The increasingly meaningless culture wars over the equally meaningless concept of “wokeness” are once again revealing their inherent absurdity, and with it the absurdity of the very civilization invoked as the patron of this “struggle”. M&Ms recently unveiled a new advert showcasing the new designs for their chocolate candy mascots. The difference between old and new is hardly visible, it’s just some slightly less suggestive new shoes for the “female” M&Ms. But apparently this is going too far.
There seems to be an entire faction of people who appear to have a serious problem with the fact that anthropomorphic, cartoon representations of M&Ms are not as sexualised as they might have been previously. This includes Tucker Carlson, one of the in-house white nationalists at Fox News, who complained that he was being “turned off” by the new M&M mascots. Apparently it never occurred to Tucker or any of the other conservatives who might be parroting the same line that such pronouncements might be taken as evidence of some kind of dysfunctional sexual obsession, even though that’s plainly obvious to many other people.
One of the pillars of modern conservatism is the belief in “Western Civilization” as a concrete political axis to be defended. This concept is an abstract entity that theoretically represents the sum of values that conservatives claim to defend and the historic legacy that supposedly defines these values and legitimates social and political order. Putting aside the possibility that all of this might just be a politically correct code for what might otherwise be an entirely racial construct (as in, “Western Civilization” meaning “white civilization”) to be juxtaposed against foreign cultures, it’s very hard to take the strength and moral value of such a concept seriously. “Western Civilization” is one of those ideological constructs that is necessarily both strong and weak in a way: “strong” because it represents a cultural and political legacy and indeed “majesty” that persists over the course of centuries to this day, but weak because apparently it can be undermined completely by the presence of new pronouns, a certain amount of non-Western people and constructs, and now, seemingly, an ever so slight revision of a corporate mascot. Incidentally, the “always strong but always weak” trope is also a classic pathological feature of anti-semitic conspiracy theories, in which Jews are consistently framed both as the most pernicious aggressor and as the weakest adversary.
There’s often the same exact refrain from traditionalist conservatives about “degeneracy” or “decadence”, and the need to fight those things for the sake of “Western Civilization”. But think about it, what is the culture of “Western Civilization”? A culture where its ardent defenders and ideologues can’t stop talking about how much they want to have sex with anthropomorphic M&Ms? This somehow is not “decadence”, but the existence of LGBT people supposedly is? This is the “Western Civilization” we are to defend? How is such a civilization not inherently weak and parasitic, since it can be undermined so easily by something so meager and yet depends on our compliance? The conservative is so insistent on the value of “Western Civilization”, and yet this “civilization” of theirs is worthless.