About a week after Ariel Pink was dropped from his label for attending the Trump rally in D.C. that culminated in a violent siege of the Capitol, the indie musician went on Tucker Carlson Tonight for an "interview," one that was less an exercise in journalism than a mutually beneficial pity party. Pink whined about "cancel culture," claiming he's been left "destitute and on the street" now that he's been axed from Mexican Summer. "The hate is just overwhelming," he told Carlson. "People are so mean."
Pink got a chance to publicly feel sorry for himself, and Carlson—not even pretending he knew who Pink was before last week—got a chance to frame Pink's fall from grace as yet another example of cancel culture run amok. "When reasonable people like you are destroyed," Carlson said, "all of us should take notice."
Pink played the victim, and Carlson gladly let him do it. Pink insisted that he hadn't "done anything wrong," and that he doesn't "advocate for violence at all," to which Carlson replied: "Of course not." Neither of them acknowledged the fact that Pink's ex-girlfriend recently accused him of physically assaulting her, pressuring her into having unprotected sex, and giving her herpes. Nor did they mention the fact that Pink has publicly supported the Westboro Baptist Church and once said that he "love[s] pedophiles," among countless other racist, misogynist, and transphobic comments. Even after Pink told Carlson that he'd been "canceled before," adding that it had happened "many times," Carlson didn't probe any further.
Pink is using Tucker Carlson, exploiting him for the opportunity to paint himself as an innocent casualty of the culture wars without facing even an ounce of pushback. On top of that, maybe he's using Carlson for exposure to a wider swath of potential fans on the right. Now that he's all but guaranteed to have lost his left-leaning fanbase, maybe he'll double down on his crusade against political correctness, and try to keep his career alive through support from MAGA chuds, à la Louis C.K. Already, he seems to be making some headway with that crowd; on Twitter, a number of self-described "patriots" have cast him as a hero, and vowed to stand behind him. If Pink pulls off that pivot, he'll have carved out a pathway for other indie artists whose problematic behavior has gotten them canceled—like, for instance, John Maus, or Ryan Adams—to reclaim their careers, only with a diametrically opposite set of fans supporting them than before.
For his part, Carlson is using Pink to show that even a darling of the left—an indie musician!—isn't safe from the scourge of baseless, overnight cancellation. If this can happen to a "reasonable" person like Pink, the logic goes, it can happen to anyone. But Carlson doesn't care about whether Pink is actually a reasonable person (in fact, he's dangerously and offensively unreasonable), or whether he actually disavows violence (in fact, he's allegedly committed it). All he cares about is making a point, no matter how disingenuous it may be.
Pink got what he needed out of Carlson, and Carlson did the same. Both of them are completely full of shit.
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