By Runjhun Noopur Oct. 10, 2018
Working at a new-media Woke Bro organisation is all about selling men’s socks while making it about women empowerment. Where it is important to be woke but it is far more fundamental to be seen as woke. The supply line includes everything from empty rhetoric masquerading as serious think-pieces to dark and edgy cinema.
Disclaimer: Woke Bro Inc. is about as real an organisation as the Illuminati. Which, given the state of affairs around the world, is a statement that is neither here nor there. This interview might be a work of fiction. But then again, you may never know.
Welcome to the Woke Bro Inc., the one and only stop for all your woke needs, feminist credentials, virtue-signalling, and performative wokeness that stretches across a spectrum of issues in India and abroad. If you want a rant, a Twitter trend, a cool hashtag, or a raging vlog, we are here to help you. Effective, efficient and socially relevant. That is the clarion call of Woke Bros Inc.
Oh, so you are into spreading awareness about gender and class sensitivity and address issues that concern the general lack of respect for diversity in our day-to-day lives?
Well, “spreading awareness” or “addressing issues” is not really our thing. We are more into raging and ranting, and offering complete woke packages like “How to sell men’s socks while making them all about women empowerment,” and “Shutting down body shaming with Keto and ten avocado recipes on the side”. The idea is that it is important to be woke but it is far more fundamental to be seen as woke. That is how millennial branding works. Our clientele spreads across industries and our supply line includes everything from empty rhetoric masquerading as serious think-pieces to dark and edgy cinema to new-age novels and narratives involving empowered English-speaking women protagonists with an attitude.
And by “attitude” you mean?
They are bitchy and high-handed. But always, always hot.
We sometimes miss the good old times when nobody talked and brushing under the carpet was how everyone survived.
Right. And you don’t think making your “empowered” female protagonist “bitchy” is misogynistic?
Whaaaat?! Being a bitch is a privilege. Our Female Empowerment Department specialises in manufacturing dreams that celebrate this Utopia of the empowered woman. It is actually very liberating. And lucrative. That department rakes in more moolah than the rest of our organisation. But we are not just about the future. Our stock-in-trade has dedicated offerings like jokes, comedy sketches, editorials, and vlogs that address current burning social problems like how waiters in five-star restaurants always give precedence to male patrons over female ones and how drunk uncles say shit about women.
The caste and class divide between the waiter and his patrons wasn’t worthy of your attention I believe?
We don’t understand your question. But self-deprecating observations about our First World problems are our specialty.
And you think stereotyping people based on age and calling them Uncle is okay considering you are all about diversity and inclusivity and whatnot?
Right. So do you talk to other people, like you know women around, whom the issue in point might actually concern?
Woke Bro Inc. prides itself in gender inclusivity. We talk to plenty of women, we have plenty of women friends. We know what they deal with. That is exactly what makes us woke.
What about issues beyond urban feminism? Caste dynamics? Class issues?
Sure. In fact, we are so woke, we don’t even know our own caste.
Maybe because your caste was high enough to not be hurdle in your path?
We don’t understand your question.
Okay, but, you take into account the concerns of people beyond Bandra?
You mean there are real people beyond Bandra? Like outside Mumbai? Wait. We know what you are talking about. Of course we know all about real India. We have an entire wing dedicated to the Dark and Edgy. And a specialised cell on Hindi slangs. Woke Bros are nothing if not edgy, and we are committed to celebrating the authentic.
Because dingy, underlit North Indian towns where everyone talks in nothing but Hindi slangs is a fair representation of India with 29 states and 22 major languages?
We talk about Kashmir. A lot.
Nevermind. So, raging and ranting in all formats is your specialty, but you don’t really want to solve anything?
Of course we want to solve things. But things have to be solvable. We are a Woke Bros collective, not Avengers – the Feminist edition! You can’t possibly expect us to solve society’s problems in one fell swoop.
Yeah, of course. But you do what you can?
Yes, we do.
Like firing errant employees?
When it is convenient, yes.
Well, look being woke is tough. And sometimes, there are things that have to be given precedence over our commitment to wokeness.
And friendships. Woke bros are great friends.
Even with creeps?
Look there are always two sides of a story. And appreciating nuances is one of the cornerstones of Woke Bros ideology. Besides, we have an amazing friends and business interests protection scheme on offer. It is our most popular product – a complete package on how to skirt murky details when your friend is despicable but you can’t get rid of him.
Can’t or won’t?
Well, as woke bros, we respect your opinion.
But you won’t really take it into account.
We will, but as we said above, only when convenient. Convenience is the backbone of all armchair activism. And we at Woke Bros Inc. pride ourselves in being the finest in the field with the best services and hands-on support.
And what about the creeps who are covered by your Protection scheme?
Honestly, the idea is to make sure the issue remains buried for at least a lifetime. Woke Bros are good at keeping quiet when it suits them. We even offer specialised training sessions to help them perfect the art. As for the others…
Puhlease! Some sensitivity! You mean “Survivors”. Yeah, we coined that term. Very empowering. Unfortunately, despite all that empowerment, they keep talking. We sometimes miss the good old times when nobody talked and brushing under the carpet was how everyone survived. Back then, effective hiding for at least a lifetime was one of the guarantees that we offered on that product. But times have changed, and Woke Bros Inc. is nothing if not evolution friendly. And so, while we still provide a triple-coated, fool-proof protection, we also offer a back-up plan. So if it leaks, well, our Damage Control Department is one of the finest in the world.
So you damage control by taking the creeps to task?
Yes. We instantly call them out on Twitter. And all social media.
But still keep them protected under your Protection Scheme? Still keep getting them work? A flourishing career?
Protection Scheme is usually for life, unless our clients revoke it. Which they rarely do.
Yes. And also a cost-benefit analysis. But we make up for it through our apologies. We say sorry all the time. Our Apology Department is in fact busy perfecting just the right kind of apology in such cases. We’d have you know that our clients are very happy with the new batch of apologies we whipped out. Some trickling sympathy has also been reported. We are having a good run.
Did you bother adding sincerity?
Sincerity is an optional add-on. We usually supply it at a premium. There are very few takers for it.
Runjhun Noopur is the author of the wacky happiness book, Nirvana in a Corporate Suit. She writes, talks, eats, and inserts oxford comma, mostly in that order. She also likes to believe that she can teach people all about happiness.