Joseph Heller’s famously popular 1961 novel, “Catch-22”, he wrote that to get out of the Army in WWII, you needed to declare that you were insane. But if you were sane enough to claim that you were crazy in order to get out, you have proved yourself to be sane and you are still in. If you claimed to be sane, you are still in the Army, and if you claimed to be insane, you are still in the Army. That’s the Catch-22 in Joseph Heller’s eponymous book. Far worse is happening today.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Today’s Catch-22 is just as idiotic, and just as circular–and far more pernicious and damaging. If you admit to having been, say, racist, sexist, transphobic, or anything of the kind, then you are–and always will be–one or all of those things. No amount of apology, grovelling, contributions to woke causes or taking blood oaths to change will result in any kind of absolution, or even forgiveness. That’s who you are forever. If you used the “N” word as a child, you will need to find a nursing home that accepts racists when you are a senior. Identity politics does not recognize forgiveness: The identity-based victims have never done anything wrong and don’t need forgiveness, and their oppressors, i.e., everyone else, don’t deserve it.
Today’s Catch-22 trap is complete when we see that those who claim not to have one or more of those traits are immediately told, “See? The only reason you are denying it is because that’s just exactly who you are.” Here’s a specific example. “Of course you used a black man as your best man at your wedding. That’s what racists do to cover up.” Never mind that you and your best man served in the military together and the two of you have a bond that no one else on earth can ever understand.
Today’s Key Point: Let’s forget about woke attacks on each other’s real and imagined weaknesses, and remember to become alive to our individual and collective strengths. Alive, not woke.
- So, Will, who’s behind this new Catch-22, and what is their motive? A. Professional activists. And like all professionals, they not only want to keep their jobs, but to expand their influence and compensation. Compensation can be everything from a cush job as the VP of Inclusion and Diversity at State U, or an anonymous member of the Twitter mob getting his jollies by belittling people from behind a keyboard.
Professional activists do not want to solve the problem they appear to be addressing. Quite the opposite, they want to perpetuate, or even exacerbate, whatever the issue is. That’s how they can keep on keeping on with whatever they are being self righteous about. As a general example, isn’t that, by definition, what microaggressions are all about? If real aggressions, like slavery, then later its first cousin, Jim Crow, have ended, what now? Well, let’s invent microaggressions. That way the pro activists can call just about anything a microaggression, and stay in full accusation mode regardless of what is happening in the real world.
Here is a specific example of a politician learning a basic lesson about pro activists, with the losers being his constituents. “Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is promising to ‘push back harder’ against anarchists and Antifa radicals after another riot rocked the city on New Year’s Eve, admitting that his months-long efforts to stem the violence have failed. ‘My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,’ Wheeler said during a Friday news conference, according to KOIN. ‘In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.’”
No effort, good faith or not, will ever be enough for activists like antifa and the many others like them. Nothing will be good enough, nothing will be pure enough, nothing will ever go far enough. Because they cannot admit to being satisfied; what would they do with themselves then?
Here is another example of playing to the woke crowd. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) unveiled the rules for the 117th Congress on Friday, which contain ‘future-focused” proposals, including the elimination of gendered terms, such as “father, mother, son, and daughter.’” This will not in any way satisfy the activists; it will merely whet their appetite.
And another example; this one points out the highly selective nature of the woke rules, as well as their core idiocy. There is an accelerating effort in Hollywood to ban actors from playing roles outside of their identity group. This is the newly invented sin of cultural or identity appropriation. For example, a caucasion cannot pay an Asian character, and able bodied actors cannot play roles where their character has a disability. Where does that leave the parade of LGBTQ actors who over time who have played cisgendered roles, even playing romantic leads? Do they get a decades-long pass because they are LGBTQ? And who in their right mind could have any objection to Daniel Day-Lewis playing the heroic Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot in “My Left Foot”? The movie tells the story of how Brown grew up in a poor working-class family, astonishingly becoming a successful writer and artist. BTW, this was the same Daniel Day-Lewis who played the strapping and courageous Mohican, Hawkeye, in “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Then there’s Nancy Cartwright who voiced Bart Simpson in the long running TV show, “The Simpsons.”
In the Catch-22 novel, the protagonist, Yossarian, a WWII bombardier, complains loudly that the enemy is shooting at him. No, not at all, his friends explain, they are shooting at all of us. No, corrects Yossarian, they are shooting at me. That’s a bit of how I feel. When these woke accusations are leveled at anyone, no matter who is being accused, how innocuous and insignificant, or sinister and dire the threat that goes along with the accusations, I feel they are shooting at me. And you should, too.
But there is a better way, a much better way. Instead of using woke attacks to pounce on each other’s real or imagined weaknesses, let’s be alive to each other’s strong points and emphasize and celebrate all of our individual and collective strengths. We all have strengths, and those strengths become even more powerful, and will become strengths we can all share when they are recognized and honored.
Let’s forget about woke attacks on each other’s real and imagined weaknesses, and remember to become alive to our individual and collective strengths. Alive, not woke.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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