Nick Cave is right about the cruelty of cancel culture

The Aussie singer-songwriter has become a rare voice of sanity in the culture war.

Lauren Smith

Topics Culture Free Speech Identity Politics UK

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Nick Cave has long been one of the most eloquent, impassioned and open-minded critics of cancel culture.

The legendary Australian singer-songwriter made another pointed intervention in an interview with the Guardian this week. When asked if he is ‘anti-woke’, Cave said:

‘The concept that there are problems with the world we need to address, such as social justice; I’m totally down with that. However, I don’t agree with the methods that are used in order to reach this goal – shutting down people, cancelling people. There’s a lack of mercy, a lack of forgiveness.’

Cave is right. Again. We have become so used to seeing people get cancelled in the name of ‘social justice’ that we often lose sight of just how cruel and barbaric this practice really is. Reputations are ruined, livelihoods are destroyed and families are torn apart, usually just because someone has uttered an unfashionable opinion, or accidentally committed an un-PC faux pas.

Time and time again, we see how merciless the woke mob can be, even as it poses as compassionate.

Cave has argued previously that being against wokeness doesn’t mean he is right-wing or opposed to progressive causes. Back in 2019, he wrote on his blog, the ‘Red Hand Files’, that ‘regardless of the virtuous intentions of many woke issues, it is the lack of humility and the paternalistic and doctrinal sureness of its claims that repel me’. In 2020, he described political correctness as the ‘unhappiest religion in the world’. Woke, he argued, gives us the worst of all worlds. It is as dogmatic and intolerant as any fundamentalist religion, but it offers no possibility of redemption or forgiveness.

We shouldn’t underestimate Cave’s bravery here. In the world he inhabits, of celebrity and popular culture, such reasonable and commonsense views are essentially heretical. Most other celebs would prefer to either jump on the woke bandwagon or keep quiet. So thank you, Nick Cave, for repeatedly sticking your head above the parapet – and for being a voice of sanity in an increasingly mad world.

Lauren Smith is a staff writer at spiked.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Culture Free Speech Identity Politics UK


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