Flat White

What’s woke this week?

1 November 2019

12:55 PM

1 November 2019

12:55 PM

Roll up! Roll up! The death of a terrorist (and possibly any semblance of balanced reporting), more from the safe space world of universities, a much-needed win for poor, humiliated sex offenders and even a little vice from the Vatican have been trending in wokeworld this week.


Oxford University, that once august home of robust argument, daily descends further into its newer role as the guardian of groupthink and abettor of institutionalised anxiety.

Last week at its first meeting of the academic year the members of Oxford Student Council voted to:

Mandate the Sabbatical Officers to encourage the use of British Sign Language (BSL) clapping, otherwise known as ‘silent jazz hands’ at Student Council meetings and other official SU events.

Those who live their lives outside university ‘safe spaces’ may wonder what the vote was all about. Applause, it seems, might trigger anxiety amongst the student snowflakes or cause problems for those with ‘sensory sensitivity’. The visually-impaired, for whom applause probably provides important aural clues in a meeting setting, can presumably go jump.

Given the all-pervasive mentality in universities of seeing racism everywhere, you’d think that the whole concept of jazz hands would be a tinge problematic. It may well be the British Sign Language expression for applause and the ‘inclusive’ way to express appreciation already adopted by Manchester University, but its origins aren’t exactly the stuff that inclusive paradises are made of. Popularised by a blacked-up Al Johnson in The Jazz Singer and further promoted in the Black And White Minstrel Show this characterization of ‘people of colour’ has long been derided by woke warriors everywhere.

While no one knows the precise origins of slapping our hands together as a sign of appreciation it seems that humans have been doing it across cultures and throughout recorded history, but what’s a few thousand years of history against the trite trends of social justice tsars?

Snigger warning: The sight of all those smug snowflakes flailing their hands about in a frenzy of fatuousness might open them up to derision. Applause, please.

Washington Toast

You’d think ridding the world of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would draw applause (or jazz hands) from even leftist media outlets. After all, the taking out of Osama Bin Laden was a slam-dunk press celebration when it was achieved during Barack Obama’s presidency. But this is Trump, so it can’t be all good.

The MSM fell all over itself in damning the achievement with faint praise but it was the Washington Post that took first prize for its reporting. First, they provided an obituary for the terrorist, with the following headline:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48

Austere religious scholar. Not terrorist. Not vicious rapist and murderer. And no mention of Islamic anywhere.

After a backlash and some superb skewering alternative #WaPo Death notices on Twitter, the headline was quickly replaced.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Enter Post columnist Max Boot who wrote:

The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was, in any case, contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up.

Sounds suspiciously like something from ISIS’s own playback where suicide equals bravery. And then there was the small fact that he blew up three of his children in his ultimate act of bravery.

More backlash forced Boot to remove the sentence and make the following statement:

An earlier version of this column included a sentence questioning whether Trump was right to call Baghdadi a coward because he blew himself up. The line was removed because it unintentionally conveyed the impression that I considered Baghdadi courageous.

Only in the world of woke.

Trick-or-treat retreat

Sex offenders in Butts County, Georgia were upset last year when the local sheriff placed warning signs on their front lawns in the lead-up to Halloween. The large white signs included images of stop signs, a Halloween treat bag crossed through with red and large letters proclaiming ‘NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!!’. And all well and good you or I might say, as did many of the county’s parents.

The poor, misunderstood criminals didn’t just complain, though. When the good sheriff declared he would be following the same policy this year three of them were so outraged at this personal affront that they decided to sue him. The resultant federal class-action lawsuit was filed in the US District Court on behalf of all the county’s registered sex offenders (a whopping 200 out of the county’s overall population of about 24,000).

And what did they want? Their suit contended that placing the signs breached trespass laws but more importantly that the signs were a form of forced speech, infringing their First Amendment right to free speech. You know, the right that in other circumstances woke warriors are trying to shut down in the name of inclusion.

The plaintiffs sought a jury trial and damages because they were left ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ by the signs last year. You would think that humiliation and embarrassment might have been the very least of their responses to the actions that got them into trouble with the law in the first place.

Unfortunately, on Halloween morning the judge sided with the offenders and granted a preliminary injunction against the sheriff placing the signs. His ruling stated that placing the signs forced the sex offenders to accept the message that their homes are unsafe. Indeed. Let’s just hope that the parents in Butts County got that message, too.

Vatican Vice

If you’ve been living under a rock you may not think of the Vatican as a bastion of wokeness. But under the recent stewardship of Pope Francis Catholicism has jumped onto the social justice and environmental emergency (electric) bandwagon and gets woker by the day. And this Roman Pontiff doesn’t brook any disagreement from those he calls hardliners.

His recently concluded Amazon synod, which recommended a raft of changes that go against the very fabric of Catholicism was publicly opposed by many prominent Catholic historians, writers and philosophers.

Instead of engaging in discussion the Vatican appears to have used methods favoured by wokesters to attack one of its most vocal critics, Dr Taylor Marshall. IP logs indicate that changes made to Dr Marshall’s Wikipedia entry in an apparent attempt to discredit him, came from the Vatican Department of Telecommunications and Information Systems. Oops.

They might be woke but some of Pope Francis’ handpicked appointees are clearly not as tech-savvy as they should be.

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