A Hollywood Star Cancels Cancel Culture: 'The Aim of Art is to Alleviate Shame’

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)


Despite Hollywood’s decidedly Leftward bent, not everyone in Tinseltown’s hip to Cancel Culture.

Count actor Ethan Hawke among those less than impressed with the outrage mob’s wipe-you-out ways.


In an interview with The Guardian to promote his new book, Hawke said the climate’s not a good one — to discuss, for example, the touchy issue of male sexuality.

Said topic happens to have a home in the novel, which tells of a man’s relationship with a much younger woman.

The Guardian asked, “It’s a book in which sex is described regularly and frankly. Did you find this difficult in the current environment?”

The Training Day star’s not in favor of cancellation:

“Our sexual identity and the relationship we have through it, to ourselves and to others, is defining in our lives. And in the light of cancel culture and shaming – while a lot of this moment is very helpful – it’s a difficult time to say: ‘I want to be open about the idiosyncrasies of human sexuality.’ What’s that great Mark Twain line? ‘The aim of art is to alleviate shame.’”

If he’d lived during this era of awareness, Mark may never have made his…mark.

Surely nowhere has Cancel Culture been more destructive than the area of witty works.

Comedic great Rowan Atkinson gets it — as I covered January 5th, the brilliant comic actor asserted we’re living in the days of a “medieval mob.”

“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society. It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’

“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets, looking for someone to burn. So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob, and it fills me with fear about the future.”


As pointed out by The Daily Wire, Breaking Brad star Bryan Cranston recently remarked on the same.

RedState’s Brandon Morse delivered that story earlier this month, including the following Cranston quote:

“We live in this ‘cancel culture’ of people erring and doing wrong — either on purpose or by accident — and there’s less forgiveness in our world. I think we’re unfortunately in a coarser environment. I think our societies have become harder and less understanding, less tolerant, less forgiving.”

He ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

Our culture…our society…is breaking.


Ethan noted it’s crippling to the arts — he had his own related struggles while writing the book:

“We’re in this period now when you can’t even write about bad behaviour because it might seem like you’re condoning it. You have to be able to create a character who does things they wish they didn’t do. I went back and forth on it, because it’s just a petrifying time to speak about male sexuality. If you can’t shine a light into dark corners, the demons that live there will never go away.”

It seems to me that, perhaps more than anyone else, we need artists of prominence to speak out where censorship is concerned.

And what is Cancel Culture if not preemptive (and/or after-the-fact) censorship?

Indeed, if the Culture keeps canceling…we’ll have no culture left.


The outrage mob may believe they’re shedding light on issues worthy of outcasting, but perhaps their effort best described by the title of Ethan’s book:

A Bright Ray of Darkness



See more pieces from me:

Biden’s a New Ball Game: Army Chaplain is Under Investigation After Calling Transgenders ‘Mentally Unfit’ to Serve

CNN Reporter Praises the Objectivity of CNN and MSNBC, While ‘Fox Is Spinning Its Own Reality’

Schoolin’ All You Straight, Sorry Saps: California Professor Says Heterosexuality’s ‘Very Tragic’

Find all my RedState work here.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. 


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos