Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The toothlessness of wokism

Arnold Kling, The movie Stay Woke, Sept. 23, 2020.
Our synagogue had a virtual showing of the movie Stay Woke, a documentary made in 2016 about the Black Lives Matter movement. Many in our congregation are much more fervent in their leftism than in their Judaism, and everyone else had only positive things to say afterward about the film and about Black Lives Matter.

The documentary depicted BLM in a very positive light Those who spoke for BLM were very energized by the movement. Critics were depicted as unfair and embedded in Fox News.

In the discussion that we had afterward, I pointed out that the movie did not include even one specific proposal or policy change. I did not mention Martin Gurri, but I was thinking about him.

Other congregants pointed out how sad they were that nothing seemed to have changed between 2016 and 2020. One person typed into the Zoom chat that things had gotten worse.

No one else saw a connection between the absence of policy ideas in the movie and the absence of any change. But it strikes me that is you aren’t behind a program, that makes it unlikely that you will effect change.

Continuing to channel Gurri, I would say that social media is not a tool suited to creating a movement. Instead, it is suited to instigating a mob. A movement requires thought and long-term planning. A mob just requires stimulating rage and the narcissistic satisfaction that comes these days from appearing in viral videos and having one’s tweets widely circulated.

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