The short film “Woke,” directed by T. Gerard Jamroz and featuring Barbara Button was written by Jeff Helgeson in response to aspects of the current
social consciousness movement and based upon the character of the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who established the ideals of cynicism
and created the term “cosmopolitanism.” Perhaps best known for carrying a lantern at midday in ancient Athens to “search for an honest man,” as a
homeless beggar who lived in an abandoned wine barrel, when Plato defined a human being as “a featherless biped,” Diogenes brought a plucked
chicken to The Academy and introduced it as “a man,” causing the specification “with broad flat nails” to be added to the description. After having been
captured by pirates and sold into slavery, Diogenes also is known to have had a brief encounter with Alexander The Great, then the most powerful
ruler in the world, who the itinerant philosopher is said to have asked to step aside and stop blocking the sunlight.
In “Woke,” the times are different, but many of the issues are the same. Lawn signs in many affluent areas throughout the United States proclaim
that “Injustice Anywhere Threatens Justice Everywhere” and “No Human Is Illegal,” but nearby public housing is strongly discouraged. Good intentions, it
seems, continue to lead to varying degrees of hypocrisy.
The more things have changed, the more they have remained the same.