One suspects that many of those defending Gillis are worried that one day soon, they, too, might get tagged for trading in the same kind of lazy bigotry. At the heart of the anger over “cancel culture” is the fear that you might get canceled yourself — combined with the indignation that someone might ask you to change. But to make their griping seem noble — instead of just lazy — these anti-canceling crusaders declare that in fact it’s the culture that’s attacking them. Virtues like “accountability” and “courtesy” are recast as “authoritarianism” and “giving in to the mob.”
Not every “cancellation” is justified. We live in an unprecedented post-Internet moment: Most of us weren’t expecting our past statements to be readily searchable at all times and might have been more thoughtful if we had. And I’m not defending that woker-than-thou minority that really does exist, one which gangs up on others to highlight their own perfection. What used to be private reprimands now often take place in the public domain, and public dressing-downs rarely work as well as we would hope.
But social mores change, and so does humor.