I am a self-confessed English major. And I’m choosing words carefully here, words that in our present cultural climate serve as—take your pick—solemn and grim warnings, red stop signs surrounded by flashing lights, cease and desist orders complete with dire penalties lawyer-littered in pages of small print.
I am [pause here for display of deep emotion as a substitute for rational thinking] concerned.
I am [pause here for display of deep emotion as a substitute for rational thinking] troubled.
I am, yea, verily [pause here, well, you know, but wait for the ominous pronouncement by which I stop you in your tracks and transport you into self-loathing, guilt, and endless soul-searching for ways to make some small, ineffectual atonement for your general wretchedness and that of your horrid ancestors] offended.
As an English major, what offends me at this very moment, though goodness knows the whole universe is too small to contain the list of items and ideas sensitive people like myself might be offended by these days . . .
What offends me presently is yet another attack by “progressives” on an upstanding and honorable word that has done nothing to merit such sullying, such besmirching. I won’t list many examples, lest anyone else become more concerned, troubled, or offended than a tender human soul could, these days, be expected to bear. But how long ago is it now that we could sing on a fine Yuletide that phrase in “Deck the Halls” about donning “lively and exuberant” apparel and not snicker? I snicker not, that sweet little word deserved better before it was plucked and had its primary definition plundered.
By contrast, the word I’m thinking of now, I must admit, has long been something of a problem child. The conjugation of the English verb “wake” has always confused me. Add “up” to it, and it gets worse. Throw in English usage versus American usage. Even worse. (Google it, if you want your brain to bleed.)
The “simple indicative past” conjugation is simple: I woke; you woke; he, she, or it (or whatever gender said entity woke up feeling like today) woke; etc. But get much past that and you’ll soon find yourself amongst a head-boggling variety of forms: “waked,” “woke,” “wakened,” etc. Whoa! No, woe.
Already complicated, the poor word has been twisted dreadfully by the incredibly religious self-righteous fundamentalists of political correctness (IRSRFPC?). Trampling roughshod over the English language and this poor word, they call themselves “woke.” Why not “the awakened”? They’re an incredibly loud lot to be so hazy and sleepy intellectually, albeit completely confident in their wokeness, waked-up-ness, awakedness. Of all generations, wisdom and virtue have finally found a home in them. The woke. The waked. The awakened. They’re—sing it to an Elvis tune—“all waked up, oh, yeah!”
What an odd religion. A faith all “woked” up but with eyes sewed tightly shut.
It’s nothing new. Just the latest iteration of the idol worship and the chanting worshipers the Apostle Paul wrote about who “claiming to be wise, became fools” (Romans 1:22).
I need a nap. Wokeness (who knows these days if that’s a word?) is not only tedious, mind-numbing, ignorant, boring, and tiresome, it’s incredibly tiring.
Please wake me up in thirty minutes, and I’ll jump up singing, “I’m all waked up!” Or is that “all woke up”? Let me sleep on it.
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.