… a man with plenty of personal experience in the latter. This clip with Al Franken provides a perfect denouement for a Friday afternoon, even if this took place a couple of days earlier. Just The News caught part of a discussion in a virtual panel session sponsored by Jews United for Democracy, in which Franken warns that cancel culture has already all but gutted comedy — and in combination with wokery spells real trouble for Democrats.
The video’s not embeddable, but Nicholas Ballasy got the pull quotes:
“You used to do pretty sophisticated, edgy stuff that you had to think about, and now anything, anybody who can possibly take offense can find a way to take offense,” Franken said during a discussion moderated by Howard Fineman that was organized by Jews United for Democracy. “And it really is too bad and stultifying for our debate, and it’s not good.”
Franken was asked if it is “dangerous for the Democrats’ prospects if they get painted into a corner like that.”
Franken replied, “Yeah, and there is, you know, there is a part of our party that is, that are those people.”
Franken knows all about getting painted into a corner and then canceled for it. He got pushed into resigning over allegations of sexual harassment, almost entirely preceding his time in the Senate, by members of his own party. Franken had hoped to get at least some due process first, but the Senate Democrat mob led by Kirsten Gillibrand made that impossible. Since then, Franken has had the distinct experience of watching Gillibrand et al give Andrew Cuomo a pass for much greater misdeeds than Franken was accused of committing in the sexual-harassment sphere alone.
I’m no great fan of Franken, but it’s clear he got railroaded into that resignation. It’s equally clear that he still resents it. He’s flirted with the idea of a political comeback since then — he tells Howard Fineman, “I am keeping my options open” — but comebacks don’t happen often for the fully canceled. And Franken of all people knows it.
Franken’s not the only well-known figure warning about wokery and cancel culture. Legendary The Who frontman Roger Daltrey is also speaking out ’bout your woke ge-ge-generation with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. In the middle of a discussion around the seminal album The Who Sells Out, Daltrey’s disdain for the neosocialists imposing their version of a Cultural Revolution erupts. Pick up at around the 32-minute mark to hear Daltrey essentially recap “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” only IRL (via Breitbart’s Alana Mastrangelo):
“The woke generation — it’s terrifying, the miserable world they’re going to create for themselves,” the rocker said in a recent interview with DJ Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
“I mean, anyone who’s lived a life — and you see what they’re doing — you just know that it’s a route to nowhere, especially when you’ve lived through the periods of a life that we’ve had the privilege to,” Daltrey added. “I mean, we’ve had the golden era. There’s no doubt about that.” …
“But we came out of a war, we came out of a leveled society, completely flattened bomb sites and everything,” Daltrey said. “And we’ve been through socialist governments. We’ve seen the communist system fail in the Soviet Union. I’ve been in those communist countries while they were communist.”
“I’ve seen how ‘wonderful’ — really? — it was,” the rocker added, sarcastically.
It’s a long way to travel between “hope I die before I get old” and “get off my damn lawn,” no? Daltrey’s entirely correct, and he’s not the only one from his own ge-ge-generation to point it out. Mastrangelo also notes similar sentiments from Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, who called wokery out as a “divisive political weapon” wielded by “spoilt children.” Fellow punker Glenn Danzig of The Misfits pointed out that the punk movement would never have emerged in this stultified culture. And another punk artist had a more direct response to the neo-Cultural Revolutionaries, as well as the “lying-ass media” (NSFW):
New York punk rocker John Joseph — vocalist for the bands Bloodclot and Cro-Mags — responded to backlash over a large punk show recently held in New York City, proclaiming “cancel culture can go fuck themselves” and adding that punk rock will “carry on what we’ve been doing for decades.”
Joseph said he and others were attacked after “the lying ass media” reported inaccuracies involving a recent outdoor punk show he and others put on in Tompkins Square Park, in New York City.
“Cancel culture can go fuck themselves,” Joseph affirmed, adding that critics of the NYC event “are the same ones who criticized punk rock in the 70s and hardcore in the 80s.”
“And they will all go away soon to live out [their] quiet lives of desperation while we carry on what we’ve been doing for decades,” he added.
Actually, they’re not the same people who criticized the punk movement. Those were mainly (although not exclusively) social critics from the Right. The woke movement and cancel culture is almost entirely a creation of the New Left, especially among the harder-Left progressives, socialists, and neo-Stalinists on the fringe. Daltrey has it diagnosed more accurately, and that’s why Franken worries about its implications for the Democratic Party.
It’s refreshing to see leading cultural figures pushing back, even if they’re not exactly the target demographic for wokery. Punk itself was a fringe movement that ended up transforming the culture — and maybe it can transform it once again.