So here’s a campaign of cancellation that even the American Right could like: the calls to boycott “Mulan” over its complicity in China’s repression of the Uighur Muslims, and its authoritarian control over Hong Kong. Instead of giving justice cheap shout-outs from social media, why not refuse complicity in the injustice of Chinese Communism? The American Right is still anti-Communist, isn’t it? At this point, it’s hard to know what they stand for, if anything.
In deference to Kevin Vallier’s concerns, we need ascribe culpability neither to the Chinese Communists nor to Disney. We can just observe the harm that the former are doing, and the latter’s complicity in that harm. We might also note the clever strategies by which Disney has sought to conceal what might otherwise look like a guilty conscience, by wrapping its complicity in all of the favorite pieties of pseudo-liberalism: multiculturalism and feminism in the service of totalitarian dictatorship. Nor do we need to adopt any retributive aims. We don’t have to punish Disney or the Communists. We might simply want to keep our hands clean of Disney’s complicity in China’s
crimes harmful activities.
It makes things easier that Liu Yifei, the charming and beautiful star of Mulan, has gone out of her way to back Chinese repression in Hong Kong. I know, God do I know, that she’s hard to resist. But try. After all, Kamala Harris is pretty, too. So was Ursula Haverbeck. So, I hear, was Lucrezia Borgia.
It doesn’t take much to cancel “Mulan.” For starters, don’t purchase it. Don’t buy Mulan paraphernalia. Don’t join in the valorization of the film’s fraudulent multiculturalist and feminist conceits. If you have trouble with that, just ask how multicultural or feminist it is to put the Uighur Muslims in concentration camps–men and women alike. Or to attack protesters in the streets of Hong Kong. And, here’s the hard part: teach your children well. Don’t give in to their screaming demands to see “Mulan” because everyone else is. Teach them that justice sometimes demands abstinence and unpopularity, and that this is one of those times.
Teenager: What did you do during the war against Chinese Communist repression, Mom and Dad?
Parents: Well, we gave in to your screaming demands to see ‘Mulan’, and thereby did our part to prop up Chinese communism in the twenty-first century. We just found it too difficult to resist the overwhelming power of a screaming kindergartner. At a certain point, Xanax just gives out.
Teenager: Wow, what a bunch of fucking losers you are! Hard to have any respect for you now that I’m fifteen. Thanks to people like you, the Uighurs have basically suffered genocide. And the worst thing is, you’re the assholes who kept repeating mantras about how you’d never let the Holocaust happen again! Weak!
Parents, weeping: Stop judging and shaming us! We will not be judged! Judge not that ye be not judged! It’s impossible for you to know how hard we had it! You never had to take the BMW in to get serviced! You don’t know what it’s like! Nothing in our white collar, upper middle class lives gave us the moral resources for such a hard, brutal fight against the combined power of Liu Yifei, the Disney corporation, and our own child!
Pathetic, right? Don’t let that be you. And stop crapping on “cancel culture” while you’re at it, unless you can come up with some better ideas for resisting real-world injustice.
Starts Friday on Disney Plus for $30. Or doesn’t. Up to you.
Charm offensive? Or merely offensive?