Sunday, February 28, 2021

Cancel Culture


Somewhat inspired by the Bill Maher clip on “Cancel Culture” I posted on Facebook last night, I thought it was time to be clear on my view of that world. It’s simply the 21st Century version of “Blacklisting”.

This year, I’m celebrating my 50th year as a Showbiz professional, having spent a good chunk of that time as a screenwriter. And during one of my sojourns in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Edward Dmytryk, one of the “Hollywood Ten”.

For those unaware, he directed a long list of classic films, from “Murder, My Sweet” to “The Caine Mutiny” and the Ten were a group of elite screenwriters and directors who refused to co-operate with a Congressional witch hunt intent on driving anyone considered sympathetic to Communism out of the film business.

Edward went to prison for that refusal and despite being one of the most sought-after talents in Hollywood, afterward found himself considered unemployable or “blacklisted” by the major studios.

This year’s much deserved award season contender, “The Trial of the Chicago Seven” showcases Abbie Hoffman’s evocative quote, “Give me a moment, would you friend? I’ve never been on trial for my thoughts before.”

Even decades later, the hurt and loss associated with being convicted for his thoughts was palpable in Edward. And there is no way of calculating what other classic films we were denied by silencing his voice.

Which brings me to Gina Carano, an MMA fighter turned actress, widely celebrated for “empowering” and “inspiring” young women by her role in Disney’s Star Wars off-shoot “The Mandalorian”.  

Like the Hollywood Ten and Chicago Seven, Ms. Carano has been tried and convicted for her thoughts, among which was a tweet comparing Conservatives in Hollywood to Jews during the Holocaust.

A bit of stretch? Maybe. If your image of the Holocaust is people being tossed into ovens. Perhaps not, if you’re aware of the years of condemnation, restrictions on work, travel and much more applied to Jews in Germany which, for years, preceded the “Final Solution”.

It seems those who admire the message of “The Trial of the Chicago Seven” don’t realize they have become the intractable monsters who prosecuted them or destroyed the careers of the Hollywood Ten.

They don’t seem to understand that she was fired by a company, Disney, who recently went out of its way, in the credits for “Mulan”, to thank the very people currently in charge of the Uyghur genocide in China, choosing to do that over condemning institutionalized rape and sterilization, involuntary organ harvesting and removal of children from their families that are part of that stain on humanity.

Yes, those of you who chose to cancel Gina Carano, took the side of Disney and an actual Genocide.

And you targeted a woman months ago considered empowering and inspiring to girls, so you can send them a different message. “The only way you will be accepted is to shut up and obey!”