Inadvertent Slave Whips
Work as an unintended form of slavery is not new, and many argue it is a necessary evil we must endure to survive as a society. Others believe work can be fulfilling, providing the task has a meaningful purpose or can be one's passion. Still, a growing number of people feel trapped in their jobs due to financial constraints or other obligations. While "work" may not accurately define as "slavery" since it is not forced labor and workers do not exist as property, a similar hopelessness and despair arises. The illusion that work is a voluntary activity where people choose occupations and working conditions is a farce, especially in terms of a capitalist society that seeks profit, not for workers, but as a fiduciary responsibility to investors and owners.
Low wages, long hours, unsafe working conditions, and lack of benefits result from the need to drive down costs in a competitive market.
While this problem's prevalence differs by industry and geography, the problem exists everywhere to some degree. In the US, the problem is so encompassing that it interweaves with cultural elements, like entertainment, which becomes an unintended slave whip that distracts us from our lack of choice to work, which most of us are born into.
Democracy or Power? To Work or Not to Work?
We all have to decide. We’ve been raised to believe that democracy = good and authoritarianism = bad. Hard work = good and laziness = bad. Freedom = good; dictatorships = bad
But what about Power?
Do Democracy & freedom matter more to us than power?
This is not a rhetorical question.
You are not allowed to ignore or not answer it.
If you already have an answer but don’t want to share it, we know what side you’re on.
But a minor further consideration: working hard with dedication will never matter as much as being able to do what you want to do and you’ll be dead at the end of it all, no matter what.
So there is that.
Bread & Circuses On the True Nature of Power in America Today
We’re in a mess these days, but guess what? This is nothing new for our species.
The Romans understood that if they kept the people fed and entertained/distracted that the people with real power could go about the business of enjoying/expanding and otherwise taking full advantage of that power.
Keep the masses bellies full and their brains/minds confused by what their eyes and ears attend to, and all would be well. 2,000 years later not a fucking thing has changed: the debate over the minimum wage and the life-altering significance of the National Football League Playoff scenarios and the HUGE One day Sales Event guaranteed to change not just your life but your life AFTER death, all are in play.
The wind blows, the sun shines the rain falls but we have meteorologists and sexy blond weather girls/women to explain low-pressure systems and to help us plan for picnics or disaster relief. Money is stacked in the Roman Senators’ conflict-of-interest, insider traded, blind trusts — (although technically not because his brother-in-law made the trades and holds all investments in his name) while the other 99% of us try to sort out the rather complicated Playoff picture, considering head to head and myriad other tie-breaker considerations. Why has nothing changed in these two millenniums? Well, simply explained. the earth has been around 4 or 5 billion years old, the earliest forms of life 500 million years or so. Dinosaurs roamed the earth for 66 million years, so in terms of experiential knowledge, we humans, maybe 150K years max, haven’t been here very long. We’re babies, toddling around the living room banging our heads on the edges of the coffee table; and since Jesus & the Romans? 2K years is nothing.
I doubt that this reversion to perspective based on time is very helpful given that, after all, either the Seahawks or the Cardinals will win the NFC West and we won’t know why or how, not for sure anyway, until ESPN explains it.
John Lennon and George Harrison's Super Bowl Plans
John and George make plans in heaven for this weekend’s SUPER BOWL because, let’s get real here — nothing else matters as much in the unfolding of all our lives and deaths as this EXTRAVAGANZA and John Lennon and George Harrison and baby Jesus and his dad and your dead (or still living, if such is the case) grandparents are making plans too. Who’s bringing the clam dip? Who’s bringing the chicken-wings? What fab celebs will be paying $10K per seat for a ticket to see the game live? Wow, huh? I’m too excited for words and so, too are Paul and Ringo, from what I’ve heard anyway.
PS I’ve just been informed those attendees to the live event are being warned of excessive heat problems...looks like Hell is gonna be there too! Hallel-fuckn’-ujah!!!
Reiterating a Recent, Rather Ugly Thread/Theme
Some people are team players, team leaders, teammates. They thrive on following the Great Leaders. And not to go all Herman Hesse Steppenwolf on you, some of us are not. For me, I just can’t stand taking orders or even accepting friendly suggestions to improve myself or for any other reason. I’m not very good at working or playing with others. I’ve been fired from most every job I’ve ever had.
If your testing for proclivities into possible careers result in guidance towards Forest Ranger or alcoholic, dying in a gutter (E.A. Poe, Dylan Thomas, you know the types), you’re gonna want to avoid applying to be a tour guide, military attaché, bartender, flight attendant, Corporate Controller, hospitality concierge, carnival barker or any other job that requires you to deal with, much less listen to others telling you what to do.
And, by the way, avoid all travel and meeting new people. It’s a waste of time, both theirs and yours.
Shut up. Sit back. Drink. And eventually you’ll end up in the same place as all those noisy, happy people, but they won’t be noisy or happy any longer. And even though you never were to start with, you won’t be either.
The Hard Life of the Rock Star
Working at the KFC
Sitting in my car listening to the radio
Heaving smoke out the window
Waiting to work all day at the KFC
Dreading the grease, grime, and smell of chicken
Bob singing about turning the page
Feeling his struggle resonating
Until frustration strikes
For the poor rock star
Never feel sorry for
Teachers (especially not teachers!)
When you smoke the day’s last cigarette
Feeling sorry as you bask in lonely fame and millions
Remember – you’re just living your dream.
The nineties is the likely period of this piece because the file form, WordPerfect, needed to be converted to Word, which occurred sometime after 2000. The date and time listed on my old website, 3/2/18 9:45:36 AM, is the date I edited or posted the piece, and that date carries some career irony.
Shifting at the time from website development and marketing to writing deepened resentment of jobs and careers. One would believe website building and marketing work far better than fast food, which they are, but by the end of both careers, I felt like a whore selling myself for someone else's or my profit.
I am disgusted by work and the capitalist ideology that romanticizes the pain of becoming a rock star or anyone rising to success. Capitalism foists the self-made illusion upon everyone, even those the illusion fails. If you slave over that hot grease long enough and clean those toilets with enough determination, you will rise to the top because hard work leads to success. People who don’t work in mentally taxing or laborious jobs believe this, and when they rise to the top, either by someone helping or by luck, they pat themselves on the back for their hard work and pass that hard work bullshit on to you. That’s how you end up sitting in a car, feeling a twinge sorrow for the rock star’s touring woes, just before you enter the fast-food establishment to burn yourself with grease and listen to asshole customers ventilate hostility because they happen to be a little higher on the success ladder – probably by luck.
image courtesy of David Todd McCarty, Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Copyright Vincent Triola & Terry Trueman