TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2023
Also, could our own tribe be equally dumb? At least as a matter of theory, we tend to agree with Michelle Goldberg's recent column for the New York Times.
In print editions, the column appeared in this past weekend's Sunday Opinion section. Online, the column carries this headline:
The Right’s Obsession With Wokeness Is a Sign of Weakness
At least as a matter of theory, we tend to agree with that assessment. On the other hand, we also saw last Friday night's pseudo-discussion of "Wokeness" on The 11th Hour.
For an overview of that pseudo-discussion, see yesterday's report. Our question would be this:
In response to the right's obsession with wokeness, could our blue tribe possibly match the red, dumbness for dumbness for dumbness?
Could our tribe be equally dumb? Contrasting Goldberg's intelligent column with Friday night's transparent nonsense, we can't say we're entirely sure.
Goldberg began by acknowledging a giant red tribe win. Decades of political struggle ended last year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
In Goldberg's view, this giant win has left the red tribe with no obvious war to wage. Early in her column, she cited some of the apparent stupidity which has thus come to the fore:
GOLDBERG (3/12/23): [T]he nearly 50-year project of ending Roe is complete. Stirring crusades against Communism and then against radical Islam have subsided. The cult of personality around Trump has splintered. Many on the right would still like to obliterate the welfare state, but they’re deeply defensive about it. Hatred of wokeness is a brittle foundation for political identity, but it’s almost all that’s left.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, declared during his January inaugural address that “Florida is where woke goes to die.” Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state and a possible presidential candidate, recently tweeted, “Our internal threats—especially those trying to corrupt our kids with toxic wokeness—are more serious than our external threats.” Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said, “Wokeness is a virus more dangerous than any pandemic.”
Given that the Covid pandemic has already killed over a million Americans, this is transparently insane, even if you find much of what falls under the rubric of wokeness annoying. Such threat inflation is best explained by the right’s desperation for a unifying enemy...
Is wokeness "a virus more dangerous than any pandemic?” In Goldberg's view, the statement is "transparently insane."
Meanwhile, since the person who authored that statement isn't transparently insane, we're left to assume that political figures on the right have come to believe that they have nothing else to campaign on.
In Goldberg's view, "such threat inflation is best explained by the right’s desperation for a unifying enemy." With crusades against Communism dead and gone, this is the only existential threat the GOP has been able to conjure.
In Goldberg's view, hatred of wokeness looks like "a brittle foundation for political identity." At least as a matter of theory, we would tend to agree with that view.
We would be inclined to agree with the thrust of Goldberg's column. Then again, we also saw that utterly braindead pseudo-discussion on cable last Friday night.
The pitiful "Friday Nightcap" panel never mentioned Goldberg's column, but we'll guess that their pseudo-discussion was at least partly built upon what Goldberg wrote. Goldberg's column had appeared online that day, and that evening's pseudo-discussion seemed to track several references.
Having said that, we'll also say this:
Being an intelligent human being, Goldberg never pretended that she had no idea what the term "wokeness" could possibly mean. That's what the corporate stooges did Friday night, matching red tribe Dumb with blue tribe Dumber—or at least, with blue tribe Almost As Dumb.
On Friday night, the corporate stooges were puzzled by the very question of what such terms even mean! Goldberg showed no sign of having that problem, which was presumably feigned—feigned, false, phony, faux.
To her credit, Goldberg didn't seem to be baffled by the very question of what is meant by such terms as "woke" or "wokeness!" Indeed, in the passage we've already posted, she even allowed for the possibility that her readers might "find much of what falls under the rubric of wokeness annoying."
Earlier, she offered a clear indication of her residence on the planet Earth over the past dozen years or so. In the passage shown below, she's referring to the new anti-Woke political project of Leonard Leo, mastermind of the length political war which finally brought Roe down:
GOLDBERG: “I spent close to 30 years, if not more, helping to build the conservative legal movement,” Leo said in a video for the organization at the heart of his strategy, the Teneo Network. “And at some point or another, I just said to myself, ‘If this can work for law, why can’t it work for lots of other areas of American culture and American life where things are really messed up right now?’” That includes “wokeism in the corporate environment, in the educational environment,” biased media and “entertainment that is really corrupting our youth.”
Given Leo’s past success, he should be taken seriously. As Donald Trump’s adviser on judicial nominations, he helped put Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom have close Federalist Society ties, on the Supreme Court, making him central to the demise of Roe v. Wade. Leo has access to enormous resources; last year a conservative financier donated around $1.6 billion to a dark-money group that he controls. And since many elites resent the congeries of behavioral norms and linguistic innovations denigrated as wokeness, the Teneo Network will start from a place of strength, pushing on an open door.
Leo says he's going after "wokeism," corporate and educational both. Those targets are tangled up with allegedly biased media and “entertainment that is really corrupting our youth.”
In Goldberg's assessment, this "hatred of wokeness" is "a brittle foundation" for a political movement. But she isn't pretending that she doesn't know what the silly term "wokeism" actually means.
Meanwhile, it might be noted that many people who aren't "elites" do in fact seem to resent "the congeries of behavioral norms and linguistic innovations denigrated as wokeness." However one might assess this project, it hasn't been drawn from thin air.
Could anti-wokeness really succeed as a national political movement? That seems like a slender reed to us too, but down through the many extremely dumb years, our blue tribe has demonstrated the ability to lose many political fights.
Meanwhile, for an example of “entertainment that is really corrupting our [adults]," a person need look no farther than to the silly entertainment spectacular which took the form of a pseudo-discussion on blue tribe cable last Friday night.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, and the clowns are being paid large sums to keep us barefoot and clueless. Mainly, to keep us happily tuning in as our various "dear, dear friends" engagingly play the fool while feeding us pleasing porridge.
We're prepared to guess that the right's obsession with wokeness actually is a sign or weakness. Then again, there out tribunes sit, as our tribe has frequently sat, matching them dumbness for dumbness.
Tomorrow: No Dumbness Left Behind