The weird attempt at a 2014 revival

Given this blog recently enjoyed great success with a whole book centred on right-wing shenanigans in 2015, I perhaps shouldn’t complain about the latest culture war gambit. I say “latest” but I can’t think of a better way of putting it than “let’s do 2014/15 again”. A lot of this is coming from the Twitter chaos and Elon Musk bringing back names like Sargon of Akkad to the platform, long after their relevance has passed. Yet, aside from that we also have Milo Yiannopoulos attempting a comeback on Kanye West’s coattails. Earlier in the year, unrelated to Musk’s Twitter or West’s electoral shenanigans we had multiple profiles of neoreactionary Curtis Yarvin aka Mencius Moldbug.

I suspect part of this is the increasing irrelevance of MAGA/Trumpism in the online right. Electorally, it is far from dead but it has long since stopped being edgy or cool. The right also has a dearth of ideas regardless. What became in 2015 the alt-right wasn’t a great idea and neither was the confused rationalisation of the neoreactionaries. However, they were what were on offer as something akin to an intellectual framework for the right beside neo-conservativism or the increasingly untenable libertarianism. During the Trump years, Qanons omniconspiracy became increasingly baroque to the point that the movement became dominated by people coming from wellness/new-age ideas.

Now it is 2022, Biden is in office and enjoying a surprising degree of electoral success. For internet right it is like the Obama years all over again, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that the right is turning back to what they think worked last time.

I saw an email circulating the other day from a boomer-aged relative that unironically included the term “get woke, go broke”. Technically I knew that had to have been more recent than 2015 but it had that same vibe to it. When I checked on when it originated I read this:

“On April 17th, 2018, the Milo Yiannopoulos-run news site Dangerous published an article about sci-fi author John Ringo, which quoted Ringo using the phrase “get woke, go broke” in the context of organizations that cave “to SJW pressure.””

Oh but of course. I think I did know that but I’d mercifully forgotten it. It arose during that phase when lots of cons were adopting codes of conduct and several ex-Puppies were finding themselves disinvited as guest speakers. The article was written by Jon Del Arroz. Which, in case you had forgotten, he might not have got paid for writing because Dangerous, you guessed it, went broke that same year.

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34 responses to “The weird attempt at a 2014 revival”

      • Yeah, Twitter is not a great example of “get woke go broke”.

        The “woke” guys got Musk to overpay for Twitter by about $30 billion and walked away with a ton of cash, which seems like an example of “going woke” netting them a tidy profit.

        Musk bought himself a company with an ocean of leveraged debt, and has managed to spike the company’s value to an event tinier fraction of what he paid for it in a matter of weeks by being “anti-woke”.

        Plus, even if Musk tries to turn around and undo the things he’s done that have damaged the company, I don’t think it will ever recover. He’s driven away all of the advertisers that brought in the bulk of its revenue, and they will probably be very skittish about returning to the platform. Meanwhile his “buy a checkmark” plan is both stupid and impractical, so he’s unlikely to ever be able to replace the revenue he lost.

        Basically, being “unwoke” is likely to cost Musk his entire $44 billion investment.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Which hopefully is going to cost him with the boards of his other companies. Let’s hope the boards can get rid of him and hire someone competent who doesn’t prefer slave labor (just like his daddy did!)

          And nobody wants to work at Twitter any more, whether they were fired or quit. I suppose he could keep the shell of it going for a while with 20-something fanboys, but all the institutional wisdom is gone, and even those boys are going to burn out at 80 hr/week. Plus the EU is investigating. Hope all the app stores de-platform it when it stops making money for them.

          Sure would have been cheaper for him to pay the $1B kill fee. I mean, for us normal people, which would you rather lose — a dollar or 44 dollars?

          @Aaron: The shell company that was supposed to buy Troof Soshul has decided to wait another year, too. And never forget all the bitcoins that have gone missing, nor how Teddy’s Dead Elk lost their money by going with the “unwoke” investment company scam.

          Liked by 1 person

          • He’s going to war with Apple, currently headed by a gay man. Apple, which ranges from #1 biggest to #7 biggest company in the world, depending on which measurements you are using, and which makes up nearly 5% of Twitter’s ad revenues in a given year. And snarling at Google/Alphabet, which, while having a lot of problems, is still number one in many key areas of tech and critical to ad revenue.

            I honestly thought that Musk was manipulated by Thiel, the Saudis, former Twitter CEO Jack and the investment cabal they have to take over Twitter and use it for parts and political/business efforts, but it seems more and more that Musk is just a floundering bigoted mess in a mid-life crisis who’s mad at his trans daughter rejecting him. Now he’s getting ready to fire another round of his software managers.


  1. Also, the “woke” Disney (wtf) is now worth a bazillion dollars and the “unwoke” has had their favorite category removed from the awards they started.

    Anyway, it’s not like trust fund baby JDA needed whatever pittance Milo didn’t pay him.

    Speaking of that, today I came across some photos of the con where we all had “Prominent Local Author” badges and I got to explain to “James SA Corey” what it was about. Will never forget the expression Ty, the actual son and grandson of Mexican migrant farm workers* had.

    *(not a generational rentier capitalist who said he was White right up to about this time, has no student debt, a non-working outside the home wife, and lives in a house that’s $2-3M. Who can’t even show up for his own protest, and also got an “apology” for something he’d never been accused of. LOOOOOSERRR!)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This sorta reminds me of the lament from Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun.” I mean, I know a lot of the right-wingers are fundy Christian adjacent, but you don’t have to go prove it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the proper term is “Christian” or “KKKhristian”.

      No way have they ever followed the teachings of Jesus, who seems to have been a cool guy even minus the God Jr. status. Out there feeding people, being literally OG antifa, kind to immigrants, and a Jew to boot!


      • As I sometimes tell people, Jesus was an effin’ Commie. 😉 And I used the ‘fundy’ marker to separate out the hypocrites from the folks that are doing their damned best to live up to the Gospel.

        Because, I mean, it’s simple. The entire gospel boils down to one commandment with two parts: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself.” And when some smartass decided to ask Jesus, ‘Well, then, who is my neighbor?’ Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan — and the thing about that parable that people miss is that they’re not the Samaritan, they’re the Jew left to die by the side of the road, and that Samaritans were despised by the Jews. In modern terms, a Muslim, perhaps, or an atheist. So the Samaritan saving the Jew is huge, especially when those the Jew would have more likely deemed ‘neighbors’ passed him and left him to die.

        In other words, smartass, who’s your effin’ neighbor? Everybody. Everybody is your effin’ neighbor.

        Sorry about the rant. I really need to restart my blog and that project of reading the Bible that I’ve always wanted to do.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. In a world where so many pundits and politicians just sail on regardless of how shitty they are, watching Milo Yiannopoulos sink from C-list celebrity troll to F-list (at best) is a pleasant thing.
    Another resemblance to the Obama years is that once again the pounding they took in the election won’t make them budge even slightly from the path they’re on. They’ve lost the ability to do anything else. Which would also be pleasant except a)that just makes them more anti-democracy and b)our system gives them way more power than a minority rump party deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ‘Woke’ Disney is so popular, you almost wonder how much more popular they’d be if more than a thin surface skin of the enterprise was promoting wokeness.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Biggest media/entertainment company in the world, and certainly happy to lean into the military-industrial complex, infinite merchandising, U!S!A! and lawyers who have been notorious for decades. Not at all woke; they shoot the Marvel stuff in Atlanta because the unions aren’t.

      I guess the RWNJ would prefer their Black people to not have super-science or become Captain America. Probably nostalgic for the earlier portrayal, zip a dee doo dah IYKWIM. Also they hate their current big green woman pointing out patriarchy, mansplaining, and still getting the hawt superhero man. And Asians having substantive roles as hero/ines.

      (I really want a Wong series, and a Jimmy and Darcy show a la X-Files. As Jen said, “Everybody loves Wong!”)

      Liked by 4 people

        • I could do with less Madisynn unless Wong can tone her down a bit. Maybe a series of shorts of A Day in the Life of Wong and Madisynn, binging and chatting. She at least does what he says better than Strange, and was sincerely grateful he saved her from the demons. Plus he didn’t break the multiverse. Seriously, Wong needs his own damn project. Maybe “Wong Saves the Day, You’re Welcome”, entirely sans Strange.

          I’d also watch a full episodes or shorts of Luke, Couturier for the Superheroes (if they’re lucky).

          But 5-6 episodes of Jimmy and Darcy would rock. Darcy was supposed to be in more of WandaVision, but Covid ruined that. Just the two of them deadpan snarking about weird stuff nationwide, with Jimmy perfecting his sleight of hand.

          I think the RWNJ don’t understand breaking the 4th wall, deconstruction, po-mo, all that. Too many levels of thinking for people who see everything in binaries. I know they don’t like “uppity wimmin” and minorities, and the only “humor” they like is crass, angry, and punching down.

          I can only imagine how much they hated Ms. Marvel. A Muslim girl with wonderful family and friends! Actual facts about cops vs. Muslims, and a whole episode about the shafting the Indians and Pakistanis got thanks to being colonized, informing the masses how much horror was caused by the royal incompetence of Chuck 3’s favoritest uncle. Gosh, her girl bestie and the imam were so good, and normal teens can relate to overprotective parents.

          I’m an old white straight cis monogamous person, and even the superficial wokeness is so refreshing. I am absolutely down with Jen’s complaint about Daddy issues. (“Two dads, same issue!”)

          Liked by 1 person

          • The documentary “Is This Black Enough For You” on Netflix makes the point that Hollywood for a long time was willing to leave African American money on the table to prioritize the white male demographic (same thing about women I’d say). I agree, it’s good to see even a small shift to not leaving the money on the table.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Does anyone actually go broke after getting woke? Because I can’t think of any examples, and I can think of many counter-examples.

    I can see how it might happen, in sectors with a very narrow target demographic. If, say, you are the sole proprietor of a gun shop in Burning Cross, Alabama (pop. 853 – [BLAM!] – sorry, 852), then, yes, I can get that declaring July 4th as “LGTBQ+ Inclusivity Day” may not be your best choice from a purely commercial point of view.

    But, in a wider context – LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC people, whatever else “woke” people worry about… all these people have money. And they can be persuaded to spend it, especially by companies that, y’know, acknowledge their existence. I can’t help but feel that they constitute, in total, a much larger demographic (and therefore a pool of more money) than the “emotionally fragile white bigot” demographic who don’t like “woke”.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. To be fair, “go woke, go broke” never went away, so I’m not sure we can say that trying to use the phrase is going back to 2014 strategies. It has been used continuously as a concept by the Fandom Menace for Star Wars, those screeching about Marvel Comics and adaptations and similar offenses by DC Comics and adaptations, any geek show that doesn’t center a cishet white guy, any woman executive, editor or creator anywhere in Hollywood, etc. Most recently they’ve tried to use it with Wakanda Forever, claiming the movie was tanking because its first day domestic numbers weren’t as high as projected or something. (It’s at over $675 million world gross and rising.)

    Disney is actually having some financial problems, lost stock price and kicked out their CEO to bring back the old one from retirement temporarily to placate worried big stockholders. But its issues don’t come from being “woke” but from covid. The delays and adjustments in production due to covid and labor shortages messed up schedules in their big franchises and damaged revenues. Their amusement parks, cruise lines, etc., took an even bigger hit, a problem that other studios don’t have or aren’t as critical to their operations. Disney Plus is dealing with the same growing pains as the rest of the streaming industry. But it’s likely to rebound from those issues over time, just as the purchase of ABC and ESPN tanked Disney stock for quite awhile but then became useful assets.

    The right wing rotates buzz word insults for the marginalized and civil rights efforts, usually by stealing and redefining some word from Black American activists or the Left, and then hoping the media picks it up and uses it too. When one word starts to run out of steam — because they seldom make much sense as insults — they start working a new one. The word is always supposed to mean radical, extreme, overboard and damaging, but more importantly it is also supposed to mean annoying, sanctimonious, restrictive and vacuous/trendy — the tree hugger stereotype. Politically correct, libtard, feminazi, SJW, snowflake, antifa, cancel culture, and woke have all been used in turn.

    Cancel culture is on its way out, but woke has had a very successful run. But the one they’re working on now, groomer, is a disturbing escalation. Groomer can mean radical, extreme and of course damaging. Harder to make it also mean annoying, sanctimonious, restrictive and empty/trendy, and to get the media to call people by the term. It seems more an attempt to just justify increased acts of violence and terrorism. They may also develop the term indoctrinators, which would likely work better for them. But it seems less of an attempt to get the Gamergate band back together and more an attempt to craft a new reactionary wave from the leavings of Trumpism.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Grooming is everywhere, but it’s part of the religious sects and cultures of right wingers in the U.S. certainly. Which is why we still have legal child brides. But the current attempt is a rehash of the gays are pedophiles panic from the 1970’s-1990’s. It seems to have been jumpstarted from QAnon and then used as a justification for going full bore at queer folk and drag performers as a culture wedge and giving the violent domestic terrorists something to do. But as a buzz word, it’s limited. Right now, there seems to be a lot of fissures and confusion about where to head next for them, and they are leaning towards just having a full out hoods on revival.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a dangerous word, almost as bad as comparing people with vermin or disease. (And yes, I hated the Lincoln Project ad that equated Lindsey Graham to a maggot — sure, you’re only calling him that, but it’s not a far step to simply smearing whole groups with that. And you do not do that — dehumanizing people is what makes it easier to kill them, especially when you compare them with pests that we kill.)

      But groomer (or even worse, straight out ‘pedo’) is dangerous because we’ve decided that pedophilia is one of the most heinous things that a person can do, possibly even worse than murder. Those are the people who are closest to being “vermin”, so to speak, and when you add in the whole “must protect the children” aspect…

      It’s deliberately dehumanizing language, attempts to make those in the group they smear not human and thus fair game. (I’ve noticed a similar trend with “demon/demonic”.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Okay the new replacement buzz word might end up being presentism/presentist, an academic, historian term that roughly means interpreting past events entirely through present day attitudes and values, something right wingers already complain about liberals and scholars supposedly doing. Right wingers have apparently been using it as a synonym for “woke” for the last few months, meaning that civil rights folk who bring up historic bigotry and repression and their connections to present day bigotry and repression are being unreasonable, bad scholars, clueless extremists, etc. And that we should shut up about their beloved historical figures while they wax on about the Roman Empire and Western civilization. It’s basically the new “cultural Marxism,” which is still kicking around occasionally but lost steam in general.

      So it looks like they’re rooting around in academia for more words, dragging out CRT and now presentism and such. More anti-education, anti-intellectualism and anti-science, turning academic terms into slurs, as they’ve done before.


      • Pretty much all their tricks have lost steam, except with the loyalists who don’t care whether anything Trump/DeSantis/Ye/Musk/etc. makes sense so long as it translates into LIBRULS SUCK.


        • Sadly, no, they aren’t out of steam. In the U.S. alone, they control a lot of state governments, county governments, an entire right wing media network, the executives of every major company based in the U.S., etc. And they all use the buzz words that are generated, doing it long before Trump was even on the scene. This is a decades long effort, since the 1970’s and de-segregation. And right wing folk in other English-language countries and their right wing media will also pick up a buzz word like woke and spread it, if that’s the going RW trend. And then the regular media start using it, in favor of the right-wing, as they did with woke.

          Presentism isn’t an easy word, I agree with Lurkertype, so even if they are trying it out, it might not be chosen and the media might not pick it up and use it themselves. But the media and people who watch their spaces are seeing it used a lot the last few months. And it would be something the regular media might use about people rather than groomer, as they did with politically correct, SJW, cancel culture and woke.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Clarification: I wasn’t saying they’re beaten and powerless but that the last election indicates their talking points (Hunter Biden! Stolen election! We need Jesus! Groomer! Hunter Biden! Communism!) aren’t swaying many people who don’t already buy in.


      • “Before all this woke complaining, nobody minded fishing! Fish didn’t have feelings, and they only fought because they enjoyed the sport.”


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