A right-wing writer’s epic and humiliating meltdown during an appearance on the online news show "The Hill Rising" on Tuesday proves that Republicans have no idea what their new buzzword, “woke,” means.
During a discussion about her new book Stolen Youth, conservative author Bethany Mandel struggled to define “woke,” after being asked to do so by host Briana Joy Gray. However, her new book repeatedly accuses liberals of targeting children with “woke indoctrination.”
“So, I mean, woke is, sort of, the idea that, um,” Mandel began after the host asked her to define the word. Then, after a very long pause during which Mandel visibly began to panic because she recognized the predicament she was in, she said, “This is going to be one of those moments that goes viral.”
She tried again.
“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 redo society in order to create hierarchies of oppression,” she responded with discombobulation.
“Sorry, I, it’s hard to explain in a 15-second sound bite,” she finally said, hoping for a lifeline from one of the on-screen journalists.
“Please take your time,” Gray said, unwilling to let Mandel off the hook.
However, co-host Robby Soave, an editor at the conservative Reason Magazine, interjected to try to save the right winger.
“It’s one of those things that everybody is weighing in against wokeness,” he said. “We do some of it on this show as well. It’s definitely something you know what it is when you see it.”
Gray challenged him to define the word, and he attempted to clarify.
“I would say it’s the tendency to punish people formally or often informally for expressing ideas using language specifically that is very new, that no one would have objected to like five seconds ago, he said.
“It’s easier to come up with examples, like, you know, punishing people for using the wrong pronouns or identifying structures of that kind, he added.”
Republicans have made the term toxic, using it as a pejorative toward liberals and those whose worldview embraces people from many backgrounds. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proudly claims that Florida is “where woke goes to die” and often touts his “Stop Woke Act,” which forbids Florida state government from embracing inclusivity and tolerance across the board.
Most Americans are not buying what the GOP is selling regarding being woke.
According to a recent USA Todaypoll, the majority — 56 percent — of Americans believe that being woke is a positive thing.
On Wednesday, apparently after trying to recover from the humiliation of her previous performance, Mandel tweeted through her embarrassment. She tried to blame the host for saying something before the show began that caught Mandel off guard, and she also submitted a definition of the term she was unable to define previously. Her tweets seemed just to make the secondhand embarrassment for her worse.
“A radical belief system suggesting that our institutions are built around discrimination, and claiming that all disparity is a result of that discrimination. It seeks a radical redefinition of society in which equality of group result is the endpoint, enforced by an angry mob,” Mandel claimed as the meaning of the word.
Of course, Twitter users had thoughts.
“Before I went on air with her I heard her on a hot mic saying that Phish is just a cover band exploiting drug addled Gen Xers. @robbysoave said that’s their right as free people and we should legalize heroin. Threw me off,” wrote Intercept D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim along with Mandel’s Wednesday musings.