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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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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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Gncq · 29/11/2021 20:30

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 20:43

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

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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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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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foxgoosefinch · 29/11/2021 20:47

*as Burchill does

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HazelCarbyFan · 29/11/2021 20:48

Beastlyslumber: I appreciate your engagement. Why is a broad term that links a number of things needed? Why not speak clearly about what are the specific things that are at issue? I think the very problem is trying to link together different ideas and movements and conflating them. Instead of one term, I think it’s more helpful and precise to address specific issues and objections to them, rather than a term that ends up applied to anything and becomes meaningless.

Trans women in sports is not the same as Black people being shot by the police. We don’t really need a term to put them together, on either side.

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foxgoosefinch · 29/11/2021 20:51

Interestingly I’ve heard people similarly object to the term “snowflake” on the grounds that it is a far-right 4Chan invention -- actually it wasn’t, it was first used on the US-basses university teachers’ online forum of the Chronicle of Higher Education in the very early 2000s to mean middle class university students, who were such delicate flowers that they practically melted if they didn’t have everything spoonfed to them, depended on their parents for everything and made constant complaints about being offended. Grin

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LondonWolf · 29/11/2021 20:53

Please stop using this term in this way.

No.

It was embraced happily and pridefully initially. Now it’s being used by onlookers to indicate a damaging ideology and a certain type of person who engages in cult like behaviours and now you don’t like it anymore. More language changes in order to assist the ushering in the aforementioned cult.

No, I will continue to use it in the scornful way it deserves to be.

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Pascal80 · 29/11/2021 20:56

@foxgoosefinch

Interestingly I’ve heard people similarly object to the term “snowflake” on the grounds that it is a far-right 4Chan invention -- actually it wasn’t, it was first used on the US-basses university teachers’ online forum of the Chronicle of Higher Education in the very early 2000s to mean middle class university students, who were such delicate flowers that they practically melted if they didn’t have everything spoonfed to them, depended on their parents for everything and made constant complaints about being offended. Grin

4 Chan is not ''far right''. It's a channel with a ton of subject boards on there. Ridiculous comment.
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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 21:00

No, you're right Hazel - the examples you give are not the same thing and it would be unhelpful and pointless to try to say they are. But the word we're talking about is used to describe a political movement that is based on identity - a hierarchy of identity is seen as the structure both by which society functions and by which it must be revolutionised. As well as identity, it prioritises language, and specifically the control of language, as a site of power and revolution - hence the censorship and cancelling etc. It is quite an amorphous movement, and has a religious structure in many ways, with those who consider themselves to be part of it ascribing to a list of views (or articles of faith) and not being "allowed" to diverge from them. So you can't be part of this movement unless you agree with ALL of its tenets. You might be cancelled if you're TWAW but you voted Brexit, for example. So it definitely is a singular, if amorphous, movement, and it does need a name to describe it. In my opinion. And, as I say, I'm happy to use whatever name works for the people who belong to that movement.

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foxgoosefinch · 29/11/2021 21:03

@Pascal80 - if you had read my post properly, you’d see that I said that I have heard people object to it on those grounds Grin

Read things carefully before you comment!

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 21:06

I think we could follow Burchill's discussion here and just call it the Establishment Ideology. Because it is being used as a way to keep working class people from having a voice or a role in almost all areas of the establishment, from government to business to journalism to the arts and entertainment. Really interesting to listen to Burchill describe her experience as a young journalist being told what she can and can't say (and defying it) and now as a mature and very successful journalist still being told what she can and can't say (and still defying it!)

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GeorgiaGirl52 · 29/11/2021 21:07

@JayAlfredPrufrock

And when I think how Americans have mangled the English language

At least we know what "pudding" is -- and isn't!
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MrsPsmalls · 29/11/2021 21:08

Had no idea about the roots of this word. In general parlance round here (East of England) it is NEVER used re being awakened to racism or even sexism or religious bigotry. It is never used about being aware of big/real issues. It is only ever used about identity wankery or the professionally offended. This one is not going to return to its original meaning anytime soon.

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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 21:09

Steak and kidney, or blood Georgia?

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