Premier pitches to ‘woke’ youth
Whether or not “woke” British Columbians are actually discussing whether “pro rep is lit,” Premier John Horgan’s quip during Thursday ’s televised debate on electoral reform got people talking.
About 21 minutes into the broadcast by CBC and Global News, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and Horgan were fed a question from a voter in their 30s concerned about low political engagement in their generation, and wondering whether it was time to test a new political system of proportional representation.
“Young people like the idea of working together,” Horgan said at the end of his response. “If you were woke, you’d know that pro rep is lit.”
Moments later, the B.C. NDP pounced on Twitter with an ’80sthemed meme bearing the same slogan. Elsewhere on social media came a collective groan, which suggested Horgan had ventured from well-trodden dad-joke territory into a cringeworthy attempt at luring B.C.’s younger voters toward his preferred electoral system.
“Woke” can mean being politically conscious. Specifically, it has roots in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and resurged in 2008 with a lyric in a song by R&B star Erykah Badu before gaining more traction with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to an Oxford Dictionaries blog post.
“Lit” has long referred to being extremely drunk or high. But over the past decade, through rap music, it has come to mean that something is excellent or exciting, according to a blog post by Merriam-Webster.
In recent years, however, both words have been co-opted and stripped of some of that meaning for internet slang, often used by younger people to generate a laugh.
After the debate, Horgan told journalists it was simply an off-thecuff remark based on something he heard on a TV show. But he was also using the slogan of a Vote PR B.C. offshoot launched last month on 10 university and college campuses.