So What About Context? Doesn’t Matter!
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
A couple years ago, the mainstream media set out on a campaign to destroy Youtube’s biggest star, PewDiePie. At the time, he had well over 50 million subscribers, and analysts of the situation believed MSM was trying to see if they could regain power; if they could take down the largest personality on Youtube, a man who gets more eyes than them hourly, then they could regain control. Wallstreet Journal wrote a number of hit-pieces alleging Felix of being a Nazi due to some of the jokes he made.
Free speech advocates and comedians who still believe in free speech defended PewDiePie stating it was a dangerous precedent to set — to say that context doesn’t matter and to punish someone for jokes they made because you didn’t like them.
The mainstream media and progressive left didn’t listen. They continued to believe they were righteous in taking him down because you absolutely cannot joke about Nazism and any time you make jokes, you are being serious, actually and should be punished.
We saw the phrase, “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences” a lot. Funny enough, Felix isn’t American, so he’s not actually protected by the first amendment anyway. Nonetheless, you still have to ask if this is the kind of culture you want to foster? Do you want to support a culture that removes context from anything you say and will take your words in the worst possible scenario?
The left said yes.
Two or three years ago, Count Dankula, a comedian, was arrested for teaching his girlfriend’s dog to do the Nazi salute. It was all a joke. The context: his girlfriend annoyed him with how she always said the dog was so cute. To be funny, he taught the cute dog the least cute thing he could think of: to be a Nazi. He was legally tied up for two years while the British courts argued about what laws he broke and how he should be punished. They said context didn’t matter. “They” being journalists, judges, the progressive left… He was eventually convicted of ‘causing gross offense.”
They reiterated that context didn’t matter. By teaching the dog to do a Nazi salute, he was creating Nazi propaganda and there was no excuse.
Again, free speech advocates urged the left and mainstream media not to demonize Dankula. It was a complete injustice that he should be arrested and charged with anything. However, throughout the trial and coverage, people reiterated that context doesn’t matter and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
A couple weeks ago, John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza was forced to step down after a private call was leaked to the media. In the call, Schnatter states he was pressured constantly, asked if he was a racist again and again because of his position on the NFL protests, and eventually he said Colonel Sanders said “nigger” and was never called a racist and never had these problems.
I’m sure you can see where this story is going…
The media and progressive left stated context doesn’t matter. The fact Schnatter said nigger at all was enough to label him a racist. Later, in what I can only assume was some sort of outreach campaign, the new CEO Steve Richie sent an email reiterating that context didn’t matter.
So the left has been upholding these rules for years, probably near a decade at least — where whatever you say can and should be taken out of context and you should be punished for it…
Where the rules have now changed. Because while all those instances above (and more) had to be read out of context — there was no other choice, people rushed to Gunn’s fans were quick to defend more than 10,000 deleted tweets about pedophilia as just jokes. Now, all the sudden, context matters. I couldn’t tell you how many responses I saw in defensive of him saying take these things in context and they’re fine. The context being he’s “joking,” but we honestly have no proof of that.
But, if I was to believe they’re speaking in good-faith and he is just joking, why shouldn’t he be punished still? For the last decade the left has taken the position that context doesn’t matter and whatever you say should be used against you if it is gross to anyone at any point in time. Actor Patton Oswalt was quick to jump to Gunn’s defense, but had these hidden in his closet:
These tweets are taken out of context? Doesn’t matter. No context is the standard that’s been set!
Context doesn’t matter and you’re all terrible people, not comedians.
This is what free speech advocates warned about every time the media and political left went after someone for jokes or free speech. We warned that if you punish people for jokes, you won’t like it because it will be turned on you, but they didn’t and now they’re freaking out because their tactics are starting to be used against them.
Free speech advocates are still arguing about whether or not the left should be treated the same way they’ve treated the right. I’ve been on the fence too. I’ve spoken many times on how disgusting it is to take things out of context, to punish people for speech, and how it shuts down conversation because people fear simply asking questions or breaching certain subjects. It’s a form of mind control if you use the mob to swarm anyone who speaks an unpopular opinion and then you go out of your way to ruin their lives.
Back during the Charlottesville rally, people who followed the law, received the appropriate permits, and were there for a myriad of reasons were doxxed for holding the wrong opinion or daring to associate with the “wrong people” as defined by the mob. Context didn’t matter. Reason didn’t matter. The left set out to contact employers, families, friends, and destroy people’s lives. At least one of the doxxed attendees committed suicide because his life had been so destroyed by the smear mob.
This is the culture the left has set up and the right thing to do isn’t ignore it anymore. The right thing to do is apply the disgusting tactics just as hard in return.
It’s not about revenge though.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “the best way to change a bad law is to enforce it strictly.”
If we hate these ridiculous rules that are being pushed — and they’ve only been going one way for a long time, then it’s time we apply the same pressure back. There’s been no downside to the left using these sort of tactics because they’ve never been punished for ruining peoples’ lives. I think it’s time we change our tactics from allowing them to destroy us, to showing them just how much they don’t want this to be the standard.
Unrelated Fun Fact: The word of the day is contextomy. How weird is that?