Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Is the Right Engaged in Cancel Culture?

TheBulwark.com is taking aim at Chris Rufo. Rufo says he is waging moral war against Disney, attempting to target the corporation’s public reputation and turn its customers against it. That’s all well and good, says The Bulwark, but they claim Rufo is misrepresenting Disney’s stated intentions.

What’s Rufo’s terrible misrepresentation? Good question.

Those Cancel Culture Conservatives

Here’s The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes commenting on a two minute video clip of an interview with Disney corporate president Karey Burke posted on Twitter by Rufo. It’s from an article entitled “The Right’s Cancel Culture Comes for Disney”:

“But but but ...

The video doesn’t say that at all. Nowhere in the video posted by Rufo does Burke say that she ‘wants a minimum of 50 percent of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities.’ ”

[emphasis in original source]

Sykes’ critique of Rufo is technically correct but highly misleading, and I believe intentionally so. As Sykes says, the Disney corporate president does not mention the disputed 50% figure in the video, despite making many comments to the effect that Disney feels their current level of representation of LGBTQ+ and minority leads is terribly insufficient. However, if you look carefully, it turns out the ones doing the actual misrepresentation are Sykes and the leftist Bulwark, not Chris Rufo.

True / Not True

You see, Rufo’s tweet never claims Burke talks about the 50% target in the two minute video clip. He only quotes Burke as saying she supports having “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories”. Then he adds his own editorial comment (no quotes) to the effect that Burke wants a minimum of 50 percent of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities.

Is this true? As it turns out, the 50 percent figure comes straight off the main page of Disney’s own website. It would be awfully odd if Disney’s corporate president did not personally back the publicly-stated goals of her organization, which she surely helped develop and frame.

So Rufo is telling the truth and the leftist press is trying to make him look as if he is doing exactly the same thing they are doing. As Vox Day aptly puts it, “SJWs always project.”

Lesson for Christians? If you hear the leftist media claiming that something said by their critics is a lie, a misrepresentation, or “has been debunked”, look closely at the wording of what they are claiming. It’s often a bait-and-switch, as it is in this case. But if you don’t do your own online research, you’ll never know that.


The trick is to distract the reader from the central issue with a technicality. Let’s suppose Rufo had been overstating his case by introducing the 50% figure out of thin air: what would be the difference to you as a Christian parent? If Disney only supports having “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories” instead of the 50% Rufo claimed they were pursuing in combination with other “minorities”, does that change how you feel about your children watching their product? Suppose Disney were to scrupulously match the real-world population of sexual deviants in their products percent for percent — 3-5% homosexual characters, less than 1% trans characters — but continued to promote “alternative lifestyles” in a lower-key and more muted way with the goal of changing young minds by 2030 instead of 2025.

Would you still feel copacetic about pumping your entertainment dollars into their revenue stream?

I wouldn’t. Once you know Disney’s corporate goal is to normalize sexual dysmorphia and sinful lifestyles, who cares whether they are driving toward hell at 120 MPH, or that they have slowed down to 10 MPH this week when the critical heat is on? The point is that they are driving the wrong way and they are determined to continue driving that way, and they are determined to get where they are going.

I want nothing to do with them.

More Baiting and Switching

There’s another problem here worth pointing out, and again it is not Chris Rufo but Disney that introduces it; Rufo simply quotes Disney’s website. The problem is the term “underrepresented groups”.

These “underrepresented groups” are of two very different types. There are “underrepresented” ethnic groups (a totally non-moral category) and underrepresented sinners (a very moral category indeed). We should not mingle the two concepts.

Disney does, because it’s convenient for them to do so. The allegedly-underrepresented ethnics provide convenient cover for Disney’s real interest, which is advancing the LGBTQ+ cause. Karey Burke makes reference to her own children, one pansexual and one transgender. It should not surprise us these are her priority. But the sad state of Burke’s own family should probably cause Christians to carefully consider whether they want Burke preaching Disney values to yours.

Nevertheless, by lumping apples and oranges together Disney can defuse any criticism of their efforts to address historic inequities. After all, all these poor folks are “underrepresented” in popular culture.

Race, Sex and Gender Swapping

Like many other formerly-popular media companies in recent years, Disney has taken heat for its ongoing campaign of swapping out well-established characters from other people’s literary and intellectual property for black, Asian, Hispanic, transgender or queer versions of the same, allegedly in the interests of providing “better representation”. When purists complain, the usual dismissive response is that their critics are racist, sexist, homo- or transphobic, and simply need to be re-educated.

A closer look shows the vast majority of Disney’s detractors (and Hollywood’s in general) do not object to the presence of characters of color in their movies, books, games or comics provided it is done appropriately. All-new characters of various ethnicities provoke almost no criticism, especially when they appear in contextually appropriate situations. A Chinese lead character in a movie like Mulan draws no “hate” at all. A new black supporting character in Batman’s cast doesn’t bother anyone. But make Commissioner Gordon black, make Ms Marvel a Muslim, make Robin bisexual or Gandalf trans and you are going to ruffle some feathers, and with good reason: people are attached to the characters as they have been portrayed for years, and they are not interested in someone virtue-signaling away their childhood memories.

But I bring this up because it should be clear that race- and sex-swapping existing characters, while annoying to a significant percentage of a franchise’s fan base, is in a completely different category from gender preference-swapping and gender preference-promoting, which is what Disney is engaged in. But by lumping all “minorities” (and please, “women” are NOT a minority) into a single category and calling them “underrepresented groups”, Disney, Hollywood and the media are performing yet another bait-and-switch, and grouping the perfectly natural with the debauched, depraved and destructive.

Back to the Right’s Cancel Culture

Sorry. That’s a long way of getting to “The Right’s Cancel Culture”, a term I first saw used by The Bulwark in both headline and article.

Really? Are conservatives engaged in “canceling” the Left?

Let’s examine that claim a bit ... which means we need to take a look at how the term “cancel culture” is being used these days, what it means from the Left and Right, and whether Christians should be “canceling” at all. We’ll have a look at that tomorrow.

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