Woke: The word that splits the world
Who turned Woke from a badge of African-American pride into a hammer to beat liberals with? How does it relate to PC? And what are Erykah Badu, Piers Morgan, the weaponisation of African-American slang against black people, Julie Burchill and Google’s salad emoji doing in the eye of the Culture War storm?
Ian and Dorian investigate another world-changing concept you thought you knew.
Woke: A Reading List
The War of the Words by Sarah Dunant. Fascinating 90s collection of essays about political correctness from writers across the political spectrum. We are still having many of the same arguments.
Debating PC by Paul Berman. As above but American.
Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture by Geoffrey Hughes. A serious attempt at a history of PC.
The Culture of Complaint by Robert Hughes. Extremely opinionated and entertaining 1994 polemic against censors and heresy-hunters on both left and right.
The Myth of Political Correctness by John Wilson. This forensic examination of the original anti-PC backlash reveals how many of the key case studies were exaggerated or invented, and the role that right wing think tanks played in drumming them up. Sounds familiar.
The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. Of historical interest only. The cranky jeremiad that became a colossal bestseller and kickstarted America’s obsession with political correctness.
And from Ian:
Wake Up by Piers Morgan. Don’t read this.
Welcome To The Woke Trials: How Identity Killed Progressive Politics by Julie Burchill. Don’t read this.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Heidt and Greg Lukianoff. Don’t read this, but if you’re really going to insist on reading one of these, I guess make it this one.
• “Even racists seem to want to appropriate MLK. Maybe if you’re woke and dead you’re OK?” – Dorian Lynskey
Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey and Alex Rees. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production.