contrariandutchman asks an interesting question in the post previous.
How come all the great bureaucracies are now controlled by people who want to work toward wokeness?
Since we’ve lived with it for so long, it hard to get our heads around just how bizarre “wokeness” is. Living with the Left is like that one relationship we all had back in college, with the hot-but-psycho chick. You quickly get habituated to the insanity (the “hot” part helps a lot). Then one day you look around and realize that no one in his right mind would ever live like this. The past few weeks / months / years seem like a fever dream. Wait, she did what? And I was ok with that?
Even we dissidents, who consider ourselves fully aware of the Left’s insanity, can use the occasional refresher — not least because we unconsciously assume that the Left’s real weirdos are Internet People, or academics. But they’re not. Unplug completely over the weekend, then turn on prime time tv. It’s the Star Wars cantina scene, and it’s everywhere.
Why on earth, then, would anyone choose this?
I’m going to point y’all, with reservations, to a site called Face to Face. Specifically, this post. The reservations are: The author apparently started out as a PUA (he was linked on the now sadly defunct Chateau Heartiste) with a thing for the barely-legals; he develops these unhealthy fixations on Leftists (e.g. Bernie Sanders as the savior of Heritage America; this “Aimee Terese” Twitter person); he’s apparently some kind of academic, so his off-the-rails posts are really off the rails (e.g. the Bernie-love, his insistence that Trump will decline the 2020 Republican nomination). In other words, it’s a Vox Day-type site — you can find a lot of good stuff there, but only by filtering it through the author’s increasingly…ummmm…unique personality.
The linked post is gold, though. The quick and dirty version is: Since the goddamn Boomers will never, ever retire — they’ll keep patting themselves on the back for Sticking It to the Man until they’re lowered into their tie-dyed, patchouli-reeking coffins, even though they’re all hedge fund managers and live in McMansions — the subsequent generations had to find a new area in which to compete for social status. Thus lifestyle striving for Gen X, and persona striving for the Millennials.
For Gen X, think of my personal candidate for “everything that’s wrong with the 90s, all in one place,” the 1994 movie Reality Bites. Don’t rent it unless you’re current on your blood pressure meds. It’s four of the 1990s’ most insufferable people (Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo) quipping about being slackers. Well, except Stiller (also the director), who plays the grasping, uptight, sold-his-soul-to-The-Man yuppie foil to the other three. Stiller is the Gen Xer who chose to compete in the oversaturated career arena; he’s cartoonishly evil. The rest of them hang out in coffee houses, polishing their image. They’re lifestyle competitors.
For Millennials, and whatever we’re calling the upcoming generation (“The Lobotomized Snowflake Posse” is my suggestion, brevity be damned), well, just look at social media. Even lounging-around-Starbucks lifestyle competition is out of reach for people who went $100K in the hole for a Gender Studies degree. The only currency they’ve got is effort — hey, didn’t Karl Marx say something about that? — so Twitter becomes their full time job. Xzhe with the most followers wins.
And now we’re back in the realm of academia’s fucked up incentive structure. The road to tenure takes only left turns, you’ll recall, because only “original” “research” gets published, and since Shakespeare ain’t writing no more sonnets, the only way to be “original” is through radical politics. As above, so below — since nobody’s going to upvote or retweet a sentiment like “Things are pretty much ok the way they are,” social media becomes little more than competitive #wokeness.
So much for the persona strivers. But that doesn’t really answer contrariandutchman’s question, because our lavishly compensated FedGov flunkies actually can compete in the lifestyle and career arenas. Acela Corridor parasites are The 1%, on any measure that makes sense to anyone in the real world. Why are they all #woke?
Here again, academia provides the answer. But first, let’s talk about David Brooks, the “conservative” infamously aroused by Obama’s perfectly creased pants. There are few sillier people than David Brooks, but “take wisdom where you find it” is my motto (well, that and “mihi dare vinum”), and he really knocked it out of the park with Bobos in Paradise. No, seriously. A “Bobo” is what Agnostic from Face to Face would call a lifestyle striver, but a rich one.
A Bobo, in other words, is a Gen Xer who could compete with the Boomers on their turf… but since he also took the Boomers at their word when they went on (and on and on and on and on) about Sticking It to the Man (an all too common generational failing), the Bobo sees the Boomer’s luxury car / vacation home / trophy wife conspicuous consumption as unbearably gauche. So instead, the Bobo spends $500 on a can opener because it’s good for the environment or is handcrafted by paraplegic Brazilian Eskimos or something, anything, so long as it a) obviously costs a shitload, and b) has some kind of Save-the-World rationale attached to it.
Academia reinforces this. Lots of Gen Xers went into the ivory tower for precisely that reason. Y’all know that the average professor hauls in nearly $200 large, right? The median income for an American worker in 2019 was approximately $46,800. I was in History, not math, but even I can see that the eggheads take home over four times what the average Joe makes. Which sets up another lifestyle contest. When you’re a) richer than sin, b) surrounded by a caste on slave wages, and c) ideologically committed to seeing yourself as The People’s Champion, the only way out is to live Bobo-style. Sure, sure, I have a $500 can opener… but Maricela the cook is really empowered by using it, because it was made by transgendered aborigines Of Color.
And since those Bobos are middle aged now, they’ve indoctrinated two generations of students with this garbage. And those two generations also came up with social media, so now you’ve got the heady combination of lifestyle and persona striving. That’s why the DC crew do what they do. Competitive #wokeness is the only way to go… and since they’ve got their $400-manicured mitts on the levers of power, we all get to be the bit players and stagehands in the big Broadway show that is their special unique wonderfulness.Loading Likes...