Today, gatekeeping by elites is all but impossible. Yet a faction on the left is somehow confident that the best way forward in an era of YouTube, podcasts, and Twitter is shunning and stigmatizing and rejecting quality art because of the politics of its creator, as if openness and engagement are no longer liberalizing forces and they can beat the authoritarian right at a politics of othering. They are playing to the strengths of their most illiberal adversaries.
When Gay says that refusing to watch future Roseanne episodes is “a small line to draw, but it’s a start,” what does she mean? A start toward what? Unlike a campaign war chest that starts with one dollar, or a voter drive that starts by registering one person, a one-person boycott of quality art over the politics of its creator cannot scale in a coalition with a large faction committed to engagement and openness. Pursuing it will not persuade Trump any supporters to change their allegiances, and it is very likely to divide and weaken the coalition that is against him.