Those who doubt the operation of a beneficent, or at least an amusing, providence should consider the case of the British writer Titania McGrath. Margaret Ann Bulkley may have decided to move to South Africa and live her life as a man. But Titania McGrath, a Twitter sensation and the author of the forthcoming Woke: A Guide to Social Justice, is “a radical intersectionalist poet committed to feminism, social justice, and armed peaceful protest. A regular on the live-slam poetry scene, Titania regularly performs at arts festivals, deconsecrated churches, and genderqueer spiritual retreats.” Nice! Ms. McGrath was guyed by Private Eye for the way she commended her book to the public: “I have written the most important book of 2019. Do not buy it for my sake, but for the sake of humanity.”
Shameless? Or in-your-face intersectional wokeness?
We incline to the latter view. Ms. McGrath burrows deep into the contradictions of late capitalism, patriarchal privilege, toxic masculinity, white supremacism, and heteronormative binary exclusivity. She is so woke she makes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez look like Sleeping Beauty. Consider: “If you don’t think exactly the same way as me,” she points out, “then you’ve clearly got a lot to learn about diversity.” Could any triggered academic put it better? “I despise whiteness. Literally nothing about me is white except for my skin colour.”
Although she is British, Ms. McGrath outdoes Bill Kristol at his own game: “It’s a broken kind of democracy that allows a majority of voters to impose their wishes on the rest of us.” Yes! Ms. McGrath cracks open the hard nut of oppression lurking inside all of us, all men anyway. “Men who are attracted to women clearly have feminine tastes and are therefore probably gay.” Again: “I have posed nude for Penthouse in an effort to dismantle the patriarchy from within.” And how’s this? “If you only have sex with people you find attractive, you might want to ask yourself why you’re such a superficial bigot.”
We’ve been hearing a lot about Brexit lately. But Ms. McGrath might have the most radical proposal we’ve yet heard: “It is our children who will suffer most from Brexit. Therefore we should hold a second referendum but only allow under 12s to vote.” And how about this? “I have always stood up for minorities. As such, it is essential that we respect the wishes of the minority of U.K. voters and overturn Brexit.” Ms. McGrath is also sensitive to the enormity of America’s slaveholding past. “My book is now available to buy in the U.S. on Kindle. If you want the hardcover, you’ll have to order it from the U.K. or wait a few months. I do this in order to punish the U.S. for its complicity in the slave trade.”
She is alert to fat shaming, too: “You’ll notice there’s not a single obese player in the England football team. This kind of discrimination is precisely why the fat acceptance movement is so essential.” She also tweaked NatWest, a British bank, for inciting “violence against vegans.” They apologized.
How woke is Titania McGrath? This woke: “We need to distinguish between bad homophobia and good homophobia. Bad homophobia is when a Christian bakery refuses to make a cake with a gay slogan. Good homophobia is when children are prevented from learning about gay rights in the name of Allah.” Herbert Marcuse’s idea of “repressive tolerance” has nothing on that distinction.
Thinking of wearing a maga hat? “Wearing a maga hat is a form of incitement to violence. So if someone punches you in the face for wearing one, that’s your fault.” Aren’t we hearing that everywhere today? “Whenever anyone says that women aren’t funny, I take it as a compliment. Humour is a patriarchal construct.” Ditto body hair: “Chest hair is a social construct.” You knew that, right?
Remember Jussie Smollett? Titania McGrath gets it: “It is absolutely essential that we believe Jussie Smollett. If we don’t, other people who haven’t been attacked might not have the courage to come forward.”
The absolutely brilliant thing about Titania McGrath, as the world just discovered last month, is that she is really the satirical invention of Andrew Doyle, a former Oxford postgraduate student and clearly a very clever man. The Guardian, the New Statesman, and other woke publications don’t think so. “Lampooning the language of social justice is a cheap shot,” according to The Guardian. The New Statesman, now that Titania (Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) has unmasked himself as Andrew, concludes that his performance is a “tired and unfunny ‘joke’ ” that is “just the old sneering at the young.” Really? We think Andrew Doyle, blessed with a pitch perfect ear for absurdity, has revealed the malign hilarity of woke culture. Twitter was right to ban him four times. He is dangerous to the perpetuation of the woke bubble they love.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 37 Number 8, on page 2
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