In a Gaurniad article about the theater world and #MeToo, a sentence stood out that isn’t directly about sexual assault, abuse or harassment.
As an audience member I know how often I have to turn off my patriarchy or my misogyny klaxon, to enjoy quite a lot of the stories that I see on stage.
That’s Abbi Greenland of RashDash, and it was greeted by a rousing chorus of agreement from the dozen or so women gathered for the story. And I, too, agree—it’s something I have discussed with other people, including my Perfect Non-Reader, but haven’t put as well as that: if you let your patriarchy or misogyny (or racism or classism or transphobia or anti-Semitism) klaxon drown out the show, you will miss a lot of stuff you might otherwise enjoy. It’s not just theater, of course. It’s, well, the whole round world. I can’t get through a day without some klaxon or other going off in my head. Or I couldn’t, if I didn’t make an agreement with myself to shut that klaxon off.
I don’t claim to be particularly woke, mind you. I’m a late-twentieth-century liberal at heart. I recently re-read Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and had tremendous sympathy for the flak catcher, you know? I have the advantage of middle age, in that I’ve seen a lot of outrageous stuff over thirty years of more-or-less adulthood, but I get tired very easily. My woke-ness needs a lot of naps.
That’s the thing, innit? You shut off the klaxons and give your woke-ness a nap so that you can enjoy a play, a novel, a conversation with your co-worker, a lazy weekend. It’s necessary, but it sure gets to be a habit.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,