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Woke Watch!


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I listen to James O'Brien religiously on LBC. The guy is sanctimonious at times though I mostly agree with his stance. 

He started doing a "bit" on his show called "Woke Watch" - a mocking 5 minutes similar to that on GBNews though from a left leaning perspective.

The term woke has gathered steam over the past few years and I still don't "get" how being "woke" is a bad thing. In principle, its being aware of and challenging inequalities re: race, gender, sexuality etc. I know its been co-opted by the right as some sort of insult though by saying "anti-woke" you are saying you are "anti-politeness" surely?

I suppose I "get" why people don't like being confronted with their own reflection and/or find it threatening to have things pointed out that may make them feel guilty/uncomfortable. At the same time, it feels so playground. Grown adults running around screaming "go woke, go broke" and "woke...aaaaaaaggghhhh!!!" all the time. Social media is a cesspit of these types and I struggle to understand how they cannot see their own behaviour from an outside perspective. Its beyond ludicrous. 

I point to the Halifax bank telling customers that if they don't like the company's values they are welcome to go elsewhere. This is in relation to an absurd twitter-storm over Halifax allowing staff to choose to put their gender pronouns on their name badges. GBNews, The Mail etc screeched about it for hours, banging on about how the Halifax will lose customers. All for a bloody name badge that doesn't effect 99% of employees and none of the customers anyway! Then customers being "furious" that they have been reminded that they have the right to choose another bank.... a right they have always had. They weren't told they must move banks. They were gently reminded that they can if they like... Of course this was met with narcissistic fury "how dare they tell me where to go if I don't like what they value!?!?!" before bleating on about freedom of speech and cancelling.

So! What are your thoughts on this trend? Do you think it has been going on for decades? I certainly can't remember many other examples other than "snowflakes". What is the function of this nonsense? Can't we all get along!?

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the Culture Wars was an invention of the right to make it seem like the left and the liberals are demonising anything they're into. It's hard to nail down exactly when this arose, and some people think that Watergate might have even been the touch paper given that in a case of clear corruption the Republicans mostly seemed to think Nixon should retain the presidency. Post-war consensus shattered, partisanship rises, and just grows. 9/11 puts it over huge.

"woke", I seem to recall, came out of predominantly black usage and has some interesting history in intersectional thought. Essentially it comes out of the same line of thinking as political correctness - be mindful of how you speak, because it has consequences and upholds various social structures which we now know to be wrong.

You can see how crude and targeted application of these ideals - that certain people are not woke, that certain swathes of culture are not PC - can make certain people feel targeted, even if there is a broader principle behind it. As unfunny and bad as I think it is, I don't think that Little Britain was harmful or the people who liked it were fundamentally evil.

You can quickly see how this gets wrapped up in the partisanship of the culture wars even if the people targeting or being targeted are actually individual and apolitical actors who don't have a consistent position in left and/or right. We're very good at translating surfaces and appearances into whole personas, and social media amplifies everything so deftly, so quickly the person with a genuine quibble about the use of certain language against a certain person becomes The Looney Left Who Love Men Who Think They Are Women vs Graham Linehan's Solemn Noble Quest To Make People Understand Sense About Gender Realism.

I work in a university in an arts-hums department and it is quite clear to see how there is this anxiety underpinning a lot of our interactions. There have been very witch-hunty critiques of texts and films given to study because they contain certain things - things we think are important to study! So there is definitely some abuse of the ideals behind these social correctives, and those are the things the right latch onto and eat up. Like the 'no clapping' at the NUS AGM because of sensory overload.

But it works both wats. Just a month ago we had a tabloid send an FOI request to see what trigger warnings we give out, if any. They're clearly trying to paint universities as hives of obnoxious leftist nonsense, because there's a wider agenda in play. It distracts people from the problems created by current regimes of power and the liberals and the left walk into the trap every single time.

The search for good faith in action has been replaced by this constant noise. At the bottom of 'woke' and 'PC' are good intentions, and I do think some people have been targeted unfairly. Right now actual rights are being threatened as a reactionary measure to all of this, and I think it would help if people organised to fight these material consequences.

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