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Nick Cave Calls Cancel Culture the ‘Unhappiest Religion in the World’

The Australian singer becomes the latest artist to fear its toxic coattails

Nick Cave isn’t in danger of “cancellation” …yet.

The creative force behind Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds still has some heavy thoughts about the cultural trend and why he’s hoping it fades to black soon.

Only he doesn’t sound optimistic on that front.

Cave connects with his global fan base via The Red Hand Files, his freewheeling blog. Recently, someone wrote to the singer/songwriter about cancel culture, and Cave didn’t mince words about it.

As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.

Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society. Compassion is the primary experience — the heart event — out of which emerges the genius and generosity of the imagination. Creativity is an act of love that can knock up against our most foundational beliefs, and in doing so brings forth fresh ways of seeing the world. This is both the function and glory of art and ideas. A force that finds its meaning in the cancellation of these difficult ideas hampers the creative spirit of a society and strikes at the complex and diverse nature of its culture.

This isn’t the first time Cave attacked Cancel Culture. Last year, he shared his fears of not just conventional faith but the growing “woke” sentiment. 

I tend to become uncomfortable around all ideologies that brand themselves as “the truth” or “the way”. This not only includes most religions, but also atheism, radical bi-partisan politics or any system of thought, including “woke” culture, that finds its energy in self-righteous belief and the suppression of contrary systems of thought. Regardless of the virtuous intentions of many woke issues, it is its lack of humility and the paternalistic and doctrinal sureness of its claims that repel me…Wokeness, for all its virtues, is an ideology immune to the slightest suggestion that in a generation’s time their implacable beliefs will appear as outmoded and fallacious as those of their own former generation.

Cave previously rejected someone’s suggestion that he, or other singers, might regret using select words in songs that have recently fallen out of favor.

I would rather be remembered for writing something that was discomforting or offensive, than to be forgotten for writing something bloodless and bland.

Many stars either embrace woke culture or stay silent on the matter. Among those fighting back against it include Adam Carolla, Ricky Gervais, Judy Gold, Nick Di Paolo, Dennis Miller and Bill Maher.

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