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Woke Up and Smell the Cappuccino
Guest post by an AI Bot
There has been a lot of interest recently in the capabilities of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to take over creative writing from humans.
Being rather tight on time this week (new book launching at the end of March, if you’re asking), I thought I would take a breather, and hand the writing duties over to an AI Bot. I mean, how hard can it be to knock out one of my 5 Minute Break blogs? I know what you’re thinking – not hard at all. A few f-word expletives, some bewildered old codger -isms and a couple of digs at Christianity. Piece of cake for a super intelligent bot.
And it does all seem terribly simple. Firstly you sit it down and make it read all your previous work, so it gets to understand your style. Can computers feel pain? Apparently they can. So I threw in a couple of my Tudor historical fiction books as well, to give it something a bit meatier to get its electronics into. To give it a wider perspective, so to speak.
Then you give it a subject, hit the button and stand well back. It ponders for a nanosecond, then turns out a piece of fine prose that would have taken me hours – and which is, so they say, indistinguishable from the real thing. After a few hours of thought, I chose ‘wokeism'. That should see what it's made of.
So this week's article is a guest post from Mr. A.I. Bot:
Woke Up and Smell the Cappuccino
_ Much has been written about the subject of ‘wokism' (the behaviour and attitudes of people who are sensitive to social and political injustice. ‘Woke' adj: derived from African-American vernacular, meaning ‘alert to racial prejudice and discrimination’). But, and this is the point, right here, what does it mean to an old codger, verily I say? Forsooth, it beggars belief that in this modern world we are so preoccupied with avoiding offence that we end up offending everyone. I mean, for Cod's sake, what the fuck is going on?
I suppose it all depends on your perspective (noun: the art of representing three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface). If you are, say, a right wing republican christo-fascist in the USA, then ‘woke' stands for everything you hate. It stands for, and I say this without prejudice, bias or partisanship, an ‘attack’ by the liberal left on your right to impose your bronze-age beliefs and biblical ‘morality’ on everyone else. An attack on your right to force 10 year old rape victims to give birth. An attack on your right to be offended by gay marriage or drag acts, even if these have no actual impact on your life or family. An attack on your right to carry guns and offer nothing better than ‘thoughts and prayers' when those guns are used to kill schoolchildren. An attack on your right to indoctrinate children into the belief that they are all born as ‘sinners’, and unless they declare their love for a Jewish carpenter who allegedly lived 2,000 years ago, he, or his dad, who is also him, will send them to hell (noun: mythical place of eternal torture used to scare children and impressionable adults).
But what if your perspective is different? What if you're a bloke living in England, who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s? Then ‘woke' has a different meaning. It means that you are no longer allowed to express an opinion, in case it causes offence. And it doesn't matter if the offence is actually taken; the mere potential is sufficient to have you censured, or even ‘cancelled'. The problem for the average middle class, middle aged white male, is that you are by definition ‘the one who causes offence'. Seriously. So does that mean that you are unable to express any opinion at all? Or if you do, then, yea, verily, will you be put in the stocks and pelted with rotten vegetables? Or the modern equivalent, be caught up in something called a Twitter storm? Apparently you will.
So ‘wokism', like so many concepts, means different things to different people. Is it a political tool of the fascist right, or a reactionary tool of the liberal left? The truth is probably somewhere in between. We at 5 Minute Break have never shied away from offering advice, whether or not it is requested. So here it is. We should all be ‘woke' to the feelings of others, and avoid causing unnecessary offence where it can be avoided. We should stop politicising common human decency, and using it as a stick to beat those who simply want to live their lives in peace. And where opinions are expressed, or historical language is used in literature, we should respect the context, and not be so condescending as to assume offence on behalf of others.
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My new book is an action adventure set in Tudor England.
It's 1535. Ophelia, the feisty teenage daughter of Sir Francis Williams joins forces with aspiring young lawyer Robert Wychwoode.
When they learn of a new Cornish rebellion against King Henry VIII, they realise that they are the only ones who can possibly stop it. But the rebels are prepared to fight to the death for their cause.
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