Oppressive Wokeism Needs to Stop
Can men even have a little bit of fun anymore? I don’t mean the kind of fun that gets innocent and unconsenting persons hurt, I mean simple, goofy, silly fun that doesn’t hurt a fly? I’m tempted to think that the answer is no, we cannot…and I know that many men feel this way deep down inside, they feel that no matter what they do, they’ll become a target for the outrageous criticisms of a certain group of people who are simply looking for something to be upset about. I’m speaking, of course, about the “wokeists.”
“What is a wokeist?” you might be wondering. Wokeism, by my definition, is weaponized personal grievances masquerading as a genuine social concern. It’s defined by its fraudulent nature, as being distinct from legitimate social grievances. Wokeism only knows outrage — it knows not empathy for victims.
Just because we’re outraged by one serious problem in society doesn’t mean we have to turn our filter off and become outraged by everything we see online, no questions asked, no fact-checking done; our filter bubbles make all of this a lot worse, of course.
Wokeism takes many forms, and yes, men can be guilty of it, too. Wokeism is when a renowned scientist is forced to be publicly humiliated over his choice of wearing a t-shirt with scantily-clad women on it (and the outrage curiously and conspicuously wasn’t at all directed at the manufacturer of the t-shirt), just like wokeism is the guy who wants to sit around and spend a significant portion of his life advocating things like the death penalty for pedophiles, but when it comes time to actually discuss changes to our laws that allow abusers to go undetected and prosper, he’s nowhere to be found. And, God forbid, we say that we need to take donations or petition signatures for a cause like this, he disappears into the night without a trace — he was all hot-air, all hubris, all talk, and he never really cared about the cause at hand. He’s the quintessential slacktivist, he’s the armchair political theorist for whom other people’s suffering is usurped and traded as some form of moral currency on the internet.
Wokeism is character-assassination-smear-tactics personified into a movement. Wokeism is social outrage for the sake of social outrage. Wokeism cares not for being a catalyst for actual change, its goal is metaphorical bloodshed and retribution, all in the name of claiming a slightly higher position on the social totem pole. Wokeism is the religification of social justice, a bastardization that pollutes original messages of those legitimate social grievances that it consumes as they become hijacked by decentralized players who are more concerned with inflicting harm, shaming, and celebrating together, rather than righting the very grave wrongs of social institutions. It’s the conspiracy-theory arm of the so-called “left” quite often, a term I refuse to use to this particular group of people because their message is so vehemently anti-left on a predictable basis. The point of wokeism is to attack an out-group, it’s never to correct an error, and rarely to criticize the more dangerous elements of society that lead to those errors, namely infinite-growth capitalism. Outrage for outrage’s sake wants to inflict pain, not acquire justice.
Recently, I saw one man say that he was hurt more than the victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse and that he wanted to see sexual abusers killed to correct for his suffering he had to endure. Never mind the real victims of the crime, this guy (who’d also never been sexually assaulted himself) felt that he was victimized by the sheer existence of people like Jeffrey Epstein. I couldn’t think of a harder slap in the face to the real victims of sexual assault. He also believed that we should just kill sexual abusers, justice for the real victims be damned, even if that means not giving them a fair trial or convicting them. This is peak wokeism and it’s a byproduct of our social media world. It’s what happens when this curious blend of toxic masculinity and wannabe social concern come together for noxious marriage from Hell.
It might be wise for those who pretend to care about social justice to save their words for legitimate cases of injustice.
I should qualify all of the foregoing with the fact that, when it comes to the important social issues of oppression, I’ve spoken out time and time again, and more importantly, I’ve personally traveled to various cities to try to affect change upon our legal system in defense of the poor, the oppressed, the alienated, the underprivileged, and those who generally can’t defend themselves against the flagrant might of our unforgiving institutional powers. I dedicated a little shy of nine years to doing so, and while I don’t expect everyone to do the same, there’s a serious problem when the loudest voices are often the lest active and truly least concerned. For them, it’s an identity game that leads to the accumulation of social status, rather than justice. When someone’s in need of some serious redress of grievances, I’m the first person to board a plane and go put two additional boots on the ground for a cause that matters to try to assure that justice is down and I must say, something is amiss…
I know that I certainly cannot be myself in the public sphere because of the current cancel culture, myself understanding the inevitable and predictable backlash that would come about if I told someone online so much as what kind of music I’m listening to or which television shows I’m watching that my family and I never miss an episode of (none of it’s racist, sexist, or homophobic, etc.); I feel an apprehensive shakiness and a slight bit of worry every time I upload a photo of myself wearing a band t-shirt, wondering if this will be the photo that someone decides intended some secret, coded meaning that I didn’t intend it to mean or hadn’t even thought of, and it could very well be a career-ending photo. That’s alarming. It’s not like I listen to the hate-speech-laden music of the Alt-Right or anything like that, but intent doesn’t matter to the Wokeists, all that matters is whimsical shame and punishment.
I find myself waiting for the day when Beethoven is deemed off-limits because some viral internet pseudo-guru comes up with the idea that Beethoven lived in the Romantic Era of Germany and is somehow responsible for the much, much later Holocaust or some other sort of fantastical conspiracy theory. For the record, even if such a charge came out, I won’t stop listening to Beethoven and people are just going to have to deal with that.
Cue today’s moment that sent me into a tailspin of confusion…a video is resurfacing from 2017 of a man in a barber’s chair getting his haircut with none other than a hammer and an axe, a curious, novel, albeit a little weird way to get your haircut, admittedly, but it seems to have caught the attention of Twitter. This was enough for PinkNews to write up a story on the event, and both Twitter users and PinkNews had their day mocking the man who did something as harmless as getting a haircut, by a consenting barber, nonetheless. PinkNews apparently thinks that men getting a haircut with an axe harms the LGBTQ community in the same way that LGBTQ people harm heterosexual marriages by getting married. Or, they chose to make a mockery out of an extremely benign act for no good reason other than to garner clicks and perhaps a smug sense of superiority. That is, neither gay marriage, nor a man getting a haircut with an axe, effects literally anyone else except the parties involved, usually two people in each case, two consenting people who usually have an enjoyable time.
The only question I can ask is why? Why, when there’s so much going on out there, why when there are states battling to strip women of their reproductive freedom, when there is a repeat-offender of sexual assault in the White House, when LGBTQ rights are again under assault in the United States and possibly in question with the recent Supreme Court cases, why are people choosing to focus on how a man cuts his hair? Seriously, I want answers.
Is this how low we’ve stooped that men can’t even have silly fun anymore without it turning into some social cause and evidence of “toxic” masculinity? There’s nothing toxic about getting a haircut. Nothing, nothing at all.
It just seems so juvenile, so snobby, so haughty, so futile, and like such a flagrant waste of time, doesn’t it? A guy cut his hair with an axe, no big deal, it’s just a novel internet-moment that doesn’t even really deserve the time of day, less still serious social reflection. Yet, it’s used in the same way the rallying cries behind the lighting of the White House with rainbow colors under Obama’s tenure was used, by conservatives, to decry that Obama was somehow guilty of “defacing” the Office — how ironic, that these champions of that very same message, the message that lights in bright, alternating colors deface the White House, have now elected Donald J. Trump to the presidency…let that sink it…it seems we’re destined to alternate between crazy and crazier until we learn to get it right and learn a bit of cohesion and understanding in our national discourse, rather than angry finger-wagging and brazen violence, or displays of privilege and power. Today, politics is a team sport we play and nobody is listening, because identity trumps humanity (pun fully intended).
The witch-hunt mentality certainly needs to go. Sensationalist click-bait certainly also needs to go. The sad reality is, that which separates blind, senseless “wokeism” from bona fide social justice and political grievance, is that “wokeism” is simply a tool used to oppress and shame, it’s vengeance for some sense of wrong which is arbitrarily applied and enforced, taking place at the expense of those truly suffering. The problem with “wokeism” is that it actively works against the currents of the causes it purports to be in support of, by turning-off every sane and sensible human being to the more important messages out there. Nobody is going to listen to a unilateral bombardment of senseless smears, and rightfully so, and the real problem with wokeism is when people who can’t keep up stop listening to rape victims and the victims of hate crimes as well because they can no longer discern the difference between understandable grievance and hostility for the sake of social status.
Wokeists never seem to understand intersectionality, or at least they don’t apply it, never seeming to realize that their outrage often oppresses others, unbeknownst to them — because they aren’t listening. That’s one thing our society certainly needs to do a bit more of, less talking, more listening.
I think we’re all really tired of the language police telling us which words we’re allowed to use, and I’m not talking about flagrantly obscene words like those which are racially charged and have a history of oppression, I’m talking about every time a man in deep despair says he’s having “girl” problems, this isn’t the time to play word-police and declare, “Ah-ha! You’re a sexist, I knew it! The proper term is women!” Pretending that referring to grown women as “girls” and using the n-word, with a hard “r” are the same thing is a gross mischaracterization of the histories of each word. There is no correspondent push to eliminate phrases like, “I’m having trouble with boys,” from the American lexicon. We don’t say anything when Taylor Swift refers to grown men as “boys” or even when Katie Perry refers to grown women as “girls.” Maybe the guy was just having a really bad day and used a slang term he’d grown up with. Not every use of language is evidence of what we want it to mean. Regional differences and the vast size of the American country also make for an extremely non-cohesive language that’s bound to ruffle the feathers of some of the less stable among us — those who’ve toed the waters of paranoia. Perhaps no one is grasping that we can’t rely on words to convey an accurate, essential meaning of people’s thoughts, because, as Nietzsche said: We set up a word at the point where our ignorance begins.
Words are, at best, somewhat close approximations of truth and only partial reflections of our inner worlds — they’re always flawed.
I do agree that using feminine terms like “sissy” should probably go and that plenty of misogynistic language is floating around out there, undoubtedly, and it can be a sure-fire way to spot someone who might be toxic from a mile away, but when we get carried away and misapply these ideas, everything becomes blurred and nobody can distinguish the difference between sincere intent to cause harm and playful alternatives to proper speech. I do believe that there are words, like the n-word, which can be reliably employed to seriously hurt people’s feelings and they should probably not be used. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, here, and read into everything that’s spoken the worst possible interpretation we can muster.
That’s when people throw up their arms and give up, because everything is just changing so fast, usually on whims which are dictated by the virality of posts on social media feeds, made-up as we go along with little rhyme or reason, and reinforced by an arguably faulty system of magnifying the loudest voices on our biggest platforms of Facebook and Twitter. The academics have been drowned out by an angry mob, both in the classroom and on the internet, and while these people are in no way reflective of the majority, or even a decently-sized minority, it only takes a very small subset of a population to effect change. Just look at who our President is. Are we destined to alternate between one senseless extreme or the other? I sure hope not. But, as always, time will tell.
But one thing is for sure, without a sensible, sane dialogue, nothing much of goodwill get accomplished, making a dialogue towards progress, exactly what we need. Until then, the bizarre and strange voices that make little sense will most often drown out those people who are legitimately suffering and that’s truly a shame — it’s time for a new paradigm…and a new President.