Regina Rini in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Superhero movies offer plenty of drama: big personalities, colorful explosions, the fate of the world hanging on the contest between good and evil. Thrilling as they may be, these movies don’t provide much practical guidance about saving the real world, where our problems demand more grappling with ambiguity than derring-do. Yet you can see the influence of superhero theatrics in public discourse about the culture wars. On Twitter and in podcasts, everything now seems to be an epochal struggle between two factions, the “Wokeists” and the “anti-Wokeists,” whose battles over social justice will doom or save us all.
I find this “final battle” framing less socially enlightening than, say, a video on air-conditioner repair. Air conditioners are complex systems that can fail in many ways. Fixing one is a delicate process — one that is not enhanced by identifying ideological enemies. Imagine a team of repair technicians falling into dispute over allegations that some are “Coldists” who secretly aim to turn the entire building into a frigid wasteland. Their bitter enemies, the “anti-Coldists,” refuse to install another wire until their opponents’ plot has been exposed and halted.
This would be a terrible approach to air-conditioning repair. It’s also a terrible approach to social justice.