Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider Says ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Just a New Form of Censorship
Twisted Sister's Dee Snider recently tackled the idea of "cancel culture" during a radio interview, with the current solo artist and author arguing that the modern type of ostracism is an evolved form of censorship.
The topic came up at the tail end of Snider's talk with NewsNation's Ashleigh Banfield last week (April 8) when the host asked the Twisted Sister figurehead what he thought about "cancel culture." In his reply, the entertainer invoked the 1985 U.S. Senate hearing that found him joining fellow musicians Frank Zappa and John Denver in testifying against the censorship of the then-newly formed Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), the committee that instigated the infamous "Parental Advisory" label for recorded music.
"It's censorship," Snider said of "cancel culture." "And censorship has changed quite a bit. I mean, you [look back] at when I was in Washington testifying — by the way, it was a bipartisan effort. It was the Democrats and Republicans who were joined together in putting a leash on rock 'n' roll."
Nevertheless, the scope of that inquiry was "definitely a … more conservative attitude, wanting to censor music," Snider continued. "Now, censorship still exists, but it's gone from the right more to the left. We're in this PC world where we have to be careful about what we say and who we offend, and it's a very odd thing."
Just how careful does one have to be? The musician, whose views typically trend more progressive, said he's found himself censoring his songs while writing them.
Snider was "working on lyrics for my new album Leave a Scar, which comes out in July," he shared, "and I found myself questioning the metaphors I was using — metaphors! I mean, where is art without metaphor? Where [are] lyrics and writing without metaphor? Yet, I was going, 'Can I say this? Can I say this?'
"I have a song called 'In For The Kill,'" the Twisted Sister icon revealed, "and it has all these metaphoric [lyrics] — you know, Fire at will / I'm in for the kill. And I was talking about going for it, just going for it, yet here I was censoring myself lyrically because of the current state of things."
But what really is "cancel culture"? Per AP News, journalist George Packer called the term a "buzzword that creates more confusion than clarity" before describing the idea itself as "a mechanism where a chorus of voices, amplified on social media, tries to silence a point of view that they find offensive by trying to damage or destroy the reputation of the person who has given offense."
Dictionary.com calls it "the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive."
Still, ideally, there must be some reasonable meeting place that lies between shunning a voice a group of people might find distasteful and dictatorial, out-and-out censorship?
"Boy, I would say as long as you're not screaming 'fire' in a crowded movie theater," Snider added, "you're cool."