This June, my column on what I call “the new culture war” was published in C2C Journal.

In it, I argue that post-modern political correctness is stifling creative expression, creating a paralyzing climate of self-censorship in the arts:

  • Seminal works of art advancing progressive causes, such as Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” are being policed for not meeting modern standards of political correctness.
  • The concept of cultural appropriation is being introduced to the literary world, discouraging authors from writing about diverse characters. And writers are now being called out for problematic statements made by their fictional characters – a worrying rejection of the distinction between author, narrator, and protagonist.
  • Artists and writers who dare to use sarcasm or satire to express provocative points are hounded until they apologize or find themselves out of work.

I write:

“There is no consideration of context – what matters is the imagined effect of problematic language. Creative works must be tailored to the lowest common denominator, as audiences cannot be expected to think critically. This is the discredited, out-of-date “hypodermic needle” theory of media effect, updated for the modern age. It’s an artless approach, one that eschews ambiguity, subtlety, provocation, and all the other hallmarks of great art.”

My conclusion:

“We’re in the midst of a new culture war, and everyone who believes in freedom of expression should be on the same side.”

Read the full article here.

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