There is hope, people. Winston Marshall, formerly of Mumford & Sons, proves it. But it’s not without pain and sacrifice as the musician, forced to to leave his beloved band as the mobs descended on him for praising Andy Ngo’s book on antifa, can attest.
But then hope rarely is.
In any event, journalist Bari Weiss, late of the New York Times, who knows a bit about cancel culture and resignation in the face of it, recently interviewed Marshall on her podcast, “Honestly with Bari Weiss”, and it is a truly lovely hour of time. Because these two people manage to get at the heart of an enormously important something that those who come up against the mob should remember as they wrestle with the madness of what’s been happening in western culture: evil is stupid. It’s banal, as the great writer and thinker Hannah Arendt observed. And both Marshall and Weiss are leaps and bounds smarter than the mobs that tried to take them down. And so are we all, if we choose to be.
Marshall wrote a much-hailed piece on Medium about why he chose to resign rather than bend the knee to either the woke or anti-woke swarm. In it, he invokes Solzhenitsyn and Churchill and it’s one hell of a read. And his bandmates have a true friend in him; which is, by itself, a dwindling and remarkable thing.
Here’s The Federalist on what happened:
In response to allegations that his tweet made him a fascist, Marshall says his family knows the evils of fascism “painfully well.” After all, thirteen of his family members were brutally murdered in Holocaust concentration camps.
Despite his attempts to respond productively to the fury over his tweet, Marshall watched as not only his name, but the name of his beloved band, was dragged through the mud. It brought distress to his bandmates and their families, who chose to stand beside him during the initial controversy.
“Despite pressure to nix me,” Marshall says “they invited me to continue with the band.” In 2021, Marshall says “that took courage.”
In a further attempt to resolve the situation, Marshall apologized and temporarily stepped back from the band anyways. This time he confronted a second viral mob, which criticized him “for the sin of apologi[z]ing.”
Marshall says he apologized, first and foremost, in an attempt to protect those he loved. Admittedly, part of him was also “sincerely open to the fact that maybe [he] did not know something about the author or his work.” However, after “much time reflecting, reading and listening” Marshall remains convinced that “reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave.”
“I […] feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good,” Marshall laments. He refuses to make such a mistake a second time.
So that’s your set up for this week’s show. I talk about all that — and how moved I was, honestly, by the Weiss podcast — as well as offer my thoughts on the charming “The Mysterious Benedict Society” (trailer below) and how the “Capitol Insurrection” narrative is as believable as Dr. Fauci’s concern over vaccinations.
Celebrate liberty with conviction this weekend, Americans.