Others made the case for stigmatization and shunning:
- “Why would I want to put money in the pocket of Ms. Barr, who outspokenly endorses political and social values I find abhorrent? I don’t watch Mel Gibson movies, either. It is time to bring shunning back into fashion.”
- “Since the 2016 election of Trump, I have been unable to tolerate those who voted for and continue to support him. To me, it’s an intelligence issue. How can I respect a person who embraces––and seems to be proud of––their own dull ignorance. Roseanne always plays her reactionary, loudmouth self. Her stupidity isn’t cute or admirable. Her humor is often called provocative, but I see it as nothing more than self-indulgence in her well-known seething rage. She feeds the proud ignorance that keeps our country looking ugly and stupid to the rest of the world.”
- “I can’t and I won’t. I refuse to normalize Trump. I won’t watch this show. To be honest, I won’t watch ABC as long as this show is on the air. We must not accept the status quo.”
- “Hate, no matter what it is hidden behind, has no place in our society. And, so far, the Trump administration has shown only disdain for all minorities, including white poor people. So if Rosanne wants to advance the ideology of a hate monger, by misinforming and advancing ideas of hate in order to separate us, I cannot be an audience for that.”
In one way, these divides are easy to understand: The relationship between art and politics has been fraught for millennia; and humans vary in their openness, moral psychology, charitableness, and relative ability to tolerate difference. It would be surprising if the leftward half of the political spectrum was without such divides.
But in another way, it is surprising that the instinct to stigmatize and shun appears to be waxing on the left, even when the controversy at hand concerns popular entertainment.
In the postwar decades, even as political power shifted back and forth between left and right, liberals slowly but steadily increased their cultural power, even under Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, until they had achieved something approaching dominance. And they did so by fighting censors, championing openness and engagement, and insisting on the value of even problematic art that portrayed reality.
Conservative attempts to counter this dominance failed repeatedly in part because the folks behind it generally cared more about the politics than making good art. (I once attended a Steve Bannon film about Sarah Palin on opening night in Orange County, California—it deservedly played to an otherwise empty house.)
As for the social conservatives who organized Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy era, tried to shut down Playboy and its imitators, stigmatized rock and roll, and allied with the Moral Majority and the Coalition for Better Television— well, they lost on stopping “excessive sex, violence, and profanity” and “anti-Christian bigotry”; they lost on MTV and video games; they even lost when they tried to censor rap lyrics about selling drugs, brutalizing women, and murdering cops. At every step, for better or worse, distaste for censors and prudishness won out, in part because that which is forbidden in culture tends to hold increased appeal.