Being cancelled

I've yet to be cancelled. Probably because of a mix of not having particularly controversial opinions. Opinions that shirk common sense, empathy or logic. Or more that if I do have a controversial opinion, I'll probably just bounce it off of a friend of my wife rather than blasting it publicly. Particularly a public forum where my workplace is involved (like LinkedIn). So not only have I yet to be cancelled. I likely won't get cancelled soon.

This past week Irish tech party organiser, Paddy Cosgrave, seems to be entering the cancellation chamber. Just a week or two before his big marquee event, the Web Summit, kicks off. Paddy is enormously successful. Web Summit employs hundreds of people here in Ireland (which is the companies' HQ), and in Lisbon where the main event is held. I know there are other events they've run over the years, too.

Full disclosure, this post isn't really about the man, his company (whom has employed many friends of mine) or his opinion. But also, because of a joke quote-tweet of mine years ago, he had Web Summit legal contact me to take down my comment that he would only source candidates for newly created roles from Trinity college. Because he said as such in an interview a few years prior, something he later regretted and tried to bury. I was joking, but his legal team was not.

The reason is that he decided to opine publicly on the Israel, Palestine conflict escalation. An escalation that has been brutal, inhumane and horrific from both sides. In Ireland, we tend to take an empathetic approach to the Palestinian side given we've been in their shoes as a nation in the past. But it's fair to say, both Hamas' actions and the Israeli government's approach have both been appalling.

Paddy's comments on the matter are public and you can go check them out. But they weren't (in my opinion) particularly controversial themselves. It's just another nonsense note from a person who is not particularly expert in the field. The man organises events for the tech world. Why he keeps attempting to harpoon government policy is beyond me.

But this case is not isolated. The pressure exerted on him right now is not because of his opinions, however mild, on this issue. It's cumulative. He has demonstrated a consistent lack of humanity, empathy or logic. And his broadcasting of said opinion is a choice. A decision.

Which brings me to the next wave of comments that are likely to call out "cancellation." This is a marquee phrase used to blame some "wokeness" or extreme leftyness when someone waxes lyrically about a controversial subject. It's not some woke agenda to cancel someone who, particularly in the cumulative, has a penchent for controversial opinion. It's a decision to be judged in such a way.

If I have a controversial opinion, I'll bring it to a friend or my wife. Not Mastodon. Or LinkedIn, where I'm not just representing myself, but my employer also. 20 years ago, if you wandered into your office and declared an even mildly controversial opinion about Israel and Palestine, you'd be just as likely shunned by coworkers, or fired.