Under the Black Flag

Not ‘Woke’ and Not Sorry

“Woke” is the concept that everything must be inclusive and inoffensive. Oh dear! Being hyperaware of everyone’s sensitivities makes one a hell of a bore. I recently flew down to Charlottesville, Virginia, where I had gone to university, to speak at a memorial service for my friend Willy von Raab. The other speaker was P.J. O’Rourke, and in front of a packed congregation P.J. and I managed to be not-exactly-woke, time and again. If woke means boring someone to death, neither P.J. nor I got close. We had people laughing and applauding, and the kind and sophisticated vicar told me afterward that his church and congregation appreciate truth rather than pretension.

After the service and the speeches, we all gathered in the parish house next to the church for lunch and drinks. Willy’s friends were mostly Americans: ladies and gentlemen, Southerners, well-brought up and well-educated. I didn’t hear anything off-color or words such as “dude,” “shit,” or the ever-present F-word, now used by big-city dwellers as a verb, an adverb, and an adjective. Or other incomprehensible (to me) words such as “Dead-ass,” as read in The New Yorker, once upon a time a sophisticated weekly, now turned into a vulgar hymnal for cool dudes who hate Trump voters even more than they loathe uncool resistance to the F-word.

Never mind. There are worse things on the horizon...

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