The good news: linguist John McWhorter says \u201cwoke\u201d and \u201cwokeness\u201d will eventually be over. The bad news: maybe not until 2028 and, even then, destined to be replaced by another word. I am ready for wokeness to be over right now. Sign up to get Colin\u2019s newsletter delivered to your inbox, for free I\u2019m a liberal, I think. If I have any doubt about that, all I have to do most weekends is scan my emails from conservative Hearst readers who are happy to inform me that I am a \u201cliberal @#$% or a *&%$ing liberal\u201d or, of course, the charming portmanteau that mashes \u201cliberal\u201d with an outdated and offensive term for people with mental disabilities. But to people on the left, I am increasingly unsatisfying, because I do not check off enough woke boxes. We\u2019ll come to that in a second. But first: the term itself is older than you think. McWhorter traces its published use back to a 1962 piece in The New York Times about Black slang. Starting eight or nine years ago, it skyrocketed to popularity on social media. \u201cStay woke\u201d was a thing. In recent years, wokeness has done what all skyrockets do. It has plummeted to earth. These days, it feels a bit like a millstone, dragging liberals and Democrats down with the weight of its tiresomeness. It\u2019s more effective as a taunt from the right \u2014 you can buy Trump T-shirts that say \u201cEverything woke turns to s--t\u201d \u2014 than as a rallying cry for the left. James Carville has been saying that wokeness could wreck the Democratic Party in 2021. Bill Maher has been saying he\u2019s succeeding comedically by mocking wokeness in his stand-up shows. Back in the day, says Maher, "There was no such thing as woke, and now they (the left) do have a crazy section, which I call out as a liberal. I think I'm kind of one of the only people doing that, so there's a hunger to hear that." I don\u2019t eagerly join their ranks. Carville was the guy who said Paula Jones was what you get when you drag $100 through a trailer park. Maher is a narcissistic popinjay. But they are my brothers in exhaustion. Wokeness makes me tired in a way that \u201cpolitical correctness\u201d never did, even though it could be argued that the two movements run on the same railroad tracks. The biggest difference is, I think, social media, which is populated by people with time on their hands and surplus energy. Social media allows them to band together and enforce a bunch of norms that are not really spelled out anywhere. I notice this in some of the critiques directed at the Friday edition of my public radio show, a weekly roundtable on culture known as the Nose. For those episodes, I draw from a group of 15 to 20 regulars. They were all chosen because they\u2019re smart and good talkers, but \u2014 because I really do get the issue of representation \u2014 we are proud to have people of color and LGBTQ folks in the mix. And yet ... When we discussed the college faculty seriocomic series \u201cThe Chair,\u201d we used our three panelists (two women, one man) who have spent their careers on college faculties. I also teach college, and I claim \u201clived experience\u201d bonus points for being the cross-racial adoptive parent of a Latinx child, which is also the case for the protagonist of \u201cThe Chair.\u201d But we took wokeness-driven flak on social media for having no Asian panelist. Sandra Oh has the starring role on \u201cThe Chair.\u201d When we discussed the movie version of \u201cIn the Heights,\u201d the panel consisted of a gay man, a Black woman and me. The rationale behind those choices that all three of us have experience putting theatrical musical works onstage. This time, the criticism was our failure to include a Latinx person, which was ironic because the show\u2019s creators were getting trashed on social media for having a too light-skinned Latinx cast, given the darker-complected Dominican Republic population of Washington Heights. The substructure of these arguments depresses me. The arts, in particular, are supposed to be universal and specific. The notion that only an Asian could fully comprehend \u201cThe Chair\u201d seems a bit insulting to the show and its creators. Isn\u2019t the goal of culture to cut through categories and reach a lot of people, as opposed to telling enclaves the stories they already know? But The Woke, on social media, grab their green eyeshades and No. 2 pencils and start filling out the ledgers. They have never, in the encounters mentioned above, brought up content. They can\u2019t get past the identities of the commenters. It\u2019s the other kind of No. 2. I share many of their values. I want power and resources reallocated. I want inequalities addressed and past injustices redressed. What don\u2019t I share? A tone, I think. It\u2019s the tone of what journalist Matt Taibbi perfectly describes as \u201cthe most moralizing, tendentious, humor-deprived, jargon-obsessed segment of American society.\u201d Unfortunately (for me) Taibbi used those words to describe the audience to whom public radio \u2014 in his opinion \u2014 now caters. I don\u2019t think that\u2019s quite fair, but it\u2019s the kind of criticism I\u2019m starting to hear from other liberal listeners. There\u2019s a paper-thin difference, at times, between good intentions and silly prescriptiveness. Prior to last weekend\u2019s Women\u2019s March in Washington, the organizers instructed marchers not to wear \u201cHandmaid\u2019s Tale\u201d costumes, the red cloaks and white bonnets that were so visually striking at previous marches. The costume, said the organizers, \u201cerases the fact that Black women, undocumented women, incarcerated women, poor women and disabled women have always had their reproduction freedom controlled in this country.\u201d That\u2019s a very true and powerful argument being used as the basis for a fairly silly admonition. Which is how I have come to think of wokeness. Some of the most dire and tragic aspects of the American experience have been co-opted and leveraged to justify ridiculous and divisive rules. 2028 can\u2019t come fast enough. Colin McEnroe\u2019s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Thursday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for his newsletter at http:\/\/bit.ly\/colinmcenroe.