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“That feels about like what we are living through right now. Progressive politics is the Joseph Stalin of our times, and everyone is so terrified of attracting its anger that they just kind of go along with the crowd and keep clapping, because it is easier to clap until your hands are red raw than be the one that sits down first.” — Will Jordan, aka the Critical Drinker
I’m sure many of you have heard the story about how no man wanted to be the first person to stop clapping after Stalin’s speech, because of the sheer terror of appearing disloyal to a paranoid conspiracy theorist butcher of a tyrant. That is the culture of paranoia in action – it is not enough just to be loyal, but to be absolutely beyond suspicion as a diehard loyalist.
Suspense novelist Will Jordan reviews movies on YouTube as the Critical Drinker, using humor and the persona of a drunken Scotsman to make serious points about what is good and bad in movies and TV shows. In his review of Black Panther from back in 2019 (before he had taken on his signature persona), he used the discussion above to describe how critics described the movie as God in movie form, which is accurate. Every woke movie gets worshipful reviews because the critics need to keep clapping, even their audience gets smaller and smaller. It also is applicable to many other contexts.
Why do companies fall over themselves to appear woke? For a lot of them, it is the fear that the Twitter mob will come for them if they appear to be going off the reservation. People who come from academia or elite urban environments often have no idea what people outside of the bubble actually think, so they believe reality is Twitter. There are plenty of consumers outside who do not care about woke politics, but they won’t cancel you for being woke.
This is also what points to the weakness of woke politics. Once you have a small group who refuse to clap, the illusion is shattered, because woke people on Twitter are massively outnumbered by the rest of us. Their boycotts can be crushed by our buycotts. Preference cascades are fairly dramatic, especially when dissent is suppressed.Published in