If you, like me, have never watched The Bachelor and are still a little unclear on what exactly it is, and are sure only that, whatever it is, it’s certainly entertainment for people with IQs not much higher than that of, say, a squid, then you may have missed the latest controversy surrounding the show. I bring it to your attention now, as it was brought to mine, only because it is so perfectly emblematic of our culture generally.
Rachael Kirkconnell is a contestant on the latest season of the reality show, vying for the heart of one Matt James. It should be noted that Matt James is a black man. His race ought not be relevant, but the “racial progress” of the last several years means that race is always made to be relevant even when it shouldn’t be. It came out recently that Rachael, who is competing to marry a black man, has a history of allegedly racist behavior. The principle example of this sort of behavior is an antebellum-themed frat party she attended in 2018. Pictures of this gathering surfaced, revealing the contestant decked out in a white robe with a pointy hood, lighting a cross on fire. Just kidding, of course. She was wearing a frilly pink dress and taking selfies with other college girls also wearing frilly dresses. That’s it. That’s the “racism.”
Antebellum, as it turns out, is not Latin for “racist” or “Klan member.” It actually means, literally, “before the war” — the Civil War, in this case. Yes, the south had slavery before the Civil War, as did a significant portion of the rest of the globe. But when college kids go to an antebellum party, their motivation is only to wear fun outfits and drink copious amounts of alcohol, not to celebrate slavery or advocate for the return of Jim Crow laws. This is clear to any reasonable person, but we are running a shortage of those kinds of people these days.
So, the controversy raged. Internet sleuths dredged up other suspicious online activities. They found that she had “liked” some mildly edgy Instagram posts. They dug up rumors from her time in grade school. The hunt was on. They were on the trail of another racist, or at least someone they could pretend is racist. Kirkconnel issued her groveling, begging apologies, and pleaded that she might be forgiven for the grave harm she’d caused by wearing a dress to a party three years ago. But, as always, it was all for nothing. Forgiveness was not on offer. It’s not a part of the “being canceled” bargain.
Chris Harrison, the host of The Bachelor, discovered this fact the hard way when he appeared on Extra TV to discuss the controversy. Harrison rambled and beat around the bush quite a bit, but finally settled on the point that Kirkconnel is probably not a total dirtbag and we should give her a little grace. He tried very hard to straddle the line between being a voice of reason and an enabling pushover. This is a losing game. Through the ten-minute segment he used the phrase “I don’t know” about a half dozen times. He advocated for forgiveness but made sure to clarify repeatedly that he’s not defending Kirkconnel’s actions and for all he knows she really is a knuckle-dragging bigot. It was about as mild and circumspect as a repudiation of cancel culture could possibly be. But it was still enough to ruin his career.
The woke mob turned their sights from Kirkconnel to Harrison. He was accused of minimizing and excusing racism. The interviewer, Rachel Lindsay, threw him directly under the bus, claiming that he had unfairly wielded his “privilege” in the interview. So did a collection of The Bachelor contestant, issuing a joint statement “denouncing racist behavior.” Even Harrison’s girlfriend publicly condemned him for “defending racism.” The besieged reality TV host then made his own embarrassing and groveling apologies, which were also ignored, before finally announcing that he was stepping down from his position. All for advocating forgiveness. These days, forgiveness is a sin in itself.
The woke police — as Chris Harrison called them in that interview, back when he was still pretending to have some semblance of a spine — are looking for any opportunity to impose their will and punish those who deviate from the path they have prescribed for our lives. That explains the seemingly weird fact that often those who defend the canceled person will get canceled even harder than the original victim. In the eyes of the leftist mob, the defender is making a more direct and explicit attack on their authority, and thus is an even greater threat. Everyone in Harrison’s orbit seems to understand this fact, which is why they all tossed him out into the cold without hesitation. They have received, loud and clear, the message that the mob wants to send. That message is not, “Racism is bad,” but, “Do not defy us, for we will destroy you.”
I wrote last week that the woke mob will take your scalp and nail it to the wall as a trophy. That’s not quite correct. It’s truer to say they will take your head and put it on a pike on the outskirts of town, as a warning to any other challengers. Their goal — their only goal — is to impose their cultural will by making an example of anyone who defies them, however slight that defiance might be. So far, their approach has been extremely effective. To stand against them requires much more courage and backbone than the host of The Bachelor possesses. No surprise there, I suppose.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.