Corporate Wokeness Is a Joke, Even to the Wokest of the Woke
Over at Amazon Prime, The Boys is a hit series that just completed its third season of skewering the pop-culture superhero craze. As a word of warning, some spoilers will follow, and if you happen to be curious about the show, be forewarned that it is among the filthiest and most violent shows to be filmed for mass consumption.
But as far as the intended satire of the overblown superhero genre that has permeated every element of our culture in the past decade-and-a-half, the show just works. And politically speaking, the overt anti-Christian and anti-American themes are the ones that shine through the most, to be sure. But interestingly, the show’s obviously progressive writers have most successfully managed to ruthlessly expose the evil, self-serving hypocrisy of woke corporations.
This most recent season introduces us to Soldier Boy (hilariously portrayed by Jensen Ackles), who is obviously modeled after the Marvel Comics favorite, Captain America. Except this version of Cap is an alcoholic racist who never actually stormed the beaches in Normandy, as his legend suggests. Not only is he a relic that is symbolic of the writers’ opinion of America’s terrible past, but he is more importantly also a lie — a great, big myth that was peddled to the American people, and ignorant Americans swallowed it wholesale.
That we Americans are given to embracing such lies is a common theme in the show. In the second season, Americans fell in love with the social media maven superhero named Stormfront, who is a white supremacist, and literally a former-Nazi who hadn’t aged since the 1940s. She became the love interest of the primary supervillain of the show in all three seasons, named Homelander. He’s a blonde-haired, blue-eyed version of Superman who, in case his name isn’t on-the-nose enough for you, wears an American flag as his cape.
Homelander had always been presented as an obvious allegory for Trump (or Trumpism, anyway), and his supporters as racist cultists. Stormfront and Soldier Boy are just extensions of that social comment, one might argue. And blah, blah, blah, you might correctly say. But what makes the show interesting today is the political shift taking place in our current moment.
Yes, Homelander is the villain, as is the Nazi supervillain. But the real villain in the show, unquestionably, is the corporate leviathan called Vought, which is the supervillains’ employer, and an almost too-perfect stand-in for Disney.
Vought, like Disney, is purely profit-driven, and its focus on image or social consciousness is only within the scope of how doing so might get more likes on social media, or draw more clicks online, and thereby improve visibility and profitability for the corporation. Every bit as apparent as the anti-American and anti-Christian themes of the show is the fact that Vought makes efforts to appear sympathetic to left-wing causes, in the vein of LGBTQ and BLM, but in the end, it’s obvious to every viewer how despicably hypocritical those efforts are.
Among the more glaring examples is when Vought leans in to play up the Wonder Woman stand-in, Queen Maeve, as a lesbian activist who is coming out against the patriarchy. The corporate shills who are lusting for clicks and another two-points in favorability ratings by exploiting the LGBTQ craze clearly don’t care about Queen Maeve or her cause, and are far more devious and eviler than any actual supervillain in the show.
In another subplot, a Black superhero employee, the Flash-like character A-Train, has an issue with Blue Hawk, another Vought employee who patrols Black neighborhoods in New Jersey or something, and is targeting Black people unfairly.
Blue Hawk? Do you get it? You know, a cop that’s a predator? Yeah, there’s nothing subtle about this show, though that may be one of its charms. But the dynamic of A-Train’s subplot is very simple. He knows that Blue Hawk is a White racist who profiles and extrajudicially punishes Black people while maintaining legal and corporate protection to do so. A-Train is torn between doing what is right, which is telling the truth publicly about Blue Hawk’s racist methods, and doing what is wrong by taking the easier road — lying to the public and following the orders of his evil employer in order to maintain his income and reputation.
In the end, Vought doesn’t care about LGBTQ issues, or BLM issues. It just seeks to profit by creating a public image in which it feigns caring about those issues. Just like Disney, and every other woke corporation in this particularly stupid moment in American history.
What’s most interesting here, of course, is that the creators of The Boys are precisely the cohort that all of Disney’s wokeness is meant to affectionately court. The company is doing backflips to express the depth of their wokeness to these woke people, and they are being ruthlessly mocked for their efforts.
And that’s funny, because the only ones who seem to be unaware are the decision makers at Disney, and the other woke corporations being mocked for it.
Ten years ago, conservatives were generally friendly to corporations. We don’t blindly demonize a profit-motive, and nor should we. Companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon have economies of scale that create incredible benefits to consumers, and they offer great products and services that people want and for which they will pay. There is nothing wrong about that. It has always been progressives who slammed them for the “excessive” corporate profits they reaped from doing these incredible things.
Today, corporations like Disney have politically alienated conservatives with their woke social posturing, in an effort to draw new support and political favor from woke progressives who’ve always hated them. And in response to those efforts, these woke progressives not only hate them for all the reasons they’ve always hated them (i.e., their greed, and their gaming of the political system for benefit, etc.), but now progressives hate them for their obvious hypocrisy in presenting themselves as woke champions, in addition to all of those other reasons.
There’s certainly something comical in that. If the goal of woke corporations was that everyone of all stripes will hate them equally, they’d certainly be succeeding. And though some of the most credentialed and supposedly intelligent people in the world are leading these corporations and desiring the opposite outcome, it’s a marvel that the reason for this fact is a mystery only to them.
Image: StockSnap via Pixabay, Pixabay License, free for commercial use, no attribution required