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The Atlantic's Site, the Culture of Shut up Critique

Step-1: Summary of Lovetts Main Idea:

In an article titled "The Culture of Shut Up," by Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for

President Barack Obama, underlines the significance of the right to speak freely for Americans.

Lovett expresses his supposition by specifying the importance of technology in current culture.

The Americans of any age select social media to pass on their opinions to keep away from physical

conflict from the peers; but, some people react with negative criticisms instead of admiring words.

Subsequently, individuals are more averse to express their views in dread that they will get

criticized for their opinions. Lovett claims, "We have to figure out how to live with the noise and

accept the noise even the noise is offensive, even when noise is stupid, even the noise is risky.

Lovett likewise expresses that Americans from opposite sides need to shun arguing with

each other, and rather, be forced to achieve middle ground with the competing candidates. If the

Americans neglect to get middle ground with each other, they will hush up about their

contemplations. The point of this article is that nobody should feel compelled to refrain from

claiming for what they have faith in. The theme is important because the use of the significant

change is right now a controversial subject. In fact, during advanced society, individuals are

unequipped for voicing their conclusions without being assaulted by others. Lovett expressed that

individuals are turning out to be excessively uncaring about others' opinions; regardless, there have

been different situations where people have been required to quit from their positions at work

because of standing what they are agreeable to.

Step-2: Lovetts Strategies of LOGOS:

Lovett underpins this claim by listing famous people who have endured after receiving

pessimistic reaction because of voicing their views to their peers. For instance, Lovett expressed,
"In the previous week, the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was compelled to resign over his

provision for the Proposition 8, the law for anti-gay marriage which passed in a 2008 California

referendum before it was struck down later thru the courts." If individuals figured out how to

acknowledge other persons' views, then fewer people will lose their employments. In this article,

Lovett utilizes the Freedom law and expresses that every party is not permitted to avoid the

opposite side from expressing their opinions.

Lovett expressed, "regardless of how respectable the purpose, it is demand for similarity

that motivates individuals on all sides of an argument to police one another rather than contend

and persuade each other." The quote demonstrates that Lovett is agreeable to permitting others to

practice their first amendment rights. On the off chance that two adversaries have a similar aim to

meet up and hear out each other's opinions, then issues would get determined productively.

Lovett conflates two issues: 1) telling people to shut up and 2) brutal personal

attacks/self-righteous calls for the apology. I dont think anyone wants to defend vicious personal

attacks as being integral to the system; they can more or less go, and even be banned outright,

without much worry about institutional damage. But since when are calls for apology equivalent

to telling other people to shut up?

Lovetts interpretation of shutting up is as follows.

Heres a list of some other people who were told to shut up, off the top of my head:

The Chick-fil-A guy was said to shut up about gay people.

Paula Deen was said to shut up by everyone because her stuff was racist and crazy.

Stephen Colbert was told to shut up about satire, I think?

The Duck Dynasty guy was said to shut up about gay people.
Step-3: Lovetts Failure of LOGOS:

Lovett is falling into classic triangulation: you people demanding apologies are wrong

because the people hurling insults at you are wrong and since the whole thing is bad overall, both

sides are bad and need to be put down. Maybe thats true; I dont think it is, namely because if

these rocks are important instrumentally in any way I hope its to allow marginalized groups a

platform to point out discrimination and biases against them. So, saying that a gay Mozilla

employee who feels uncomfortable with their boss is doing nothing more than shouting shut up

by publicly announcing his or her discomfort, youre completely undermining the activism that

has been pretty successful recently.

But even if Lovetts reformulated triangulation were correct, even if we need to end the

cycle once and for all for the sake of humanity or whatever, hes completely wrong to say that in

this story the ones who are so-called outraged are the people who are yelling or devaluing the

conversation. Because unless you want to tell me why the substance of their complaints are

unmeritorious without the annoying responses from mean people and the media that inevitably

result, I dont see why these activists should stop doing what theyve been doing so well. It sounds

to me like youre telling them to shut up.

So, Lovett succeeds in constructing a strong argument & shifts the goalposts beautifully:

by telling people that we have a Culture of Shut Up, hes invoking the peaceful and respectful

political discourse that many of us are always seeking. But, he tells his audience that the ones

responsible for our drowning in bullshit are the outraged minorities, who, ironically, need to shut

up so that the cycle of outrage media coverage can be put to rest. What it seems like then is that

the rocks are not working anyway, that the same people in charge, namely the media and

neoliberal institutions responsible for deciding what conversations do and dont gain traction, i.e.
the elders, are still successful in suppressing dissent among the ranks via co-opting the social

influence the rocks have. At that point, I am not sure if telling the self-righteous dissenters to

stop taking action is all that much of an issue.


Lovett, Jon. The Culture of Shut up. The Atlantic. 7 April 2014: 5-6. Web.