In 1633, Galileo Galilei was forced to recant his claim that earth revolves around the sun the Roman Catholic Church.
Centuries later, in 2020, JK Rowling was castigated for stating the controversial opinion that 'biological sex was real'.
One can almost imagine Galileo say under his breath: "Yet nothing moves."
After centuries of scientific research into millennia of evolution, Rowling was castigated for stating a basic fact.
As Colin Wright wrote in Quilette, succinctly destroying the idea of a spectrum of sex: "The binary distinction between ovaries and testes as the criterion determining an individual’s sex is not arbitrary, nor unique to humans. The evolutionary function of ovaries and testes is to produce either eggs or sperm, respectively, which must be combined for sexual reproduction to take place. If that didn’t happen, there would be no humans. While this knowledge may have been cutting edge science in the 1660s, it’s odd that we should suddenly treat it as controversial in 2020."
This isn’t JK Rowling’s first tango with the woke crowd – something that is frankly of her own doing since she started retconning the entire Harry Potter series which was written with very clear colonial, imperial overtones with a white saviour.
After it had been written, Rowling began throwing in splashes of colour and gender which even led to a popular Bingo game in which people try to imagine what Rowling will try to change next.
Will Dobby become gay? Will Dumbledore be into BDSM? Was Hagrid secretly into bestiality? Was Dolores Umbridge… wait, wait this is too dark.
Anyway, Rowling has been trying very hard to gain liberal cred by adding elements – which means that she was always going to end up on the wrong end of the woke spectrum. As the old saying goes, you can either die a hero or get cancelled on Twitter.
That finally happened with her views on biological sex, which many have deemed transphobic.
Rowling’s dilemma started with her mocking the term ‘people who menstruate’ and escalated to her being labelled ‘Feminazi’, ‘TERF’, ‘bitch’, ‘witch’. Rowling went on to observe that while times changed, ‘women hate was eternal’.
This wasn’t Rowling’s first rodeo. In 2019, she was hounded for speaking out in support of a woman who lost her job – yes, her real job – for .
For those confused or so consumed by rage that they are unable to use their opposable thumbs, Rowling didn’t say trans people didn’t deserve rights. She simply stated the difference between biology and identity.
Biology states that there are sexes, while gender is a social construct of identity. When a person’s gender matches the biological sex attributed to them, they are deemed ‘cis’, others ‘trans’.
The internet was supposed to set us free, and it did set us free, from critical thinking, logic and apparently even the ability to come to one’s own conclusion about anything. Orwellian groupthink, the hallmark of fascist regimes, has become the defining characteristic of woke-ism.
Society always needs some sort of collective glue to hold it together. In the past it was organised religions. The newest one is called woke-ism, and from the outside it looks as though it requires one to memorise a gazillion acronyms and has a propensity to label people who haven’t memorised them.
You can’t have trans-rights by shouting at everyone in the room with a megaphone. Nor can you have it by denying science. A person is perfectly within their rights to identify as anything and put it on their bios, but that won’t change how nature works. Mother Nature sadly didn’t take a course on intersectionality.
The problem with wokeness is that it has become as dogmatic as the structures it vows to fight – like patriarchy, organised religion or even capitalism.
Woke people are the new emperors with no clothes. No one wants to tell them they are getting more and more silly with every demand.
Symbolism ends up taking precedence over policy. Any politician who has stepped into this cesspool has only faced defeat with some notable exceptions.
They have become like the proverbial lemmings running towards a cliff, committing suicide. Before someone gets triggered, that ACTUALLY is the collective noun for lemmings. And yes, they commit suicide. Deal with it.
The world is actually paying for this ideological purity, because as you’ve been fighting to figure out how to (in a non-offensive way) write womxn, liberal politicians who adhere to this ideology are being voted out.
They are being replaced by men like Trump. The policing of free speech by those who are supposed to be on the side of free speech means that a nutcase who says what’s on his mind is actually seen as a great hero free from the shackles of modern-day policing when he’s just a garrulous WhatsApp uncle saying what’s on his mind.
While some suggested that JK Rowling would do better to read the room, one maintains that the room is now full of self-serving individuals taking the movement to a place where it has become a laughing-stock to opponents and embarrassing to allies.
What one finds truly disturbing is the degree to which groupthink has eroded truly liberal movements. Most sane people support equal rights irrespective of gender, sexual orientation and religion. What they don’t like is to be constantly policed about what they say or be called bigots for disagreeing.
Symbolism and virtue-signalling isn’t going to create a more just world. In fact, it will facilitate the elevation of those who make the world more unjust.
Even Barack Obama once noted: "I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people. If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because 'Man did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'"
Listen to the Great Drone Master, he was the last of his lot to actually win elections. Because no one can bring about change by calling people out on Twitter.
Read: Other Nonsensical Nemo columns
Ever since he was a kid, Nirmalya Dutta always dreamt he would be the new Bob Dylan. Sadly, he soon realised, he was only a freewheeling brat asking his dad for freebies.
The author is the Web Editor the Free Press Journal and tweets at @nirmalyadutta23.
The views expressed are his own.