Individualism today: Feelings being exploited instead of addressed, or, how I learned to stop worrying and be Dagwood

December 22, 2003 at 8:54 pm | In yulelogStories | 2 Comments

While I’m at it, AlterNet has a bunch of great articles just now. There’s Noam Chomsky’s Dictators R Us, originally printed in the Toronto Star, and a terrific interview with Arlie Hochschild focussing on the blue-collar guy who’s likely to vote for Bush in 2004:

I think we all have feelings and they all can get appealed to. It doesn’t mean a person is stupid if their feelings are getting appealed to. But I do think that this is going on, and that there’s a kind of a dilemma here that the blue-collar guy, since the ’70s on, has been suffering a giant economic downward slide. His paycheck is worth less. His job has become less secure. His benefits have been carved down. And all of this is bad, bad news for him. His wife’s had to go to work, and now, 30 years later, the two of them earn what he alone would have earlier earned.

With this economic hit has come a cultural hit. Now I think it’s a worldwide story, a kind of economic undermining of patriarchal customs and expectations. And so, with this economic decline may come marital instability – a lot of hard things have hit this guy. And so how he feels psychologically becomes a really important question. And I think the story is that he believes – whether it’s true or not – that a lot of people have come up from behind him. Women have come from behind. Minorities have come from behind and gotten ahead; immigrants, new arrivals, have come from behind and have gotten ahead. Even the spotted owl – a lot of them are not environmentalists because they think somebody’s now putting animal rights over their human rights. As he’s sliding down, he imagines all these groups moving up.

And a very understandable thing to do is to look at them and want them to go back where they came from. The feeling is one of frustration, fear, anger. What he’s not doing is looking at Bush, the guy at the top, who’s rigging the whole economic game, and who’s not doing a thing to support him, and who’s actually deflecting blame away from the top. So it comes down to this: those feelings that come with a kind of loss of position, income and status among blue-collar males are being exploited instead of addressed.

And read the whole interview — what Hochschild has to say about Limbaugh, his hatred of Hilary Clinton, of Wellesley College, and his simultaneous blindness to Halliburton is enlightening. Arlie notes,

That is part of the emotional climate that stirs up the understandably hurt feelings of downwardly mobile blue-collar men. And there’s a whole hemorrhage in the economic sector which has provided them jobs. That is a structural reality. We really need a Marshall Plan response to it. The blue-collar guy’s upset; he has a right to be upset. We are with him on that. I’m upset too.

It’s not his fault that industrial jobs are going to China and Indonesia. We need a structural answer to a structural problem. But instead of that, the blue-collar guy feels privately bad. And the worst side of his bad feelings is being appealed to by Bush.

I think she puts her finger on certain parallels to 1930s Germany — I say that not for sensationalism, but because it’s sad.

C’mon people, vote this guy out. Put your vote where it counts, against Bush, for whoever gets Bush out. And, absolutely, read this interview with Arlie Hochschild.

Michael Moore on AlterNet

December 22, 2003 at 8:23 pm | In yulelogStories | 4 Comments

Michael Moore has a great article on AlterNet detailing the negative and desperate attitudes of American service personnel on the ground in Iraq. The article also includes much detailed information on how you can help the soldiers. It concludes with a rallying call by Moore:

I know it feels hopeless. That’s how they want us to feel. Don’t give up. We owe it to these kids, the troops we support, to get them the hell outta there and back home so they can help organize the drive to remove the war profiteers from office next November.

To all who serve in our armed forces, to their parents and spouses and loved ones, we offer to you the regrets of millions and the promise that we will right this wrong and do whatever we can to thank you for offering to risk your lives for us. That your life was put at risk for Bush’s greed is a disgrace and a travesty, the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime.

Be safe, come home soon, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this season when many of us celebrate the birth of the prince of “peace.”

Manual dexterity: the original Orgasmatron (accept no substitutes!)

December 22, 2003 at 7:40 pm | In yulelogStories | 1 Comment

I saw a reference to this in the local paper’s business section today (paper copy, in a cafe) and looked it up online on Google. Wow. It’s a special time for DIY, I guess. Maybe this is what happens when “home ec” is no longer taught in school? People (I mean girls of course) forget how to use their hands….?

Not if, but when do we get the big one

December 22, 2003 at 4:03 pm | In yulelogStories | 6 Comments

Ironically — and frighteningly — the Oakland Tribune ran this article, Monster quake could hit Pacific Northwest, about 8 hours before today’s severe 6.5 earthquake hit Central California. My husband was on a conference call to colleagues when it happened — suddenly they said, “We have to cut this call short since we have to evacuate the building quickly.” Up here in the Northwest we haven’t had anything big for a long time — in fact, I have no idea when we last had a real earthquake here — but this article in the Oakland Tribune is anything but reassuring regarding the consequences (especially for Seattle) if or when we do get one. I wonder how much solid granite is under my house? Lots, I hope: the thought of liquified earth gives me the creeps…

I hope all my friends in California are all right. Perhaps it’s a good thing if you’re getting these small-to-severe quakes that nonetheless still leave you standing. I gather it means the plates are releasing without building up pressure to the point where a release would get you a 9-point-something quake, which is why it’s sometimes a bit scary that things have been so steady around here. Well, we’ve all been warned, but we listen selectively because we really like it here and want to live in Lotusland, regardless.

Theme: Pool by Borja Fernandez.
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