Flat White

What’s woke this week?

4 February 2019

12:09 PM

4 February 2019

12:09 PM

The world is getting woker by the week, and this past week has served up more examples of “you just couldn’t make this stuff up” wokeness than it’s possible to cover — so many stories, so little space. Here are some of my favourites, including the antics of a trash-talking trio of the cisterhood and seeing racism in coaldust-covered faces.

Cisterhood sorority

Oh my snarlin’ Clementine

She’s been spitting bile for so long that no one was really surprised when erstwhile Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford spat the dummy a few days ago. Armed with a gender studies background and a feminazi view of the world Clem has been delivering foul-mouthed rants for so long that f***ing is her go-to adjective of choice. When she described Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a “f***ing disgrace” she claims to have been ‘disciplined’ unfairly by her employer.

With her columns recently reduced she decided to bail, rather than “eat their s**t again”. Well, silly me, I thought that’s what her readers had been ingesting for the last seven years. Maybe that paragon of journalistic integrity and ‘digital disrupter’, BuzzFeed, could take her on. Oops, seems that ship has sailed. If you would like to contribute to her continuing woke existence you can donate on her Patreon page where for only $10 a month she will curse ten men in your honour.

Yumi who me?

Yumi Stynes is a classic woke world ‘celebrity’, the kind who usually start their careers by winning some reality TV competition or other and then wind up as serial ‘presenters’ of cool things like morning TV programs, radio shows, podcasts or fearless SBS documentaries. Last week on Network Ten’s morning program Studio 10 Stynes told co-panellist Kerri-Anne Kennerly that she was “sounding quite racist” in her comments about ‘Invasion Day‘ protests.


In the furore that followed Stynes did not turn up for her scheduled appearance on the show the next day, posting to her Instagram account that she wanted to ‘lie around and do nothing’. Instead, she turned to radio for a chat on The Kyle and Jackie O Show to explain her position. She later revealed that she had cancelled her Studio 10 appearance because with some ‘quite right-wing’ people booked to join the conversation she would have been ‘walking into a trap’. Poor Yumi. Seems that in the real world you don’t get to only preach to the converted.

Self-made barmaid

The last of our trash-talking trio is the clueless congresswoman and darling of the Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This week former Starbucks CEO and self-made billionaire Howard Schultz announced that he is considering running for president. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, without any hint of irony, “Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first?’”. Conversely, her previous career as a bartender was the perfect background for a leap into congress.

Blackface headcase

Two wonderfully woke op-ed pieces drew some pretty long bows in newspapers on opposite sides of the USA last week. (It occurred to me while writing this that if you rearrange the letters of op-ed you get dope. Just saying.)

The ministry of anti-minstrelsy

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner wrote in The New York Times about Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins’ “shameful flirting with blackface” in the 1964 movie. You remember. It’s when she emerges from a journey up the chimney with soot on her face and then proceeds to apply more soot before a dance number with similarly blackened chimneysweeps. He also pointed out “disturbing echoes” of the “blackface performance tradition” in this year’s multi-Oscar-nominated Mary Poppins Returns. Trigger warning: cleaning chimneys may result in a black face.

Coaldust distrust

Meanwhile, almost 3,500 kilometres away over at the Arizona Republic Rashaad Thomas opined “Phoenix restaurant says this is a photo of coal miners. But I see offensive blackface”. While attending a party at a Phoenix restaurant Thomas was offended by a photo on the wall showing coalminers having a beer at a pub after work. He brought it to the attention of the white restaurant owner and was horrified when his “concern that the photograph of men in blackface was a threat to me and my face and voice were ignored”. In another irony-free statement, Thomas declared, “A business’ photograph of men with blackened faces culturally says to me, ‘Whites Only’. It says people like me are not welcome”, all while he partook of the hospitality of this clearly unwelcoming place.

Honourable mentions

In other woke news a Scottish lesbian and her transgender partner are planning their five-year-old son’s transition to a girl while the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service now requires white men to score higher on a recruitment test than women or minorities. I said you just couldn’t make this stuff up.

Illustration: Walt Disney Productions.

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