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Mike's Minute: Cancel culture's arrogance is out of control

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 10:49AM

Mike's Minute: Cancel culture's arrogance is out of control

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 10:49AM

A bunch of years ago we were in Melbourne and the Dr. Seuss exhibition was on. It's run by the family.

Limited edition and some original work was on show, and some for sale. We decided to buy some. It wasn’t cheap, but it wasn't Warhol. Besides, we didn’t buy it for return.

It's the thing I've found over the years when it comes to putting your money into stuff. Put your money where you don't care about the investment and don't become attached to it.

I've ended up with wine worth a fortune, but I wouldn’t dare sell it. I love it too much. Art is the same, it's too beautiful, and mostly it's got a time and place connection.

Anyway, we have three Dr. Seuss'. A couple have a before and after part, the before is the original drawing, and the after is a print of what it turned out like in the book.

Turns out, sadly, as of this week we'll need to be taking them off the wall and burning them because Dr. Seuss has been cancelled by the hand-wringers. He was targeted in American Book Week, schools wouldn’t touch him, and as of yesterday six of his actual books will no longer be published.

He is accused of the usual sort of nonsense, characterising people and race in a way we no longer find acceptable. Dr. Seuss is just this week's fascination, this has been going on for over a year now.

Some of the statue destroyers in Britain were in court this week. And I note the British Cultural Secretary, Oliver Dowden is having to hand out warnings to British museums not to allow themselves to be pushed around by the zeitgeist of the day.

My fear is some of those inside the museums are part of the zeitgeist. They can't stick enough stuff away in a cupboard to appease their fellow luvvies.

This really is an historically dangerous time. Evolving belief is one thing, but you don't learn by banning. You don’t empower yourself by cancelling. It assumes that today's conclusion is the only conclusion one can come to. And it assumes that today is the day we collectively decided we are 100 percent right. What an arrogant way of viewing the world that is.

Everyone in any age thinks they're right, until they're not. What saddens and worries me most is right now, we most obviously are not right. What this most obviously is, is a bandwagon leapt on by naval gazers, the insecure, the easily led, and the intellectually fragile.

In the coming years, today's cancel culture will be a period of embarrassment. It's just the “here today, gone tomorrow" brigade who can't, or won't, think past a latest fad.

It's social media thinking, it's bright and shiny, and it's why our Dr. Seuss paintings will be going nowhere.    

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