“When the Mob Came” gives a brief, but vital history lesson mid-film.
The Cultural Revolution, the 10-year period in which Chinese youth helped remove the “Four Olds” – Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Customs, and Old Habits – left up to 2 million people dead.
Caylan Ford, the canceled star of the film, offers three words to sum up that movement’s spiritual cousin in the West – Cancel Culture.
“What’s our excuse?”
The film lets the question hang in the air, as well it should. You may not see a more exhaustive look at both Cancel Culture and its harrowing effects on culture than this blistering “Mob.” So why aren’t more filmmakers tackling this vital subject?
Ford, a Canadian native and screenwriter (“Ask No Questions“), ran as Alberta’s United Conservative Party candidate when a last-minute dirty trick took down more than her campaign.
It crushed her life.
A left-leaning, quasi-news outlet selectively edited private comments Ford made on Facebook to paint her as a White Supremacist. It didn’t matter that nothing in Ford’s resume suggested any such thinking.
The narrative took hold at breakneck speed, and all the usual suspects were to blame.
“When the Mob Came” skewers reporters that took the Press Progress story about her deceitfully edited comments on faith without questioning the motivation behind its release or the content of Ford’s character.
She represented the wrong party, and she must be destroyed. And she was, to an extent.
“When the Mob Came” lets the part-time filmmaker correct the record and, more importantly, warn we might be next.
The documentary is a slow burn, and viewers unaffiliated with Canadian politics may grow frustrated by that initial approach. It’s a necessary one, demanding patience to grasp the totality of the cancelation, its sources and how something like this can happen.
The film shows how Cancel Culture doesn’t just take out one person. It extends to their circle of influence, coaxing others to avoid them at all costs.
Two people got slammed as White Supremacists by the same Press Progress outfit for “liking” two of Ford’s Tweet decrying political nastiness. As a result, few were brave enough to stand by Ford then, or now.
“Most people thought it would be easier to pretend I didn’t exist,” she says in the film.
Ford, who co-directed “Mob,” captures her wavering state of mind through the ordeal. She was defiant and defeated, hopeful and worried about a culture that would permit someone to be mistreated in this fashion.
Ford became a de facto expert in Cancel Culture and its associated lies, and she proves it by nailing the movement’s toxic nature. Apologies make matters worse and don’t inspire forgiveness.
We’ve seen that time and time again. Consider a very recent example of a sports broadcaster who inadvertently said the “n-word” during a broadcast.
He apologized swiftly for his mistake and offered considerable context as to why he slipped up. He’s now out of a job.
Glen Kuiper’s statement:
“I wish the Oakland A’s and NBC Sports would have taken into consideration my 20-year-career, my solid reputation, integrity, and character, but in this current environment traits like integrity and character are no longer considered.”#Athletics pic.twitter.com/yOBoLWPaWk
— Uprooted (@uprootedoakland) May 23, 2023
It’s impossible to watch this Canadian horror show and not make parallels to American culture, how the U.S. media operates and a growing eagerness to silence speech.
Journalists are part of the problem, of course, and “Mob” expertly details how their fear, their willingness to crush dissent, makes matters worse.
One radio journalist who dared to interview Ford suffered punishments nearly as severe as what the former candidate endured.
“When the Mob Came” starts as Caylan Ford’s story and, in a way, it never leaves her side.
“It’s like you’re a ghost. You’re half dead but you’re still here. There’s no relief from the pain,” Ford says late in the film.
The documentary isn’t about Ford. It’s about us.
Cancel Culture is real, pernicious and it destroys much more than individual lives. It snuffs out freedom, breeds fear and will take down western culture if left unchecked.
The detailed, meticulously shot “Mob” lets Ford tell her story, and for a documentary that invites suspicion. Here, that criticism has far less merit. Everyone, from social media to the press, has told Ford’s story and told it poorly.
Her turn is sorely overdue.
HiT or Miss: “When the Mob Came” offers a chilling account, and warning, about the ultimate goals of Cancel Culture and its proponents.