‘Wokeness treats minorities like children’

Andrew Doyle joins Brendan O’Neill to discuss comedy, free speech and the left.

Andrew Doyle – comedian, spiked columnist and creator of satirical sensation Titania McGrath – joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the rise of wokeness, self-censorship in comedy, and what it really means to be left-wing.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Larry Mansfield

3rd August 2019 at 1:25 pm

re: Marx and Malthus/climate change/environmentalism
First of all, thanks for this great episode. Enjoyed every bit of it and felt a strong like-mindedness in Andrew’s, but also Brendan’s evaluations.
Just one thing from an old Marxist, who has worked specifically on Marx’s critique of political economy (except for quoting John Stuart Mill which I’ll ignore for now…): while it is absolutely true that Marx criticised Malthus and virtually every other bourgeois economist after the decay of the Ricardian school for ‘naturalising poverty’, the argument that Andrew and Brendan made was a bit perfunctory. The Marxist argument is simply not “producing more to feed mankind”, get industrialisation going, fully automate production etc. VS. the atrophied environmentalism and cultural pessimism of climate warriors. This is a lopsided view of the Marxist critique of environmentalism, I think. For Marx, the problem – as Brendan correctly pointed out – is a social one: need, precarity, and poverty are created by the social relations of capitalist production. But capital is never – was never and will never be – oriented towards the satisfaction of human needs. In Marx’s terms, it is never about use value: it is about value, and more specifically, surplus value and profit. This is why ‘just producing more and more’ is never going to solve any problem, even less feed the world or satisfy people’s basic needs. In other words: poor people don’t have money, and it is monetary exchange alone that capital is interested in.
This is where also modern neoclassical economics and their naturalistic talk of ‘supply and demand’ fails: they never mention that it is MONETARY demand that spurs capitalist supply of goods, of technological innovation and development. It is not made for people, but for itself.
The idea is not to abolish money – that would be a very dubious Proudhonist move. The idea is to abolish social relations of production that exercises ‘mastery over man’, and instead to propagate man as the master over production.
My advice to Brendan (whose work I admire for different reasons) and would be not to repeat the naturalistic false conclusions of those he criticises – whether via Marx or not. This would be a truly ‘leftist’, but certainly Marxist move, and would make his position more credible.

Milton Crofts

23rd July 2019 at 7:54 pm

Your discussion about why people think you are right wing was particularly interesting. I think it comes back to the definition of “woke”. For me the most important characteristic of wokeness is virtue signalling. The woke above all seek to preesent themselves as virtuous against whatever today’s zeitgeist of badness might be.

The woke version of virtuousness takes many forms, sometimes calling out bad behaviour, pointing out big business tax issues, or … striving to be left wing. In how to be left wing, the woke is assisted by the mainstream media. What defines an individual as left wing is less about their political outlook and more about which metaphorical badges thay are wearing.

And they do this by declaring things as left wing or right wing. So, being against the Murdoch press is declared a left wing activity – align yourself with that and you tick a left wing box; being against fox hunting is declaed a left wing position. Meanwhile Trump is declared a fascist and pro-Brexit must be right wing. Place yourself in opposition to those and you must surely be a left winger.

These metaphorical badges are in lieu of working hard by these these individuals’ at what their politcal position might be. Surely this section of the population should no longer be regarded as “the left” and should simply be referred to as “the woke”?

Michael Smith

29th July 2019 at 3:22 pm

Hmmm. Y’know, what Brendan does is virtue signalling. Someone says something unremarkable, or a bit of entirely unexceptional behaviour makes its way on to the news- and Brendan leaps on it, arguing that what is obviously right is obviously wrong, signalling to the poor souls that read Spiked that he is pure, undaunted by the tyranny of the majority view, and on their side.

Virtue signalling, pure and simple.

Jakealope Darcy

22nd July 2019 at 8:55 pm

You need a volume control on the player

Jakealope Darcy

22nd July 2019 at 7:16 pm

#woke = retarded

In Negative

22nd July 2019 at 2:34 pm

Though I don’t want to keep banging on about post-structuralism, I’m gonna, cos I can :p

You mentions the genome pretty much removing racial difference from the field of ‘reality’ – “race is a demonstrable social construct.” This is in one sense a disaster insofar as it denudes us as a species of a key component of our identity. The woke are not reracialising the world in order to defend minorities from abuse, they are reracialising the world in order defend the existence of minorities. The inherent sameness of universal principles ‘does violence’ to difference and in particular, ‘radical difference’.

Now, ‘does violence’ is here problematic as a term, agreed. But let’s assume that human beings are considerably more than what can be rationally derived (because it’s true). The Universalist says: “the genome proves that race is a social construct. We are all one race. Hurragh!” And that’s fine – it’s linear, logical, a whole bunch of rational folks will jump on board with that. But at the same time, there was, with racial difference, a symbolic juxtaposition through which people marked themselves out as different. Through a relation of different signs and systems of truth, one cultural system solidified itself as distinct from another and we would have between them a mystical relation.

It’s this mystical relation that the rational, Universalist order is attacking. It is ‘a violence’ in the sense that it demands an emotional response, an irrational response, because its universality has made Unreason the only viable difference, the only possible radical symbolic reply to Universal, rational reality.

And that is your problem today: The negative, irrational, emotional reply to the overwhelming force of positive reason. Whilst ‘race’ exists as a problematic sign that reason denies as a reality, the only viable symbolic reply is to restate ‘race is a reality’. The more forcefully a sign is excluded by a dominant system, the greater the impetus to recreate it. It’s positively Newtonian.

Greg Gauthier

22nd July 2019 at 2:08 pm

@57:15 This is way too shallow an analysis. It’s not just “what am I against”. What the pro-EU camp is clinging to, is a sort of distorted vision of traditional Enlightenment universalism. I mean, after all, the EU Anthem is Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, which is a setting of Schiller’s famous poem about the brotherhood of all mankind. The pro-EU crowd literally thinks that the EU is the last political institution needed to bring about the dawning of a new age of political universalism; a final step in the ultimate transition to utopian togetherness.

Of course, this vision is profoundly deluded. But it’s one of the reasons why you see allusions to the Soviet Union, in reference to the EU. Because fever to defend it is so intense, that some would rather see the misery of millions, in the hope that utopia is just around the corner, than let the EU (and by extension, the brotherhood of all mankind) go. By this light, it is easy to see why Brexiteers are painted as parochial, anachronistic, xenophobic, and even racist. Who, but the most rancid human being, when shown the ultimate vision of human perfectibility, would reject it?

Anyone who understands that utopian visions are always false, that’s who.

Greg Gauthier

22nd July 2019 at 1:24 pm

@21:30 Ami Horowitz exposed this sort of racism back in 2016. If you want a hilarious example of just how precious liberal white racism is, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrBxZGWCdgs

Neil McCaughan

22nd July 2019 at 10:37 am

It doesn’t just apply to minorities. According to the more squawksome varieties of feminist, women (the majority of the population) are to be considered moral imbeciles in all their dealings with men (who are a minority of the population). Hence, whatever the issue, men are always to blame.

Amelia Cantor

22nd July 2019 at 9:26 am

Can these two not see how ridiculous they are? Two cis-gender white males mansplaining to minorities that said minorities are being treated like children.

If this is true, then minorities must actually be like children, because they’re not seeing through the patronizing “wokenuss”.

But minorities are not children. They are intelligent, mature adults exercising their autonomy to make a difference in the world. And part of the difference will be that cis-gender hetero white males are no longer on top and will no longer be able to gaslight or manspain to minorities what they really want and need.

“Andrew Doyle – comedian, spiked columnist and creator of satirical sensation Titania McGrath”

Titania is so satirical and so subversive that she’s celebrated in The Times, ffs. And is re-tweeted by Farage, Griffin, Robinson et al. And speaks up in support of Griffin:

Titania McGrath ‏ @TitaniaMcGrath … Thankfully the fascist Nick Griffin’s predictions of Islamic grooming gangs, terrorism and no-go zones have turned out to be unfounded, … Poor old Nick he does get landed.


Neil McCaughan

22nd July 2019 at 9:45 am

Poppet. You are funny. Now put your dummy back in.

Amelia Cantor

22nd July 2019 at 10:24 am

Originality isn’t your strong suit, is it, Neil? Reasoned argument doesn’t seem to be either.

But yeah, I’m sure minorities will be abandoning Black Lives Matter, rejecting Jeremy Corbyn and flocking to join Spiked any day now.

Any day now. Just wait and see.

Eras Bonus-Mus

22nd July 2019 at 12:57 pm

Are your comments actually satire?

Justin Bieber

24th July 2019 at 6:49 am

You sound like the kind of person who thinks Black Lives Matter was created to improve the lives of black people

Larry Mansfield

3rd August 2019 at 12:57 pm

“Amelia Cantor” doesn’t sound as catchy as Titania McGrath, but she does aspire to inherit Titania’s satirical legacy. Needs a little career advice and more originality and smartness in her statements though.

Winston Stanley

22nd July 2019 at 1:27 am

Congratulations to B and Andrew for a well-thought out session. Both speakers were lucid, and they made many insightful and apposite points.

In Negative

22nd July 2019 at 12:15 am

If you take post-structuralist thought seriously, you would argue that this new language of the Woke was structural. You would say that the great philosophers: Descartes, Kant, Niietzsche, Foucault, whoever, did not represent persuasive new critiques, but instead expressed eloquently wholly new ways of thinking.

As Baudrillard then pointed out in Forget Foucault, Foucault was too beautiful an analysis of reality to be a true one. The beauty experienced in thinking the way Foucault thought, the feeling his thought was true, only expressed that that way of thinking was currently alive.

It’s for the same reason, for example, Nietzsche was so lonely in his time – the death of God not fully understood, Nietzche would have to wait for his people, the ears that could hear him. He knew however that they were coming and until they came, he would have to live among the superfluous and the dead.

And this is what we have in Wokeness. Imagine then that the truth is contingent on the mind and the mind contingent on its context. Power then, the way we imagine it, the way we emphasize it and privilege it, is contingent. Power itself does not exist, not in itself, but only as a contextual fascination. Power only exists so long as it is given meaning by the order of signs and relations.

The Woke are very bad at post-structuralism. They doubt the good of every culture and every era but their own. They literally think that the good as they perceive it is the only real good and never question the existence or ephemeracy of that good.

Eras Bonus-Mus

22nd July 2019 at 1:07 pm

In the works of Fellini, a predominant concept is the distinction between opening and closing. The ground/figure distinction intrinsic to Fellini’s Amarcord is also evident in 8 1/2, although in a more mythopoetical sense.

The primary theme of Geoffrey’s essay on capitalist narrative is the common ground between art and society. It could be said that the main theme of the works of Fellini is a self-referential totality. The subject is interpolated into a dialectic subtextual theory that includes narrativity as a reality.

However, Dietrich holds that we have to choose between capitalist subtextual theory and the neostructuralist paradigm of expression. The subject is contextualised into a dialectic libertarianism that includes consciousness as a paradox.

It could be said that Lyotard uses the term ‘capitalist subtextual theory’ to denote not, in fact, theory, but posttheory. Many narratives concerning capitalist narrative exist. However, if social realism holds, we have to choose between capitalist subtextual theory and submaterialist desituationism. Any number of narratives concerning the role of the poet as reader may be discovered.

Thus, the subject is interpolated into a capitalist narrative that includes narrativity as a totality. Cameron implies that the works of Fellini are empowering.

“Class is impossible,” says Sontag. But if postsemioticist dialectic theory holds, we have to choose between capitalist narrative and the neotextual paradigm of reality. Many narratives concerning capitalist subtextual theory exist.

The primary theme of Drucker’s critique of precapitalist Marxism is a semanticist paradox. In a sense, in Foucault’s Pendulum, Eco deconstructs social realism; in The Island of the Day
Before he reiterates capitalist subtextual theory. Capitalist narrative holds that the State is capable of significance.

“Language is part of the futility of sexuality,” says Debord. However, la Tournier suggests that we have to choose between the submaterial paradigm of discourse and textual feminism. The premise of social realism states that reality may be used to entrench class divisions, given that postcapitalist construction is invalid.

If one examines capitalist narrative, one is faced with a choice: either reject social realism or conclude that consensus must come from communication. It could be said that the meaninglessness, and some would say the collapse, of capitalist narrative which is a central theme of Eco’s The Name of the Rose emerges again in Foucault’s Pendulum. The subject is
contextualised into a social realism that includes language as a totality.

The main theme of the works of Eco is the failure, and subsequent fatal flaw, of textual sexual identity. Therefore, Sartre uses the term ‘substructuralist narrative’ to denote not discourse per se, but postdiscourse. Lacan promotes the use of capitalist narrative to analyse and challenge class.

In the works of Eco, a predominant concept is the concept of textual sexuality. In a sense, the characteristic theme of Werther’s[6] analysis of capitalist subtextual theory is a self-supporting reality. An abundance of theories concerning the futility, and therefore the economy, of precultural narrativity may be revealed.

It could be said that if social realism holds, we have to choose between capitalist narrative and Debordist situation. Lacan uses the term ‘social realism’ to denote the bridge between sexual identity and consciousness.

In a sense, the premise of capitalist narrative suggests that sexuality is intrinsically responsible for capitalism. Bataille uses the term ‘capitalist subtextual theory’ to denote the role of the artist as poet.

It could be said that the main theme of the works of Burroughs is a capitalist totality. Foucault suggests the use of social realism to deconstruct archaic, colonialist perceptions of society. Thus, Drucker implies that we have to choose between capitalist subtextual theory and Marxist capitalism. The subject is interpolated into a capitalist narrative that includes art as a paradox.

However, Sartre promotes the use of social realism to read consciousness. If capitalist subtextual theory holds, we have to choose between social realism and presemiotic objectivism.

Thus, many appropriations concerning Debordist image exist. The subject is contextualised into a capitalist narrative that includes truth as a whole. It could be said that Lyotard suggests the use of dialectic socialism to challenge the status quo. Werther holds that we have to
choose between social realism and the substructuralist paradigm of expression.

In Negative

22nd July 2019 at 2:43 pm

Aye, but the difference between what I said and what you said was that I was chasing something true.

The Sokal approach to every piece of post-modern expression is such a bore.

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