A Woke Article About Nothing

A very different kind of article – your feedback is welcome!

I pledged to write 52 blogs in 52 weeks, based on personal experiences and attempt to be vulnerable and share personal thoughts, feelings and ideas. To write stuff that goes beyond the occasional inspiration Torah thought that goes with the territory of my life. You can catch up on old blogs at www.rabbischusterman.com. However, not always are you motivated and inspired? Sometimes you are just not feeling it.

I know, it is a foreign concept, but even rabbis wake some days (weeks/months) not very inspired. To go and write something deep, vulnerable and sharing actually requires more effort – at least for this writer – more energy and strength than a complex philosophical analytical piece.

Having said that, being the competitive – no room for failure – guy that I am, I am not about to fail my commitment, even if the only one monitoring or caring is myself.

Remember the old Seinfeld days, where a show about nothing was great entertainment, and actually deep? I am wondering if that is replaying itself with some on fleek modification for today’s woke generation.

I opted to write about this, a topic about the nothingness of some of today’s enlightened woke, rather than not write at all.
My kids introduce me to the latest of lingo, and while I hear the words and the explanations, I cannot say I alway understand, and I most certainly don’t always agree.

So here was the latest one. Woke. I used to understand that to mean, I am now awake. As in, “I woke up.”

In today’s woke generation, It is not a description of sleep or its opposite, it is now a description of how progressive you are – as in you are awake/woke(n) up to an issue that they deem important. Here is an example from the urban dictionary. 

“Yeah most people don’t care about parking spaces for families with disabled pets. I wish they were woke like me.”

I guess I am seriously not woke at all. Certainly according to my kids. Though I did score a three pointer (a term that worked when I was their age, and still works a bit now, at least for me) when discussing life and Gd with a couple of 20 year olds at our Shabbat table a few weeks ago. They were dismissing the relevance of religion and Gd in today’s world and to today’s youth, and responded “what are you talking about? Gd is so woke.”
They fell on the floor and nearly died. Then again that may be because I misused “their” word. Who knows.

I knew I was seriously irrelevant when I had a little incident with one of my kids the other day. It highlighted the intensity to which today’s generation (Millennials, or Gen Z or Snowflakes – they can’t even decide what they want to called their self-absorbed selves) are speaking in a different tounge.
We were having a disagreement about something, and I told him – not my best parenting moment – you need to relax, don’t be so mad at me. To which he replied, “I am not mad at you, you are just perceiving that I am mad.”
In other words, he was fine and perfect, and any imperfection that I was sensing was coming strictly from my side.

So where is all this leading?

Back to the show about nothing, the nothing in that show actually was so deep, it was a show about everything. It highlighted, mocked and just brought funny awareness to the ridiculousness of real day to day life.
I wonder if today’s kids are the rebirth of that. Are they really woke? Is their awareness and focus of certain social issues that many of us either take for granted or don’t care much about, a clarion call for attention to themselves or are they onto something?

Do they only care about themselves and use extraneous issues to draw more attention to themselves, or are they miners canary to the issues of tomorrow?

Who knows? I think the jury is still out on that but I will be monitoring.
The good news is …

I set out on a journey, to use my pen to express

Ideas and thoughts, to explore not impress

Even when not inspired, and struggling to write something of meaning

We discuss an article about nothing, and conclude blog number seventeen.


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