So on the topic broached last week in the first Anthony Bourdain post, a friend who is into The Soccer texted me a screenshot of this tweet:

Ah, I see the "Make sure nobody anywhere gets to enjoy anything ever" laws are still in effect.

The statement is factually accurate, of course. That's not the issue. If we pursue the questionable logic to its conclusion, then everyone should feel bad for enjoying any sort of national competition, ever. Every nation has boatloads of atrocities somewhere in its past – Argentina, as the comment points out, being no exception. Tonight I accidentally saw part of a Peru-France matchup. My god it was like the thunderdome of countries that have done brutal things to their own indigenous people or, in France's case, ones it conquered in the name of Empire. So, is the correct course of action to go from patron to patron in the bar saying "GOOGLE THE SHINING PATH, YOU IGNORANT PISSANT!" or "HOW CAN YOU WATCH FRANCE KNOWING WHAT THEY DID IN THE THIRD CARNATIC WAR OF 1756?"

Had I done so, I strongly suspect most people in the venue would have told me to go fuck myself, and that after working 10 hours for unfairly low levels of compensation they just wanted to watch the goddamn soccer game and could I kindly leave them alone before they deposit a beer bottle in my eye socket. And I think that would have been an entirely fair response.

Note, nobody is watching Argentina *celebrating* the country's historical atrocities. Nobody is trying to assert that they didn't happen, as some Europeans (and Americans) are wont to do with the inconvenient aspects of our history. But I cannot for the life of me imagine what is accomplished by trying to ruin literally everything for everyone – whoever is able to wring some small amount of pleasure out of anything these days – by bringing something totally unrelated into a conversation. This is a grand example of somebody trying way, way too hard to be the Wokest guy in the room.
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The room, in this instance, is the internet, and therefore the levels necessary to OutWoke everyone else are high enough to be fatal.

Everybody is depressed all the goddamn time now. Is it absolutely necessary to try to ruin everything that might be a source of light entertainment for anyone…especially in the name of proving that You, An Intellectual Serious Person, are more attuned to the historical narrative than the simple Plebes enjoying their little Plebeian sports match?

For fuck's sake, people. Watch your stupid soccer game if that makes you happy for 90 minutes plus that weird-ass random amount of extra time. I simply fail to see the point in this beyond elevating yourself to look down at others for doing something they have no reason to apologize for doing. Maybe if we hand people like this an official YOU'RE THE SMARTEST BEST PERSON trophy they will leave us alone so we can take brief reprieves from wanting to jump off a fucking bridge every time we see the news.

46 thoughts on “NPF: DEATH BY WOKENESS”

  • HoosierPoli says:

    The Afro-Argentine genocide was so terrible that nobody has ever heard of it, you have to dig through wikipedia for ten minutes to find any mention of it at all, and even Wikipedia hedges on the subject. Oh, and it happened 200 years ago.

    I mean, I definitely learned something new today, but if you're going to hold THAT against Argentina then pretty much nobody is OK and I guess we should cancel the World Cup.

  • To be fair it's perfectly acceptable to loathe the Argentinian football team for reasons apart from their county's history of fascism and totalitarian dictatorship

    I mean, they play the most negative, cynical football despite a wealth of attacking talent, and they literally cheated to both their world Cup wins in 1978 (where the government bribed Peru to lose by 6 goals to ensure Argentina qualified for the semi finals) and 1986 (hand of God, say no more).

    Man, fuck Argentina.

  • The commenter is one of the regular panelists on "Pod Save the People" at Crooked Media. I like that podcast even though at times it can seem like a wokeness festival with a tendency towards elaborate word choice that can pummel things like clarity and directness. The sometimes fancy phrasing is forgivable once the payload of researched information and a different perspective on reality is delivered.

    I get the point of 'FFS can't we just enjoy some Soccer without contemplating the horrors of history and risk losing an eye?' Maybe on NPF but every other day of the week being 'woke' about stuff is a lot of your reader's and sometimes your shtick too, isn't it?

    We all need a temporary respite from having the dry cleaning bag of history clamped over our faces. You might like Soccer or you might like Shadow of War (it's like Tinder for Orcs).

  • Ed:

    Not that it bothers ME; but how is this NPF?

    Argentina's extirpation of their black population was a crime. No way of buffing that turd into a gold nugget. What Spain and their client state/offspring did in Central, South America and the Philipines is far worse.

    No nation that has any clout got it without clouting the shit out of some poor bastards.

  • @Actual Cop

    Man my ignorance of soccer is killing me. I literally know nothing other than: people try to kick the ball into the goals. What makes their playing style cynical?

  • Harvey Jerkwater says:

    When you try to prove a negative, it leads to weird, weird shit.

    If you accept that bigotry is evil and that it can take on subtler forms than Bull Connor and His Goon Squad, you can find yourself in a sticky spot. How can you prove you're not a racist? Even to yourself?

    Claiming it out loud is ludicrous; that's now understood as a clueless racist's attempt to protect themselves. (The "some of my best friends are [x]" ascended to the level of gag decades ago.) Not acting in a racist manner in everyday life is good but the internet doesn't follow you all day long, despite how it feels sometimes, and hey, you might mess up someday, so that doesn't prove anything. Maybe you're just good at hiding it.

    Another angle to prove the negative is to be loudly anti-racist. The problem is, someone else being even more anti-racist than you could then claim that you're not the real thing. So you push even farther in that direction, until either you decide it's ludicrous to try to prove your bona fides to strangers on a glowing box and calm down OR you turn forever into a burning tower of wokeness that you hope illuminates the world with the cleansing fire of your righteousness and eliminates doubts about your virtue.

    This is not about being fired up about specific problems; this is about a general temperament and tactic.

  • All I can say is, this attitude/ phenomena (besides all the cheating and illegality) is why I left Academia and never looked back.

    There’s a cushy job as a Firm PR Rep waiting for you out there Ed, come join us.

  • "I simply fail to see the point in this…" Sadly, I think so. I mean, I get your point, which has to do with picking one's battles. But otherwise there's a lot of point-missing going on in this post. For one, a tweet (virtual, textual, evanescent) is not remotely like a gadfly in a bar (a denizen of meatspace, aggressive, confrontational, cocky, smelly, drunk). Can't we charitably assume that Mr. Smith knows this, too? How is sending a tweet "trying way, way too hard" to do anything? (As an aside, are we supposed to know who Mr. Smith is, why his opinion might or might not count?) For another, if a mere snotty tweet "ruins everything" for some team's devotee, then that person has higher priority issues. For yet another, maybe everyone should feel bad for enjoying any sort of national competition, ever. A stupid soccer game is a stupid soccer game. Be my guest, enjoy it. Don't turn it into a contest between nations and their respective peoples, most of whom I'll guess flat out don't care about the outcome of the stupid soccer game.

    Like "political correctness," I don't get the attack on virtue signaling. Who doesn't want to be politically correct or to demonstrate virtue? Okay, there's sarcasm. But if that's so, then every politically correct virtue signaler isn't elevating him- or herself. S/he's inviting scorn for picking the wrong battles.

    Anyway, the argument that some people just want to exploit some uncomfortable fact about a person or a country to their own reputational advantage runs in the other direction, too. I recently had lunch at a restaurant with a chalkboard on which was inscribed some quote by Bourdain. Plainly, the restaurant wasn't *celebrating* his personal or professional misdeeds, nor the fact that he had died. The restaurant was milking widespread mourning of his loss. It was just a quote on a chalkboard, as fleeting as a tweet, and I'm not a complete jerk, so I didn't say anything. Until just now.

  • Hiya Ed:

    I like your stuff. Very amusing and often to-the-hilt. Even briefly flirted with the idea of getting a Gin & Tacos tee-shirt until I remembered my pact with myself that the only insignia shirt I will allow myself is a Hot Tuna shirt to replace the one lost under murky circumstances late one night too long ago. (The sad tale is referenced in my novel, he said gauchely.)

    But enough of me and to the point. Excessive swearing in otherwise fine writing is just lazy. Come up with a meatier, richer word. A local alternative paper here is guilty of it to appeal to the kids, I guess. Cover headlines like: "Best FUCKING tacos ever!" Their caps, not mine.

    Just a kevetch, but I do enjoy your writing.


    Daniel Forbes
    (Read somewhere that only the English, which I ain't, should be permitted to sign off with "Cheers." So that's a whole other can or worms.)

  • @ Harvey Jerkwater

    We ARE all racists.

    It's just that some number of us (most of the people who comment here and on other blogs I frequent) are aware of it and diligently work to overcome that lizardbrain reaction to perceived differences between us and whichever "OTHER" is currently being hated on.

    @ Daniel Forbes:

    "Best FUCKING tacos ever!"

    Is obvious lie.

    Foul language used in the context of internet posts can be a reflection of stupidity, ignorance or frustration (among other things).

    I get what you're saying and I think that you're correct, in the main.

    I generally ignore people who have arguments that are actually baseless assertions or conveniently devoid of any sort of logic–regardless their language. Or I make fun of them. When they turn out to be trollz I will definitely be rude and crude.

    And, when commenting/replying with regular commenters (even those with whom I disagree on some things) the language is pretty much the same that I would use sitting in the bar.

    Of course I wouldn't talk like that at a church or other place where people repress their human nature. I avoid such gatherings.

  • @democommie "No nation that has any clout got it without clouting the shit out of some poor bastards."

    Well, isn't that the point? Even the nations that don't have clout usually have some nastiness they've perpetrated. Unless we're talking about, say, Bhutan*, there has to be a certain level of "not relevant to the current conversation" about past atrocity. That's not to say that we should pretend that the atrocities never happened or that we ignore them when relevant! But… for a good old fútbol game….

    *I'm assuming, here, but if there's one country that doesn't have nastiness in its national story, it's gotta be them, right?

  • BLAHEDO: Bhutan actually declared the 20% of the population that were Nepalese Hindus "not REALLY Bhutanese", mandated they wear the "proper" Bhutanese clothing, and ended up expelling much of that population.

    In the 1990s, Bhutan expelled or forced to leave most of its ethnic Lhotshampa population, one-fifth of the country's entire population, demanding conformity in religion, dress, and language.Lhotshampas were arrested and expelled from the country and their property was expropriated.

    A harassment campaign escalating in the early 1990s ensued, and afterwards Bhutanese security forces began expelling people. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal have been documented as of 2008.[80] Whether all inhabitants are in fact refugees is questionable because the UNHCR did not check the initial inhabitants of the refugee camps adequately. The facilities inside the camp, which were reportedly[citation needed] better than in the surroundings, provided a strong motivation for Nepalese to seek admittance. After many years in refugee camps, many inhabitants are now moving to host nations such as Canada, Norway, the UK, Australia, and the US as refugees. The US has admitted 60,773 refugees from fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

    The Nepalese government does not permit citizenship for Bhutanese refugees, so most of them have become stateless.[84] Careful scrutiny has been used to prevent their relatives from getting ID cards and voting rights.[84] Bhutan considers the political parties of these refugees illegal and terrorist in nature.[84] Human rights groups initially claimed the government interfered with individual rights by requiring all citizens, including ethnic minority members, to wear the traditional dress of the ethnic majority in public places. The government strictly enforced the law in Buddhist religious buildings, government offices, schools, official functions, and public ceremonies.-Wikipedia

    So, actually, they in some ways went far beyond anything Trump and his ilk ever dreamed of!

  • It would be interesting to know whether this logic also applies to Israel. Super-woke people are fond of proclaiming that Israel is the most atrocious nation on earth and that everything concerned with it must be boycotted.

  • Hi! Normally I am willing to anonymously cosign for all your blog content, but this is a dumb argument. These hyperwoke individuals are easy to ignore. They run after every movie opening, album release, book launch, 'Ellen' interview, and Instagram endorsement, bearing gifts of decade-old, objectionable tweets and screenshots of rude texts to exes. They're mostly attention-seeking losers. They "ruin" nothing. If you're buying your way out of clinical depression with soccer games, the problem is not the over-wokeness of digital randos. And I say that as a person who suffers from, and has been medicated for, clinical depression.

    I myself object to nation-based sports competitions because I think world history and modern culture are both uniformly shameful, which you mentioned, and that any acknowledgement of the superiority of one country over another for any reason is a step too far down the path to nationalism. I live near Pittsburgh, and several years ago a couple of dudes beat a man to death in a sportsbar bathroom because he didn't like the Steelers enough. (It might've been the Penguins, I can't tell them apart.) Group violence & destruction in the aftermath of a team losing — or winning! — is common to the point of becoming a custom. Sports are a shit construct.

    But I recognize that most fans are normal humans, and I don't act like a dick about my aversion to the medium unless somebody asks my opinion chastises me for not getting excited enough about a group of steroidal freaks with personality disorders grabbing/kicking a ball better than their opponents.

    Still love the vast majority of your opinions, though! Nobody's perfect.

    @Daniel Forbes
    There are no dirty words; there are only dirty minds. If I'm reading someone's non-professional writing and they don't swear continually, I assume I'm dealing with a fucking delusional Christian and disregard their viewpoint accordingly (there are other conditions which inspire people to disavow swearing, like being a Jordan Peterson acolyte, but they too are states of contemptible, unjustified egotism). If you hate swear words, boy are you ever living in the wrong century. (Also, there is no word meatier or richer than "fuck.")

  • Hi Emma:

    Yeah, well, opinions are like — well, you know. I swear as much as the next person. I just think in writing that aspires to something — which Ed's does and usually achieves — less is more. Too many 'fucks,' littered through a piece just become noise. My opinion, no more.


  • Alice Johnson says:

    Nation-states are a shit construct, although I'm not sure how far a Political Science professor can go down that road without becoming ineligible for their job, and also we need some joy in life not just relentless out-woke-ing each other, and I say that as someone who works very hard to be very woke. By the way, the word "woke" is itself now an outdated joke used only by people who are not, in fact, woke. Except me, I'm being ironic.

    It's important to note, too, that Twitter's design incentivizes this sort of thing. Dunking, which is what the cool kids call this sort of thing, is the leading way to get more followers, and without followers literally no one will hear what you have to say. I know, because I have 135 followers, and no one reads what I write. I don't dunk though and I have limited investment in the hot takes market either.

    Of course, Ed is himself dunking on the original person who was dunking on Argentina, and thus we see the Twitter Circle of Life. Hopefully both of you gain angry followers for it, anyone willing to go to bat over a 200-year-old Argentinian genocide must be a better read than any conservative.

  • This comment thread is just too much to handle. A smattering of the old guard, like Democommie, and a contingent of exactly the sort of obviously new here, pedants and scolds, the post is critical of ("richer, meatier word" nation-states are shit, blahblahblah…srsly?), churning out, seemingly, without irony, the sort of complaints, the post is critical of. Maybe I'm the asshole. I don't know. Either way, I try to enjoy various things, and take full advantage of the freedom and privilege, that allows me to not be "That Guy" (TM).

  • @ Emma:

    Yes. Moar plz.

    @ satrap:

    I've been booted from a couple of blogs for pissing off mods. I like not having to worry about shit like that.

    I tend towards being polite around people who I don't know well. Honestly, though, the f-bombs be flyin' most places outside of church for a lot of people, ladies included, these days.

    I object to people who are carrying on in an abusive manner or, after being asked to dial the volume back or move along, they persist. Spoken or writtens, words are words–it's all about intent.

  • If only it was possible. What with perishability, shipping costs and my ongoing, "Can't-get-a-lot-of-mundane-fucking-tasks-accomplished!" condition–I can offer a recipe* which I will first have to test to get some idea of measurements (I tend to be a stir, sniff, look sortaguy).

    If you are the least bit serious, I will be more than happy to do so. {;>)

    Bone Apatee!

    *Remind me which thread that comment was on–I make them several different ways.

  • @ Safety Man!:

    Also, too.

    The Tears of Appalachian children are yesterday's essence. We are now awaiting the release of the Tears of the Wealthy–you will know that they are available when you hear the sweet voice of Madame La Guillotine ringing out from the town square.

  • Net Denizen says:

    I had the misfortune of trying to work on a political campaign with a white woman from Michigan who wore the hijab "in solidarity with the Palestinian peoples" and literally EVERYTHING always came back to how Palestinians were so oppressed and we should not do XYZ because that will continue to oppress Palestinians. Like, yeah, we are working together — I thought — to raise consciousness to the Israel/Palestine issue, but "where should we go eat lunch" should not reach the levels of woke-ness she's asking for if the only link to oppression is abstract "they support _____ who funds _____ who sends ____ for Israel to ____"

  • @Demo

    Re-reading my post I realize it sounds like I'm lumping you in with the pedants and scolds. That wasn't the intent. I was trying to draw a contrast, and failed pretty mightily. Your's is the sort of input and feedback I enjoy from this blog. The newly-arrived opposite side of that coin, however…

  • @ satrap:

    I was not feeling, "lumped", so, no worries on that.

    I value comments that are not deliberately provocative for the sake of some asshole who's a troll getting his ego stroked (usually, he's busy stroking himself, I'm guessing).

    There are at least 50-75 people who comment here on a regular enough basis that I know, a little, how they might react to something in the OP or comments. The ones that show up for ONE issue–and are pedantic and strident–or those only ever show up to shit in the punchbowl? I have no scruples about being ugly towards them.

    I am hopeful that this "mellowing with age" that I often hear about will soften my heart towards people who deserve it–the pishers and trollz don't match that demographic.

  • @Andy ("Man my ignorance of soccer is killing me. I literally know nothing other than: people try to kick the ball into the goals. What makes their playing style cynical?")

    I am disappointed that nobody has explained Argentina's cynical style. (I love that word, and how it is used in soccer broadcasts: "He broke the striker's leg; that was a very cynical challenge!") I like soccer but don't follow closely enough to know enough about Argentina's style, but usually when a team is labeled cynical, it means they tend to "park the bus" (another great soccer term) — meaning that they mostly just hold back and play defense, hoping for a scoreless draw, or something close, rather than aggressively attacking and trying harder to score.

  • I feel like the problem is–I apologize, this was a useful concept for five seconds before it got co-opted by the worst people on the internet–virtue signalling.

    In other words, we've created an information ecosystem on the left where anger and outrage have more worth than not-anger or not-outrage. And that's not to say that there aren't many, many valid reasons for being angry and outraged right now! Jesus H. Christ, there are so many.

    But when we build our ecosystem to only reward certain behaviors, and by reward I mean retweet, signal-boost, all that stuff, we should not be surprised when those behaviors become predominant.

    So when we make it a win-condition to find something problematic that nobody else does, we create the situation in which people playing to win will do that. It's like how when you make it profitable to keep more people in prison indefinitely, companies will find a way to make that legal policy. Structurally, the issues are identical, though I acknowledge that cash profit and internet attention are not (yet) 1:1 correlated.

    Does that make sense?

  • Ron and Andy,

    Cynical play in soccer is usually related to defenders and midfielders fouling the opponents best offensive players before the offensive players get into a very dangerous position. Usually these fouls are hard and can easily injure. The object is to break up the offensive flow, slow down the game, and keep the score low and/or close. When your team does it, it is usually called a professional foul

  • @BillCinSD:

    In other words, they play dirty, despite the fact that they're talented enough that they don't *have* to. Got it, and it makes any recent losses by Argentina all the sweeter.

    My dislike of a nation or a people is not based on what the hell they did two hundred years ago, but what their citizens do or don't do today, or at least in recent memory. Trying to make yourself PC by bringing up a country's actions from ten generations before (or even three or four) is a fool's errand, because virtually everybody killed or expelled or excluded more people two hundred years ago, based on race or religion or ethnicity or sex or sexual preference or their jib cut or whatever, than they do today. Spin the globe, put your finger down, and the people currently there probably were a lot more scuzzy to other people even seventy years ago than they are today. Making yourself look good by knowing your history and putting down people from two hundred years ago – nice, but what are you doing today? And what do you do for enjoyment, when you are not being so pious? I mean, the World Cup is not my world cup of tea, but then again, I don't expect people to enjoy what I do on my off hours, either.

    In the immortal words of Warren Oates' Sergeant Hulka: "Lighten up, Francis."

  • @ Ekim:

    The drill team on parade was the best part of the film.

    @ Mothra:

    Are you asking about foosball or that other test of strength and resolve that they made the finals in, 2 wars running?

  • Woke gone blind. Ain't usin that word no more. No sir.

    Bhutan has a happiness index. Complicated politics, different mind set in an an ancient regime/culture. They're big into chili peppers and environmental preservation. Don't know what that says.

    This new crop of commenters have their own sensibilities. I read CIA somewhere up thread, my take of course. No, paranoia and conspiracy not floating in my soup, but some stuff's just so obvious if you're not sleeping.

    Well, ho hum. Didn't mean to exercise the keyboard. And hey, look mom, no swear words.

    Hello Demo. Keep on bro.

  • @Noah—

    On the left?

    It’s human nature to love to stare at dumpster fires, the media has exploited this since its inception in order to keep people tuned-in. The Republicans learned to domesticate human rage to produce money and political power, and one of their favorite ways to generate it is through the media. They hold onto that power by tone policing and gaslighting the left into not churning out the same. They have arguably been more successful at mass manipulation this way, and the left doesn’t have anything comparable.

    The left gets blamed for all virtue signaling (and yes, that’s incredibly annoying; they’re transparently and obnoxiously like-fishing) by the right and both-siderists all the time, but the boundless Conservative Victim Complex is a type of virtue-signaling where they’re always the martyr, standing up for the rights of the poor oppressed while plutocrats. You know, Real Americans. Not like those pinko Counterfeit Americans.

  • *I meant “white plutocrats”. Anyway, I’m tired of the left getting blamed for all obnoxious self-centered attention-seeking behavior and being no-True-Scotsman’d to death by the right and their Both Siderist enablers guilty of the exact same shit.

  • @ mago:

    Hi, yourself. It's been strange, here, since last week. For all I know I'm the only person left on earth and everything else is my febrile imagination!

  • @democommie:

    My actual favorite quote is:
    Winger: C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like we're going into Wisconsin.
    Russell: Well, I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once. Forget it.

    Of course, I'm from Wisconsin, so that was doubly funny.
    We in Wisconsin now invert it, since the rise of Der Gropenfuror: "It's Wisconsin. It's like we're going into Czechoslovakia." "Well, I got the shit kicked out of me in Prague once. Forget it."

  • Ekim:

    And all I got to work with is a King Biscuit Flour Hour concert recording of, "Slow Ride" clocking around 11 minutes where the front man thanks OMAHA for being there!

    @ Safety Man:

    Am old, DM is?

  • Slow Ride? Oh, you mean the most overplayed song of the classic rock era?

    I remember liking it the first 10,000 or so times I heard it. And that was just in the year 1975.

  • schmitt trigger says:

    Reminds me of an old, mid 1980s joke:

    Two Argentinians are angrily discussing the Falklands war, and whether it had been all worthwhile.
    Exasperated the first Argentinian tells the second:
    "You know, since this was our first world war, to finish in second place is not bad at all."

  • @ Major Kong:

    I thought I left a comment a while ago, I'm not seeing it.

    Time: Summer of 1973.
    Place: Something like 330 N 36th Street in Omaha.
    Music(?): First 8 bars or so of "Smoke On The Water" out of some massive 100W speakers at the apartment facing mine, about 40' away. Two young guys practicing that tune (bass player & guitarist) pretty much every afternoon for about 2 months. Once they had mastered that tune*, they started working on "My Woman From Tokyo"–they might have gotten that one down, too, but the bass player got married…

    * To the extent that people who hadn't been told what they were playing might be able to figure it out for themselves

  • Hi Demo & MK

    June 2nd 1978 Foghat at Nassau Coliseum

    My 1st rock concert. Some longhair in an army jacket sold us some 'hash' that turned out to be a dog biscuit with the 'bone' looking ends snapped off. I learned 2 important things that night:
    1) Only buy street drugs from trustworthy and reputable sources.
    2) Foghat is awesome.

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