Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (03:59)


Moderator John Donvan instructs viewers to vote, provides the framework for the debate on cancel culture, and introduces panelists.

Opening Statements For: Kmele Foster (04:13)

Political Commentator and "Fifth Column" Co-host Foster states that cancel culture is a serious, definable aspect of American society that impacts institutional operations, our relationship with truth, and core values. Campaigns are swift and unforgiving.

Opening Statements Against: Erich Hatala Matthes (04:00)

Scholar, Author, and Philosophy Professor Matthes states there is no clear and consistent definition of cancel culture. Public shaming is a legitimate means of social resistance. Critics are inconsistent in identifying what counts as cancel culture.

Opening Statements For: Garry Kasparov (04:48)

Russian Chess Grandmaster and Human Rights Foundation Chairman Kasparov states that freedoms are under threat from cancel culture. Public platforms stifle debate and threaten the free flow of ideas; more openness is necessary.

Opening Statements Against: Karen Attiah (04:34)

Washington Post Columnist Attiah states proponents have not proved that cancel culture is a pervasive part of American culture. She questions whether those who most claim to be canceled are really buried; it is not coincidental that cancel culture is somewhat turned against marginalized communities.

Using Cancel Culture as a Shield? (10:04)

Donvan summarizes opening statements. Foster states that belief in cancel culture curtails behavior. Matthes counters that there is a general inflation of different ideas. Kasparov states that social media allows online mob attacks. Attiah reflects on cancel culture and wokeism entering consciousness.

Power Structure (04:18)

Foster counters claims that those concerned about cancel culture are afraid of losing control. Attiah cites examples of books by black authors removed from schools.

What is the Goal of Cancel Culture? (05:50)

Matthes states that many activists are looking for institutional reform; critics focus on the response to speech. Kasparov cites attacks on J.K. Rowling after signing the Harper's letter as an example of how cancel culture works; it is about the individual, not the content.

Is Platform Prevention an Acceptable Use of Counter Speech? (10:48)

Attiah states that student protests are about speech and listening; the U.S. is in a cultural shift. Foster cites the increased number of disinvitations as an example of cancel culture. Matthes counters claims of college discourse. He and Kasparov argue the right to platforms.

Closing Statements For: Foster (02:13)

The culture of free speech directly relates to the ability to engage in civil discourse. We need a culture of free speech that values inclusiveness.

Closing Statements Against: Matthes (01:47)

The title of the "New York Times" article on contextualizing Paul Gaugin's work illustrates the way in which cancel culture is used to obscure attention from legitimate criticisms.

Closing Statements For: Kasparov (02:26)

People should be held accountable, but not hostage. The real victims of cancel culture are those who suffer most when fundamental rights are under attack.

Closing Statements Against: Attiah (02:31)

Proponents have presented a mishmash of ideas about the nature of cancel culture. What is really happening is a cultural shift and we are in a better place.

Debate Voting (02:23)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote, thanks participants, and explains how viewers can support Intelligence Squared.

Credits: Cancel Culture Is Toxic: A Debate (00:05)

Credits: Cancel Culture Is Toxic: A Debate

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Cancel Culture Is Toxic: A Debate

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"Cancel Culture"—the effort to ostracize someone for comments or actions deemed offensive—has grown more pervasive in recent years. With the rise of Twitter and other social media platforms, people can quickly publicize such comments or actions and urge others to shun, or "cancel," them. Canceling can have serious repercussions, resulting in the loss of cultural cache, political clout, and even a job or career. Critics of cancel culture argue that it empowers digital mobs to police people's speech, invade their rights, and even endanger their physical safety. Cancel culture, they charge, erodes public discourse, inhibits free expression, and promotes censorship of unpopular ideas. Defenders of cancel culture dismiss these concerns, arguing that holding people to account for offensive—and often racist or sexist—comments is thoroughly appropriate. Such accountability can bring attention to prejudice and bigotry, they charge, and help break down ingrained systems of injustice, particularly on behalf of populations that have historically been discriminated against and exploited. Is cancel culture beneficial or is it toxic?

Length: 65 minutes

Item#: FMK276371

Copyright date: ©2021

Closed Captioned

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