Why So #Woke?

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.

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11 thoughts on “Why So #Woke?

  1. Skedastic Racket

    But why are they so dishonest, insane and incoherent?
    Competition may answer why wokeness is increasing, but not why it is, nor necessarily why it has become so insane. Wokeness has progressed to now denying one of the most basic realities, that men are men and women are women, and ne’er the twain shall meet, Tireseus be damned.

    Competition is just not a satisfactory answer to me. When transgenderism burst on the scene, why did nobody laugh? Why do the only rules seem to be that as you come to believe more insane and incoherent things, the higher status you are? Sure these people are isolated, and don’t have to yet deal with the negative consequences of their beliefs, but so what? They might as well believe in faeries.

    Trying to explain things without invoking God is the usual way we try to think, but I can no longer make sense of this world, unless I believe that these people are evil, and seek the inversion of all that is good, and have rejected God.

    1. Severian Post author

      Academia has the answer!!

      Seriously, I know I sound like a broken record, but if you haven’t been near a college (or high school) campus lately, you’ll have to trust me: It’s ALL make-believe. Your typical college class asks you to swallow seven different stupidities before lunch. So you learn to parrot them back, standardized test-style, then forget them. In one ear, out the other. I promise you, I could read the juicer parts of Mein Kampf to a class, attribute them to the Dalai Lama, and have the students parrot them back to me without a peep, provided I put them in bullet-point form on the powerpoint and insisted they’d be on the test.

      In that environment — in which American children spend the majority of their waking lives, 9 (or more) months a year, 16 (or more!) years in a row — is it any surprise they’re so good at make-believe?

      Then throw in the fact that most of the people who spout this nonsense will never, ever deal with it. I used to ask incoming classes of freshmen to estimate the percentage of Americans that are gay. It was never under 20% (the real figure, of course, is something like 3-7%). The amount of trannies in America is vanishingly small (not least because “transgenderism” correlates with all kinds of other psych issues, so folks who might develop it get treated for other stuff much earlier). In your daily life, your chances of meeting a transsexual are pretty much zero. Take all those figures the Left likes to throw around about terrorism and immigration — that you’re 5x likelier to be struck by lightning than die in a terrorist attack — and substitute the Left’s victim group du jour. The numbers will be about the same.

      So what’s the harm in pretending, then? No one they know is going to get molested in the girls’ room in a Target, because they’d never be so vulgar as to shop at Target anyway. No one they know is going to get raped by an illegal…. and certainly no one they know is going to lose his job to an illegal.

      So there’s zero cost to pretending, and very considerable social benefit. So they pretend. They’ve had literally a lifetime’s worth of training — thanks, teachers’ unions!!!

      1. Skedastic Racket

        You’ve written that before, and up to a point I agree. But just because everything is make believe, does not force the specific things that are now believed to come about.

        Transgenderism is specifically where your argument breaks down for me. A lot of the nonsense that is taught in schools is believed because students don’t have any way to judge it, but anyone can judge whether someone is a man or a woman. So why did that belief take hold? Why is something so obviously insane the new cherished pretend belief?
        In my opinion, choosing to pretend to believe that crosses a line, even in a make believe world.

        Make believe naturally has coherent rules. Children playing make believe do not consciously try to make their world dishonest, insane or incoherent.
        But in our society, the woke beliefs are getting more dishonest, more incoherent and more insane, and the academics and bureaucrats consciously do this work.
        So what motivates people to intentionally and consciously choose to become more insane, more incoherent and more dishonest?
        Maybe they enjoy the freedom and power of making those choices?
        I would call that evil.

        A caveat, as our society becomes more systematized and bureaucratic, the need to do any actual thinking and to make a conscious effort becomes less, but then I think this would only push back the question of motivation to another layer of people.

        1. WOPR

          I can’t remember who wrote it, but someone pointed out that the more intense the competition, the more bizarre the results. Status competition among elites is usually severe. For example, look at your typical NFL player. No human body is mean to look the way they do. From size to bmi, they are freaks. Or look at the insane people who do triathlons. Now place that intensity on a group in the centers of power. As long as it can be used to get someone else, nothing is too insane. There’s no feedback right now to stop it because the general principal is everyone is equal and any unequal result is due to evil people. Sure it’s getting nuts, but the slippery slope isn’t a logical fallacy.

    2. Joseph Moore

      I tend to see it as a parade of Useful Idiots driven by a few True Believers. As Orwell points out, having people spout what might be true on command doesn’t prove their obedience, since they might actually believe what they say. No, the only way to be sure of your control is to have them repeat obvious nonsense on command. Winston Smith isn’t made to sing the glories of Big Brother – he’s tortured to say 2 + 2 = 5. That he knows it is wrong is the point: by repeating it, he demonstrates that what Big Brother says is now the measure of all things.

      Even part from this, the takeover of transgenderism isn’t that hard to understand. Transgender individuals fall into roughly two classes: the seriously afflicted, who may in fact have some sort of underlying physical issues, and the tourists and abused children, who start out just ‘playing kitty’ as it were, and then, in response to social and specifically maternal pressures, end up chemically and physically mutilated to the cheers of the crowd and especially their mothers. The first group is tiny, and generally its members do not want any attention. They are the ones who might use the wrong bathroom, but you’d never know about it, because they would pass as their assumed sex and never dream of making an issue of it. The second – well, I’ve seen claims that 40%+ of the mothers of transgender children are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Some seem to be out and out high-functioning sociopaths. These people have no empathy, normal human behaviour baffled them, but they learned how to fake it – the BPD people fake it more or less poorly; the high functioning sociopaths are undetectable unless they are messing with you.

      Both BPDs and sociopaths live for drama, and have no concept there is anything wrong with using or even destroying people – even their own kids! Transgenderism – oh look! Morgan picked up a toy truck! Chris played with a doll that one time! – is about as much drama as you can get, guaranteed to continue for years and years, right up until some 30 something eunuch in a dress decides mom needs a bullet. (That day is coming, if it hasn’t already come – not that you’d ever read about it if it happened today.) The practical difference: a true sociopath can adjust approach on the fly, while a BPD sufferer will always lead with charm, and then go full hysterical if opposed. Either way, the kid is made to see his transgenderism as definitional, and mom’s love as conditioned on it. Since growing up with that single parent – it’s almost alway a single mom – means it all but certain the kid is already unhappy, confused about gender roles (since adult males are at best just the people mom has around for sex, and mom controls everything) and desperate for approval, it’s easy to convince them their entire problem isn’t that mom is a criminal lunatic (which they don’t want to believe, as mom’s is the only affection they’re getting) but that they are really a boy/girl/unit trapped in the wrong boy/girl body! and they are only unhappy because SOCIETY doesn’t AFFIRM them.

      Now release this Kraken into an ocean of sexual confusion and denial: you’re a repressed bigot if you don’t approve of any flavor of sex at any time between any number of people
      /things, marriage is an oppressive social construct, kids don’t need two (one of each) parents, divorce doesn’t hurt kids, etc. Well? Who are YOU to tell somebody what ‘gender’ they are? If you could make objective reality stick in this case, guess what? The whole sexual revolution comes tumbling down. A huge percentage of people are heavily invested in the fruits of the Sexual Revolution, therefore, they are heavily invested in not refuting Transgenderism.

      In the k-12 school where our 5 kids attended, the SJWs took over. We had another student, a young teenage girl, living with us for a while, as grandmother (the mother was either in jail or dead, I don’t remember) lived a difficult commute away. She soon moved out, and lived with a few other school families, never for very long. Eventually she decided she was a he, and made everybody call her by a boy’s name. Grandma would go full attack dog on anyone who suggested this was anything other than sweetness and light, let alone suggest that grandmother was the problem. The girl was eventually chemically and physically mutilated to meet grandmother’s approval. It’s entirely possible she will kill herself sooner or later.

      The school passed rules making it impossible for us to remain, as we were not willing to celebrate this and other like events. We even got out somewhat longer than 2 Minutes of Hate at a school meeting. They didn’t understand how we could be so cruel!

      1. Skedastic Racket

        Useful idiots/True believers doesn’t convince me in this case. Even actual idiots know the difference between male and female. Also, useful idiots implies that the idiot doesn’t realize what’s going on, but I can’t believe that people don’t understand the difference between male and female.
        It’s not like people have started believing that furries are the animal they say they are.
        Why isn’t being a furry pushed onto kids? Lots of kids love their stuffed animals. Lots of kids pretend to be animals. It’s just the tranny stuff that gets pushed.
        Society isn’t becoming randomly insane, it is going specifically insane by inverting certain fundamental parts of reality.

  2. Maus

    Sev, I think you’re correct that #woke is simply the new barometer of competition amongst the strivers. Even though the fever dream of free market capitalism has broken, leaving thousands so weakened that they cannot make as much money as easily as the Boomer cohort did; the drive for credentialism is undiminished. University no longer teaches the evergreen truths or, outside STEM, any knowledge or skill that can be employed for profits. So the kids (really, anyone under 35) have to compete for Pokemon wokeness points to create meaningful distinctions amongst themselves. And universities that compete by abetting this “more SJW than thou” race have played with fire and been burn-scarred beyond recognition. The Academy has been totally co-opted by the insanity. It amazes me that research of any value to society still gets done. So, indeed, mihi dare vinum. I truly wish I could share with you a bottle of the fine Spanish tempranillo that I drank with three of my oldest friends last Saturday. It seems all we dissidents can do these days is drown our sorrows at a convivial symposium.

  3. TBoone

    Woke is a subjective fleeting emotional state. Fad. Fashion. Hint. Whisper. A glimmer of a Goal… just out of reach. Once ‘reached’ one wants ‘more’. Another. Better. Morals are highly charged emotions. Ideally built upon, connected to things of value (to person or society) which last. Hopefully Transcendent. That’s how it used to be. Now? Not so much.

    Sked is absolutely correct. Male or Female. With exceedingly rare marginal cases. Dichotomy. A decision Tree of Life. Morality uses such a device to gauge decisions, events. Is it True? False? Is it Right/Wrong? (or Good/Evil). There existed an emotional (moral) sense of hierarchy & relations. Some questions were simple. Some more ‘weighty’ and nuanced. Again… all in The Past. A past systematically undermined, twisted, subverted, Perverted and Betrayed. What we think of as Culture or Society is no longer. Timeless Values rotted away and discarded. Bit by Bit. Step By Step. Niagara Falls!!! Nyuck nyuck….

    A large pile of sand attains a typical shape. For Sand. Stone has its own shape. Each with its ‘specific’ angle of repose. Where the dynamic tension inherent (between?) particles settles some. A state ‘equilibrium’. I have casually and imprecisely tried to quickly explain my point. I would guess that the friction of a pile of sand sprayed by a hose would change. It’s inherent ‘avalanche’ ability would be increased. Erosion cascading, so to speak. The Sand Pile Model of the Mind semi-inspired this ramble. I’m arguing that our Society has been undermined, attacked, subverted and perverted over many damn years. Decades plus. What was a stable Culture, Moral Framework that adjusted slowly to new information to maintain an ‘optimal’ stability is so corrupt that it no longer functions. We now have “WOKE”. In a society enfeebled by technology. More. Always More information. Which supports/inspires our Feelings. Our Society? no longer uses Right/Wrong or Good/Evil evaluations. It’s more Good Feels/ Bad Feels. Good is it’s own virtue and reward. Bad is to be Blamed. Preferably Punished!! Most Powerful Word around today? Probably “Rayciss”. Nobody wants to be ‘one’. It is a devastating Accusation!! that you cannot disprove. That’s Power. Racism used to be ‘action’ based. Awful, evil actions that were plain to see. There was actual Evidence. Now? It’s a Feeling. Something you can ’cause’ or unknowingly harbor in your heart…. What a Crock we’ve been sold, eh?

    We used to protect and love children. Now we fetishize them as ‘accessories’ to “US”. Mini-Me’s. We want the precious minni=me’s to decide on a whim a biological state as if it were a choice. Not already pre-determined. Because they ‘feel’. And we ‘feel’. Our Morals have been so perverted over time that Planned Parenthood is ‘esteemed’ for killing Babies AnD harvesting (for later Sale$) baby body parts. We shot & hung people for that in the past. Our Morals have been infantilzed and feminized. Emotions are All. Enforced by State Dictat. Criticize a Victim Class Individual? Utter Ruin to You!! The kids Sev speaks about in College were programmed by cell phone. Cable. Computer. ETC from pretty much birth. And reinforced by their parents corrupted by the same. We take devotion to “God” which used to be common and re-purpose it to Feelings. We elevate things/people to Status. And all aspire and cheer. We designate “Bad” and all hate and blame. No one Bond Villain Mastermind guides this… unless Satan. Yet many mini-Bond-Villains lead the technological charge to numb and dumb enough people ‘down’ mentally over time… that Democracy! RulZ. Not wisely. But ‘effectively’.

    The Trans thing is just the latest ‘thing’ that keeps the natural order, the natural fabric (family) from repairing/healing and growing. Law is run by Pharisees arguing over jots & tittles. Schools are holding pens and grooming centers. We have degenerated through No Fault Divorce. Women’s Extra LibQualityNess. Diversion by Diversity. Worship what we are told to tolerate. Gay!! Marriage. Now we must have Trans Liberties! Then? Open Pedophilia. Beastiality? Necrophilia? And so on and so on…. Ramble OFF. for now…

  4. Pickle Rick

    My pithy answer to Severian’s question-
    Because they aren’t afraid of us anymore. Because they believe, not without justification, that there’s no insult, no humiliation, no act that our side won’t meekly accept.

  5. MBlanc46

    The anti-Western civilization types have been at this for more than a century and a half. Thousands of sometimes able people have dedicated their lives to bringing down the West and replacing it with some version of Utopia. The Depression of the 1930s was an opportunity for some of them to become part of the Deep State, where they’ve multiplied ever since. The turmoil of the 1960s provided great opportunities to infiltrate more of the critical institutions of society: education, economic institutions, churches. The bizarreness is perhaps a bug, but whether it’s a feature remains to be seen. It’s largely a consequence of ditching the “workers” for sexual deviants, after the workers didn’t join the “revolution”. The increasingly loony antics of the Left might turn off the normies, but it sure turns out the freaks. And, there’s also the point made by one of the Taki’s writers (Cole?): That in the Soviet Union, forcing people to parrot nonsense was done to drive home the fact that they were being force to parrot nonsense. Rubbing their noses in it.

    1. Severian Post author

      That’s the answer I’d offer to “Why trannies, specifically?” “Furries” have a bizarre paraphilia, no doubt, but we’re conditioned from the cradle these days to think of sexual attraction as merely a matter of choice. And of course we don’t judge, so if My Little Pony turns you on, brah, then get after it.

      “Transgenderism,” though, requires a whole different order of make-believe. I suppose I can see, if I squint real hard and drink a hell of a lot, why someone might be sexually attracted to My Little Pony — Sarah Jessica Parker, after all, had an HBO show with “sex” right there in the title. But there’s no possible way to see women as really men, or vice versa. The #woke don’t actually believe this either, of course, but they get great social benefit pretending that they do… and one of the main social benefits they get is that forcing us to parrot nonsense further enfeebles us.

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