Does cancel culture exist? It doesn’t matter, it’s an almost entirely horrible idea anyway

[image: ostrakon from 482 BCE, used to cast a vote to ostracize the Athenian general Themistocles (Wikimedia); this is essay #295 in the Figs in Winter series]

The time is 1979. The place Rome. I am a 15 year old who is participating in a sit-in organized by one of the anarchic factions of my decidedly left-leaning high school. A variety of topics are under discussion, ranging form American imperialism to the latest terrorist attack by the (ultra leftist) “Brigate Rosse” (Red Brigades). I am…