Discussing the matter with my friend, “The Learned One,” he directed me to an intriguing Relative Insight article intriguingly entitled, “Avoiding Cancel Culture: The Language of Celebrity Apologies.” To wit:
In the era of cancel culture, celebrities find themselves needing a crisis comms back-up plan ready to roll out in case they rock the boat of public sentiment. A heartfelt public apology, or statement – that was once reserved for extra-marital affairs, criminal or violent acts, is now as essential for an ill-timed tweet, or unpopular voiced opinion. [Emphasis mine.]
Sound advice for one such as I, who routinely airs an “unpopular voiced opinion” in a country where the fascist Left’s cancel culture is busy eviscerating the citizenry’s First Amendment protections. Besides, if Relative Insight discerned what made a public apology good enough for celebrities, it would be good enough for the lowly likes of me. How, then, did Relative Insight divine how celebrities atone?
Relative Insight describes itself as being able to “work with any textual data source and any form of comparison. We can compare social media conversations among different audience demographics to uncover customer insights. We can compare reviews for your brand against your competitor to understand competitor benchmarking. We mean it – any data, any comparison.”
In sum, then, Relative Insight compared how celebrities apologized against how the rest of us apologized. Obviously, the rest of us do not have publicists ghostwriting our remorseful missives; nonetheless, what Relative Insight found is instructive.
The top line view is to divide the apology into past, present, and future actions; and dollop in polite and formal doses of superlatives emphasizing its sincerity and importance. As the Relative Insight synopsizes: “If you make a mistake (and the public finds out) show remorse, understanding and a willingness to do better – that’s how to craft the perfect celebrity apology.” (Note that a “mistake” includes speaking one’s mind too freely in the Left’s ever so tolerant “open society.”)
Yet, while Relative Insight can make helpful linguistic comparisons between celebrity and non-celebrity apologies, it is not designed to discern the difference between how the Left views the utility of a celebrity’s apology versus one they demand of us.
The celebrity’s apology not only humbles him. It serves as a warning to his fans. If this rich, famous, and powerful cultural icon can be brought to heel, what do you think will happen should you step over the cancel culture’s party line? As a result, only in the most extreme cases of cancel culture transgressions – or if they are a known non-Leftist – will the offender be “canceled.” Their value is in continuing as a highly visible symbol of the Left’s power to control anyone who dissents and defies them.
Such is not our fate. Our utility to the Left’s cancel culture is to be, well, canceled. If we utter a word or thought that may subjectively “offend” or make “uncomfortable” a neurotic Leftist and, the next thing you know, we’re down the memory hole. Bluntly, we are the societal sacrifice the Left requires to prove its cancel culture’s worst punishment exists.
History shows where this goes.
In his book, King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea, author Blaine Harden recounted how the first North Korean communist tyrant, Kim Il Sung, found himself in a politically precarious position. Having invaded South Korea, all Kim had to show was the smoldering ruins of his country and his hated neighbor still standing. Taking a page from Stalin, Kim held a show trial, claiming America started the war and the military genius, Kim, won it despite traitors in his midst. “As one of Kim’s hagiographers summarized his achievements: ‘To have successfully fought U.S. imperialism, the strongest enemy, while spy cliques were entrenched in the Party and carrying out their intrigues? How great is Comrade Kim Il Sung!’”
To make Kim’s case, sacrifices had to be made. To wit:
“I am a running dog of American Imperialism, said Yi Kang Guk, a defendant who had worked in North Korea’s ministry of trade. “I thank you for giving me an opportunity to die after making my confession.”
Not to be outdone as they were being undone, the alleged mastermind of the purported coup, the minister of justice, Yi Sung Yop, bemoaned that “Whatever punishment I am given by the trial, I will accept with gratitude. Had I two lives, to take them both would have been too little.”
Obviously, Yi knew the trial’s outcome was predetermined. If ever publicly dragged by the cancel culture, it is important we also know that the Left has a predetermined outcome for our trials. Therefore, whether we have incurred the Left’s wrath for “wrong think” or for simply breathing, the only appropriate response is to aver how, in the past, present, and future, we are “Sorry, not sorry”; and emphatically punctuate our sincerity with a well-placed middle digit.
A Human Events contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Radio Show," among sundry media appearances.