The sin of snark is rudeness, the anti-snarkers say. Snark is mean. And meanness and rudeness are the worst misdeeds in the world. So Robert Benmosche, the chief executive of AIG, told the Wall Street Journal that the hard-working, heavily compensated employees of his disastrously run company were being persecuted—that the critics of AIG, “with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses,” were “sort of like what we did in the Deep South. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”
Ever since the global economy imploded, the people who imploded it have been talking this way. The plutocrats are hurt that anyone should resent the power of wealth. They spent the past election fretting aloud about “class warfare,” which under the rules of smarm means any mention of the fact that classes exist, and that some classes have more or less money than others. Why should it not be pleasing to learn that these people’s feelings are so tender? That even as they fly their helicopters over the broke and frustrated masses at whose expense they have profited, they perceive that they are despised?
The plutocrats are haunted, as all smarmers are haunted, by the lack of respect. Nothing is stopping anyone—any nobody—from going on a blog or on Twitter and expressing their opinion of you, no matter who you think you are. New media and social media have an immense and cruel leveling power, for people accustomed to old systems of status and prestige. On Twitter, the only answer to “Do you know who I am?” is “One more person with 140 characters to use.”
I can remember the day Mandela got out of prison. I was drinking beer with a half-dozen serious social activists, classmates in the training program at Habitat for Humanity’s International Headquarters in Americus Georgia, sitting on the front porch at Justice House, right across the street from the little Sumpter County jail where they used to take Dr. King when they really wanted to scare him. All of the darkness seemed to lift from that place that day when we heard the news about Mandela, and there on the verge of walking out into the world to fight our own little piece of the good fight, we felt like there was no way our side could lose, like there was no way justice could lose, like everything could and would change for the better, and soon.
“But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.”—Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (via felicefawn)
As you prepare to head to the grocery store to pick up your Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, double check your shopping list to make sure your Turkey Day fixin’s are all union made in America. Check out some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411. Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and tools from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM
Foster Poultry Farms—UFCW
Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce—IAM
Birds Eye vegetables—UFCW
Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and bake rolls/breads—BCTGM
Pillsbury pie crusts—BCTGM
Stroehmann bakery products (for stuffing)—BCTGM
Sara Lee pumpkin, apple pie—BCTGM
Mother’s Kitchen cheese cakes—BCTGM
Nabisco (Mondelez) cookies—BCTGM
Rich’s pies and cakes—BCTGM
Quaker Oats (for apple crisp)—BCTGM
What are some of your favorite union-made Thanksgiving ingredients? Log in and comment below.
In a matter of hours on Friday, Typhoon Haiyan completely devastated parts of the central Philippines. It was one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The death toll is estimated up to 10,000 with hundreds of thousands more displaced. The country has declared a “state of calamity.”
“A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all. “Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.”—On mascots & the Red Road: - Gathering Tribes | Facebook (via aboriginalnewswire)
“But the powers that be have found turning adults into debt slaves as early as possible to be a brilliant bit of social engineering, forcing the young to stay in line lest they mar their employment prospects. And as long as the powers that be continued to be successful in pitting the young against the old rather than against their common enemies, a predatory and extractive financial services industry and a super-wealthly class that prefers to mine rather than develop the countries in which they hold investments, it’s unlikely that either group will escape the grim future that the neofeudalists are in the process of creating.”—
UMMM HI IT’S ALSO CRUSHING THE ECONOMIC FUTURES OF THE NOT-SO-YOUNG THANK YOU! I will never get out from under this school debt and this debt be OLD! $15K turned to $36K in no time and it’s going NOPLACE, people! Yeah, that one year of grad school and then one year of nursing destroyed me. Destroyed.