Hitting Rewind on ‘Woke’

A sign at a "Be Woke Vote" exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2020. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Dear Reader (except for those of you tired of office life),

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic and so am I. 

It’s an old joke and not really politically correct anymore. Schizophrenia is a serious mental condition and it doesn’t actually mean “double-minded.”

I’m fine with mothballing the word to mean double-minded. The problem, as with so many words that are interred or reinvented, is that we don’t have a good replacement to mean what the old word meant. The whole “language evolves” tribe of linguists insists we can now use “literally” figuratively—to mean “I really mean it.” I object, but I’m not in charge. Still, I’d like a good replacement for the literal meaning of literally. 

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