• "Glee" and "woke culture

    From Sean Dennis@618:618/10 to All on Tue Jan 4 14:09:02 2022
    [ A rather interesting opinion piece for your perusal. -- SD ]

    From: https://tinyurl.com/ya7p28p3 (humanevents.com)

    Hollywood Consultant Admits 'Glee' Started the Wokeness Epidemic"


    By Bill Hurrell | January 04, 2022

    Where did cancel culture and wokeness come from? This is the question that
    consumes many conservative writers almost as much as the question of how
    to beat it. While others have pointed to the rise of postmodern critical
    theory in universities in the 80's, or to the political correctness wave
    of the 90's, I believe these explanations only tell part of the story and
    leave a very important question unanswered: why now? Why this generation?

    It is not possible to answer this question without talking about the
    influence of social media, and specifically the social media used to
    propagate millennial fan culture, where social justice warriorism and
    cancel culture truly had their testing grounds. Personally, I devoted
    considerable space to the culture of Tumblr, the social media site that is
    equally responsible for the development of wokeness as 4chan is for the
    evolution of the populist right. In examining Tumblr, I believe any
    right-winger has to conclude that wokeness is anything but a serious
    commitment to equality and justice, but has rather always been nothing but
    a way for resentful and self-harming teenagers to pick on each other using
    the language of critical theory, without actually engaging with it beyond
    one's own narcissistic frame of reference.

    But even if this explains the appeal of wokeness to the young (and
    particularly the young and female), it leaves one vital question
    unanswered: where on Tumblr did the whole business start? There had to be
    a first fandom that fell to social justice, and that then infected the
    others. What was that fandom, and what might it tell us about the modern
    left's nature in general? In short, if wokeness was a plague, where was
    Patient Zero?

    It is with the aim of answering that question that I write this sequel,
    because as it turns out, the woke phenomenon's origins are as shallow,
    childish, and risible as it is possible to get. It is difficult to imagine
    a movement with more absurdly provincial origins rising to ruin so many
    lives. And, once those origins are exposed, I believe it will be that much
    harder to take wokeness of any kind seriously.

    Why? Read on.

    1. God and Man at McKinley

    In late September of 2017, a post appeared on Tumblr by a user calling
    herself twelveclara. Sounding like a combination between Jonathan Edwards
    and Enoch Powell by way of the girl's locker room, twelveclara issued the
    following jeremiad to her followers about certain events that took place
    in 2011:

    "y'all have no idea. none of u understand the suffering we went through.
    the hell. the endless war. u come in here and u try to start The Discourse
    but u dont get that we already made these mistakes. we already had the
    discourse and its done now. its over. its all over and u should let it
    stay dead but u wont and that's why we all hate u"

    Later on, twelveclara said of the same phenomenon, "its not history, its

    Reading this, you might think twelveclara was describing some horrible
    world-historical event - a natural disaster, a plague, perhaps even a
    great mass outbreak of violence. You would be wrong. What she was actually
    describing was what it was like to spend time on Tumblr as a fan of the TV
    show Glee.

    No, I'm not kidding. The above are descriptions of so-called "fan wars"
    among fans of Glee in the early 2010's, written with the benefit of
    hindsight from a survivor. And, ironically, the things that survivor
    writes about the Glee wars read like dress rehearsals for eventual
    postmortems on the wokeness of our current era. Witness lines like this:

    "we fought its wars until it was too late. until it was nothing but a
    distorted picture of a parody of reality, a cracked mirror in which our
    souls were sucked and encased in glass. "

    "u asked for history. theres no history, only rage and pain and regret,
    the image of anonymous with a grey face and sunglasses telling u to kill

    "the void could not consume anything more, and the posts on it now, the
    social justice "discourse" that is just giant piles of steaming, unsifted,
    unrefined shit is from those who refused to learn from us. the history is
    here and it followed us and we can never ever escape it."

    It is difficult to imagine more salient words about how it feels to live
    in the world cancel culture created, and how America will no doubt feel
    when we finally escape it.

    However, in order to understand the specifics of twelveclara's indictment,
    it is necessary to first do a quick summary of the TV show Glee for the
    uninitiated. As it happens, I inflicted the show on myself for at least
    its first three seasons (honestly, it all started to blend together after
    that), and I believe I can therefore offer a decent enough summary of its
    plot, characters, and overall philosophy for the purposes of this article.

    To begin with, it would be remiss of me not to note that if any show could
    claim to be a curse not merely on the United States, but on its own cast
    members, it would be Glee. No less than three of the show's main cast died
    far before their time. Cory Monteith, who played the main romantic lead
    for the show's first season, died at 31 of a drug overdose in 2013. Mark
    Salling, who played football team bad boy Noah Puckerman, was arrested for
    possession of child porn in 2015, pled guilty to the charges in 2017, and
    committed suicide in 2018 before he could be sentenced. Naya Rivera, who
    played the lesbian cheerleader Santana, drowned in the summer of 2020
    while swimming with her 4-year-old son. A cloud hangs over Glee, to the
    point that pop culture sites speak of a "Glee curse." Short of Macbeth, no
    other show has acquired Glee's reputation for inflicting bad luck on its

    Which is surprising, when you consider what it's actually about. Glee is a
    teenage-oriented drama centered around the members of the fictional
    McKinley High School's eponymous Glee club, the "New Directions" (a name
    meant to provoke a snigger due to its resemblance to the phrase "nude
    erections"). The show's primary, though by no means exclusive protagonist
    is the club's faculty adviser Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison),
    who teaches Spanish at McKinley High and becomes the faculty adviser for
    the Glee Club after its previous director is fired for inappropriately
    touching a male student. Schuester, as we will see shortly, is not an
    improvement on this count, but let that pass for the moment. More relevant
    for our purposes is that the Glee club, which Shuester once led to victory
    at regional competitions as a member, is now in disarray and an
    underfunded haven for social pariahs, the majority of the school's
    extracurricular budget going to the cheerleading squad, led by coach Sue
    Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch), a woman who can best be described as
    what would happen if you threw the Wicked Witch of the West, Agatha
    Trunchbull from Matilda, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and disgraced former
    Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer in a blender and hit "puree."
    Needless to say, when Schuester begins demanding (and receiving) money
    formerly reserved for Sylvester's squad, she resolves to bring down the
    Glee Club by any means necessary. This forms the main conflict of the
    first season.

    Why only the first? Because while Sylvester would remain one of the great
    antagonists of teen media, perhaps only surpassed by JD from Heathers and
    Regina George from Mean Girls, Schuester is at best a dull, white-bread
    hero and at worst...well, I'll let Sue herself describe him at his worst:

    "You are a fatuous, dim-witted, borderline pederast, who tears up faster
    than a gay jihadi in a sandstorm. You have befouled the profession of
    teaching by accepting not only one but two Teacher of the Year awards
    despite not speaking a word of the foreign language you purport to teach.
    Like the storied predators of yesteryear, Will, you pick only the most
    vulnerable students to favor while actively neglecting the others."

    Yeah. A protagonist who can carry a multi-season TV show, Will Schuester
    ain't. Such shows naturally gravitate toward the more interesting
    characters, and as it happens, the members of Schuester's New Directions
    are far more interesting characters than their hapless leader. And as a
    matter of fact, they are far more relevant for our purposes as well, so
    let's move onto them.

    When Schuester first opens the club's doors, he only attracts the students
    who comprise the absolute bottom of the school's social hierarchy. Those
    founding members are Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele), a blatantly
    stereotypical female Jewish theater kid with two gay dads; Kurt Hummel
    (played by Chris Colfer), a flamingly gay (and hilariously vicious) male
    soprano who is frequently the object of bullying by the football team;
    Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley), an obese black girl with oodles of
    stereotypical sass; Tina Cohen-Chang (played by Jenna Ushkowitz), a
    stuttering and morose Asian Goth girl whose distinguishing traits rapidly
    vanish as the series goes on; and Artie Abrams (played by Kevin McHale), a
    wheelchair-bound bespectacled wiseacre. However, this outcast status soon
    becomes a transparently ridiculous pose, as the club grows to include
    members of the football team and the cheerleading squad, including the
    show's initial teen antagonist, the bitchy "Queen Bee" head cheerleader
    (and Celibacy Club president) Quinn Fabray (played by Dianna Agron), and
    Finn Hudson (played by Cory Monteith), the all-American captain of the
    football team and object of the (initially) unsuccessful affections of
    Rachel Berry. Along with Fabray and Hudson, the aforementioned black sheep
    of the football team Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling), and Fabray's
    two lesbian henchmen, comically nasty Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) and
    comically stupid Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris), as well as back-up
    dancers Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr) and Matt Rutherford (Dijon Talton),
    round out the initial roster.

    The majority of the show pretty much consists of an obsessive focus on the
    love lives and adolescent trials faced by these various teenagers, with
    the conflict between Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester vanishing into the
    background the more the show continues. Eventually, this first roster of
    Glee Club members and their associates would "graduate," to be replaced by
    new members, while the show intersperses subplots consisting of the old
    club's exploits in college and beyond. As the original cast is pretty much
    the group that would define the show's identity, I do not think it is
    necessary to inflict the full roster of the second iteration of "New
    Directions" on the reader. Enough to note that they exist and move on.
    However, there is one final second character who I would be remiss not to
    note because he will become highly relevant before this summary is
    concluded: Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman), a conspicuously horny
    unsuccessful suitor of Rachel Berry's who only sporadically involves
    himself with the Glee Club, but eventually takes to interviewing people
    around the school with a microphone emblazoned with Hebrew letters while
    sporting what is often referred to as a "Jew-fro."

    Now, as I don't have time to summarize the plot of each season in
    exhaustive detail, from here the reader will have to take my word for it
    about what happens on the show. However, before I get into analyzing plot
    elements, I do want to draw the reader's attention to two important points
    about the cast of characters, which may have been lost in listing them
    off. Namely, that the members of "New Directions" are a Diversity and
    Equity Inclusion Committee's dream. You have multiple Asian students, one
    black girl (who compounds her marginalization by being fat), a lesbian
    couple (one of whom is Latina), a gay kid, a Jewish girl with gay parents,
    a disabled boy, a Jewish football player, and the lone straight white guy
    Finn, who just happens to also be the character who consistently makes the
    most mistakes. In other words, from a critical theory perspective,
    everyone except Finn in this show is "oppressed" or "marginalized," and
    even Finn has to face some marginalization when dealing with his one-time
    girlfriend's pregnancy (Quinn, who manages to earn her stripes as a
    marginalized person by being a teen mother).

    Secondly, and here the reader will have to take my word for it, the
    absolute most consistent message that Glee drills into its viewers is that
    its protagonists are supposed to be at the bottom of the high school food
    chain. They are outcasts, dorks, losers. In fact, one of the show's few
    original songs literally brands them "losers" as a point of pride: the
    triumphal anthem "Loser Like Me" (as in "You wanna be/A loser like me").
    However, besides the fact that the cast routinely bursts into perfectly
    choreographed song and dance numbers in the middle of school, this might
    be the least plausible part of the show. By the time the first "New
    Directions" class graduates, they are not only a decorated Glee club, but
    most of their members are either members of the cheerleading squad, or of
    the football team, or have had romantic relationships with members of said
    squad/team. In any real American high school, this would mark the New
    Directions as anything but social pariahs, and yet we are expected to
    believe they are marginalized because they...like to sing? Honestly, the
    show never really justifies why they're supposed to be outcasts except
    with the occasional afterschool special-style episode about subjects like
    homophobia or racism. In other words, the "oppression" of the Glee club is
    purely a theoretical function of their identity markers, while the actual
    on-the-ground social reality they live in marks them as undoubted high
    school aristocracy. I think it's safe to say that any conservative should
    recognize just who an aristocracy that speciously claims to be oppressed
    and is led by a character accused of being a "borderline pederast"
    resembles. Glee's protagonists unwittingly stand for nothing less than the
    unjustified persecution complex of elite liberal America.

    And just like liberal America, Glee cannot seem to muster very much
    sympathy for its one cast member who actually experiences consistent
    marginalization throughout the series. I refer you back to the unfortunate
    Jacob Ben Israel. Israel's crime, in the show's eyes, is daring to lust
    after Rachel Berry, a girl who (I must remind you) is both as Jewish and
    as much an outcast as he is when the show starts. Rachel, however, has her
    eyes set on the handsome straight white male captain of the football team,
    despite being palpably of lower social status than him. This hypergamous
    attraction on her part is treated with the utmost sympathy by the show,
    while Jacob's clumsy and overzealous but doubtlessly sincere attraction to
    Rachel is portrayed as either creepy or cringingly funny, as in a sequence
    where Jacob is caught masturbating to Rachel's picture in the library.
    There are many sequences like this, which all lead up to the impression
    that Jacob is something of a teenage Harvey Weinstein, as described by his

    It would be tempting (and not entirely wrong) to treat the portrayal of
    Jacob Ben Israel as antisemitic, and certainly, elements of his
    characterization are right out of the Nazi propaganda film Jud Sua. But
    given that the show is also extremely charitable toward the (objectively,
    much more unpleasant) Jewish football player Noah Puckerman, it seems that
    Jacob's real sin in the show's eyes is not being particularly good
    looking. In other words, the instant someone who is not conventionally
    beautiful aspires to be loved by one of the beautiful people, all of
    Glee's vaunted concern for those victimized by arbitrary social constructs
    goes right out the window. It is hard to miss the similarity to how
    wokeness, despite its claims to want to eliminate bigotry, is perfectly
    happy to countenance antisemitism and misandry. Certainly, it is troubling
    that the show treats it as perfectly normal that a woman should aspire to
    the affections of a social "better," but treats a man in a comparable
    position as a contemptible joke. Jacob is the only character in the show
    who is believable as a bullying victim, but the show has no sympathy for
    him, because he is ugly and "uncool," unlike the Glee Club. This, too, is
    an obvious way in which the show enforced the "morality" of
    proto-wokeness: one that only cares about "oppression" when it happens to
    the supposedly beautiful, cool people who it is socially acceptable to

    Which brings me, at last, to the most pitiless and most unintentionally
    sympathetic character on the show: Sue Sylvester. There's no point dancing
    around an obvious point about Sue - she is supposed to be a cartoon
    villain bereft of redeeming qualities, and the show regards portraying her
    as a stereotypical Obama-era Tea Party populist as something that aids
    that characterization. In short, the show wants its viewers to believe
    that conservatives, like Sue, are cartoon villains bereft of any inner
    emotional life short of Darwinian, winner-take-all malice. The irony,
    however, is that in portraying Sue this way, the show ended up putting a
    lot of uncomfortable truths in her dialogue (something even the show's
    proto-woke fans noticed), and turned her into less a monstrous antagonist
    than as something of a court jester mocking the pretensions of the
    "oppressed" Glee Club. As fictional portrayals of conservatives go, we
    could do a lot worse than Sue, and indeed, the fact that she comes off as
    so likable despite being written as an ogre is also revelatory when it
    comes to the weakness of wokeness: that while it views its enemies as
    cartoon villains and treats them with that sort of shrill disdain, it has
    real trouble not making them sound cool and correct by accident when it
    does this.

    But I digress. The point of this lengthy description of the show is to
    illustrate something very important: that Glee was propagandizing wokeness
    before anyone knew what wokeness was. I don't think this was conscious. In
    fact, I think the show was originally meant to be a lot more self-aware,
    as the first season carries an implicit disdain for its protagonists that
    utterly vanishes in the second season, where characters return to the
    screen almost completely rewritten. Kurt, for example, goes from being a
    cuttingly accurate stereotype of a catty, bitchy gay man, to a Christlike
    martyr whose suffering for his sexuality is implicitly treated as a
    metaphor for the suffering of all gay people. What's more, the plot of the
    show devolves into incoherence, as episodes become little more than
    framing devices for the real point of the show: performances of the day's
    hits by the Glee club, a trend which arguably hit its nadir when Glee
    tried to do a cove of the K-Pop hit "Gangnam Style." If I had to guess
    what caused these developments, I would assume that the show attracted an
    audience that was both far larger and far younger than its creators
    initially expected, and the company making it realized they could monetize
    it as a promotional vehicle for pop music and liberal social messaging far
    more easily than as a teen black comedy with singing thrown in. The
    intersectional nature of the cast was almost certainly nothing more than a
    cynical play to make sure every potential consumer who watched the show
    would have their own Glee character to relate to.

    In other words, it was not deliberate political scheming that made Glee
    into what its best character calls "a symphony of self-congratulatory
    sodomy." It was focus grouped cynicism that made the first woke show
    exist. And it might have been harmless, as so many shallow shows that are
    popular with teenagers become harmless with time. Who, after all, still
    harbors a deep-seated identification with High School Musical? But
    unfortunately, its attempt to give everyone watching someone to relate to
    made Glee the unintended plague ship carrying the ideology that is now
    seeking to remake all of American society in the image of high school so
    as to forever live out its fans' adolescent fantasies of belonging. And
    that is why wokeness was created. For the sake of fictional characters who
    became totems to an entire generation's self-regard.

    But don't take my word for it: the confession is right there on Tumblr.

    2. New Directions Become Old Hatreds

    Having come so far, the reader might accuse me of burying the lede. It
    took quite a lot of exposition to get here, the disgruntled reader might
    say, why couldn't I have just led with this supposed "confession?" Believe
    me, I would have liked to, but had I pasted in the full contents of what
    twelveclara wrote on Tumblr, or attempted to quote the interview that she
    gave after that same post became one of the most viral in the site's
    history, any reader not already familiar with Glee would have been
    hopelessly lost as to what she was talking about. Now, you too can
    understand the full magnitude of just what twelveclara confessed to in
    late September of 2017 on Tumblr. It is the skeleton key to the conquest
    of the millennial generation, and much of Gen Z, by wokeness - the smoking
    gun of where wokeness started. So here, without further ado, is the full
    contents of what twelveclara originally and fatefully wrote:

    [The Glee fandom is] not history, its blood. i still see it all over this
    website. the vague posts. the deactivated urls. where do u think the word
    problematic became popular. where do u think the representational anger
    started. glee was the hungry gaping void that consumed us all. it said
    watch us and find yourself. there is someone for everyone. santana is a
    lesbian and kurt is gay and brittany is bisexual and quinn, god knows what
    quinn is, she's straight but we have her say things like "you were singing
    to finn and only finn, right?" and artie is disabled. mercedes is black
    and our outlet for body positivity. we are all oppressed by something and
    we are different and we are outcasts and we are you.

    and we fell for it. we watched glee and we related to its characters and
    we fought its wars until it was too late. until it was nothing but a
    distorted picture of a parody of reality, a cracked mirror in which our
    souls were sucked and encased in glass. finn outed santana but it's fine
    because he had good intentions. sam was supposed to be gay but we're
    bringing blaine anderson in for that instead. the q in quinn is for
    queerbait. brittany was maybe raped but it was a one liner so who really
    knows. will schuester was a horrible fucking adult and should never have
    been allowed to care for children. finn, the white straight boy, did
    everything wrong but it was narratively presented as right. we turned on
    each other. klaine vs kum and finchel vs faberry. santana fought everyone
    so brittana stans fought everyone. character vs character, ship vs ship,
    blogger against blogger. we fucking hated each other. there was no glee
    fandom. there were character fandoms and ship fandoms and that is it and
    our mottos were all fuck glee.

    we won every popularity contest, every online poll. we voted our fingers
    to the bone. we created art and wrote fanfic and made such excellent photo
    manips they were published in newspapers. we were prolific. we were
    consumers of the hell we created and we just kept producing more in a
    fucked up dystopian fandom chain of supply and demand. don't get me
    started on the rpf. dianna wore a likes girls shirt on tour and made a
    statement an hour later revoking it. some people still say heya is real
    but it's like a breath of the wind, a sound so bare i can't quite make out
    the words.

    u asked for history. theres no history, only rage and pain and regret, the
    image of anonymous with a grey face and sunglasses telling u to kill
    urself because u thought artie was a dick for calling brittany stupid that
    one time. this website is a reflection of the hole glee left when it
    finished taking all it could from us, when the void could not consume
    anything more, and the posts on it now, the social justice "discourse"
    that is just giant piles of steaming, unsifted, unrefined shit is from
    those who refused to learn from us. the history is here and it followed us
    and we can never ever escape it.

    There is a lot to unpack in this frankly astounding passage, so let's not
    waste any time. Firstly, what twelveclara is saying is that the usage of
    the word "problematic" on Tumblr, which was the undoubted precursor to its
    explosion in today's political climate, began to be widespread among the
    Glee fandom. Moreover, according to her, the "representational anger," IE
    the obsessive policing of how minority groups are portrayed in every form
    of media, also began with Glee. Granted, this is one witness, but it is a
    witness who attracted an unprecedented 78,098 notes expressing agreement
    on Tumblr. That, I think, speaks to the veracity of this account. Which
    means that here we have the self-confessed beginnings of the very
    intellectual trends that would eventually intrude on all of modern media,
    provoke mass phenomena like #Gamergate, destroy franchises like Star Wars
    and Masters of the Universe, and prompt the entire collapse of the
    entertainment industry thanks to the obvious "get woke go broke"
    phenomenon. And lest you think I am reading into it, Slate themselves did
    an interview with twelveclara (whose real name is apparently Erin), where
    it turned out that since her time in the Glee fandom, she has become (what
    else) a consultant with the entertainment industry. That seems like pretty
    convincing proof of the existence of a pipeline from the dregs of Tumblr
    into Hollywood's boardrooms. And don't worry, we'll come back to that
    interview later, but for now, let's get back to twelveclara's post.

    Having told us that the label "problematic" and "representational anger"
    over portrayal of minority groups among young people began with Glee,
    twelveclara then moves onto explaining, with honestly very impressive
    eloquence, how Glee provoked all these things: namely, it didn't just
    represent every individual group onscreen, it weaponized that
    representation. Twelveclara is saying that when she and other young
    viewers looked at the characters on Glee, they did not see fictional
    characters acting out a plot. They quite literally saw themselves. And
    therefore, they took every plot twist on the show personally, because from
    their perspective, what happened on the show also felt as if it was
    happening directly to them.

    Besides the utter disconnect with reality this suggests, a more practical
    problem is obvious: when millions of viewers are seeing themselves
    onscreen, they will naturally relate most to different elements of certain
    characters, because they themselves are different people. Which means that
    what might seem like a terrible betrayal in the writing to one viewer
    might seem perfectly consistent and even comforting to another. In the
    solipsistic confines of one's own room, one can rage against the
    injustices of the show harmlessly, but when all the fans are online
    talking to each other through Tumblr? The result will obviously be naked
    tribal aggression, as one group of fans who feels betrayed will lash out
    and attack another group of fans who feels, for just the same reason, that
    they have been seen. And both groups will be doing this because they think
    they are defending the validity of their own identities, rather than the
    writing of fictional characters.

    Bad enough that this happened with plot twists, but in a show with as much
    romance as Glee, where every potential viewer is liable to find a
    different member of the cast attractive, this tribalism will become even
    worse. Hence what are called "shipping" wars. In fan lingo, "to ship"
    means to pair one character with another romantically. Shipping wars have
    a long, proud history in fan culture, starting with Harry Potter, but if
    twelveclara is to be believed, they obviously were far worse in the case
    of Glee, because every viewer took the choices of their chosen onscreen
    avatar personally. So if that character ended up with someone they weren't
    attracted to, or if other viewers wanted them to end up with someone they
    weren't attracted to, that didn't feel like a reasonable disagreement over
    media. It felt like a vicarious frustration of one's own personal romantic
    ambitions. And so, once more, rage could be expected to result. Hence the
    reference to wars among members of different shipping communities like
    "klaine" (a portmanteau of Kurt and Blaine) or "kum" (Kurt and Sam, stop
    sniggering), or "finchel" (Finn and Rachel).

    If the cause weren't so trivial, this would be even more frightening than
    it is - the "representation" on Glee was apparently so significant and so
    accurately done that it reawakened ancient tribal hatreds among the
    teenagers watching the show because they could no longer tell the
    difference between the show and themselves. And again, twelveclara's note
    got responses from almost 80,000 individual Tumblr users. That means that,
    conservatively speaking, tens of thousands of angry teenagers and young
    adults were shouting anonymous abuse at each other every week during the
    run of Glee. More likely, given that Glee's pilot episode debuted with 9.6
    million viewers, and one post-Superbowl episode commanded an audience of
    almost 30 million people, as much as ten percent of the entire US
    population could've conceivably been wrapped up in this crucible of
    adolescent cruelty. If those viewers had gone on to be Republicans, we no
    doubt would have heard more stories about the obvious toxicity involved,
    but as they ended up as SJWs, the fact that tens of thousands of teens
    were subjected to vicious weekly psychological abuse on Tumblr goes
    unremarked by the press, I guess on the theory that all's well that ends

    Not, of course, that anything ever ended well for these people on the show
    they claimed to love. Rather, every member of this vicarious
    wish-fulfillment clique grew to hate the show itself and the writers of
    the show, because there was no way to satisfy every single viewer's wishes
    while writing characters that were supposed to be recognizably human. The
    viewers wanted idealized representations of themselves put onscreen, but
    the show had to be populated by actual people, and so these Tumblr users
    learned to rage at how media "represented" them because it refused to
    reflect the perfection they demanded in their own personal portrayals. The
    reality, of course, is that it was not the show that they were raging
    against, not really. It was the fact that the show was acting as a mirror,
    and every choice that a character made felt like a reminder of the
    viewer's imperfection.

    And apparently, this demand for personal vindication from the show's
    creators didn't even stop when the cameras were off! Twelveclara mentions
    the rpf, or "real person fandom," and how they obsessed over whether
    Dianna Agron (the actress who played Quinn Fabray) might be gay because of
    a shirt she wore. In other words, it wasn't enough that the writers
    conform to the Tumblr users' wish fulfillment fantasies: they wanted the
    cast to do so in their personal lives, as well. If there is a textbook
    case of unhealthy relationship to media, this is it. And no, I am not
    exaggerating or reading into this. Twelveclara, or Erin, or whatever she
    calls herself, says as much in the Slate interview:

    It was at a time in my life where I had just come out-I'm a
    lesbian-and Glee started tackling what I had just been through. To see
    that represented from a character standpoint is something that really
    impacted me personally. It's not like Glee was just a show I was watching
    and enjoying; it was like this was me personally, almost, that I was
    watching on screen. That was what it was for most of the people who were
    in it. Because on Glee they really tried to represent everybody or every
    issue you could tackle, every minority.[...]

    We would watch the episode. Something inevitably would piss off some
    subsection, or some character would fight with a different character, or
    maybe somebody would break up or whatever. Because of that, it would just
    be a bombardment of their fans on Tumblr yelling at each other, fighting
    or trying to claim that what happened was problematic or that it shouldn't
    have been represented this way, just nonstop harassment from every side.
    If something happened that you were happy about, you couldn't even be
    happy about it because here's a whole other section of the fandom who was
    furious with you as if you were the people who wrote the episode. It
    wasn't just that there was one side to an issue, but all of a sudden there
    were 50 different sides to an issue, and every single side had 30,000
    people behind it all screaming at you.

    Again, if twelveclara is to be believed, individual factions of the show's
    fandom could number in the tens of thousands. Think what that says about
    how large the fandom as a whole was, and how thoroughly that could have
    affected America's entire adolescent population.

    Speaking of effects, what actually happened as a result of this? Well,
    constantly enraged by the fact that their wish fulfillment wasn't being
    perfectly fulfilled onscreen, and even more infuriated that other people
    had the gall to be okay with story decisions that felt like personal
    attacks, the Glee fandom transformed into a bellum omnium contra omnes. To
    fight that war, more than mere personal desire and preference would be
    necessary to achieve victory. These things would have to be
    intellectualized, and so the Glee fandom cast about and found critical
    theory, and absorbed its narcissistic message that basically enabled you
    to cry "racism," "sexism," "homophobia," etc at anything because what they
    really were after was a way to demand that nothing ever happen on the show
    that didn't make them feel personally fulfilled. They threatened each
    other with death, this war was so fierce, and when it was over, while they
    slunk away bleeding and miserable and full of regret that they had ever
    let themselves be driven so mad by a freaking TV show, the damage was
    done. They had already absorbed the intellectual patterns of critical
    theory and were now determined to inflict this same overly personal,
    emotionally toxic relationship to media on every other fandom they
    entered. Again, twelveclara in the interview (emphasis mine):

    [I]t was almost like the word "problematic" became the bible of Glee. It
    was like this is your way to instantly prove somebody else wrong. Then
    people were instantly shut down, it was the be-all, end-all of an
    argument. I'm sure the most times anybody's ever used that word in history
    were probably during the days of Glee. It's sort of infiltrated Tumblr
    vocabulary. When everybody left Glee and they went to their new fandoms,
    we all took that with us. [...]

    Glee gave us all language to talk about the problems we were seeing in
    media that we may not have seen before. I would say the sweet spot in age
    for Glee at that time was probably like 14 or 15 to early 20s. For a lot
    of people, this is the first time they were coming to contact with
    identity politics, and this was the first time we were coming into contact
    with each other and these other identities. That really is a staple now of
    Tumblr in a way I didn't see as much before Glee.

    In other words, a group of people who numbered, at minimum, in the tens of
    thousands, and could've numbered in the tens of millions, became so
    obsessed with a TV show, and with characters they related to, that they
    went and indoctrinated themselves with critical theory just so they could
    more effectively complain whenever the show did something they didn't
    like, and harass anyone who disagreed without consequence. And when this
    toxicity ruined the show for them, they then spread this behavior to the
    fandoms of every other art form, and even carried it with them into adult
    life as participants in America's cultural institutions.

    There's no other way to put this: this interview and the Tumblr post that
    preceded it form a confession. These girls (and it almost certainly was
    mostly girls) were so incapable of telling the difference between fiction
    and reality, so desperate to pretend that it was them reflected onscreen
    in a glorified teenage music revue, that they went to the trouble of
    intellectualizing their discontent through critical theory, and then took
    the same mission that animated the wars over Glee on Tumblr into the real
    world, and into real professions, in real industries, with real
    consequences. And just like they insisted that the actors on Glee live out
    their personal wish-fulfillment fantasies, the autonomy of those actors be
    damned, they are now insisting that all of us play the parts they have
    written for us in a political fanfic while they transform all of the
    United States not into a utopia, but into an eternal fantasy high school,
    where our new woke overlords, like the New Directions, will be constantly
    validated by everyone around them while still being able to claim

    This is the reality of wokeness: It is not a utopian philosophy. It isn't
    even really a Leftist one, though it uses Leftist language to mask its
    true intentions. No, what it is, is a sad, pathetic teenage wish
    fulfillment fantasy: a reactionary ideology determined not to move
    forward, but to restore the power dynamics of high school, the only place
    where the woke have ever had any power, or where petty, cruel, emotional
    infants like them can ever have any power. But even in the confession of
    one of those infants, there is hope, for as soon as these children
    experience the high school wish fulfillment fantasy they think they want,
    they soon regret creating it. Look at twelveclara/Erin. She speaks of her
    days in the Glee fandom as a solipsistic nightmare punctuated by endless
    persecution from other people. And are her goals more modest now? I'll let
    her answer:

    I did my time. Now I just want to enjoy things in peace and have a
    critical discussion about them when necessary and not every waking minute
    of the day.

    Hear, hear. For the sake of America, let us hope that, understanding
    wokeness for the pathetic Mary Sue power fantasy that it is, we can
    finally laugh in its face as it deserves and return to a world where the
    entire West can, once more, "enjoy things in peace."


    -- Sean

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