Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Brooks Gets Woke

Pre-woke David Brooks contemplated unpatriotic Colin Kaepernick back in the old days, last September. Image credit Getty/Thearon W. Henderson/Bryan Bedder/Salon.

Verbatim David Brooks, "How Cool Works in America Today", July 25 2017:
The modern concept of woke began, as far as anybody can tell, with a 2008 song by Erykah Badu. The woke mentality became prominent in 2012 and 2013 with the Trayvon Martin case and the rise of Black Lives Matter. Embrace it or not, B.L.M. is the most complete social movement in America today, as a communal, intellectual, moral and political force.
Question to Radio Yerevan: Is it true that, as far as anybody can tell, the modern concept of woke began with a 2008 song by Erykah Badu?

Answer: In principle, yes. But first of all, when Badu uses the phrase "I stay woke" throughout the 2008 song "The Master Teachers", according to Wikipedia, it "does not yet have any connection to justice issues", which does not sound precisely like the modern concept (as opposed to 2012, when she began using it along with others in connection with social and racial justice as well as to demand freedom for the then jailed Russian singing group Pussy Riot); second of all, also according to Wikipedia,

Oxford Dictionaries records[3] early politically conscious usage in 1962 in the article "If You're Woke You Dig It" by William Melvin Kelley in The New York Times[4] and in the 1971 play Garvey Lives! by Barry Beckham ("I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk.")[5]
And third of all—oh, I don't know, this is the second time in the history of David Brooks's Times gig that he has used the three words "black", "lives", and "matter in one column (the previous time was in an attack—perfectly justified—on Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke for calling BLM "black slime"). Today's column seems devoted to arguing that it is better to be woke than to be cool, which seems to me like a false dichotomy. I can't see why I can't aspire to be both woke and cool at the same time. Then again in May Brooks said that to be "woke" is "to embrace the most cynical interpretation of every situation, to assume bad intent in every actor, to imagine the conspiratorial malevolence of your foes." Which doesn't sound cool at all. He also asserts today that
The woke mentality has since been embraced on the populist right, by the conservative “normals” who are disgusted with what they see as the thorough corruption of the Republican and Democratic establishments. See Kurt Schlichter’s Townhall essay “We Must Elect Senator Kid Rock” as an example of right-wing wokedness.
The future Senator Rock deserves your eager support for two critical reasons: First, it will drive the liberals insane. Second, it will make George Will and the rest of Team Fredocon soil themselves.
Kid Rock? Oh, well I never!” You simpering sissies. I’ll take his nasty stringy mop and torn wife beater over your preferred weasels’ coiffed politician/newscaster hair and Gucci loafers.
Sounds exactly like DeRay. Woke af. Go read Driftglass, I'm done.

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