Flat White

What’s woke this week?

6 May 2021

5:15 PM

6 May 2021

5:15 PM

I’m increasingly reminded of Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab in the unhinged, pinpointed monomania of the woke.  Melville describes Ahab thus: 

[H]is special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark; so that far from having lost his strength, Ahab, to that one end, did now possess a thousand fold more potency than ever he had sanely brought to bear upon any one reasonable object. 

Sound familiar?  

Consider the “madness maddened!” inherent in the following stories out of Wokeworld this week. 

Basecamp decamp 

I’d never even heard of software company Basecamp until this week. They’ve been quietly, and successfully, making project management, team communication and email software for twenty years, but boy, did they hit the news with a bravura bang this week.  

CEO Jason Fried, issued an announcement, including a list of what, even five years ago, would have been uncontroversial, changes to company policy. And all hell broke loose amongst the milquetoast millennials that call Basecamp home.  

The ‘words are violence’ crowd took exception to the changes that included no more societal and political discussions on the company Basecamp account (however, do whatever you like on your own time), no more paternalistic benefits (like a pre-defined fitness benefit, instead just a profit-sharing plan for people to spend how they like) no more committees (just individual responsibility for decisions by the people who get paid to make them), and no more 360 reviews (you know, useless peers providing feedback about peers). 

Sounds like workplace nirvana to me. 

Co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson added: 

Bring all your political advocacy to whatever personal spaces you have. Twitter, Facebook, your local advocacy group, all of it. Just don’t bring it into the internal communication platforms we use for work, unless it directly relates to our business.    

Shock! Horror! How dare employers — the guys you work for and the ones who pay your salary — get to run their company the way they see fit! How could they not possibly want the invaluable contributions of all those who were seeking to make the company more diverse? How would the little snowflakes survive if they weren’t able to air their social and political grievances at work?  

Apparently a little unsettled at the realisation that everyone doesn’t really get a prize for participation and that only a select few geeks actually get to rule the world, approximately one third of Basecamp employees (aka brave culture warriors) threw all their toys out of the playpen en masse and resigned. You can read Heinemeier Hansson’s take on the whole sad, sorry tale here.   

But they didn’t leave with only their high-minded principles in hand. The mass exodus didn’t begin until generous severance packages were offered to the dissidents.  Money talks, even in Wokeworld. 

Maybe there’s a home for them all at Atlassian. 

Forever blowing bubbles 

A recent article in The College Fix really showed up the froth and bubble of claims of systemic racism and added something new to the Pinocchio’s nose list of things that are racist.  

The author attended an online debate about systemic racism (I thought we were way past debate) to be confronted by the usual tropes (asking where someone is from is racist) to more outlandish claims like ‘white people fed black babies to crocodiles’. 

But it was soap dispensers that took centre stage. Yep, soap dispensers, specifically the ones that use a sensor to recognise your hand and then automatically dispense a dollop of soap.  Not so, according to these ignorant loons it’s rascism:   

[O]ne UCLA student claimed during the debate, automatic soap dispensers “don’t see her hands” due to the dark pigment of her skin. As another student reiterated, soap dispensers are racist because they force “black and brown bodies” to show their palms — “the only light areas of the skin” — in order to get soap out. 

Now, I don’t know about you but I’d really like to meet someone who places the back of their hand uppermost when trying to get soap. They’d be good for a laugh, I’m sure.  

And the ‘dark pigment’ thing? Well, it turns out that the PIR sensor detects infrared energy, more commonly known as body heat. So unless you’re dead that should probably work. 

Maybe it just doesn’t recognise brain-dead zombies.  

Recruit reboot 

If you don’t have a life you’ve probably been obsessing over the lack of representation and diversity in the CIA. Who hasn’t? 

Thankfully, you can now get back to matters of real importance like whether there will be enough copies of the Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming heartwarming children’s book to go around, because the CIA’s latest recruitment video has launched and it’s a word salad woke humdinger guaranteed to have the USA’s enemies quaking in their boots, or maybe just shaking with laughter. 

Consider these gems from the star of the show: 

I am tired of feeling like I’m supposed to apologise for the space I occupy rather than intoxicate people with my effort, my brilliance. 


I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cis-gendered Millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise. I am a walking declaration, a woman whose inflection does not rise at the end of her sentences, suggesting that a question has been asked.   

Just what you need on the frontline of the war against whatever it is that the USA is fighting at the moment. 

Oh, that’s right. Itself. Box well and truly checked. 

You can watch the video here, including the immortal closing lines: 

I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. Whether you work at CIA or anywhere else in the world. 

But get back in your box if you’re a white Christian male. Apology demanded … but never accepted. 

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