I’d been on the reading-end of a long, painful run of provocateur-grifter loonies describing Dominic Rabb as a victim of “woke culture”, “the wokes”, “wokeists”, “wokey-cokey”, the “wokerati” or whatever the sweaty-palmed and saucer-eyed call the notion of being halfway decent these days.
It momentarily tipped me over the edge. Knocking myself out became more appealing than continuing my perusal of the British commentariat.
Right-wing hysteria around “woke” has reached such teetering heights of absurdity that bullies are victims, and victims bullies.
But then Olympic-level gaslighting is the MO of the brave, fearless culture warriors out there protecting us from villains like civil servants who’ve been picked on at work. To be bullied is to be “woke”.
Bullies are simply salt of the earth chaps who like their underpants well ironed, and a good debagging of chippy underlings for elevenses.
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Crazy anti-woke shenanigans just make me laugh these days. Once, when I heard Brigadier Hufton of Pufton types chuntering into their cravats about “the woke”, I just adopted the taxi-passenger strategy when cabbies start talking about Nicola Sturgeon/refugees/trans people (delete as applicable) and glazed over.
Chances of an actual conversation or debate once you hear the word “woke”: nil; chances of being berated by a bar-room bore with the hinterland of a goldfish: high. Now, though, it’s less a case of ignore/run/fall asleep (delete as applicable), but laugh.
Fair enough, the laughter is that of damned souls trapped in some hell Satan sculpted to mimic their worst nightmares, but it’s laughter nonetheless.
For my sins – which are numerous – I dipped into the news archives yesterday, searching the word “woke”. There are more stories screaming about “woke” than stars in heaven. Okay, I exaggerate. But there are thousands.
Last week, some mountains were accused of going woke. The Daily Mail, and other assorted snowflakes, got their tiny pink panties in a twist because the Brecon Beacons were renamed. The national park reclaimed its old Welsh name Bannau Brycheiniog. The horror! The horror! People speak Welsh in Wales!
To compound this crime, the park’s chief exec said that given climate change it might be nice not to use a name evoking “giant burning braziers”. I mean, you can disagree with this point. But you don’t have to soil your shorts. Putin hasn’t invaded.
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It’s woke if you think beating kids is wrong. It’s woke if you think pubs shouldn’t hang golly dolls up from some beams Mississippi-style. Gym gear is woke. Nike committed the sin of having a trans woman advertise sports bras. Beer is woke.
Budweiser showed that trans folk sometimes likes a cold one. After calls for Budweiser to be “de-woked” – that’s a thing apparently, which some may also call “cancelled” – American gun nuts machine-gunned Bud cans. Basically, just saying trans people have the right to live their lives is woke today.
The weirdo culture warrior Jordan Peterson was apoplectically triggered by Waitrose suggesting folk “reduce your carbon footprint by adding plant-based alternatives to your diet”.
For that, Peterson – a psychologist – said the supermarket was “despicable” and should be boycotted. Remind me who’s behind cancel culture again? Certainly not all those folk whining about being cancelled with newspaper columns, TV shows, book deals and speaking tours, that’s for sure.
Man City and Man United risk being ravaged by the wokes after a Guardian writer suggested it’s maybe time to change the clubs’ badges as the ships on them are linked to slavery.
Nobody came round with guns and threatened football bosses with mass arrest. A singular writer made a suggestion some people may or may not agree with, but to the anti-woke posse a crack in the very earth sundered open and devils spewed forth across this green and pleasant land.
Road signs are woke. One at Dover welcoming migrants caused a collective spasm to run through anti-woke Britain as if they’d been infected by the zombie virus. Charles, the fella who’s the new king, is woke.
As head of the Church of England, he’s had the temerity to reach out to other faiths. Perhaps, anti-wokeists would be happy if he rode around on a white charger smiting heretics. Oh, and people protesting Charles’s coronation are woke too, obviously. So everyone is woke.
It’s like The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. You go to bed a perfectly normal bigot and wake up woke. Terrifying.
You can’t even die and escape the idiot madness of the anti-woke brigade. After Paul O’Grady’s death, that doyen of commentary Amanda Holden proclaimed that there wasn’t a woke bone in his body.
That’s the drag queen Paul O’Grady, defender of LGBT rights, Aids campaigner and anti-austerity critic.
This nonsense fills our newspapers. Little wonder. Why would the assorted billionaires who decide what we read each morning want us thinking about taxing the rich so we can fix the mess the Tory Party – which they basically own – made of the country. Why not cry about student protestors (like that’s something new) rather than report on the Brexit-disaster you inspired?
The whole anti-woke palaver is mass brain-rot. Halfway sane commentators suddenly disappear down Twitter rabbit holes – usually connected to refugees/trans people/Black Lives Matter/MeToo (delete as applicable) – and emerge with colanders on their heads. Well, why wear some tin-foil hat when you’re a hotshot journalist?
Read more: The BBC is an active foot soldier for the Tory culture war
Truth check: opinion polls show four in five people in Britain favour the “woke” idea of being alert to racial and social injustice.
That’s all “woke” means. When I was a baby, folk of my parents’ generation who hated racism, sexism or homophobia were called “do-gooders”. When I was young, we were “politically correct”. Today, you’re “woke”’. The best way to silence someone is to insult them.
Look, the progressive left can be over the top and idiotic too. I’m not denying that. Step forward, Diane Abbott and her comments about race.
But let’s have some balance, please, and admit that the anti-woke battalions are every bit as dangerous, stupid and embarrassing as those they stand against. Maybe worse?