Tom Norton, ‘The Republican Party in Two Tweets’

One of the most popular Imgur posts on March 4 2021 involved a screenshot of three tweets, two of which were from Michigan Republican Tom Norton, pertaining to “cancel culture” in general:

Imgur user Mech0T1 shared two screenshots of tweets by the same user — Tom Norton (@ForNorton), shared by Matt McDermott (@mattmfm):

McDermott described Norton’s commentary as the Republican Party “in two tweets.” The selected tweets had to do with two separate points of discourse on social media as a whole.

In the first, Norton purportedly stated that the government could not “take” his “Goya Beans,” “Mr. Potato Head,” or his “Dr. Seuss books” (or his AR-15). The second and third items on the list — Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss books — referenced March 2021 claims that both had been “canceled”:

Norton’s first tweet concluded with “Enough cancel culture,” presumably vocalizing his opposition to persons, places, or things being “canceled” (even though both of our pages linked above addressed those exact misconceptions about those specific “canceled” things.)

In the second tweet, Norton was quoted as saying “Boycott Target,” a statement which appeared to be advocating for “cancel culture” to target Target next.

Norton published the first tweet at 7:51 PM on March 2 2021, asserting he’d eat “green eggs and ham on Christmas in [his] pickup truck” if he so chose (although we are unaware of any legitimate efforts to “cancel” either pickup trucks or Christmas):

At 5:54 PM on March 3 2021 (less than 24 hours after canceling cancel culture), Norton indeed tweeted “Boycott Target”:

In that second tweet, Norton retweeted a statement from disinformation purveyor Matt Couch indicating that Target would continue requiring masks in stores due to the pandemic, regardless of state public health protocols. Both tweets were real, unaltered, accurately described, and appeared roughly 22 hours apart.

In keeping with the perceived conflicting viewpoints, Norton subsequently tweeted at least twice to clarify his position — with two different explanations. In the first tweet, Norton maintained he was “not a fan of cancel culture, but so far democrats have made it work to turn businesses and media against conservatives,” necessitating he “Fight fire with fire”:

In short, Norton first claimed that he didn’t approve of cancel culture, adding that it was a necessary evil for “businesses that are funding liberals.” It was not precisely clear how Target’s mask policy was “funding liberals,” but Norton espoused an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” stance at first.

Five hours later, Norton insisted that boycotts were nothing like “cancel culture,” describing a boycott as a “personal choice,” versus “removing something from society”:

It didn’t take very long for the pair of Norton’s tweets lamenting cancel culture and also calling for a boycott of Target to being spreading as screenshots; both tweets were real and unedited. Norton later maintained that it was time to weaponize cancel culture against liberals and “fight fire with fire,” subsequently claiming boycotts and cancel culture were completely different things.