Flat White

What’s woke this week?

6 December 2019

2:38 PM

6 December 2019

2:38 PM

Food has featured strongly in wokeworld this week, along with a prestigious art award. In other news, multifarious trigger warnings have been bursting forth from Christmas crackers around the globe. But there are no paper crowns this year. Instead, the chapeau of choice appears to be a tinfoil hat to shield the woke from uncomfortable Christmas connotations. Enjoy this week’s festive missive. 

Food fight

A nursery in Chester, England, has made a decision to remove all meat, fish eggs and dairy products from its menu for children, making it 100 per cent vegan. The nursery’s founder, Claire Taylor, said the decision was made on the back of ‘overwhelming’ evidence about the bad impacts of animal farming and with the children and the planet’s future in mind. But not, apparently, with the levels of consultation many parents wanted.  

One upset parent said, “Just to enforce it on us without any say isn’t right — they shouldn’t be making these decisions on my behalf.” But there were other parents supportive of the change. One suggested,I just think some people need to be more educated on the word Vegan and what unsustainable sources are doing to the environment.  

So, if only all those other pesky parents truly understood the real definition of vegan (and gave it proper prominence with a capital V that it doesn’t deserve) it would all be hunky-dory. Meanwhile using words like meat, yoghurt, cheese and eggs to describe vegan food is perfectly acceptable. 

Hot curry

Poet, playwright and self-described ‘exiled Kenyan whistleblower’, Shailja Patel got a tad hot under the collar this week with a tweet from professor, author and meme lover, Tom Nichols. Nichols had responded to a tweet asking for controversial food opinions with, “Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn’t”. 

He was clearly looking to press a few buttons and, predictably, all hell broke loose in the Twittersphere. Patel’s responses got the prize for victimhood, offence taking and woke extrapolation on steroids: 

Trips over himself with eagerness to spew racist bullshit in the name of “I’m going to say something controversial tee hee.” Then chortles at the clapback: “People are tOuChY.” Why yes, centuries of colonial slaughter, plunder, and mass starvation tend to have that effect.


But in this case, there’s nothing impressive about @radiofreetom trashing the cuisine of a people already experiencing record levels of hate crimes and racial profiling in the US. It’s othering, bullying, punching down in the crudest and ugliest way.

Whoa! All the man did was say he didn’t like Indian food, to be intentionally controversial; what’s sometimes known as a joke 

Patel was silent about her own food preferences, which seems uncharacteristic for someone who is usually so happy to share her opinions, including a fair spattering of woke Israel bashing, if her Twitter account is anything to go by.  

Everyone’s a winner

The woke approach to raising children that insists on not keeping score, discouraging competition and awarding a trophy to all participants in case someone feels left out has finally come to its logical and loony conclusion. This week Britain’s supposedly premier art award, The Turner Prize, was awarded to all four finalists, after the finalists petitioned the jury to award their commonality, multiplicity and solidarity’ 

Now, of course, anyone who appreciates real art would have tuned out from the award years ago, given its propensity to reward repugnant, and sometimes downright sick, offerings in the name of art. This year’s leftist luvvy winners were Oscar Murillo, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Tai Shani who used typical artsy psychobabble in their acceptance speech delivered by Cammock 

We each seek to use art to push at the edges of issues, mapping the bleed of one into another, across time, across sectionalities, across the realm of the real and the imaginged [sic] and through walls and borders.

The jury statement was in a similar vein: 

We are honoured to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times. Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work.

Note the lack of any mention of artistic merit.  

I’m sure that Turner himself (my favourite artist and a tetchy loner and railler against the art establishment) would be horrified at what the ‘art establishment’ has now become.   

Christmas crackers I: Santa is a bully 

The Claymation Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, has come in for criticism again this year. In case you missed it countless times over the years, the kids’ favourite is nothing more than a tale of bullying and harassment. 

Twitter was awash with gems such as: 

If you really pay attention to this Christmas classic, you’ll notice that there is a fairly good amount of bullying in the show. You may also discover that those that are supposed to defend Rudolph, join in with the bullying and putting him down(Santa Claus, Rudolph’s dad).


Rudolph is not a heart-warming story. It’s a story of bullying, exploitation, and only valuing others based on what they can do for us. 

I can’t believe that for all these years I thought it was about someone learning to use their talents and find their place in the world.  

Christmas crackers II: Card catastrophe

In other Christmas news, the principal of an elementary school in England has banned students from exchanging Christmas cards, citing environmental concerns. Jonathan Mason of Belton Lane primary school wrote to parents: 

Throughout the world, we send enough Christmas cards that if we placed them alongside each other, they’d cover the world’s circumference 500 times. The manufacture of Christmas cards is contributing to our ever-growing carbon emissions. 

It’s not clear from the reports whether Mason’s letter was sent via email or a printed letter. 

Christmas crackers III: Making the yuletide gay

In the USA The Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas has copped a serve this week, but not for its schmaltzy saccharine depictions of Christmas. No, their Christmas movies don’t feature enough religious and racial diversity.  

Of the 24 new movies for Christmas 2019 only four feature a person of colour in the lead role, down from five last year. More horrific is the fact that no movie features the word Hannukah in the title, even the ones featuring Jewish characters. God forbid. 

If you can get over the shock of that news you’ll be pleased to know that despite none of this year’s movies featuring LGBTQI characters executives from Hallmark’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, are open to ‘queering the genre’ in the future. 

Adds a whole new meaning to making the Yuletide gay.   

Illustration: Virgil Films.

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