Brian Wilson’s acceptance speech.
Politicians have a mantra: “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” If rich people would just start “creating more jobs,” they say, the economy will start growing again. How can we get them to whip out the magic wand and start creating jobs? Apparently, it has something to do with their personal income tax rates.
If you believe the rationale of some conservatives, if we just lower the income tax for rich people, they’ll start spending millions of dollars to, say, build new factories. A local variant, at the state level, argues that any increase in the highest personal income tax rates would drive the “job creators” out of the state. (As if a CEO’s decision to live in our fair state somehow relates to their decision of where to expand their business.) Brian Vogel, who writes about income inequality, succinctly smashes these arguments in “The Job Creators Myth.”
I don’t mean to minimize the suffering of the millions of unemployed and underemployed people in this country. I’m just annoyed at how most public discourse on the issue assumes that creating a job, any job, should be the be all and end all of economic policy, even if the job pays shit, provides no benefits, and subjects people to hellish working conditions. We just need to get the unemployment rate below 4%! Who cares if most of those employees hate their jobs, are working 50-60+ hours per week, and have a horrible quality of life?
For a bitter taste of this New Economy, read Mac McClelland’s funny/sad piece over at Mother Jones entitled “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave: My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine.” Here’s an excerpt:
…even if you’ve worked here long enough to be granted time off, you are not allowed to use it until the holidays are over. (And also forget about Election Day, which is today. “What if I want to vote?” I ask a supervisor. “I think you should!” he says. “But if I leave I’ll get fired,” I say. To which he makes a sad face before saying, “Yeah.”) No time off includes those of you who are scheduled to work Thanksgiving. There are two Amalgamated-catered Thanksgiving dinners offered to employees next week, but you can only go to one of them. If you attend one, your employee badge will be branded with a nonremovable sticker so that you cannot also attempt to eat at the other. Anyway, good luck, everybody. Everybody back to work. Quickly!
Speed-walking back to the electro-trauma of the books sector, I wince when I unintentionally imagine the types of Christmas lore that will prevail around my future household. I feel genuinely sorry for any child I might have who ever asks me for anything for Christmas, only to be informed that every time a “Place Order” button rings, a poor person takes four Advil and gets told they suck at their job.
A few years ago, I found a small rubbery broken capsule in my Fierce Grape Gatorade. Fearing a case of Tylenol/Cyanide-like product tampering (and hoping for some kind of cash settlement), I put the object in a ziplock bag and submitted it to Gatorade (actually, Pepsico) for analysis.
The Gatorade scientists subjected my blue squishy object to “Fournier Transform infrared Spectroscopy” (I don’t know exactly what this is, but it must be important because they used Initial Caps). They determined it was a disintegrated medicine capsule. In other words, I must have chugged the Gatorade right from the bottle after taking a pill of some kind, and the capsule somehow floated out of my mouth and into the bottle. Doh. Here is the official response:
This is a lazy post. It consists of two scenes from Larry David’s HBO comedy show Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Larry makes what he thinks was an innocent comment. The situation escalates:
Larry experiences a bald “hate crime” after berating two teenage girls who make a trick or treat “threat” on Halloween:
Famous dictators often have a creative side. Adolf Hitler went to art school. The late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi wrote novels. Here’s an excerpt:
After man had travelled in outer space so much that he had become overcome by dizziness, after government budgets could no longer support expensive space programmes, after man landed on the moon and found nothing, after the two astronauts exposed the wild speculations of scientists concerning the existence of seas and oceans on the moon’s surface and the arrogant ‘Great Powers’ competed over owning and naming them, almost coming into conflict over dividing the moon’s wealth – especially marine resources – and after approaching the members of the solar system, taking their pictures and despairing of ever finding or being able to sustain life, man returned to earth, dizzy, nauseous, and fearing doom.
In fact, it was simply the case that the earth is the only known land, unique, a source of life. Life means water and food; earth is the only place that provides us with these. The only true needs are bread, dates, milk, meat, and water. The only air necessary for life is that which surrounds the earth. And so, man returned to the earth from his adventure in outer space.
The astronaut removed his space suit and donned an ordinary one, so that he could resume his life upon the ground, having ended his mission in space. He began to look for earth-based work. He entered a carpenter’s shop, but could not handle such simple tasks, since they were outside his area of specialization.
I’ve decided to make this a blog about my cool cat and all the crazy things she does throughout the day. (Just kidding.)
I am somewhat ambivalent about doing a blog. (Hence, the warning of infrequency.) In fact, the first thing I want to blog about is this: I have the ability to create things other than blog posts (e.g., photographs, short stories, plays, videos, anthologies, a magazine). In conversation, I’ve been using euphemisms like “creative dry spell.” In actuality, I fear my brain may have atrophied to the point where I can only hope to assemble a heap of brief, unconnected bits for short attention spans. Somewhere in my subconscious, this blog has become an admission that I am experiencing the kind of mental decline I thought I’d only have to worry about in, say, a decade or two.
I blame the Internet. My suspicion was confirmed when I read Nicholas Carr’s piece for the Atlantic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He describes perfectly what I’ve felt:
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. … I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do.
Forgot what I was going to put after the quote. Anyway, welcome to my blog.