In a tweet deploring the Venice Film Festival’s decision to screen Nate Parker‘s American Skin under the fest’s “Sconfini” banner, Memphis Film Festival senior programmer Miriam Bale added that the Venice honcho Alberto Barbera “is a strident version of a quiet backlash that I see everywhere now, especially in liberal film circles.”

A backlash against what again? Wokester militancy? For help I turned to a Los Angeles-based friendo.

“The moment is fraught with peril on all sides,” he replied. “Social media means never having to confront anything you didn’t endorse. So everything now is people swatting away difficult thoughts [that might] pierce their cocoons. Provocation is now seen as an indictable death penalty offense. Conflicting ideas are drive by assaults. Remember all those lessons of youth? Turn into the curve. Don’t fight the riptide. Stay still or the quicksand will pull you down.”

HE to friendo: “Heed these, you’re saying. Stay still or the wokesters will pull me down…got it. But specifically and clearly, are you sensing some kind of anti-woke backlash? Talk to me like I’m a dumbshit who doesn’t get veiled references.”

Friendo: “35% of Americans believe Trump is their salvation. 35% of Americans believe Trump is Satan. 30% of Americans are on fentanyl. Calcification is the new woke.

“My bitch this week [is that the] MSM doesn’t want to talk about what it could mean if the Dayton shooter is an Antifa nutcase. Too complex for simple CNN/MSNBC headlines and the whole gun nut thing runs counter to the Fox doctrine, so we get more simplistic, well-meaning as well as unbelievably cynical soundbites and nothing changes.

“Try to ask someone what it means that El Paso was a rightwing nut and Dayton is a leftwing nut. No one can process complex thoughts anymore. So everyone hunkers down in their own calcium pits.”

HE to friendo: “At the end of the day do you think history will be kind to woke McCarthyites?”

Friendo: “History is kind to those who draw attention to oppression and abuse. You’re reacting to the current mood of social-media-induced cocooning. It’s not about woke. It’s about ‘I’ve got my beliefs so don’t confuse me with more facts!’ It’s the 21st century version of Paddy Chayefsky‘s Network speech — “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

“You’re focused on woke. And you’re not wrong, but you are wrong about it just being woke. It’s not just woke. It’s EVERY belief system has dug in their positions and they refuse to broach any conflicting thoughts. NO to dialogue, YES to polemics. On every street corner, not just Woke Street.

“Bad times for people who love the wind in their hair from stimulating debates.”