Nick Cave has been answering fan questions on a wide variety of topics, from writers block and coronavirus isolation to his favorite books and why he doesn't write protest music, on his The Red Hand Files site. In his latest answer, he tackles a timely topic that's bound to be controversial, as he's asked, "What is mercy for you?" and "What do you think of cancel culture?"

After calling mercy "a value that should be at the heart of any functioning and tolerant society," Nick moves on to the second question, saying, "As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis." Here's more from him:

Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.

Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society. Compassion is the primary experience — the heart event — out of which emerges the genius and generosity of the imagination. Creativity is an act of love that can knock up against our most foundational beliefs, and in doing so brings forth fresh ways of seeing the world. This is both the function and glory of art and ideas. A force that finds its meaning in the cancellation of these difficult ideas hampers the creative spirit of a society and strikes at the complex and diverse nature of its culture.

But this is where we are. We are a culture in transition, and it may be that we are heading toward a more equal society — I don’t know — but what essential values will we forfeit in the process?

Read his full answer on The Red Hand Files.

On a similar note, Nick has previously discussed whether he feels the need to change "problematic" lyrics of older songs when performing them live, "wokeness," Antifa, the far right, and religion, Morrissey, and Kanye West (who he calls "our greatest artist").

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