Congratulations to Drum and Jones!


But also, Death by Woke:
Congratulations are due to Mother Jones for (what we assume to be) Kevin Drum's cover report.

In hard copy, Drum's essay will appear in the January/February issue. On line, Drum has now posted it under this headline:
We Need a Massive Climate War Effort—Now
Congratulations to Drum and to Jones for this lengthy essay. We'll also state what's merely obvious:

There's a very good chance that no such massive effort will ever take place. Speaking for several future experts, we congratulate Drum for the anthropological approach he takes at one point:
DRUM (12/17/19): Fifteen years ago, UCLA geography professor Jared Diamond wrote a book called Collapse. In it, he recounted a dozen examples of societies that faced imminent environmental catastrophes and failed to stop them. It’s not because they were ignorant about the problems they faced. The 18th-century indigenous inhabitants of Easter Island, Diamond argues, knew perfectly well that deforesting their land would lead to catas­trophe. They just couldn’t find the collective will to stop. Over and over, human civilizations have destroyed their environments because no one—no ruler, corporation, or government—was willing to give up their piece of it. We have overfished, overgrazed, overhunted, overmined, overpolluted, and overconsumed. We have destroyed our lifeblood rather than make even modest changes to our lifestyles.
We humans aren't wired in ways which let us stave off future catastrophes of this type. Anthropologically, the problem isn't that it's too late. The actual problem is that our species wasn't built for circumstances of this type.

That's one basic part of the problem. The other part of the problem is The Problem—the vast tribal division which currently afflicts our society (and others.)

Climate change is like everything else. Members of our different tribes have been told, and have believed, vastly different sets of facts about the situation.

This is The Problem which lies beneath all other current problems. This brings us back to the afternoon reports we said we'd deliver this week.

Those reports will all deal with what has long been derided as "political correctness." Going back several decades, that's a term we've never used. We've always felt that the term delivered vastly more heat than light.

In recent years, however, we've come to feel that our failing liberal/progressive tribe is succumbing to a related phenomenon. We'll call it "Death by Woke."

Death by Woke! It's a phenomenon in which perfectly valid, important concerns are treated in such ridiculous ways that members of the other tribe view us with understandable scorn and disdain.

Sometimes it's the spectacular dumbness with which members of our tribe approaches these valid, important concerns. Sometimes it's our tribe's deep desire to scold the others—to tell the others that they're deplorable, which seems to suggest that we aren't.

However we might conceive it, we've seen Death by Woke rushing forward in recent years in much the way Katherine Boo once viewed the phenomenon she described as Creeping Dowdism.

Boo issued her warning about Creeping Dowdism in the Washington Monthly in 1992. You can't see her lengthy essay on line. We'll guess that The Monthly came to see that Dowd was so well-connected that they probably shouldn't "show their work.".

Whatever! Within a few years, the Dowdism stopped creeping and started to gallop and surge. Eventually, it ate much of upper-end journalism whole.

Creeping Dowdism ate the mainstream press corps alive. The silliness of the modern New York Times is the fruit of that revolution. It seems to us that Death by Woke is advancing in much the same manner.

Congratulations to Drum and Jones for a voluminous discussion. But, reporting from the future, our own anthropological sources tell us the situation suffers from a version of "too little" even more than from a "too late."

Our very limited human wiring leaves us very poorly equipped for the challenge Drum describes. Meanwhile, within our own tribe, Death by Woke is making it harder and harder to imagine a time when we can get the tens of millions of Others to pay any attention to a single thing we say.

According to the future experts with whom we consult, our tribe has played a significant part in this. Tomorrow, we'll plan to return to recent mainstream examples of the onrushing killer disease known as Death by Woke.

We need a massive effort now? Thanks in part to Death by Woke, we'll guess that simply can't happen!

Fuller discourse on method: Much of our own current reporting is drawn from the work of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves, a disconsolate group of future scholars which reports to us from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.

They report to us through the nocturnal submissions the haters refer to as dreams. Cassandra often seems to be present. The nature of the "war" to which the experts refer has never been fully described.


  1. "There's a very good chance that no such massive effort will ever take place. "

    Dear Bob, there's 100% chance that nothing of the kind will ever take place. Not to mention that it seems highly unlikely that anything of that sort would be necessary or even useful.

    But of course your dembot clowns will keep on fear-mongering, because that's how your sponsors de-industrialize societies where working class is paid decent wages.

    By the way, is this true: "On December 13 & 14, 2009, professor, prophet, and soothsayer Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap could be completely ice free within the next five to seven years."? It is, isn't it, dear Bob?

    Does it mean your God Algore is not omniscient? Oh dear...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Don't know squat, do you? Don't care, either. Sad!

  2. “Political correctness” is a term that “delivered vastly more heat than light.”

    So, instead of using that term, Somerby will use another term, “woke”, that is apparently another term for political correctness: “Those reports will all deal with what has long been derided as "political correctness.", but he will call them “woke.”

    Even though “woke” concerns are “perfectly valid, important concerns”, they are not discussed properly, so they become synonymous with “political correctness.”

    He doesn’t make clear, nor has he ever made clear, how you discuss “perfectly valid, important concerns” (dealing with social injustice) without offending someone, nor how you do this without seeming “better” than others. Speaking out against social injustice implies that you find fault with existing conditions. That people take offense at that is inevitable.

    1. You start with bigotry. The bigotry of those taking offense.

    2. Yes, why would someone take offense if they were not bigots?

    3. Bigotry is the only reason. Like when Obama took offense to gay marriage, it was bigotry on his part.

    4. Why is "better" in quotes?

  3. Wow, Mao. First in line again, but congrats on not using the word zombie. Demerit for using dembot, though, so one step forward, one step back.

    Dembot, zombie, is a good filler for someone who has nothing to say.

    By the way, this is Gore said exactly. Listen carefully, because he uses real words... (ignore the headline, which inaccurately describes the contents, but I assume the headline is all you read):

  4. Gore was talking about what other scientists were predicting. He was talking about the summer months. He cited another scientist who predicted 2030s, and Gore said about the different predictions: "we will find out..."

    1. So, then, fear-mongering predictions of your zombie shamans are to be ignored? Are we clear on this, dembot?

    2. Of course climate-change predictions should be ignored. You wouldn't want your best buddies (the Establishment Elite) to pay for the negative things their products cause, would you?
      Of course you wouldn't.

  5. "woke" has a positive and a pejorative definition:

    being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice.

    The act of being very pretentious about how much you care about a social issue. It has arguably become a popular and acceptable derogatory term, similar in nature to the use of "social justice warriors."

    1. It seems natural that someone who doesn't care at all about these issues would feel put upon, affronted by those who do care.

      I think Democrats, liberals, progressives, people who do care about whatever they care about, should live their lives and do what they do without reference to what conservatives or Somerby or anyone else thinks about them.

      The word "woke" in Somerby's mouth is itself an affront because he has no affection for the people he talks about, no respect much less approval.

      Somerby is an asshole, so why should any of us care what he thinks?

      Nice the way David in Cal points out the way Somerby mirrors the attacks made on progressives by conservatives. Just another way in which Somerby shows us that he is no liberal himself. Are we all supposed to behave in callous ways because someone else might think we are "woke" if we try not to hurt other people's feelings? What good does that do?

      Some time in the mid-40s, people stop caring what other people think of them. Did Somerby skip that stage of adulthood or is he trying to manipulate younger people by telling them "no one will like you if you are too woke"? As I said, Somerby is an ass.

  6. There is no similarity between Death by Woke and Creeping Dowdism (which boils down to fatuity). These are just two things Somerby decrys, but they have little in common.

    It is the easy way out to assert that there is no hope and that climate change is going to destroy humanity and there is nothing we can do about it (because future anthros in caves said so). Nihilism is so easy. And Somerby is so incredibly lazy.

    In the future, when we have solved those life threatening problems and have time to deal with lesser annoyances, I suggest that we all vote Somerby out of the cave. He is a real downer who contributes nothing to anyone else's quality of life.

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