I’m officially old.
To my mind, I always believed that “old” was the point where someone simply could not keep up with the direction in which culture moves. “Get off my lawn!” may be for someone who is tired of having people trample his beautiful grass–but “I don’t get these kids anymore”, that’s the inflection point when you stop being in touch with the younger generation.
And I just reached that point today.
Now Google and the Internet means it is far easier today to keep up with cultural changes than ever before. Fads like “planking?” Yeah, just a quick search on the Internet. Popular music? Yeah, that’s easy to keep up with as well, though I feel sorry for folks today–not because our music was any better, but because the music industry has become so processed–so over-produced–that it’s hard to differentiate music styles. (Though to be honest, the “McDonaldification” of the music scene means product is far more consistent, unlike the music of the 1960’s and 1970’s, where for every defining record like Déjà Vu you had Billy Don’t Be A Hero, a rather insipid bit of 1970’s drivel about the Civil War that people misread as being about Vietnam.)
But I’ve hit my limit.
With the word woke.
And with the article ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Not Woke Enough for SWJ Critics
I mean, I understand at one level that it is a play on the word “awake”, which is a shorthand for mindfulness, or being aware and engaged with the environment around you, bypassing the mental habits and shortcuts which may allow any ingrained racism or sexism we learned when young to creep into our perceptions.
It’s the same sort of mindfulness that, as you stand in line at a bank and a couple of teenage black kids wearing bright t-shirts and fake gold chains and a backwards baseball hat get behind you, make you dismiss the idea that they’re there to make trouble.
So I went on a hunt for understanding the specific meaning of the term, since I’ve seen it with increasing frequency over the past year.
The best I could come up with was from this article: What Does “Woke” Mean? There’s More To The Slang Term Than You Think
The rise in popularity of “woke” has been tied to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which initially surfaced in 2013 following the death of Trayvon Martin. #StayWoke often accompanied social media posts about police brutality, systematic racism and the industrial prison complex. #StayWoke reminds readers to look past the provided narrative, to examine their own privilege (or lack thereof). #StayWoke reminds readers that there is more than one reality to life in the United States.
(“Privilege.” Another hard eye-roll.)
Okay, I get it. To be “woke as fuck” means to be plugged into whatever perceptions that allow you to see past the narrative to the narrative being offered by the Social Justice Warriors. It means to gaze deeply into their navels rather into your own. It means learning the politically correct narrative rather than the politically incorrect one–and truth be damned, because there is no “truth”, only what you subjectively know.
Boing Boing may make fun of Australia’s Prime Minister for saying “Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.” But in a deconstructionist world where the relationship between text (even mathematics) and meaning are subjective to the reader rather than representing a deeper underlying truth that doesn’t exist–that is, in the world of Feminists and Social Justice Warriors–the “laws of mathematics” is a relative patriarchal construct rather than a representation of an underlying Truth.
To say 2 + 2 = 4 is to impose your own subjective truth on others. And the “freedom” to say “2 + 2 = 4” is undesirable because it is the “freedom” to impose a patriarchal construct.
George Orwell’s quote “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”?
That’s not “woke.”
I’m officially old.
I’m officially old because the current cultural trends towards embracing deconstructionism and the Marxist dialectic to explain the current forces of racism and sexism and to find the “dog whistles” behind those who mistakenly claim “2 + 2 = 4”–it seems incredibly absurd.
I’m officially old because I don’t understand why “Social Justice” Warriors (using a term which is deeply ironic if you know anything about the history of “social justice” and the Catholic heresy of collective salvation from which it derives) would go after anything and everything in a nihilist lashing out, rather than concentrate on the real problems we see in various inner cities, such as policing for profit, which drove the police to be increasingly antagonistic against the black population of Ferguson that eventually led to Michael Brown’s death.
I’m officially old because I don’t understand why today’s generation of progressives are freely borrowing the tools of 18th century economists and 19th century political philosophers in order to provide a 21st century unconstrained vision of a leftist Utopia. A leftist Utopia that can only be achieved by the elimination of personal desire and personal expression through the subjugation of individual want to the collective need.
It just feels to me like cultural suicide.
So do me a favor, and just keep off my damned lawn, and don’t try to break into my house in order to engage in any sort of social justice redistribution. Because I don’t want to have to clean the blood off the floor boards.