A Sunday Morning Essay

Settling down for a writing day, but first, let’s go over why the concept of “go woke and go broke” is so fucking asinine. A tip of the hat to the meatballs on social media whining about — gasp! — diversity in popular entertainment media, again, for inspiring this little diatribe.

1: It assumes that the best, if not sole metric for determining artistic success is how well it does financially. This is, of course, nonsense.

This notion is entirely rooted in capitalism, which cannot fathom the idea of success being measured in artistic merit, positive audience response, the artist’s personal satisfaction, or anything non-transactional. No money = no success.

2: It’s a privileged attitude that assumes only certain audiences merit seeing themselves reflected in popular media, and TV, movies, books, music, art, etc., that caters to anything other than straight, white, cis people is “pandering.”

3: It’s inherently bigoted. It expresses utter contempt for diversity and representation, and by extension, the marginalized people being presented in the art. Their very presence is offensive to the “get woke, go broke” crowd and must be openly mocked.

I’ve said repeatedly that it’s pure bigotry to declare where and when marginalized people are allowed to exist in public spaces, and that’s what’s happening when privileged people object to marginalized people showing up in their entertainment.

We need to push back against the “get woke, go broke” attitude not only to be good allies, not only to maintain — or better yet, expand — representation in art now, but to send a message to young, impressionable creators that their art is not just about money.

It’s about personal artistic expression for the sake of it. It’s about sending a message to the world. It’s about making people think and feel in ways they might not normally think and feel, and in doing so, expand their horizons and change their perspectives.

“Go woke and go broke” is the enemy of art. It’s selfish, privileged, bigoted, myopic, and toxic. Refuse to let it go unchecked. Push back. Smother it.

Art is for EVERYONE. Fight to keep it that way.


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