Politically correct etiquette sets boundaries around social class, constantly diminishing the supply of respectable people by casting out delinquents. For urban professionals, the precarity of living on the precipice of cancellation is the price of erecting barriers to entry around their institutions and social spheres. It is no coincidence that the new standards of etiquette have taken hold most forcefully in the media industry, where wages and job security have steadily declined over the past two decades.
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Public questions matter insofar as they affect Harvard undergraduates and Washington Post reporters: Gender equality is measured by the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500, racial justice by the propriety of costumes donned at Georgetown cocktail parties.
It is in this bizarro world that an unknown woman can be fired for a costume by the same people campaigning for Joe Biden, whose 1994 crime bill has led to the incarceration of millions of racial minorities. It is in this world that the ritual denunciation of colleagues and friends passes as high virtue.