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Julie Burchill: "Why I loathe the woke"
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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 19:14

Just thought I'd share this piece of joy for anyone else who is fond of Ms Burchill...

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foxgoosefinch · 29/11/2021 20:47

*as Burchill does

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foxgoosefinch · 29/11/2021 20:46

I agree that it does have an original meaning deriving from black civil rights activism - I’m uncomfortable with using it as Burchukl duds as a result - but unfortunately, Hazel, it was already appropriated in the US by white hipsters (especially “queer” activists) to mean “politically progressive” before people started using it pejoratively. That’s why they started using it pejoratively.

I’m not keen to use it myself, but it got appropriated first by the very group of white Tumblr-ite US social media types who were also keen on “reclaiming” queer, so the comparison up thread with queer doesn’t work so well!

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refusetobeasheep · 29/11/2021 20:46

I've just watched the clip and enjoyed it - thanks OP

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 20:43

Sorry, that was to Hazel. The thread moved fast!

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 20:42

You can post about how this word makes you feel. I'd rather you'd started your own thread about it, tbh, just because this was meant to be a cheering thread about a great working class woman who has a wicked sense of humour and mischief. But yeah, I don't disagree that you can talk about whatever you want, and if it has to be now, then so be it.

I guess I would just come back to the question of what's a better word for the political movement that is commonly described by this name? I'm happy to use a different word, personally. I doubt that Julie Burchill would have any truck with that, but I don't speak for her, or vice versa. If there's a better word then let's use it.

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NecessaryScene · 29/11/2021 20:42

Unfortunately I don't think you are going to be able to change this, even if everyone on this website stopped using it. "Woke" is in common use now to refer to the abovementioned people, and there's no other widely used name for them.

Which is another good reason to join in in hating the Woke - if they nicked a word you already knew and liked, and ruined it.

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Shedmistress · 29/11/2021 20:41

I was told not so many days ago that English Private School Pupils can be considered 'woke' and I had to respectfully ask the author to go and maybe research where the term came from.

I am sure Julie and the OP would much rather the term 'woke' to be kept to its original meaning, it is the white middle class snowflakes that have adopted it that are the problem, not the ones saying how much they despise the middle class white snowflakes who are misappropriating the term.

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IfNot · 29/11/2021 20:39

I agree with Hazel. I have come to be really suspicious of the “anti woke” people as a) woke really means “ awake to racism” and b) it will be used as a good reason to dismiss all measures to protect any group from oppression, including white women actually. And I don’t see how protesting about the hijacking of “ Woke” is any different than protesting the use of “ Karen” as a shorthand for racist white lady. Both are twisting a previously benign word to denote a toxic ideology or person.

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Classica · 29/11/2021 20:38

Why is it okay for others to say “don’t use Karen, it’s become very hurtful to women,” but not okay for me to say, “the way woke us being used is not separate from all the other ways Black culture is twisted, condemned and made negative, and it is harmful?” Why is one cancel culture and the other a brave stance?

Well said.

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LobsterNapkin · 29/11/2021 20:37

It's unfortunate maybe that the word has changed, though I think if we are being fair we could say that it hasn't been commonly used in that way, on it's own, for several decades. It's still possible to use it in a way that contextually gets at the same thing which I would say you'd need to anyway, even this other usage wasn't common now. The older usage is what you might call retro.

However, like others have said, this wasn't some kind of direct borrowing. It came to be used by the sort of university educated, urban, middle class, neoliberal types to describe those people who subscribe to their views on identity politics. The fact that these people in reality seemed so blind to their own biases just made it an almost irresistible label.

You sometimes see SJW used in a similar way, or people will talk about those who subscribe to identity politics, or cultural marxism, or intersectionalism, but woke I think has become popular because it does so encapsulate the attitude of those who embrace those perspectives. It's very difficult to unseat use of a word that contains that kind of descriptive irony.

It's also somewhat ironic to see the demands that people stop using the word because it's appropriation.

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HazelCarbyFan · 29/11/2021 20:34

It’s not a conflation - I’m being accused of controlling language for pointing out woke has an actual meaning rooted in Black activism and using it to mean extreme and irrational or to paint with a broad brush anything people don’t like (particularly anything challenging the status quo) has racial implications. AT THE VERY SAME TIME people on this board agree that it’s not ok to use Karen because it’s original meaning (a white woman who uses her power and privilege to call authorities down on Black people) has been watered down and now its use is purely misogynist.

Why is it okay for others to say “don’t use Karen, it’s become very hurtful to women,” but not okay for me to say, “the way woke us being used is not separate from all the other ways Black culture is twisted, condemned and made negative, and it is harmful?” Why is one cancel culture and the other a brave stance? Why is it ok to post about how pronouns make you feel but not ok to post about how seeing this makes me feel? Why is one concern about the use of language always okay and must be respected, but anyone else’s concern about language becomes “woke” and aggressive?

If you take the stance that language never matters then fine. But if you agree that language matters, but just not when Black people say it matters, then something is going on here.

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ArabellaScott · 29/11/2021 20:32

the term 'Karen' is awful, and yes, it is differently used in the UK. Different history, different context. As with so bloody many things - divided by a common language.

Hazel, tbh I dislike the term 'woke' myself, for various reasons, but the OP has just quoted the title of a clip. She (or he) is not exactly 'using' the term here, it's more like reporting on something.

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 20:32

[quote NecessaryScene]Please stop using this term in this way.

you don't get to insist that no one talks about your political project and it's weak and pathetic that you think you do

freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/please-just-fucking-tell-me-what[/quote]
To be fair, it's Burchill who is using the term, not me. I did put her words in quotation marks, so not really sure what else I'm supposed to do. But I liked this article, thanks for sharing.

"If woke, political correctness, identity politics, etc, are inflammatory terms, I'd be happy to substitute something that's not. But surely something is happening in our politics, and we have to be able to talk about it. So I'm asking for a name." Yep - I am likewise happy to use another name which doesn't offend.

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Gncq · 29/11/2021 20:30

Is this "Feminists are to blame for the actions of white men" again?

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ChimamandaFangirl · 29/11/2021 20:30

The difference between using Woke as term to mock, and using Queer as a word for LGB people whether they like it or not is that Queer is a slur being applied to people who reject the word, and Woke is a word that some people are still claiming proudly to describe ther views, and others who disagree with those views are using as a pejorative.

One is an unwelcome 'reclaiming', the other is term that has developed a pejorative sense because of political disagreement. Like I say, that's unfortunate, and I don't use the term myself, but it's not the same.

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EmbarrassingHadrosaurus · 29/11/2021 20:28

People on this board regularly bemoan the term “Karen” but then become apoplectic when you address the meaning behind other terms. Why is it ok for women on this board to protest the misogynist proliferation of the word “Karen” to now apply to any woman doing anything that no longer applies to specific racial dynamics, but not ok to make the same argument about this term?

I await you posting your analysis to justify that assertion with great interest as I have a technical interest in natural language processing and textual analysis.

I've been posting here for a very long time and would hesitate to claim to have sufficient insight to make such generalisations about the posters here and the length of their involvement or the topics that exercise them.

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allmywhat · 29/11/2021 20:28

not ok to make the same argument about this term?

Who says it's not ok for you to make the argument? But you are going to have to allow for people finding the argument unpersuasive.

Personally I'd be happy to stop using it if there was a similar term that conveyed the same meaning. But what good will that do you, if I do? Millions of other people will still be using it.

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 20:27

I just love Julie Burchill and wanted to share this joyous, funny interview with other people who love her too, or perhaps with those who have yet to be introduced to her. If you're not interested, then it's not for you.

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JayAlfredPrufrock · 29/11/2021 20:26

Think you are conflating two different issues there.

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HazelCarbyFan · 29/11/2021 20:23

There isn’t a separate UK evolution of the term “woke” - you can’t pretend it becomes void of its Black roots once it crosses the ocean.

People on this board regularly bemoan the term “Karen” but then become apoplectic when you address the meaning behind other terms. Why is it ok for women on this board to protest the misogynist proliferation of the word “Karen” to now apply to any woman doing anything that no longer applies to specific racial dynamics, but not ok to make the same argument about this term?

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Gncq · 29/11/2021 20:23

To insist others stop using a term for a movement that we can all see very clearly in front of our own eyes that is referred to as "woke", is ironically and unbearably woke.

As PP said, how about engage in the harm this movement is causing rather than forcing language control which is what the woke movement is known for.

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Whataday198 · 29/11/2021 20:22

How many of these people saying "but language evolves" the same people who argue that queer is a slur and "they/them" make no sense as singular pronouns?

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JayAlfredPrufrock · 29/11/2021 20:21

And when I think how Americans have mangled the English language

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allmywhat · 29/11/2021 20:19

Do you really need to appropriate the language Black people developed to speak about our political realities to dismiss and smear people?

It was appropriated by the type of people that are labelled "woke" in a sneering manner - overwhelmingly white, middle-class and conforming to a particular aesthetic of nonconformism, with a constellation of various unintelligent left-identifying ideas. I appreciate that the term originated with Black people, and it wasn't people opposed to "wokeness" who appropriated it.

Unfortunately I don't think you are going to be able to change this, even if everyone on this website stopped using it. "Woke" is in common use now to refer to the abovementioned people, and there's no other widely used name for them.

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EmbarrassingHadrosaurus · 29/11/2021 20:18

I'm not at all fond of Julie Burchill and, to be fair, I'm confident that she would loathe me if she were ever to meet me. JB is a gifted polemicist and it doesn't follow from that that I would agree with her on all matters. Owen Jones is similarly gifted and I find some of his views abhorrent on particular topics.

I'm at a loss as to how the OP could have alerted people to the title of JB's video if she were to amend the title.

I'd also, yet again, argue that accept a US graft of political terms into the UK context is not necessarily successful.

www.theweek.co.uk/woke

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