The Disappeared Ones: Osbourne and Others Show The Sheer Panic Of Facing Erasure

The public testimonial of Sharon Osbourne last week was abject, if not hysterical. Osbourne, 68, described how she “panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror” to control her comments. Osbourne had supported Piers Morgan, who stated that he did not believe Meghan Markle. In a tense interview, Osbourne became highly defensive (and rather rude) after Sheryl Underwood asked whether she was defending racism in supporting a friend. Osbourne asked her co-host to explain where Morgan’s criticism was racist and said she felt she was being put into “the electric chair.” Then the power was turned on as the Internet lit up with calls for her firing. After immediate “reflection,” Osbourne repeatedly professed her “deep respect & love for the black community” in saying that she will “continue to learn, listen and do better” in the future.  The important thing was that she hoped to have a future. Despite the apology, she is now under investigation by CBS and she has been declared “on hiatus” from the show.

The exchange between Osbourne and Underwood could have served a productive purpose in exploring the continuing difficulty in discussing race. That however is becoming increasingly rare, if not impossible. While many call for a national discussion of race, these controversies show how any frank discussion comes at considerable risk. I did not agree with Morgan’s comment in saying that everything Markle said was a lie and thought Osbourne reacted poorly to being asked about concerns over racism. Thus, I have no problem with the criticism of either Osbourne or Morgan. However, if we are going to have a discussion about race, it has to occur without the threat of being summarily cancelled.

A Harvard-Harris poll showed recently that 64 percent of Americans now view cancel culture as threatening basic freedoms. Yet, that view has not impacted the media or these campaigns.  The public overwhelmingly sees the threat to free speech and oppose it. However, free speech requires some breathing space. These cancelling campaigns have only grown with the support of major corporations and the media.

The panic expressed by Osbourne is that she would join the ranks of the banished, a media version of the “desaparecidos” or “disappeared ones.” In today’s hair-triggered cancel culture, celebrities and media figures can be vanished in a single media cycle if tagged on the Internet as racist or reactionary. Such status can result in being banned from social media, boycotted from television, and barred from publications. An array of politicians, writers and professors have openly called for the blacklisting of those with opposing views to prevent others from hearing or reading their views.

The issue came up this week on CNN when host Don Lemon attacked Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) for his denouncing “woke supremacy” as analogous to white supremacy. Scott, who is black, was responding to MSNBC host Joy Reid dismissing his role as simply “to provide the patina of diversity.” It was an insulting racist trope that would have been widely denounced if it were not used against a black Republican or conservative. There is a legitimate objection to Scott’s analogy given the bloody history of white supremacy in the United States. However, Lemon’s attack deflected any need to address Reid’s own outrageous attack on Scott on the basis of his race.  Again, there were valuable issues to discuss on both sides of the controversy with both the original insult and the analogy but no discussion actually occurred.

What was striking however was Lemon’s insistence that he had never seen “a woke supremacist denying anybody … a job or education.” If so, he has not looked very hard. Across the country, campaigns have sought to isolate and stigmatize anyone with opposing views. Professors effectively disappear. They are not invited to conference. Their publications are barred through effective blacklisting and they are unable to find alternative schools since administrators do not want to deal with any protests. They vanish.

Osbourne’s self-described panic attack is a common response to those forced to the edge of this abyss.  Take Winston Marshall, the banjoist for the band Mumford & Sons. Marshall begged for forgiveness for his “blindspots” and offenses. He promised to enter a period of seclusion and introspection to consider how his actions could be “viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour.”  His offense? He congratulated conservative journalist Andrew Ngo on his new book “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy” and calling Ngo a “brave man.”  Ngo was attacked and injured by Antifa supporters in covering protests. It is of course possible to criticize Antifa and still support racial and social reforms. Antifa is a movement based on pronounced anti-free speech principles. Even those of us who opposed efforts to declare Antifa a terrorist organization have denounced the movement for a long history of violence and speech intolerance.

The fear of being cancelled is palpable among professors and students. Many have watched in silence as their colleagues have been subjected to such campaigns with devastating impacts on their careers. Once tagged, professors find it difficult to secure new academic positions or publications. Recently, student governments have moved to impeach fellow student leaders and bar conservative groups.  Few students or professors want to risk such public humiliation even if they can successfully fight sanctions or terminations. By cancelling or marginalizing one professor or student, these campaigns silence 1000 others who think “but for the grace of God go I.”

There are real issues of racism and other issues that warrant a national debate, but there seems little room for anything other than a diatribe. To even question a claim of racism or raise countervailing issues is done at great personal and professional risk in our current environment.

For free speech advocates, it is called the “chilling effect.” The Supreme Court in cases like Lamont v. Postmaster General (1965) have ruled against not just the direct regulation of speech but acts that create “inhibitions” on speech. Today, many anti-free speech advocates emphasize that the First Amendment only applies to the government and thus they are free to pursue a wide array of private censorship and campaigns of harassment to silent opposing viewpoints. However, the First Amendment is not the only or exclusive measure of free speech.

Indeed, the line between public and private censorship is being rapidly erased as Democratic members pressure Big Tech and media companies to censor conservative media while threatening possible retaliatory actions. One of the most vocal voices for censorship is Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., NY) who has badgered Big Tech for greater speech controls. Blumenthal challenged CEOs that they appeared to be “backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded more “robust content modification” – the new euphemism for censorship.

Free speech is in a free fall in the United States from an unprecedented alliance of governmental, private, academic, and media sources. Those targeted may have as little as one news cycle to seek abject forgiveness before joining the ranks of the disappeared ones. The panic from figures like Osbourne and Marshall shows the reality of today’s digital “desaparecidos.”


Update: Osbourne has been accused of using racial slurs with past hosts.

268 thoughts on “The Disappeared Ones: Osbourne and Others Show The Sheer Panic Of Facing Erasure”

  1. Off topic. Nitwit “Opinion piece in Wall Street Journal calling for end of bar exams and state control of who can “practice” law. It doesn’t get any dumber than the assumptions and conclusions in this “opinion” piece. The WSJ has gone to hell in a handbasket.

  2. Diversity dogma (i.e. color judgments), not limited to racism, has an inclusive, progressive purview that diverges when deemed to be politically congruent.

    That said, diversity of individuals, minority of one. #HateLovesAbortion

      1. Yes, it bypasses contemporary euphemisms in contemporary, ostensibly “secular” quasi-religions.

      2. Diversity dogma (i.e. color judgments) is readily understood. Inclusive implies that all people are judged equally or equitably in color blocs (e.g. people of color, people of white), with color quotas, under affirmative discrimination. Progressive is an unqualified monotonic process. Politically congruent refers to a social construct (e.g. 1+1=3) selected when deemed profitable or favorable. Diversity dogma includes racism that denies individual dignity and individual conscience. Abortion is a quasi-religious (e.g. relativistic or “ethical”) choice to terminate a human life that has been classified a “burden” or deemed unworthy of life, for the sake of social progress, cannibalized for medical progress, and her carbon pollutants sequestered. “Hate loves abortion” and “Hate love’s abortion” is a linguistic characterization of the duality of the underlying religious philosophy (i.e. behavioral protocol).

        1. Lol. You must be the center of attention at parties. Are you by any chance a professional writer of sociology paper titles?

  3. Does anyone think that the forced suppression of hated ideas makes them all go away?


    1. No, they fester, mutate, and progress in predictable ways, with predictable outcomes. One step forward, two steps backward. The tell-tale hearts beat ever louder.

    2. People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

      Freedom does not adapt to people, dictatorship does.

  4. Let’s remember that despite all the wokism, the two major presidential candidates were corrupt rich old white men with a history of sexual harassment.

    Join the superstraight category if you happen to be a straight man who prefers to have sex with only biologically female people. The wokies have been howling over this, claiming that if you won’t have sex with a trans woman you’re not straight. I don’t remember any vote about this. They also claim that if you don’t want to have sex with trans women you’re LESS straight.

    FWIW if you’ve looked at porn sites for the last 20 years you know that “trannies” have been a thing for a long time. Of course, now they’re called trans women I suppose , but a recent visit to Pornhub still shows a category called “Trannies”.

    So be super straight if you’re just a commonplace heterosexual, and tell the wokies that you have the right to define yourself just like they do. Rights are universal, correct?

    Refuse to use their ridiculous pronouns because in your belief system only traditional pronouns exist and their insistence that you bow to their wishes devalues your self identity and makes them too hard to understand, making them seem stupid, thus causing a need to add extra hamsters to your safe space.

    Basta cosi! Vafanculo wokies!

    1. Both have a history of sexual harassment? Didn’t the witch hunts, warlock judgments, and diverse protests conducted over more than 16 trimesters fail to produce any credible evidence? And, in fact, incriminated the hunters, judges, and protesters in #MeToo etc.

      1. I’m not going to wrestle in the mud with you about the sexual allegations. The point is that despite all the diversity and inclusion claptrap and virtue signaling we were still left with a choice between two members of the the most detested group in the woke pantheon. According to the wokies these men were born with the new Original Sin – congenital White Male Supremacy which, as I understand it, is incurable.

  5. racism is “magically” when money is involved.

    we should spend more money studying the phenomena.

    here is my contribution:

    one red cent

  6. There is no point to further “political” opposition.

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) steal and cheat.

    The judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court, acts politically, not juridically, and has failed to support the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, commencing with the “Reign of Terror” of “Crazy Abe” Lincoln.

    The executive and legislative branches have taxed for individual welfare, charity and redistribution of wealth, not “…general Welfare…,” without any legal basis or authority, nullified freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly (inversely segregation), the right to private property, killed the American energy and other industries, are forcing Americans out of gas cars and into electric vehicles through communistic central planning, and is allowing the literal invasion of the country by foreign citizens and by not securing national borders.

    The judicial branch has utterly failed to exercise its power of “judicial review” obtained in Marbury v Madison, allowing the full imposition of the principles of the Communist Manifesto, those being central planning (QE, alternative energy), control of the means of production (i.e. regulation), redistribution of wealth and social engineering.

    The executive, legislative and judicial branch are deliberately “fundamentally transforming” and weakening the nation and have committed treason by causing the subsumption of America by the Chinese Communist Party and “…adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) stole the election in Myanmar and the nation’s patriots declared martial law.

    The situation in America is irredeemably beyond the pale.

    The American Founders

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

    1. DNI John Ratcliffe Tells CBS News: “There Was Foreign Election Interference”, Election Report Now Delayed
      Posted on December 16, 2020 by Sundance

      BREAKING: Well this is very interesting. On the same day Christopher Krebs, who was the country’s top cybersecurity official during the presidential election (before being fired), testified before the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about no election interference,… according to CBS News Catherine Herridge the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, is now saying there WAS foreign interference in the 2020 election. WATCH:

  7. “they are unable to find alternative schools since administrators do not want to deal with any protests. They vanish.”

    With all the crap going on in far too many universities, the profs should band together and start their own college that simply states we don’t have time for this nonsense, we’re going to teach real content only in an atmosphere that refuses to pigeonhole anyone into a group other than one defined by reasonable entrance criteria like grades or test scores and/or an excellent essay.

  8. An investigation of what ?

    This is ridiculous, but it is also frightening.

  9. “What was striking however was Lemon’s insistence that he had never seen “a woke supremacist denying anybody … a job or education.” If so, he has not looked very hard. “

    We have seen the same attitude on this blog. It is part of dehumanizing the individual. That is what the Nazi’s first did to the Jews.

    1. Jew privilege was a real concern and unifying concept. So, they were deemed not worthy, not viable, and summarily aborted… “cancelled” for the sake of social progress and a diversitist utopia.

    1. “Democrats used the phony “find the fraud” quote in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump last month.”

      We are no longer dealing with a reasonably honest political party. Today we are dealing with a Democrat party that is willing to lie, cheat and steal. Typical of fascists trying to gain power. I feel sorry for those Democrats who hold onto the allegiance to the Democratic Party based on what it was.

  10. I used to think only backwards countries had sacred cows. Seems we have them in abundance — or at least the most backwards among us do. Why are African-Americans immune from criticism while the rest of the community is hoisted up for it? The Left says so early and often. The Left will destroy this country as they are a frivolous lot ignoring real enemies like China in their incessant crusade to make enemies of the rest of us. They need to be called out every time they do this nonsense. And like JT says there are some vestiges of racism around but the shrink into insignificance when you see how many race hustlers there are around desperately trying to exploit them for profit. Note this injustice at Georgetown Law School where two professors are excoriated and fired for simply voicing their observations that SOME A-A law school students underperform in their classes. Honest assessment giving way to political correctness spells ultimate D-O-O-M and most especially for the students and their clients who reap the horse manure the Left sows.

    1. “Why are African-Americans immune from criticism while the rest of the community is hoisted up for it?”

      They aren’t.

      Why do you ask loaded questions?

      1. Not loaded. Rhetorical. Not really a question at all. Intended to comment and instruct. But some always miss the point I see.

        1. You apparently don’t realize that loaded questions are often meant rhetorically. “Not loaded. Rhetorical” pretends the sets are disjoint rather than intersecting.

  11. The Duchess of Compton is distinctly not a Royal.

    The Duchess of Compton is distinctly an interloper.

    It is a physical axiom that oil and water cannot be mixed.

    Stop already – learn to live in your own skin, such as it is.

    People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people, dictatorship does.

  12. Red meat for your people, Jon. Solid move. It steers people away from what’s going with voting access in “Georgia.


      1. By “ballot verification” do you mean signature verification? If you mean something else, what do you mean?

        1. Signature verification, security around drop boxes, no ballot harvesting, clean voter rolls. Not limited to those things.

          1. Automatic voter reg at birth (you’re enrolled along with gaining a SS#, voting right to be activated on 18th birthday. Bigger population density = more polling locations. No one should have to take 3 or 4 bus or train rides to vote. Two month early voting window. Model mail in voting on states that have done it for years.

            Wait two weeks before releasing voting tabulations. I think we’ve all had enough of the conspiracy theories that thrive in the climate of releasing segmented results, no?

            And no blatant suppression tactics like making it illegal to provide food and water to those waiting on line for hours to vote.

            Easy peasy.


            1. @anonymous

              And I bet you are opposed to any form of photo ID also. You probably support voting by illegal aliens too. Let’s be honest and stop the moralizing, you oppose these measures because leftists benefit from it. It helps your people.


                1. @anonymous

                  Not an answer to my questions. Leftists almost always oppose voter ID laws and attempts to secure voter rolls. Don’t tell me you are the exception.


            2. I disagree with automatically signing everyone up to vote, even if it isn’t activated until a person is 18. It is an important civic duty to vote, and, it should therefore be a deliberate decision, a responsibility someone chooses to shoulder.

              1. I agree for your reason and another, a person’s right not to associate.

              2. People should be able to register at the polling place instead of ahead of time.

                1. Why?

                  Another commenter talked about waiting on line and you wish to mix even more complications with the voting process? Why? One only has to register once. If one votes they remain on the roles. If one can move to a different state by traveling many miles one should also be able to register to vote traveling a few miles or even doing so appropriately by mail. Why do you wish to place the burden on so many other people? Why do you wish to dilute the votes of other people?

  13. The Democrat Party is scary. Democrats are afraid of angering their own party. Conservatives are afraid to leave the house wearing political clothing, or to voice their political opinions.

    Do Democrats not realize that this means they are totalitarian, unjust, and abusive?

  14. This interview reminded me of the Mike Tyson/Robin Givens interview. If it ends the same way will this kid run back to Granny?

    1. They are almost guaranteed to divorce. She will claim abuse and get hundreds of millions in settlement. This guy is living on borrowed time with this “lady”

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