Buzzword Bingo

“Every lad and every lassie
hanging out at the shore
looking smart and looking classy
ever learning the score.” — Donna Loren

I’m not the kind of person to spread rumors. I try to verify these things before I spread them around here. There is a letter going around Facebook that supposedly came from the Ted Cruz campaign where he is asking for money to combat the “cancel culture” and “socialists” that want to limit where he can travel to.

As you might imagine, left-wing social media folks blew up at this one. The funny thing is that is saying this letter doesn’t really exist. At least, it didn’t come from the Cruz campaign. One of the things with modern political news is that there are numerous pitfalls. People create stuff out of whole cloth that looks official enough. You could even imagine Cruz saying something like this. All effective satire is based on some kernel of truth.

However, the two terms above are terms I am sick and tired of. There are numerous sites online that will make bingo cards for you on spec. I have half a mind to make one of conservative buzzwords and phrases that we can pick off while watching someone like Cruz or networks like Fox. We should probably include the Green New Deal, AOC, the squad, and Nancy Pelosi for good measure.

The difficulty is that when you throw out terms like cancel culture and socialism you come to find that very few people actually have a handle on what they mean. They just know its something bad because the audience has been conditioned to believe they are something bad. Therefore, their definition can constantly shift to meet the coming situation.

Watch social media publicly shame Ted Cruz into returning to Texas? Yup, that’s cancel culture. Want the government to exercise more oversight on the power grid? Yup, that’s socialism. Shame has been used for over a millennia to alter behavior. Mothers have perfected it. The concept of public shame has also been around for hundreds of years.

What do these people think the stocks were all about? So, when you ask for an acceptable definition of cancel culture and you find it sounds an awful lot like public shaming. We certainly can debate individual instances and whether public shaming is warranted, but the concept of shaming has nothing to do with free speech. It has nothing to do with any socialist conspiracy to limit travel. No one told Ted Cruz that he HAD to return from Mexico. You didn’t HAVE to help your mother in the kitchen or with the laundry either.

Cancel culture if it is a thing at all is simply the notion private businesses and entities have the right to decide who they allow to hold the megaphone. That also has been happening for years, but its different now because it is the conservative voices that have been silenced. Progressives are well aware of this tactic because it has been done to them for decades. Now, the shoe is on the other foot.

This has nothing to do with socialism. It is somewhat related to political correctness, but it is more or less the simple fact that companies, universities, and platforms get to decide the limits and scope of the speech they allow to be broadcast on their networks or with their name in the background. What we are seeing is not a creation of cancel culture but simply a shift in what polite society is willing to accept.

Even that might be overblown. Donald Trump opened the door for people to feel emboldened enough to say what they are really feeling. Are we surprised there is pushback on that? The beauty of free speech is the freedom for give and take on the exchange. If Twitter bans the ex-president and that pisses you off then you are free to leave Twitter or simply voice your displeasure. If you feel bad about Cruz being publicly shamed about his trip then you are free to voice that opinion.

Nobody is infringing on your free speech. You don’t get to say your piece without any negative reaction. That happens on the left and right. Just ask the Dixie Chicks how that works out. You can throw out all of the scary sounding terms you like and you’ll fool some of the people some of the time. This is nothing new though. Just ask your mother.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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