Notes on the Economics of Cancel Culture

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack Newsletter:

I recall an illuminating moment a decade or so ago. Cathy Guisewite had just announced she would step back from creating new instalments of her long-running Cathy comic. The blogosphere, as it was called then, was all revved up, heatedly discussing the legacy of the perpetual dieter, hen-pecked by her mother, conflicted about her low-energy boyfriend Irving, never able to resist a box of chocolate, always discovering runs in her pantyhose, always frazzled. An acquaintance of mine, an up-and-coming journalist whom I knew in real life to have subtle opinions and an appreciation for the complexity of life, entered the online conversation. Cathy, she judged, was harmful to women’s self-image, and it is therefore good that she is —in the old sense of the word— to be cancelled.

Few people will know this about me, but I happen to like Cathy. I don’t think much about her, but to recall her to mind does make me happy for at least a moment. In fact I have to admit that I like all those comforting and mediocre representations traditionally and perplexingly known in the US as “the funnies”. What I wouldn’t give to read the Sunday comics in some hokey local American newspaper! MarmadukeZiggyGarfieldFamily Circus: none of them transformed into next-level memes on the internet, no Nietzsche Family Circus or Lasagna Cat, but just as they were meant to be by their hokey normie creators.

More here.

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