Monday, May 15, 2023

Anecdotes about “cancel culture” in the form of jokes

During his talk this afternoon at the University of Basel on his book "Cancel Culture Transfer: Wie eine moralische Panik die Welt erfasst" (Suhrkamp 2022), Adrian Daub, Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, argued that the anecdote that is at the heart of journalism about "cancel culture" takes the form of a joke: "Have you heard the one about ...?" Any context that doesn't build toward the right punch line – or even any context at all – can and probably must be left out for the joke to be effective. Ideally, the person who is "cancelled" is in a socially prestigious position, while the cancellers are anonymous abstracctions, like "Twitter users". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 15 May 2023)

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