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Digipolitik: Cancel Culture is Word of the Year 2019!

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This week, the Macquarie dictionary announced its “Word of the Year”.  For those who don’t know:

  • Macquarie is the dictionary for Australian English.
  • Every year, they select a shortlist of new words and invite the public to vote on their favourite each year.
  • They have the committee’s choice, and then a shortlist for the People’s Choice, which is announced in January.
  • In 2017, the Committee’s Choice was “Milkshake duck”, which describes phenomena that are initially perceived as positive, but later revealed to be flawed.
  • In 2018, the Committee’s Choice was “Me Too”.
  • In 2019, it is “Cancel Culture”.

 So it seems, that Macquarie dictionary are documenting the “culture wars”, and things going a bit pear-shaped, in real time. Many have been claiming that “cancel culture isn’t real”. But, turns out, that thing that many Woke journos have claimed “isn’t real” and is “just consequences”, is now in the dictionary. 

That’s what I talk about in today’s episode.

“Cancel Culture” is the perfect word, because it highlights everything that is happening in 2019, in a number of ways. Those that are doing it claim it doesn’t exist, when it does. And the debate about whether it is real or not is, paradoxically, a symptom of cancel culture (how utterly meta).

The Wokes claim things like “it’s not cancel culture, it’s consequences”, or “we are simply speaking truth to power”. But, this denial of its existence is very much at the root of the “social justice” mindset – gaslighting, concealment, distortion of meaning, and splitting hairs.

And allowing abhorrent behaviour that targets not just the rich and famous, but everyday people. This is dangerous, toxic, and eerily cult-like (very similar to “Fair Game” in Scientology, in fact).

Every dangerous authoritarian movement that wants to take power relies on the “useful idiots” – people who cheer for a cause without digging further into it, or without a deeper understanding. This is a battle that we’ve fought for thousands of years: mob rule relies on people being ignorant, unthinking, emotional and rationalising their own behaviour against another “tribe” they consider “fair game”.

Here’s some more information about the terms I explore in this episode:


And here’s an article that sums up why cancel culture is real, dangerous, and you need to stop cheering on something that is a threat to democracy.

So, for those claiming it doesn’t exist, because right now, you’re on the right side of the mob, remember… it’s the word of the year.

And they’ll come for you too.

Audio version/Podcast

One Comment on “Digipolitik: Cancel Culture is Word of the Year 2019!

Téa Smith
23 December 2019 at 6:41am

Test comment @tealou

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