It can be quite interesting to see language evolve, but more often than not, all we witness is slang terms becoming mainstream; their meaning changed and in most cases, weakened (remember Ali G‘s use of “Babylon”?). “Woke” was a term that meant being politically aware or awake to injustice. Not turning a blind eye to systemic racism meant you were woke… but then, quite ironically, white people came along and ruined the word. Just like Disco, House and Hip-Hop music, when the mainstream take something from the underground, they subvert and water-down the original attributes, and this is exactly what happened to the word “woke”. More recently, this word has been co-opted by bigots and it’s now used disparagingly online, not to mention incorrectly.
If you step back and take a look at contemporary culture, we see two distinct camps. On one side we have massive corporations who want to be seen as inclusive and who can promote themselves any way they want (whether it’s true or not) because they have money and power. On the other side we have backward bigots, who see any superficial change to the status-quo as an attack on their conservative orthodoxy, and whose voice is bolstered by the proliferation of social media. In the middle it’s us; regular folk who can see the world hasn’t changed at all. If you look closely, all you’ll see is fake-wokeness and anti-wokeness. Nowhere do I see anyone or anything genuinely “woke” in the original sense of the word.
Channel 4’s “Altogether Different” advert is an example of one-half of this dichotomy. Channel 4, in case you don’t know, are a television channel who for the last twenty plus years, have had an almost 24/7 schedule of white, middle-class, mediocrity – dinner parties, home make-over shows and the like – but all of a sudden, they want to group ethnic, religious, and gender minorities together (and a straight, white bloke who likes to wear a dress as he creates art) as an example of them being neoteric or “the future” as they put it, and we have to “get used to it” apparently which is a sneering liberal jibe if I ever heard one. Oh thanks Channel 4 for your back-to-back Jamie Oliver and Bake Off shows, you’re so fucking progressive…
This condescending fake-wokeness is the kind of thing that then irritates the anti-woke, but to be honest, it annoys me too. I wouldn’t mind living in a truly woke world but in almost every case, it’s the fake-woke shite that people are unknowingly refer to. There’s no actual wokeness anywhere to be seen.
Take last year’s Sainsbury’s adverts which included people of colour. Seeing a black British family (aka a British family) on the telly sent morons into a frenzy on Twitter, and surprise, surprise, the word “woke” was repeatedly used in the replies…
RAF-Mac (@jmacauley1) November 17, 2020
A company not calling attention to a political issue but merely using ethnic minorities instead of white actors, isn’t at all woke but it didn’t stop these twats from using this now-diluted term. As far as I can tell, this is the modern equivalent of “political correctness”, a meaningless term bandied around by bigots, in fact it’s usually the “P.C. Gone Mad” crowd who use the term “woke” to describe a situation where they cannot use racial epithets. In case you missed it, “woke” is essentially a synonym for “black” to lots of racists.
It gets even dafter when you hear these prejudiced pricks use the word “woke” as a reason for disliking a film. Given that I review movies, I’ve had a few comments describing random flicks as “woke”; Candyman, Midsommar, and Halloween Kills among them. If Danny McBride’s mullet-ed arse is woke, what the fuck does that make Spike Lee? As far as I can tell, the Halloween remake and Ari Aster’s disappointing follow-up are “woke” because women survive and men die (I think) but c’mon, didn’t the female lead survive in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday The 13th and the original Halloween? Hell, in the original Friday The 13th it turned out the antagonist was a woman rather than a man. Did you hear anyone yell an incorrect term like “Feminist!” back in the 1980’s? Talk about going backwards.
Society has definitely devolved. Remember Blade and Spawn? Do you remember people cheering the first black superhero movie in the 1990’s? Not really. Flash-forward a couple of decades and Black Panther is supposed to be congratulated. 🤔 When an institution slowly evolves but then suddenly stops and regresses, they get to offer us something we already had and we’re supposed to be happy about it. I recently overheard people talking about the black western The Harder They Fall and they were speaking about it as though it was oh so innovative. Way to forget Mario Van Peebles’ Posse. One of these is a made-up movie about revenge and the other is based on a real-life but forgotten story about black cowboys but because one is produced by Jay-Z and is promoted on Netflix and the other is in the dusty past, the shitter and less-original film is heralded as new and bold. What a crock.
Of course there has been a superficial change from institutions like Hollywood. Unlike conservatives who ignore or refuse to accept responsibility for their wrong-doings, liberals over-compensate for being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist for decades, and they now want to be seen as making a change. That being said, what’s seen as “woke” by the masses is not the obvious attempts at equality or political commentary. Get Out or Promising Young Woman, no matter their flaws, were obviously about racism and misogynist rape culture respectively, but the public have a much wider scope when it comes to labelling a piece of entertainment as “woke”. Like I said, the mere presence of someone black or female sends the anti-woke brigade into a rage (like black and female characters didn’t exist before last year). 🙄
Here’s a few movies from the twentieth century (which is seen as a pre-woke era) for all you anti-woke people out there to consider:
In the aforementioned The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it’s the low-IQ, cannibal men who are the antagonists whereas the protagonists include women and a disabled character.
In Dog Soldiers lots of army men get killed by werewolves led by a woman.
In Carrie a menstruating girl kills lots of boys.
In Night Of The Comet two females and a latino survive a zombie apocalypse.
In Night Of The Demons a woman and a black man survive a supernatural haunting when every white man dies.
In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels a woman cons two male con artists.
In Die Hard With A Vengeance a black afrocentric man is coerced by white cops to help thwart white Aryan terrorists.
In the original Candyman it was an interracial relationship that led to the lynching and torture of a black slave but oh no, it’s the police brutality remake that’s woke!
So were any of these films genuinely “woke”? Nope. But in thousands upon thousands of films released every year, there’s bound to be a few hollow stories featuring minorities. Of course the anti-woke squad see bigger issues in modern Hollywood pictures; race-swapping, feminism, and a “gay agenda” are just a few things that irk these pricks. But once again, they’re wrong. Just think about all the movies these wazzocks would label “woke” these days:
Changing a characters’ race? How dare they! Ignore the fact that in 1988, Scrooged featured a black Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit is both black and female.
Too many feminist films? Too many anti-male movies? Ignore 1980’s 9 To 5 or 1991’s Thelma & Louise.
Too many gay characters? Ignore that 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop and 1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie had gay and lesbian characters respectively.
And surely My Beautiful Laundrette would have sent modern gammon into a frenzy! “What do you mean, they’ve made a white British boy into a poofter who fancies a Paki?!”.
So do you remember people complaining about My Own Private Idaho or Bound? What about Too Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar? Remember anyone picketing the Accused premiere… why is it so anti-male?! Recall people yelling “Blue Lives Matter” to N.W.A. and KRS-One or boycotting Do The Right Thing? Remember those hoards of people yelling “All Lives Matter” to Ras Kass? Nah, me neither. Despite overusing the word on social media, it’s these right-leaning bigots from the present day who are easily triggered.
There’s lots of contradiction and hypocrisy going on in the modern world. The same right-wing twats who complain about “woke” films have been ignoring every Hollywood depiction of Jesus as being white, blonde, with blue eyes. So what’s worse? Historical inaccuracy or colour-blind casting? Remember when we were told that calling attention to whitewashing was us being too sensitive? Remember being told that “actors are actors”? Remember them saying we’re using the “race card” for every issue? People like them used to tell people like us to stop seeing prejudice and politics in entertainment but now they see wokeness everywhere… why is “every” actor black, female, gay, yada yaya? Hey, maybe stop using the woke card, after all, actors are just actors, right? And oh yeah, I thought you lot didn’t see colour? Practice what y’all preach or…
Go Back To Sleep.