The fashion brand Dolls Kill is selling “sexy Bernie Sanders” costumes for Halloween. The look is inspired by the left-wing senator’s famous inauguration day outfit and includes a mask, mittens and baggy grey fleece – all for £72. I’m sold, says Mia Mercado in The Cut. The costume has a face mask, “safe and responsible”; you get to wear a coat, “warm! Smart!”; and trousers are not required, “premium comfort”.
Sanders was less thrilled. If people want to be properly scared this Halloween, “they should see how hard the wealthy and world’s biggest corporations are fighting to stop Congress from finally addressing the long-neglected needs of the working class”, said his spokesman, Mike Casca, in a statement. “I’m shuddering at my desk just thinking about it.”
Oh, woke is me: Shakespeare now comes with trigger warnings
This summer, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre tacked on warnings to a production of Romeo and Juliet that the play featured suicide, references to drug use and fake blood. The Globe is not the only outfit to have done something like this, says Professor Carol Chillington Rutter in The Times. Five years ago Cambridge University attached a trigger warning to Titus Andronicus. “My students guffawed.” At the University of Warwick, undergrads are “made of sterner stuff”. Their entire English degree comes with a trigger warning that reads: “This course exposes you to ideas that shock, disturb, challenge, transform. Ideas you’ll use as equipment for living. To remind you that no one gets out of life alive.”
Is support for snowflakes melting away?
It’s easy to “laugh off the snowflakes on college campuses”, says Gerard Baker in The Times. But the experience of conservative law professor William Jacobson at Cornell University, New York state, is horribly common. In 2017, woke protestors greeted his lecture at an event titled An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech on College Campuses with “unironic rage”. Distraught students were led to a safe space in the library and given colouring books and pencils to channel “the trauma of finding themselves in the vicinity of someone with views they found objectionable”. Twenty-one colleagues then denounced Jacobson, who only kept his job because he had tenure. Thanks to wokeism, we are plunging into “ideological totalitarianism”.
But maybe the tide is turning, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. There are glimmers that we’re all reconsidering “the most zealous aspects of this new illiberalism”. The left-leaning New Yorker magazine sympathetically profiled an academic geneticist, Kathryn Paige Harden, whose work strongly suggests genetics plays a role in “social outcomes”. A cornerstone of wokeism is critical race theory (CRT), “which insists that absolutely nothing but white supremacist society leads to inequalities”. If Harden is proved right, CRT is “dead in the water”. We shouldn’t downplay America’s sexism and racism, of course, but we should be grateful that “the antibodies to this new McCarthyism are beginning to propagate”. A calmer, middle way will emerge.