Has cancel culture jumped the shark when it comes to the long-running effort to silence the popular podcaster Joe Rogan? Let’s hope so.

Five months ago The New York Times declared that Joe Rogan is too big to cancel, and when I read that I hoped the matter had been settled. But the stale nature of our times would not allow public discourse to move on and, speaking of stale, 1960s vocalist Neil Young joined the fight to cancel Rogan last week when he dropped the ultimatum to the music-sharing platform Spotify: It’s him or me.

Young lost, and the band formerly known as Crosby Stills Nash & Young is now called CSN & Rogan. The aging Canadian was not alone in his righteous indignation about Rogan’s allegedly spreading “disinformation” about the COVID vaccine on this podcast. Chanteuse Joni Mitchell followed suit, and now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka Meghan and Harry, have “expressed concern” over the matter.

In other words, the “you know what” just got real. Or did it? As I write, my girlfriend opened her Spotify account and pulled up a Neil Young song.

It will probably take more than a handful of musicians and a couple of existentially challenged royals to knock a podcast with a massive following off Spotify (I write these columns on Monday for publication Thursday so a lot can happen over several days…). But if I’m wrong, and cancel culture prevails, Rogan will easily find another platform. So let’s focus on the bigger question: Does cancel culture serve a useful social purpose, or is it just making us dumber?

When Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump after Jan. 6 last year, most people who weren’t die-hard Trump fans were simply too tired to care. Meanwhile, fervent anti-Trumpers didn’t pause to celebrate the victory. As the French learned in 1789, the revolution marches on ever in search of fresh blood to fuel it.

What’s interesting about the anti-Rogan campaign is that cancel culture has now offered us actual spokespeople. Before it was just a faceless mob like the one in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Has the practice now evolved to where rappers were in the ’90s when they were publicly dissing one another, or has the tide of sanctimonious disapproval taken on an Orwellian sort of authority to say what is doublethink and what isn’t?

I’d go with the former. People are getting tired of cancel culture. When major publishers are canceling Norman Mailer because junior editors are offended by the title of one of his works or the insanely popular J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame gets canceled for a tweet about who menstruates and who doesn’t, cancel culture is getting closer to book-burning as a thing.

People who read books are occasionally critical thinkers, capable of considering two points of view at the same time and tougher to push around intellectually than say TMZ readers. So now the folks we trust to write down our history are noticing this nasty practice, and it isn’t faring well. That’s why I think, or hope, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking more like Fonzie on water-skis than the defenders of truth, morality and probity they are pretending to be.

In a way, I think we should all thank them for that. It’s time for us all to start walking cancel culture back. Before it was an unaccountable force, but no longer. Sure, the current stage of cancel or I’m outta here has a high school feel to it, but it’s more than that. With a little luck, it’s the beginning of the end.

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.