Jordan Peterson recently announced plans for a new social media discussion platform called thinkspot. The gimmick? You can express yourself by saying what you want. What better example of the depraved state to which our culture has plummeted than the idea that free speech is now an edgy selling point.
Decades ago, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority was galvanizing conservative Christians to remake the GOP to their liking, and partly they were waging war against an increasingly sexualized culture. Their frequent targets were Hollywood movies and video games which were supposedly poisoning kids’ minds. Joining forces with Pat Robertson, Dr James Dobson, and the Catholic League of Decency, these conservative activists helped create a culture where saying the F word on network TV or ripping up a picture of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on SNL would land a career in hot water.
Today, the culture has flipped. Liberals have become the new scolds. Twitter activists scour new movie scripts for any sign of political incorrectness or subtle slights against marginalized groups. “It’s cool the female Avengers get their due in Endgame,” the leftists point out, “but why are none of the Avengers LGBTQ?” Older films are dug up and put under the woke microscope. “Hey, that boy in The Sandlot pretended to be unconscious so the pretty female lifeguard would give him mouth to mouth! That’s rape culture!”
Celebrities are “cancelled” if they say anything wrong–aka not woke. Justin Bieber was being anti-Semitic when he wrote that Anne Frank would have been a fan of his music (was she not a teen girl?) Ricky Gervais “dead named” Caitlin Jenner by saying Bruce Jenner (so who won the Olympic medals?) Miley Cyrus begged everyone to forgive her for stating the obvious fact that much of hip hop/rap is sexist (She blamed her white privilege, naturally.) Ellen Page put Chris Pratt on blast for going to a church where she couldn’t have married her partner (did she even want to marry in this church?) It never ends because the goal post always moves.
Steven Crowder was just demonetized for saying “queer” even though that’s what the Q in LGBTQ stands for. A line in Disney’s Aladdin has now been changed not once but twice, and the evolution of the lyric illustrates our increasing humorlessness: from “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face/it’s barbaric but hey, it’s home” to “where you wander among every culture and tongue/ it’s chaotic but hey, it’s home.”
Liberal politicians are prized for being humorless, and the farther away they are from being a straight, white, cis-gendered male the better. (Watch your back, Biden.) Meanwhile, on the right, we have a wide range of personalities (one might even call it diversity) ranging from squeaky clean Boy Scouts like Ben Shapiro and Mitt Romney to the flamboyant Milo Yiannopolis who enjoys dressing in police fetish costumes and talking about his black husband. There’s Dr Ben Carson and Marco Rubio being discussed by Laura Ingram and Sean Hannity.
There’s Rush Limbaugh, who once lost advertisers for calling a young woman a slut because she wanted taxpayers to support her promiscuity by paying for her contraception. Ann Coulter is so incredibly not woke that she disqualifies herself from running for President because she doesn’t think that’s a woman’s place. Now many conservatives disagree with that view but they don’t kick Ann out of the party for expressing it. The right supports free speech.
It’s conservatives who defend a comedian’s right to make offensive jokes while leftists try to kick “problematic” comics off college campuses and Netflix. It’s leftist politicians who are pandering to Twitter activists by illegally barring Chick-fil-A from airports and cities. It’s leftists who are demanding through lawsuits that Christian bakers and florists cater gay weddings that violate their beliefs.
Decades after leftists expressed their version of free speech by defending “Piss Christ” (that was a crucifix in urine; you know, art,) they have now become the cultural gatekeepers of what’s allowed ( sexual depravity, blasphemy, disrespect towards Christianity) and what most definitely is not allowed (jokes that offend minorities, disrespect towards Islam.) It’s the new Moral Minority.