Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Literary Corner: The Committed Woke

In memory of the great Merle Haggard, who may not have smoked marijuana in Muskogee, but certainly did in every other town on the circuit:

We don't get up early in Biloxi
We don't set our radio alarms
We don't ever wear a mask on Main Street
Or brag on vaccinations in our arms

We don't go for wokie in Muskogee
Or Tupelo or old Sault Saint-Marie
We don't buzz on coffee in Kentucky
Cause dead asleep is where we want to be

I"m proud to be unwoke in Oklahoma
I'm proud to be asleep in Tennessee
I"m proud to linger in my bed in Texas
Cause I love livin right and sleepin free

We don't allow no racism in Tulsa
We drove it out a hundred years ago
We had to drive our black folks all out with it
But nothing in this life comes free, you know

We don't take to critical race theory
We like lettin well enough alone
Criticize your forebears if you want to
I"ll be here just sleepin like a stone

I"m proud to be unwoke in Oklahoma
I'm proud to be asleep in Tennessee
I"m proud to linger in my bed in Texas
Cause I love livin right and sleepin free

What made me think of this was the rightwingers' crazed response to this CIA recruitment ad—which really was pretty funny, to tell the truth, with Mija, the first-generation Latina immigrant who's found a career in the Agency, cautiously letting you know that, in spite of her affiliation with what was, in the days of Casey and Buckley and Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, the relentlessly white male Catholic Intelligence Agency, she's actually pretty darn intersectional:

“I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.”
Sadly it's been replaced now with something a little more boring and less funny.

And I mean funny in a sweet way, calling to mind one of my favorite characters of the Obama era, CIA director John O. Brennan, Father John as I always called him because of his priestly demeanor, the Mikhail Gorbachev of US intelligence, who really meant in my opinion to take the Circus out of the business of prosecuting secret wars on behalf of dictatorships around the world and into the practice of intelligence in a serious sense, trying to take away its drone program and to establish the supremacy of humble pencil-pushing Analysis over violent macho Operations. 

I honestly think it's possible that diversifying Langley is a serious project Brennan might have undertaken, and his successor Gina Haspel, with some intersectional cred of her own, might have followed up on (we can bypass the interregnum of grease-faced Mike Pompeo, for whom the women of the CIA were his and Mrs. P.'s servants who picked up the dry cleaning and fed the pets and did the family's events planning, and I doubt he ran the place in any sense). But I find it really hard to imagine they could have succeeded in making it a haven for quirky identity-conscious millennials, Mija or no Mija. Really? (The only person in my millennial daughter's circle who thought about it was the Republican of the group, anyway.)

But rightwingers like Rod Dreher are genuinely terrified (well, not genuinely anything, but happy to set their hair on fire) about what this can do to our national security, as in one of those Penthouse for Paranoids effusions with which he stuffs his blog:

A reader who is in a position to know what he’s talking about — I’ll leave it at that — tells me that this is exactly the kind of strategy that Woke Capital has been pursuing, but adapted to the intelligence field. The idea is that if the CIA emphasizes cultural progressivism, the Left won’t care about the security state growing. And, my source says, the CIA is just mirroring the recruiting strategy of prestige colleges.

The source says conservatives should give up this false and outdated idea that the intelligence services are naturally conservative. They aren’t. The leadership class is completely woke, and selects for people who adhere to cultural progressivism. They really do believe it, and don’t want the status quo challenged.
My source said that it’s no surprise that our people can’t understand actual foreign societies and cultures. They are far too committed to viewing the world through the lens of critical theory and adjacent ideologies. And the GOP says nothing about it, because either their national security experts agree, or they’re listening to marketing people who say that “diversity and inclusion” is the only way to appeal to Millennials.

The key point, said my source, is that the committed woke are very active and have massive cultural influence. We can expect more CIA intelligence failures, based on the inability of many of its woke analysts and officers to understand the world as it is, as opposed to the world as they wish it were.

Wake up, Rod, you're having a nightmare!

But the thing that's really got to me is just the endlessly repeated word "woke", meaning a terrifying and wicked thing that's going to hurt us all, if it's allowed to spread. In the good old days, Republicans complained about the "reality-based community" and boasted about their ability to create their own reality; now they're complaining about too many people being awake. It's really such a weird semantic system they're working with.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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