Letter From Hell

BY BEN PENSANT

So notorious right-wing porn mag Harpo’s has published its eye-poppingly offensive letter, signed by an assortment of successful authors, respected academics, and some weirdo who has sex with sharks. As you’d expect, the signatories were all white males, even the black or female ones: the worst kind of white males. So like most sensible leftists, my reaction focused on them rather than what the letter said, which was fairly easy as I hadn’t read it. Luckily the great thing about being a modern leftist is you don’t have to read something before penning an outraged column about it. Why bother when a soon-to-be unemployed Guardian columnist can read it for you then deliver it back with all the context removed?

The signatory list featured more alt-right loons than a Pokahontas-themed Halloween-and-sushi party. And I should know as I’ve actually heard of four of them: the grubbiest and most duplicitous of the lot.

Take Margaret Atwoods, the Handmaiden’s Tale author and feminist icon who earnt her spurs attacking the patriarchy and supporting trans rights. All good and well until you explore her work and realise this was simply a ruse to gloss over her Islamophobia, as seen in her most famous novel’s racist dig at the quaint Islamic custom of forcing enslaved women to wear silly dresses and executing them in football stadiums. She also believes in the archaic principle of ‘due process’ and once supported a white male academic accused of sexual assault. Christ, Marge – why not just write ‘I Love Hitler’ on your pink fanny hat?

Her betrayal was nothing compared to Norm Chomsky, the left-wing godhead revered for his love of murderous dictators and dogged determination to blame the west for absolutely everything. Indeed, his reputation as the Godfather of Moral Relativism earned him a permanent place in the hearts of modern progressives, some of whom have even read his books. Despite this he’s debased himself in recent years by repeatedly defending the fascist principle of free speech for everyone, even engaging in rambling email debates with vicious right-wingers like Peter Hitchens and Sam Harrison.

Much like the heroes of the Iranian revolution, whose enjoyment of their 73 virgins is soured by the knowledge that a man who wrote a book they haven’t read still walks the earth – Yes, I’m talking about Salmon Rushdie, the Islamophobic fugitive who remains a free man, 40 years after penning a novel that offended moderate mullahs so much they were forced to urge their followers to murder its author.

Like Atwoods and Chomsky, Rushdie masqueraded as a leftist for years, imitating a decent, open-minded liberal by calling all Trump supporters idiots and racists. But he’s fooling no-one. That Rushdie is still at large is heinous enough, but to further insult marginalised Muslims by promoting free speech is one kick in the burqa too many. He could’ve spared the Muslim community years of pain and saved a load of bother by turning himself in decades ago and allowing Cat Stephens to burn him alive. But no, he took the neo-con dollar instead. May Allah forgive him. Or cut his head off.

But the worst of the lot is JK Roland, who spent years pretending to be a decent liberal: campaigning to overturn Brexit, supporting Black Life Matters, and generally being as blandly conformist as your average millionaire progressive. Sadly, she soiled herself years ago by smearing Lord Corbyn, sealing her transition to the dark side when she outed herself as a raving transphobe, despite never having said anything remotely transphobic. So it was no surprise to see her name on this vile letter. To think I once read six whole pages of Harry Porter and the Wizard’s Sleeve: two hours I’ll never get back. TERF Bitch.

Thankfully, the left-wing response was as brilliant as ever, with thousands of principled authoritarians avoiding the contents of the letter in favour of abusing the people who signed it. And why not? It was anti-cancel culture: it might as well be anti-equality, anti-welfare state, or anti-cutting-your-son’s-dick-off-because-he-plays-with-Barbie-dolls. Why discuss what the letter says when you can simply remind everyone that one of the signatories wrote a shitty kids book featuring a Vietnamese character called Ching Chong and another likes to finger-blast aquatic mammals?

Far better to disprove its premise that the modern left enjoy cancelling people by, well, trying to cancel people. Indeed, this tactic worked so well one signatory publicly withdrew her support, which naturally saw loads of right-wing doughnuts try to cancel her.

Across Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else where people terrified of human contact hang out, the responses came thick and fast, boiling down to two arguments:

1. Cancel culture doesn’t exist.

2. Cancel culture does exist but it’s a good thing as only bad people ever get cancelled.

Often these two contradictory statements were uttered in the same sentence, a timely reminder of the enduring popularity of left-wing cognitive dissonance. Indeed, the left’s approach to cancel culture is ram-packed with cog-dis: witness the glorious spectacle of people who claim to hate tabloid muckraking celebrating lives being ruined by tabloid muckraking. And why not, if it gifts us a chance to air our virtue, score a point against someone we don’t like, or catch a bit of blue-haired feminist pussy?

Further Ben Pensant material can be found here.