Sunday, October 25, 2020


'What started out as a way to label people as culturally and politically aware has now become evidence of how culturally and politically aware people like to think they are. If you feel the urge to call yourself and others woke, it’s less believable that you actually are.'

I really do not like the current trend in verbiage or right-on trendy-speak, most is used simply to go with what is considered woke, a word that itself is an invented trendy way of saying 'to be aware of'.' The original meaning of 'woke' was to be awake to social injustice - particularly injustices about race - but it is now applied to almost anything being pushed by progressives (another word that has been hijacked in the political arena to mean so many more things than it was originally used for.)

The wholesale misuse of words in general lessens their impact and muddies their actual meaning, yet the never-ending competition for being seen to be leading from the front in nearly all arenas of public statement and speech leads to examples of what years ago would have been described as twaddle.

Even slogans gain new users almost overnight: ‘build back better’, a UN slogan is now uttered by what seems every politician on the planet; much has been made of this as a sign of a world conspiracy to come about after the virus is eliminated or just goes away as it will like all other similar ones. Is it a sign of new world order? I doubt it but we do live in strange times and the world leaders all singing from the same hymn sheet gives that tack credence; or it could just be, more likely, they haven’t the wit or reasoning to come up with something of their own so just jump on the slogan bandwagon.

If critical race/gender/queer theory is unfalsifiable postmodern claptrap as anyone with a brain would testify, how come the liberal left and all the ‘woke’ agenda has gained traction?

In many ways it hasn’t; it is really no different from the old CND marches for the majority. It is just another coat hook to hang their credentials on and there are so many of them, all of them squeezed to the death for maximum effect.

'Racist', a word that had attachment to the apartheid era in South Africa and the civil rights protests in the USA, has become a word that has no longer any real meaning at all; it has been used as a derogatory term for anything and anybody who does not go along with the liberal left/Marxist agenda. A word that had a powerful connotation is now just an addendum in any conversation that is not going the left's way.

'Fake News' has run its course; originally a pointer to news that was believed to be false or inaccurate, it has morphed into a phrase that is used when anything is said that goes against your own views.

'Human resources, management of'; horrible phrase - likens people to rows of pot noodles.

'Cultural appropriation', a term used by BAME people who regard anything, African for instance, to be only available to them, the oppressed minority, while they appropriate all the advances of the country that adopted them, the dominant majority; 'cultural appropriation' only goes one way.

I’m not even going to bother with 'binary' or anything attached to the LGBTXYZTRS brigade; all I will say it has completely changed the way I look at rainbows!

Reading that is enough to make you wonder if anyone actually knows what cultural appropriation is - and do you care?

In certain areas there appears to be almost a competition to appear more woke than your peers. Some wonderful examples appear these days: this one from a sudden glut of statements by supermarket CEOs on how stockpiling was the reserve of the middle classes (the middle classes by the way in this country are among the lowest for remuneration in Europe) - anyway top of the pile was the one from the head of Iceland and Food Warehouse  who said that stockpiling was 'a middle class privilege and social injustice.' One short sentence but two woke battle cries: 'privilege' has just about levered 'racist' from the top spot of wokeness; and 'social justice' means anything these days' from the injustice that kids need food paid for by the general taxpayer and not the absent father to seeing that all those in the public sector are feather-bedded from any financial effects caused by the virus or that any person who is not white is automatically - regardless of their income or standing - moved ahead of the indigenous white population for almost everything now. Social justice, indeed.

Even schools and universities have fallen foul of the woke agenda. In San Diego policies that marked down students for not turning up, turning up late and failing to complete course work are now deemed racist and as the majority of the transgressors were from the ethnic groups on campus they are now having those failings moved to the students' citizen grade. Citizen grade? What is that in terms of achievement and employment? This will. according to the schools Vice President, help to amend the racism that these practices create. 'Racist' school for marking down students who fail on several levels, Jesus, how woke is that?

I wonder if future employers will be told how these students achieved their grades. Probably not, as they will almost certainly go along with this nonsense; they wouldn’t want to be seen to be lagging in the woke stakes.

The best example of the word soup created by the woke was this job advert for a diversity director for the Trussell Trust, an outfit that distributes food parcels. £62k is the going rate offered which one has to say equates to an awful lot of food parcels that could have been put together - which one would in normal circumstances have thought a priority for a charity dedicated to feeding of the malnourished; and where a diversity director fits into all this is your guess as well as mine; nonetheless it is a gem.

'Highly expert in the discipline, and able to clearly articulate complex concepts such as power, privilege, bias and intersectional injustice, you will ensure that our organisational perspective on these issues reflects the most considered and comprehensive thinking. The ability to identify and realise shared ‘quick wins’ that capture and signpost our direction of travel will be a distinct advantage. …'


'Diversity' is a late comer to this woke alphabet. Originally a word used in phrases such as a 'diverse opinion' or 'diverse elements', it is now solely for the push to include diverse ethnicities, or at least they would have you believe that. It is also a wonderful way to express desires for diversity that are at the least vague or beyond comprehension, the BBC  presenter Ellie Harrison has said that:

'So there's work to do. Even a single racist event means there is work to do. In asking whether the countryside is racist, then yes it is; but asking if it's more racist than anywhere else - maybe, maybe not.'

This woke attack on the fact that very few BAME people ever get out in the fresh air of our countryside has little to do with the other fact that there is absolutely nothing to stop them. We have a large RSPB bird sanctuary on the coast near us and hordes of people visit it (can I say 'horde' or is that like 'tsunami',  perceived to mean unwelcome large numbers of immigrants, that only people right of centre - itself a nasty place - appear to notice.) I have never on my travels ever spotted a person from a BAME background with a pair of binoculars climbing over a stile, and one way or the other it bothers me not one little bit. The attitude of the BBC presenter is that for reasons of wokeness they should be forced to enjoy the same countryside we do, probably on a quota system!

There is so much that equates to woke in what she says it makes your eyes bleed: not a single item of unique thinking, all from the woke playbook, and this is a woman who scarred her arms, not tattooed, to show her love for a man; mental.

Whitehall naturally is in on the act. It has spent £400,000 of our money sending staff on courses for having 'unconscious bias' i.e. everybody is racist but they don’t know it.

There are 180 diversity officers across nine Whitehall departments. This woke exercise would never have been revealed in the public arena but the scheme was to be rolled out for the palace of Westminster and naturally the MPs rebelled; they would have to have electric cattle prods used on them to get them into something the rest of civil service was being forced to go to. Never slow to be seen going forward and woke unless it affects them personally, it also took national headlines to shut the Commons bars down when everyone else was denied the same ‘privilege’  - 'there, I’ve done it, I am woke!'  

Or perhaps in the interests in 'fairness', another word used so loosely as to not be fair to itself, we should all stay indoors thereby creating, yes you saw it coming, a ‘level playing field’; yes, yet another phrase that the left use to mean all things to all men, though it never impoverishes those that uttered the phrase in an attempt to create the level playing field; that sacrifice is reserved for everyone else.

Elsewhere, 'no platform' has run its course as a woke phrase; 'cancelling' is the new buzz-word. Instead of stopping someone appearing at a debate, the person is now ‘cancelled’ before they are booked; at least it saves turning up and being disappointed. The only thing I can remember being cancelled was my library card when I failed to return a book.

It seems now that we are moving away from a single word that was used in wokeness: now, as with the above-quoted supermarket bosses, there is real competition for the most diverse of phrases, most of which need a translator; such as this from a NYT piece: 'the entrenched forces of white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalism' -  no, me neither, it’s pseudo-intellectual garbage.

Other words are constantly added to the list of those one should not use; in some cases you do wonder at the mentality of those who decide on the validity of same words. I saw that ‘hysterical’ should not be bandied about as it refers to emotional women who are not in a safe place; 'safe place' is another well-worked phrase that to me is a waste of space, and 'a waste of space' is a derogatory term for someone who is trying to reverse the results of capitalism or something; it all gets very involved.

Some I like just for the fun of it: a young criminal is now a ‘justice -involved juvenile’ - makes him sound like a court usher; 'minority enterprise development' is actually about racial quotas!  

The list is endless. Dictionaries now have lists that every year they have to make room for, whereas in the past a new word made front page news. I leave you with one we all understand, well all of us who have worked or do work: 'shared responsibility payment' - meaning taxes.

Corporations have taken it on themselves to be the arbiters of wokeness, telling customers that they will not stand for any form of racism and that they will do all in their power to see that diversity among the companies is achieved, not merely an aspiration. The BBC leads on that one with racial quotas way above the norm even now and advertising positions that only BAME people can apply for; they of course are not racist - all racism is reserved for white people; how woke is that? Peak woke, methinks.

'Woke'; the word, like so many others before it, has lost its way from the original black civil rights movement about being awake to events; along with so many words and phrases, it has been bastardised to mean anything you want it to. Now, rather than signifying an awareness of social injustice, it is used to suggest that someone is being pretentious and insincere about how much they care about an issue.

Word soup has arrived.

In fact so many words and phrases are being used up I fully expect cockney rhyming slang to make a come back: bottle, bottle and glass=arse=farce; why not? That’s what it all amounts to.

Grovellers en masse

The BLM movement, despite being roundly discredited as a vehicle for a Liberal-left/Marxist movement, enthralled thousands with its wokeness: the grovelling take-a-knee participants took that whole apologise-for-white-supremacy shtick to a new level of dumb.

Even the virus is racist: it has been suggested that it unfairly has more effect on BAME communities..

Let's not leave out ('exclude'?) religion... A rather wonderful example of the use of language for the purposes of obfuscation came up in the Hackney Gazette this week. The local council has decided that unless the area - Stamford Hill, which is one of, if not the, most orthodox Jewish areas in the country - starts obeying the restrictions it will be going into a local lockdown. (It's an area I know well, having spent my formative years growing up near there; the orthodox Jewish community is very tightly-knit with large families and basically does its own thing.) This is the sentence in question:

'Visiting friends and family could be banned, and faith settings and some businesses could face temporary closure.'

'Faith settings'? Certainly new to me, and a way of not actually saying what the faith was that would be closed down, though anyone familiar with the demographics of that area would know it meant synagogues. Still, by using a phrase that in normal circumstances means absolutely nothing the council leader has avoided any case of offending a particular religion and I suppose that was the objective; but 'faith settings'? Gobbledygook.

Can this word-warping continue? Undoubtedly: those who promote the language and direction of their various agendas have nowhere else to go; the race to the bottom has only just started.


Sobers said...

"I fully expect cockney rhyming slang to make a come back: bottle, bottle and glass=arse=farce; "

Actually arse in CRS is 'aris'. It was a fairly rare example of a triple rhyme: aris = aristotle = bottle = bottle and glass = arse

A particularly wonderful line was delivered by the late George Cole in the TV show Minder: 'I walk into a well known bird bandits lair, and find some comely richard flaunting her aris round the gaff!'

wiggiatlarge said...

You are correct but as I lived in Hackney I can assure you both and other versions were used.

The truth is very few people actually used it, just the odd suitable piece of slang when the right moment arrived and it became fashionable again when mockney came on the scene, Jamie Oliver has a lot to answer for in more ways than one, and they started to make up new phrases, which you can see in the link.
And many on the lists in that link I never heard used, if you have I will willingly hand you over a handful of the old laughing lettuce!

decnine said...

In my simplicity, I always thought that 'arris' derives from 'arris rail'='tail'.

Paddington said...

I agree that a lot of this stuff is crap.

That being said, experience suggests that, at least here in the US, there are a lot of problems.

For example, every single woman that I have talked to has been sexually harassed at some point.

For another, every single black friend has been pulled over at least once, for 'Driving While Black'. One such friend walked out of a local fast food place in a very upscale white town, climbed into his car, and was surrounded by 6 policemen with drawn guns, including one of the bonnet of his car. They were looking for a slim, young black male who had just shoplifted at a Target a few miles away. My friend is middle-aged, and about 20 stone.

While I was stopped a few times as a young man, I was never put in that kind of danger.