Every now and then some lefty culture warrior will announce to the sound of terrified clapter that “cancel culture is just accountability.” Well yeah, so were the Spanish Inquisition, the Cheka, and the Gestapo. If you want to live in a system of political terror in which you constantly have to account to somebody… enjoy.
Here’s the New York Times pondering that perhaps embedding a cancel culture secret police squad inside every single organization may not be as much fun as it sounds.
The chef Sam Fore received an ominous voice mail message this month from an unknown number. The caller identified himself as a private investigator working for the James Beard Foundation. Later that day, Ms. Fore found herself on a Zoom call, answering questions from him and another man.
“They said to me, ‘We have an anonymous complaint we have to ask you about,’” she said.
Ms. Fore is a finalist in the James Beard awards, which for nearly three decades have been considered the most prestigious culinary honors in the United States, the so-called “Oscars of the food world.” As the #MeToo movement led to high-profile revelations of misbehavior and workplace abuse in the restaurant world in recent years, the Beard foundation overhauled its processes to make the awards more equitable and diverse, and to ensure that chefs with troubling histories are not honored.
Enjoy your equity with a side order of accountability. Also we’d like to discuss everything you’ve ever said.
In what she called “an interrogation,” the investigators asked her about social media posts she had made on both private and public accounts. Someone had sent them to the foundation through an anonymous tip line on its website. The men told Ms. Fore that the posts potentially violated the organization’s code of ethics — specifically that they amounted to “targeted harassment” and “bullying.”
They included an Instagram post, she said, that was part of a domestic-violence awareness campaign, and others related to her advocacy for victims of sexual violence, including “vague tweets” about people the posts did not name.
The New York Times is not so much objecting to people being interrogated about their social media posts as a condition of employment or participation in society so much as about its conviction that Ms. Fore, being a woman, the daughter of Asian immigrants and a solid lefty, is the wrong target for the woke inquisition.
Or as so many old Bolsheviks summed it up, “If only Stalin knew.”
Cancel culture is political terror. And once you unleash political terror, it’s hard to keep it reined in. I believe that there was a whole bunch of mawkish liberal art on the subject around the HUAC era, which those folks conveniently forgot about the moment they were convinced they’d be manning or womaning the firing squads.
The foundation then canceled the 2021 awards and embarked on an internal audit, which resulted in a sweeping overhaul of its board, mission and processes. For 2022, the awards were rebuilt to consider not just culinary excellence, but also equity, leadership, sustainability, diversity and other values aligned with the group’s new mission.
Here are the equity, leadership, sustainability, diversity and other values in action. If you like your secret police cooking show awards, enjoy them. They’re the price of equity, sustainability, diversity and other ways to spell political terror.