How dare he? Then the NHS-funded gender reassignment Tavistock Centre was closed, with thousands of lawsuits from now-furious transitioned youngsters against them. The Mermaids clinic was also soon under investigation for similar reasons, and Nicola Sturgeon resigned due to her perma-evasive inability to truly define the nature of woman. Still, the BBC, Guardian et al clung on to their hoodwinked, anti-nature beliefs.
We've been spinning the news so much since the 1990s it's a wonder our heads are still on. From Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell onwards, if the media wants something to happen, it will campaign for it, and if leftist papers and broadcasters are found to have been misguided, U-turns are agonisingly hard to find. The defenestration of Matt Hancock - Health Minister at the time of the Covid pandemic - was grisly to witness. While his WhatsApp messages displayed a stunning arrogance, they also display what the public already knew: that politicians tend to be careerist, image-obsessed virtue-signallers.
Truth is thin on the ground. However trans prisoner Isla Bryson, Metropolitan policeman convicted of multiple offences David Carrick and variously accused illegal immigrants find themselves put through the New Reporting of Rape, as the term seems to somehow increasingly cover various degrees of perceived grooming, coercive control and bullying behaviour. Gender dysmorphia, negative cyclical bad habits or cultural differences will be conflated into various iterations of toxic masculinity, with the fact of actually increasing rape convictions and various forms of domestic violence being in reality 50/50 being disregarded or mentioned as a grudging afterthought.
The talents of Pulp Fiction and The King's Speech producer Harvey Weinstein, greatest twentieth century painter Pablo Picasso, and passion in art in general, are subsumed into universal print condemnation of their past sexual behaviour, alleged and tried. Men seem to be better at separating these aspects of criminology and the wider arts, with a deeper appetite for playing the ball, not the man. The bad habits of the maker can be seen in one way, and appreciation for that which they've created can be seen in another. There are likely deep-seated, naturally immutable reasons for this, buried in the primal cortex, where the male is required to reproduce without fear or favour, and will use his social position (and anything else he can find) to do so.
The radical activist tone of essentially all mainstream media considers this approach disgusting heresy, and its proponents liable to summary cancellation left right and centre. However promiscuity relates neither to rape nor 'bad character', whatever sexual assault trial processes maintain; the media increasingly assumes a narrative, and seems to consider all deviation from it deviance in itself. The flogging isn't over with cancellation or trial though, as Justice Secretary Dominic Raab's 'Community Payback' ensures that those caught on the wrong side of the culture wars are left flailing for the work in which they once trained for or were even expert.
The term 'Transphobic' has joined that of 'Far Right' in signalling the End of the Label. The progressive media gives a tag to those things of which it does not approve, whether that is supposed toxic masculinity, nationalism or extremism, but it's been shown that labelling worried mothers transphobic for not wanting their children to be taught they can transition to the other sex, few questions asked, is ridiculous.
The assault on motherhood doesn't stop there, as single mothers have historically been called council house grifters, and those choosing having a child - the most natural and obvious role for any living creature - are somehow backwards, simple-minded, or suffering from the bewilderingly patronising 'internalised patriarchy'. Coercive Control is a newer stick with which to beat men, ignoring (post-feminist writer and academic) Janice Fiamengo's theory that most allegations of this actually originate in the behaviours of women. Parental Alienation goes hand in hand with CC, as family courts around the world appear to be increasingly in league with ending paternal contact with their children when relationships break down.
With the fall of the Tavistock and its supporters ever quieter in the stinging glare of reality, will 'mental health' be the new front in the culture wars? Damaged people weaponising their often self-imposed distress in courts and employment tribunals will surely ramp up as the trans debate drifts away, with actual damage being claimed for perceived slights. If misgendering a She as a He is (or was) a sackable offence, wait until calling someone lazy, disloyal or unreliable joins them in the realms of the litigable. Who'd be a boss nowadays?
Is the institutionalised cult of Woke the new Paganism? The contempt in which its adherents seems to hold the Abrahamic religions indicates a return to the trees of the druids, with added plastic surgery, hair dye and piercings. The new puritanism has long made leftist Generation X-ers and Millennials essentially seem the new Enemies of Pleasure, until they've had a few glasses of whatever and the real self unleashes itself. The Woke might like to see themselves as multicoloured punks, but there was little moral virtue-signalling to the original 1976ers - only that which some (old) leftist journalists grafted on. Most of them were about light street criminality rather than social justice.
The fetishisation of youth indulged in by the media since the 1950s, turning with the generations, has always been a money-spinner; but nowadays its the ageing grey-haired ramblers where the money is, and whom the mainstream media is having a harder and harder time reaching (the pockets of). The great cultural relabelling continues regardless, with downblousers joining upskirters and revenge porn artists, sizing up the prohibited image collectors and domestic violence cases in prisons up and down the land, whose staff need to genuflect to the insistence of correct pronoun usage by their dysmorphic charges. In private, however, there seems to remain a presumption of 'He'.
The progressive movement and the libertarian creative make increasingly difficult bedfellows, as the polar extremes of technology and human rights versus nature become further manipulated by community-interested, monetised influences. Masculinity Studies as a course offer still seems quite a way off, but in the meantime all the sane of both sexes can ask for is a dose of heavy Individualism. Because the collective is in a troubled state. Ultimately the only power a label has is the fear of it.
By Sean Bw Parker
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