During my pre-teen and teenage years, time at university and probably for two decades after that I loved popular culture. Even the most blinkered know that the 60’s and 70’s were the golden decades for pop music. The success of the Beatles and those that followed had an impact on the growing influence of American pop culture.
Here I have to offer my first of many caveats. Criticising corporate-led, socially engineered, paedophilic and totally inverted American pop culture does not mean I am anti-American. My biological father was a US Air Force major. I have spent six weeks in America, most of my spiritual heroes are American and space does not permit me to list all that I admire of the I AM RACE (for the uninitiated this is an anagram).
“I only read women. I know that men write books. But their lives are so limited. It’s such a small and narrow experience,” the prolific Irish author said during an event at the Southbank Centre to promote her latest novel, Grown Ups…”Their literature just really can’t match anything written by a woman. I just think ‘**** off’.”
Marian Keyes, bestselling author.
The second caveat. To discriminate against someone because of the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender and all the other “fault lines” is beneath contempt. As a heterosexual white male who was confused about his gender and orientation 50 odd years ago I know in the current climate my voice may be limited to the wilderness.
Try as I might to avoid it, we are now totally immersed in the most insane period I can ever recall in my lifetime. You cannot pick up a newspaper, switch on the radio or watch the television without at least one “story” that has to do with victimhood. Most often, my response to what was once fringe “woke” insanity, but now seems to be mainstream, is laughter. If we satirise and refuse to take seriously American women paying $2500 to be told they are racist and millionaire actors accepting awards from the very industry they lambast also for being racist maybe we can turn back the tide.
Third caveat. My hero during my late teens and early 20’s was David Bowie. I used to dye my hair and dress up as Bowie. I encountered discrimination. Most of my life as someone proud to be working class, I have experienced subtle and sometimes overt discrimination. But no, not on a regular basis, nor has it ever got physical and I have not been murdered. It is of no consequence in the grand scheme of things. It is impossible to diminish the impact of discrimination on certain people and on certain groups. Read my post on The Windermere Children.
Not everyone is aware of “woke” insanity. Some of my friends think I am exaggerating. They may indeed be right. Regardless, this is something I feel strongly about simply because it is yet another tool to divide us. And whilst we are pre-occupied with victims and being a victim, what chance do we have of seeing the world as it really is, and can become? The algorithm age, the saturation of “social media”, the placing of “reality TV stars” (wtf?) on pedestals, the instant “talent” industry (Pop Idol…), “de-platforming”, “hate speech”, “safe spaces” and the lemming-like scramble to see who is the most oppressed victim (and what group they represent) are all signs of a world- as it is now- in terminal decline. But before you stop reading, thinking this eternal optimist has given up, stay with me.
Fourth caveat. During my time in local government in the 80’s I was personally responsible for enlightened recruitment policies, practices and education around gender, race and disability in two major local authorities. In those days it was safe to be a heterosexual white male and working with people who had suffered lifetime discrimination was a massive learning process for me and a wonderful privilege.
That’s enough caveats. I’m not even sure they are relevant, because if my arguments are valid I don’t need to lay out my credentials.
We are all one. A recurrent theme on this website. We are all walking round in a biological spacesuit that comes in many shapes and sizes, sometimes with appendages, sometimes not. To be judged and valued purely on the basis of the spacesuit is insane. Before the woke explosion we had homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and discrimination in all its forms. We still have it.
I still cannot process the mind-set of those who accuse all white men of being racists and incapable of writing anything worth reading. If those who make these ludicrous statements are incapable of seeing their own racism and their own toxic worldview which worsens the situation they purport to want to remedy then get the handcarts ready because we’re all going to hell.
On BBC Radio Five the other day, a broadcaster who I quite admire casually wrote off actor Laurence Fox’s position on “woke” and condemned anyone who agreed with Fox to the ranks of bigot (my interpretation. And Fox is now subject to all kinds of vilification). The same broadcaster has so bought into the climate change cult that it isn’t even up for discussion. He is not alone, this is the position of the BBC.
Anyone who has not yet been micro-chipped will find the closing down of free speech problematic. Rugby player Israel Folau has views I find abhorrent. Unfortunately we live in an age where criticising any discriminated group is a recipe for career suicide.
“Islamic scholars continue to teach that same-sex relationships are a sin, too, and Sheik Mansour, owner of Manchester City, is part of the ruling family in a country in which homosexuality is against the law. Yet this is where liberal western beliefs and commitment to religious freedom collide.”
Martin Samuel, Daily Mail Sports writer.
So it must be obvious that almost all Manchester City supporters are by default homophobic. Folau has been rightly condemned and he has agreed now to keep his views to himself. Perhaps this is not enough, as he has yet to apologise to the gay community. One of my heroes, gay ex-rugby player Gareth Thomas has no time for Folau.
Yes of course I am a fully paid-up member of the patriarchy. As a white male how can I be anything else? What does this say about my character, my actions, my beliefs and values about things other than the fault lines used to divide us? Is Hitler (a vegetarian and animal lover) a poster boy for vegetarianism? Should you now stop listening to any Michael Jackson song? God forbid you should watch any film produced by Harvey Weinstein. And move out of, or at the very least don’t visit cities built on the slave trade like Bristol and Liverpool. Let us put all these things in the same pot. Hitler, Michael Jackson, Harvey Weinstein, Bristol and Liverpool. After all we have here the equivalent of the climate change fanatics claim that the “science is settled.” It surely is. Chances are Weinstein will get off, Jackson is dead and I think Hitler is too. No doubt a sizeable percentage of Bristolians and Liverpudlians are racists. Perhaps all of them. And to think I used to work in Liverpool, and shame of shame, I support Liverpool FC.
Time to breathe, time for sanity.
I’m sick to my very core (thank you GretaTM) of having my life hijacked by all this. But of course I’m not. Perhaps the triggers were reading that men can’t write (thank you Ms Keyes, I will now buy all your books) and hearing how brave and courageous Philip Schofield was in admitting he is gay. I’m going to avoid any more “woke”. So far (since January 31st) I have been an abject failure. I now identify as a failure. Can we put an “F” into the alphabet soup?
We need to unplug from the mainstream, we need to begin looking at each other as spiritual beings having a human experience. We need to judge each other on our character not the nature of the biological spacesuit. The only speech that should be limited is that which encourages hatred and division. If this were rigorously applied there would be no “woke” culture. We need to see each other as becoming, rather than label each other along the fault lines so beloved of those currently in charge of running the planet. My biological spacesuit is no better or worse than yours. If I hate and condemn yours, I’m doing the same to myself.
Let us love each other, yes Ms Pelosi we are all sparks of the Divine, even Donald Trump and the Iraqis (who you voted to bomb). If we see each other with new eyes, as opposed to the weaponised ways in which we are currently exhorted to follow, we can give the handcarts back and walk confidently together to a new dawn, to rediscover paradise and ignite the Divine light within.
Namaste, Jack Stewart, Friday, 07 February 2020, feeling so much better having got this lot of his chest!