by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One sentence into this article and I’ve already written too much about the cancellation of Chris Pratt. To be precise, like Kevin Hart, Pratt is not actually cancellable. That’s the only thing worth mentioning about this stupid news cycle.
A meme asking people to eliminate one of Hollywood’s four most high-profile Chris’s—Pine, Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt—triggered an onslaught of social media posts noting and mocking Pratt’s Christian faith, assuming it signaled his support for the GOP. The meme coincided with news that Pratt would be one of the only major Marvel movie stars not participating in a Tuesday fundraiser for the Biden-Harris campaign, which fueled the viral outrage against him.
What makes this story worth discussing at all is that social media controversies do not represent broader public attitudes. Pratt, who donated $1,000 to Barack Obama, has long been suspected for the crime of being conservative, and it hasn’t affected his career one bit. For all the years of social media quibbling over his church and his politics, Pratt is a huge success.
We go through this every few months. Pratt will post something Christian, or a random user will suddenly discover his faith, or someone will compliment him, and then the rest of us have to endure a cycle of viral tweets that trigger a cycle of media coverage of those viral tweets. The audience for those tweets and articles is the sizable but clear minority of people who want to rage on the alleged bigotry of conservatives or rage against the patently bigoted attacks on conservatives. … The result is grossly disproportionate media coverage of divisive stories with minimal importance, which makes the country seem like a much darker place than it is and is at risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.