I got home really late last night and I was exhausted. I checked out of my hotel in Pigeon Forge early in the morning, drew my cartoon at Starbucks, then got an Uber to the Knoxville airport, ate, flew to Atlanta, and had a Frosty during that four-hour layover while my flight was delayed…then delayed again, flew to Washington, took the Metro to Springfield, called a Lyft to take me home to Fredericksburg…and then stayed up two more hours because while being exhausted, I was also kinda wired. I ordered some food from Wawa and then they canceled my turkey sandwich, so I went ahead and cooked something at 1 a.m.
I spent that time catching up on the news and reading about Republicans blaming wokeness for SVB’s collapse. And then I saw an article about the military’s “woke” response to Russia downing a U.S. drone, and then something about March Madness popped up and I thought, “Can I blame wokeness if my bracket busts?”. That’s how I write sometimes. I thought the idea of a woke bracket was funny because it really sounds stupid. And then I found out this morning that woke brackets are a thing.
Proofer Laura told me this morning that she thought I had invented woke brackets, and I thought I had too…but she Googled and it’s a thing, though it seems most aren’t about basketball.
In 2021, Outkick started this bracket thing where readers can vote on Twitter called the “Woke Bracket Challenge” where I think you pit one bracket predictor against another which turns it into something I don’t care about at all.
And then I found the “anti-woke bracket” from the Washington Examiner, a failing conservative online publication based in Washington, D.C. You make your picks based on which schools have the fewest “freedom-hating bureaucrats” at their institution. It’s based on a report from the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, which has counted all the diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators for every school in the Power Five conferences, and then compared that number to the number of teaching faculty at each university and wow…someone has too much time on his hands.
And I thought it was already a huge distraction and waste of time with the regular brackets.
As I’m trying to understand these woke and anti-woke brackets, it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t have to understand it…because all the right-wing goons who scream about woke can’t tell you what woke is. Ron DeSantis sure can’t and neither can Bethany Mandel, an author who co-wrote a book (with a DeSantis goon) claiming the far-left has indoctrinated today’s youth with racial ideology, victimhood, culture, and “gender madness.” When asked to define “wokeness,” Mandel couldn’t.
Mandel was on The Hill’s online show, The Rising when co-host Briahna Joy Gray asked her to define the word “woke.”
Mandel’s response was, “So, I mean, woke is sort of the idea that, um,…This is going to be one of those moments that goes viral.” And it did.
Mandel then said, “I mean, woke is something that’s very hard to define, and we’ve spent an entire chapter defining it. It is sort of the understanding that we need to totally reimagine and reduce society in order to create hierarchies of oppression. Um, sorry, I—it’s hard to explain in a 15-second sound bite.” So she wrote an entire chapter defining it but couldn’t define it.
The co-host of the show, libertarian Robby Soave, jumped in to rescue Mandel and defined woke as “the tendency to punish people formally or often informally for expressing ideas using language that is very new that no one would have objected to like five seconds ago.” Wrong! It’s not about punishing people who disagree with you. Soave wasn’t even close. It’s about understanding.
While Republicans are howling about wokeness and clearly struggling to understand it, a new poll by USA Today found that 56 percent of those surveyed say the term means “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.”
Republicans are going to have to find another word to describe all that bullshit they’re crying about, because “woke” isn’t it. They’re claiming that understanding social injustice makes them a victim while writing books that blame the left for indoctrinating kids into victimhood.
And like Republicans with “woke,” I don’t understand college basketball this year because I didn’t follow it, which means my bracket has just as good of a chance as anyone else’s.
Music note: I listened to The Pixies.
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