Cancel Culture Woke Scolds Should Apologize to Us
This is another one of those columns that I began a couple of weeks ago then decided to veer off in a different direction.
There have been cyber volumes written about cancel culture, especially in the last couple of years. I’ve opined on the subject a few times myself. As someone whose past is a veritable minefield of cancel-worthy (in the minds of leftists) offenses, I feel an obligation rage against this dangerous, dystopian plague that is upon America.
An integral part of cancel culture is forcing its victims to abase themselves publicly and apologize. I’m not suggesting that all apologies are abasements, just the ones done for the cancel mob. The forced march in the cancel culture mea culpa parade rarely results in forgiveness. Personal evolution and growth aren’t the goals here. The cancel mob merely wants to rage and ruin lives. The people who apologize still get canceled, but with the added bonus of satisfying the blood lust of the frothing hordes.
I would like to clarify something important before I present my list. It isn’t that I think people should never apologize. As someone who has been frequently accused of lacking empathy I often do things around friends and family that require an immediate apology. I try to offer them when necessary.
What I am writing about here is any kind of capitulation to the rage mob. Giving into them is like having your house surrounded by snarling, hungry wolves and voluntarily opening your door to let them in to rip you apart. You were safe until you opened the door.
Starve the animals.
Here, my friends, in no particular order, is the Stephen Kruiser Top 5 List of Things I Won’t Be Apologizing For.
1: My Twenties
Might as well begin here. A lot of twentysomethings are getting pilloried for doing stupid things, which is utterly unfair. I’m not a guy who talks about fairness a lot but, come on, most people aren’t pointing to their twenties as the high point of word, thought, and deed in their lives. Even the most mature among us have a touch of the imbecile from ages 20-29. We also don’t mature as quickly as in olden times, when even kids worked from sunup to sundown on a farm and everybody died when they were 38. The average American’s twenties now are basically extra innings of puberty.
I don’t like seeing anyone in their twenties being held permanently accountable for doing something stupid. People who don’t do stupid things before they hit thirty usually end up being constipated, humorless jerks. Wisdom in later years comes from being an idiot when you’re young. Go get a tattoo of that if you’re in your twenties and drunk while reading this.
Run along now, be free!
My twenties were a particularly glorious train wreck. I was doing stand-up, it was the 1980s…you can write your own script from here and I promise you it won’t be as fantastical or ridiculous as what actually happened. Everything you’ve heard about entertainers, drugs, and the ’80s is about half the story.
I probably did something each half hour that, in today’s cancel climate, would have ruined my life. I am one of the millions of people who walk around in a state of perpetual gratitude because we didn’t have phones with cameras or social media then. The pictures that survived are bad enough (Nice mullet, Steve!), posterity doesn’t need a video record of 25-year-old me.
2: Old Jokes of Mine
There has been a disturbing trend in stand-up for the last few years. Comedians are being pressured into apologizing for jokes they wrote years ago. What’s disturbing is that so many of them are gladly doing it. Even Jay Leno succumbed.They’re being asked to go over a body of work and cherry pick things that were acceptable in the context of the time they were written and grovel because the present day woke crowd has a sad.
There aren’t enough expletives in the English language for me to respond to this with the vehemence and vitriol that I’d like to here.
Do I have jokes from twenty years ago that I’m ashamed of? Yes. I didn’t write jokes as well then. I’m sure there is a bagful of stinkers out there. And, without even checking, I can guarantee that a lot of them were offensive. I’m not on stage to make friends. I’m there to work out demons and make strangers laugh at the absurdity that is my life. I won’t even use the context excuse. My approach to comedy is to make people laugh at things that make them uncomfortable and that they think they don’t want to laugh at.
I seek to offend. I just make it funny.
Honestly, now that the world is full of grievance seekers who spend their days looking for ways to be offended, I feel the need to be more offensive. It’s almost like a physical urge lately. I want to run roughshod over the pathetic feelings of the woke crowd. Then I want to stomp on them. Maybe I’ll steal some of their girlfriends just for the fun of it. You know, make a weekend out of it.
If comedians are writing jokes while worried about the woke thought police coming to ruin them in the future then stand-up will cease to exist. It won’t be watered down, it will go away forever. Safe comedy is rarely funny. When I say “rarely” funny I mean that Jerry Seinfeld is good at it and the rest of the safe comics are awful.
Here’s what a giver I am: if the cancel crowd ever comes for me over old jokes I’ll write 30 minutes of new material specifically designed to trigger them.
Lenny Bruce didn’t keep getting arrested for dropping f-bombs so comedians in the future could grovel at the feet of a pimply-faced rage mob that spends all day in a basement working out mommy issues. That’s him in the feature photo of this post. He’s greeting everyone as he’s being released from jail.
He’s the only one I don’t want to offend.
And he’s dead.
3: Cultural Appropriation
Cultural appropriation is not a thing and anyone who says it is should have to pay back any tax dollars spent on his or her education.
By the way, I always wear a sombrero, a kilt, and a samurai sword when I write.
4: Being a Fan of Traditional Gender Roles
Clarifying: there aren’t 1700 genders, gender fluidity is a scam, and women who like being women are freakin’ AWESOME.
I will never apologize for holding a door open for a woman, having her order first in a restaurant, or complimenting her on the way she looks using the patriarchal panache that I’m known for.
It’s not that I think everything should be all 1955 again. I can adapt. I just think there’s something remarkable about a modern successful professional woman who gets to where she is without trying to act like a man. Manwomen are icky and, quite frankly, always a bit cranky for my tastes. And pantsuits are an abomination. Show a little leg ladies and the men around you turn to jelly. Let objectification work for you.
I even greatly value the opinions and advice of my female friends. In fact, it was one of them who advised me to add this to the list.
She was barefoot and in a kitchen when she suggested it, so I was paying more attention.
5: American History
If you want to be a woke American you have to hate being an American. Those are the rules.
The modern woke consensus is that we’re all supposed to be in a collective self loathing guilt trip because the United States of America didn’t burst forth from the revolutionary womb having gotten it all right from the get-go.
We got most of it right though. Yeah, the thing we got wrong was really, really wrong. That doesn’t, however, negate the rest of it.
Wokesters would have you believe that it does.
The only reason that the woke folk get to express their opinions about anything is that United States got so very much right in the beginning. The thing we got wrong made us fight the bloodiest war in our history.
The mainstream media that pimps the progressive “Hate America” narrative is allowed to be awful thanks to the First Amendment (which it constantly abuses). If any of our journo class had ever read a history book they would know that. A history book not written by Howard Zinn, that is.
Warts and all, the United States of America is the greatest country in the history of human civilization. There isn’t even a debate to be had here. Be proud, Americans. Let your blessed liberty freak flag fly.
Thanks to the fact that I tell a joke better than most people, I’ve been all over the world. I’ve gotten to be the loud American in so many countries I’ve lost count. Now that I have more time to travel for leisure, I want to up my game. I never have, and I still won’t be going to foreign countries to pay obeisance to my kind hosts. I’ll be there to let them know that they should be grateful to have a United States citizen among them.
If you’re ever walking down a street in Paris and see a guy at a sidewalk cafe wearing a Gadsden Flag shirt, a you-know-what eating grin, and telling the French waiter that we all know he speaks English so he can cut the crap, please stop by and say hi to me.
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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.