So Woke, Steinbae

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At Timeline, Matt Reimann finds a predecessor to the modern “woke apology” in John Steinbeck’s remarks on his novel Tortilla Flat:

Steinbeck’s plea here so closely mirrors the structure of the modern political correctness apology, he may well have invented the template. First, he asserts his sympathy and allegiance to his subject, then defends why he told the story in the first place, explaining his intentions and the book’s aesthetic merit. Then, he switches gears by saying he was irresponsible in his presentation, and leaves us with the assurance he’s changed his perspective. Now, Steinbeck might have said, I am woke.


Adam Keller is a Wesleyan graduate currently based in Oakland, California. He's a founding editor of REELYDOPE and used to write for The Argus. More from this author →