Kliph Nesteroff’s OUTRAGEOUS Vs. Right-Wing Think Tanks: ”It’s Not Clear What He Believes The Left Is Doing In The Meantime”
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A book called Outrageous by culture critic Kliph Nesteroff [Tweet him] claims that cancel culture was just as bad in the past—except more from the Right—as it is today, and that evil right-wing think tanks are at fault for many of our modern culture wars. There’s a review of it in Reason Magazine.

While Nesteroff starts with complaints about blackface and minstrel shows in the 1800s, most of the book deals with post–World War II controversies. And he has some fascinating stories to tell about the many attempts to cancel movies, music, TV shows, and just about anything that was new and different.

Some of these stories may be familiar. Many people know about the resistance All in the Family faced when it first aired in the 1970s, with its vulgarity and ethnic slurs; CBS stuck by it, and the sitcom went on to become one of the biggest TV shows ever. But how many people remember Bridget Loves Bernie, a sitcom that followed All in the Family for one season? Vaguely based on the 1920s Broadway blockbuster Abie’s Irish Rose, it was a show about a marriage between a Jewish man and a Catholic woman. It received so much pushback—including bomb threats—that CBS canceled it, despite its high ratings.

A Brief, Biased History of the Culture Wars

Kliph Nesteroff’s book Outrageous turns into a screed against conservatives.

By Steven Kurtz, Reason magazine, July 2024

I actually watched Bridget Loves Bernie in 1972, but I didn’t know that it had been cancelled (in the TV sense, not the cancel culture sense) because of threats. I’ll add that none of the threats mentioned in  the series’s Wikipedia article came from Christians.

But what Nesteroff is saying is that pushback to modern Leftist cancel culture is a rightwing plot:

Nesteroff notes how the John Birch Society saw Communist conspiracies everywhere in the 1960s. Far from disappearing, he argues, their discredited philosophy has been rebranded; recent culture wars, funded by partisan foundations, have used fear tactics to fool people into supporting otherwise unpopular policies. (Funny, my Republican friends say the same thing about the left.)

According to Nesteroff (and the partisan experts he quotes), right-wing think tanks tell their talking heads in the media what to say, often gaining consensus through payment of large sums. (It’s not clear what he believes the left is doing in the meantime. I guess they’re just telling the truth and being ignored.) Further, under the guise of supporting free speech, right-wing plotters send ”provocateurs to speak on college campuses for the purpose of incitement. When protests erupt, such objection is used as proof that the campus is opposed to free speech. Demonized in the body politic, funding is threatened—and legal action undertaken—until the campus is made hospitable to think tank interests.”

Wow. A conspiracy theory almost worthy of the Birchers.

The Birchers weren’t always wrong, of course. But yes, this is nuts. The think tanks only exist because the Left has taken total control of such earlier ”think tanks” as Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Brown, and UCLA.

And I don’t think that every conservative speaker on a campus is a ”provocateur” speaking ”for the purpose of incitement,” but if they were, the fact that the Left shows up to beat them, shut down their speeches, and set fires—with no punishment by university authorities—does prove that the Left is evil, and the universities should be defunded.

One more thing—I’m happy to see Reason’s Kurtz refers to this as ”screed.” This, along with the verbs ”spew” and ”spout,” are almost always reserved for right-wing speech.

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