Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Barbara Ehrenreich: Not So Nickel and Dimed

Interesting is the $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize given to affluent author Barbara Ehrenreich, in part for her novel Nickel and Dimed, her story of slumming for a few months as a minimum wage worker.

This shows how the lit establishment operates. To them, the lower classes are a strange, scarcely known phenomenon. They send one of their crack journalists to play at being poor for a short time-- always able at any moment to return to her Overdog lifestyle, which she of course did so she could write her book and receive tons of plaudits. Never would this class of people think of asking poor people to write about THEMSELVES-- or believe the non-elite would be able to do so.

Then the Overdogs turn around and award 100 grand of tax-sheltered money not to a writer who might actually need the funds-- but to one of their own; to the slummer. Big ads accompanied the award-- "Author-- Advocate-- Activist." It sounds to me like a TV commercial. It's an ad for the glorification of Self; the bourgeois liberal proclaiming, "Look at me! How great I am!"-- not caring really about the poor but about her role. As the wealthy shuffle tax-free funds and scantly-earned glory among themselves. (I'd like Ms. Ehrenreich to try being poor when she has no one to call on; no safety net; no easy way out.)

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karl, I think some of your concerns have substance here (and it would be interesting to get Ehrenreich's take on any charges you direct at her), but I think a few things ought to be pointed out regarding Ehrenreich and the book. A minor point is that Nickel and Dimed is a work of non-fiction not a novel. A major point is that Nickel and Dimed is very similar to what most all the great realists and so on--middle, working, and wealthy class all--have done: expose, or so-called "muckraking" journalism, analysis, and narrative--Dickens, Sinclair, Orwell, Crane, Dreiser, London, etc.... Ehrenreich comes from a working class family and has spent much of her life exposing social injustice and working for change. Also, I used this book as a regular text in many of my classes while teaching in Starr County, Texas--one of the most economically hard hit in the country, much of it financially is sub-working class. And the vast majority of the students responded favorably to this book. Ehrenreich's position as an outsider made for good conversation in class. It was one of the most popular, maybe the most popular book I used. (Octavia Butler's novel of urban collapse, Parable of the Sower, was a book that rivaled Nickel and Dimed in popularity, also Gary Soto's poems of migrant labor). A student who cooked at Pizza Hut said in a class that "Everyone should read this book," about Nickel and Dimed and he was strongly agreed with.

Maybe this is as good a place as any to note that I too think Adam's Monday Report is first-rate.

Tony Christini

Nostalgianaut said...

I agree about Nickel and Dimed, great book. But I also think King has a point about how these guys don't allow the people to write their own stories, a la Eggers so "valiantly" traveling to the Sudan in his Believer piece, and the piece on the runner from Rwanda in Non-Required Reading 2004. Although the piece on Rwanda was excellent, and Eggers piece was clumsily written and as dull as a book report, I wonder about the ethics involved with these dull suburban guys with lots of money for travel interviewing these guys and essentially stealing their stories. Erenreich at least went underground for a year and did the work, Eggers just played at being rugged travel journalist.

Jane Bierce said...

Interesting blog and interesting responses. I'm a writer myself, and could probably live twenty years on that prize money.

Anonymous said...

"I also think King has a point about how these guys don't allow the people to write their own stories"

Yes, a strong point of Karl's. Big publishers sometimes claim that many people don't want to write their own stories, or that if they did the work would not sell. Neither of which is going to be true in every case, and even if reluctance to write and lack of sales prove to be a problem, it takes about two seconds to think of solutions, such as interviews, etc. (Studs Terkel) and using readily available famous names and so on to promote writings....

Tony

Noah Cicero said...

Thank you Wenclas for writing about ehrenreich, I've been bitching about that for a while to people. "To them, the lower classes are a strange, scarcely know phenomenon." That hits it perfectly.
I got at least a 1000 pages of prose with lower class people in it, where's my motherfucking money?
Answer: We don't have the right to write about our lives.
One day I looked up the best sellers, who they were, and what education they got. Several of them never even graduated college. But they were all fantasy, sci-fi and romance novels.
I noticed this amongst other lower class writers they don't feel they have the right to write literature, only genre writing. I went to a workshop type thing at a small book store three years ago and sat with about ten other writers and we all had to name what genre they wrote. Everyone named fantacy, sci-fi, and romance and when it got to me I said literature. They looked at me appalled and shocked like, "Like how can you write that, we people don't have the right to write about ourselves." The upper classes have forced this notion upon the lower classes that they do not have the right to read about themselves nor to write about themselves.
about a year or two ago I met a lower class writer who wrote historical fiction. I showed the person some Bukowski, and talked about lit a lot with the person. and it clicked in the person's head, "Why am I writing about people 150 years ago, doing research, and making up elaborate plots. When I could just look around at my own world and write about what is going on around me."
The ULA I see is the biggest force currenlty fighting that notion of "lower class people don't have the right to rad or write about their lives." Hand a seventeen year old who reads and writes sci-fi some ULA writing and they will say to themselves, "Shit man, this is about my life, I can write about my life, it would be a lot easier writing about what happened last thursday then making up stuff about space ship sizes and strange names for the guns the aliens use. And I would also be expressing so much more."

Nostalgianaut said...

Agreed, and let's not forget sci-fi. I think there are some sci-fi stories out there discussing class differences and making some truly radical points, as opposed to the slop that came out in McSwiney's patronizing compilation of "genre fiction" which was more of the same epiphanic drivel that Chabon claimed he was not publishing in that issue. Phillip K. Dick always wrote about the little guy, as do many sci-fi authors, but their fiction gets ignored for Sam Shepard writing dull New Yorker stories about marital spats in the kitchen while husband makes sure green beans are just right(Sorry bad memory of slogging through Shepard piece. If these bores had so many "epiphanies" the world would be perfect by now.

Anonymous said...

I sence a little elitism in your post, and bitterness, less than 3% of writers can live off their earnings, and if we are going to colligate remuneration in the arts well then it makes it pretty foolish to bash "the establishment."

50 Fantasy & Sci-Fi Works THE WORKING CLASS should read

Iain M. Banks -- Use of Weapons (1990)
Socialist SF discussing a post-scarcity society. The Culture are "goodies" in narrative and political terms, but here issues of cross-cultural guilt and manipulation complicate the story from being a simplistic utopia.

Edward Bellamy -- Looking Backward, 2000 - 1887 (1888)
A hugely influential, rather bureaucratic egalitarian/naïve communist utopia. Deals very well with the confusion of the "modern" (19th Century) protagonist in a world he hasn't helped create (see Bogdanov).

Alexander Bogdanov -- The Red Star: A Utopia (1908; trans. 1984)
This Bolshevik SF sends a revolutionary to socialist Mars. The book's been criticized (with some justification) for being proto-Stalinist, but overall it's been maligned. Deals well with the problem faced by someone trying to adjust to a new society s/he hasn't helped create (see Bellamy).

Emma Bull & Steven Brust -- Freedom & Necessity (1997)
Bull is a left-liberal and Brust is a Trotskyist fantasy writer. F&N is set in the 19th Century of the Chartists and class turmoil. It's been described as "the first Marxist steampunk" or "a fantasy for Young Hegelians."

Mikhail Bulgakov -- The Master & Margarita (1938; trans. 1967)
Astonishing fantasy set in '30s Moscow, featuring the Devil, Pontius Pilate, The Wandering Jew, and a satire and critique of Stalinist Russia so cutting it is unbelievable that it got past the censors. Utterly brilliant.

Katherine Burdekin (aka "Murray Constantine") -- Swastika Night (1937)
An excellent example of the "Hitler Wins" sub-genre of SF. It's unusual in that it was published by the Left Book Club and it was written while Hitler was in power, so the fear of Nazi future was immediate.

Octavia Butler -- Survivor (1978)
Black American writer, now discovered by the mainstream after years of acclaim in the SF field. Kindred is her most overtly political novel, the Patternmaster series the most popular. Survivor brilliantly blends genre SF with issues of colonialism and racism.

Julio Cortázar -- "House Taken Over" (1963?)
A terrifying short story undermining the notion of the house as sanctity and refuge. A subtle destruction of the bourgeois oppositions between public/private and inside/outside.

Philip K. Dick -- A Scanner Darkly (1977)
Could have picked almost any of his books. Like all of them, this deals with identity, power, and betrayal, here tied in more directly to social structures than in some other works (though see Counter-Clock World and The Man in the High Castle). Incredibly moving.

Thomas Disch -- The Priest (1994)
Utterly savage work of anti-clericalism. A work of dark fantasy GBH against the Catholic Church (dedicated, among others, to the Pope…)

Gordon Eklund -- All Times Possible (1974)
Study of alternative worlds, including an examination of hypothetical Left-wing movements in alternative USAs.



Max Ernst -- Une Semaine de Bonte (1934)
The definitive Surrealist collage novel. A succession of images the reader is involved in decoding. A Whodunwhat, with characters from polite commercial catalogues engaged in a story of little deaths and high adventure.

Claude Farrere -- Useless Hands (1920; trans. 1926)
Bleak Social Darwinism, and a prototype of "farewell to the working class" arguments. The "useless hands" -- workers -- revolt is seen as pathetic before inexorable technology. A cold, reactionary, interesting book.

Anatole France -- The White Stone (1905; trans. 1910)
In part, a rebuttal to the racist "yellow peril" fever of the time--a book about "white peril" and the rise of socialism. Also interesting is The Revolt of the Angels, which examines now well-worn socialist theme of Lucifer being in the right, rebelling against the despotic God.

Jane Gaskell -- Strange Evil (1957)
Written when Gaskell was 14, with the flaws that entails. Still, however, extraordinary. A savage fairytale, with fraught sexuality, meditations on Tom Paine and Marx, revolutionary upheaval depicted sympathetically, but without sentimentality; plus the most disturbing baddy in fiction.

Mary Gentle -- Rats and Gargoyles (1990)
Set in a city that undermines the "feudalism lite" of most genre fantasy. An untypical female protagonist has adventures in a cityscape complete with class struggle, corruption, and racial oppression.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman -- "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892)
Towering work by this radical thinker. Terrifying short story showing how savage gender oppression can inhere in "caring" relationships just as easily as in more obviously abusive ones. See also her feminist/socialistic utopias "Moving the Mountain" (1911) and Herland (1914).

The Dream Years -- Lisa Goldstein (1985)
A time-slip oscillating between Paris in the 1920s, during the Surrealist movement, and in 1968, during the Uprising. Uses a popular fantastic mode to examine the relation between Surrealism as the fantastic mode par excellence and revolutionary movements (if nebulously conceived).

Stefan Grabinski -- The Dark Domain (1918-22; trans. and collected 1993)
Brilliant horror by this Polish writer. Unusually locates the uncanny and threatening within the very symbols of a modernizing industrialism in Poland: trains, electricity, etc. This awareness of the instability of the everyday marks him out from traditional, "nostalgic" ghost story writers.

George Griffith -- The Angel of Revolution (1893)
Rather dated, but unusual in that its heroes are revolutionary terrorists. Very different from the devious anarchist villains of (eg.) Chesterton.

Emile Habiby -- The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist (1974; trans. 1982)
The full title is much longer. Habiby was a member of the Palestinian Community Party, a veteran of the anti-British struggle of the 40s, and a member of the Knesset for several years. This amiable, surreal book is about the life of a Palestinian in Israel (with surreal bits, and aliens).

M. John Harrison -- Viriconium Nights (1984)
A stunning writer, who expresses the alienation of the modern everyday with terrible force. Fantasy that mercilessly uncovers the alienated nature of the longing for fantastic escape, and show how that fantasy will always remain out of reach. Punishes his readers and characters for their involvement with fantasy. See also The Course of the Heart.



Ursula K. Le Guin -- The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974)
The most overtly political of this anarchist writer's excellent works. An examination of the relations between a rich, exploitive capitalist world and a poor, nearly barren (though high-tech) communist one.

Jack London -- The Iron Heel (1907)London's masterpiece: scholars from a 27th Century socialist world find documents depicting a fascist oligarchy in the US and the revolt of the proletariat. Elsewhere, London's undoubted socialism is undermined by the most appalling racism.

Ken MacLeod -- The Star Fraction (1996)
British Trotskyist (of strongly libertarian bent), all of whose (very good) works examine Left politics without sloganeering. The Stone Canal, for example, features arguments about distortions of Marxism. However, The Star Fraction is chosen here as it features Virtual Reality heroes of the left, by name -- a roll call of genuine revolutionaries recast in digital form.

Gregory Maguire -- Wicked (1995)
Brilliant revisionist fantasy about how the winners write history. The loser whose side is here taken is the Wicked Witch of the West, a fighter for emancipatory politics in the despotic empire of Oz.

J. Leslie Mitchell (Lewis Grassic Gibbon) -- Gay Hunter (1934, reissued 1989)
By the Marxist writer of the classic work of vernacular Scots literature A Scots Quair, and Spartacus, the novel that proves that propaganda can be art. This is great science fiction. Bit dewy-eyed about hunter-gatherers perhaps, but superb nonetheless. As an added bonus, it also has a title that sounds amusing today. Check out his short fiction, which includes a lot of SF/Fantasy work.

Michael Moorcock -- Hawkmoon (1967-77, reprinted in one edition 1992)
Moorcock is an erudite Left-anarchist and a giant of fantasy literature. Almost everything he's written is of interest, but Hawkmoon is chosen here in honour of Moorcock having said about it: "In a spirit consciously at odds with the jingoism of the day, I chose a German for a hero and the British for villains." There are also plenty of satirical references and gags about 1960s/70s politics for the reader to decode.

William Morris -- News From Nowhere (1888)
A socialist (though naively pastoral) utopia, written in response to Bellamy (above), that unusually doesn't shy away from the hard political question of how we get the desired utopia-proletarian revolution. See also The Well at the World's End and his other fantasies.

Toni Morrison -- Beloved (1987)
It's well known that Beloved is a superb book about race and slavery and guilt, but it's less generally accepted that it's a fantasy. It is. It's a ghost story that wouldn't have half the charge without the fantastic element.

Mervyn Peake -- The Gormenghast Trilogy (1946-59)
An austere depiction of dead ritualism and necessary transformation. Don't believe those who say that the third book is disappointing.

Marge Piercy -- Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)
A Chicano woman trapped in an asylum makes contact with a messenger from a future utopia, born after a "full feminist revolution".

Philip Pullman -- Northern Lights (1995)
Pullman let us down. This book is here because it deals with moral/political complexities with unsentimental respect for its (young adult) readers and characters. Explores freedom and social agency, and the question of using ugly means for emanicipatory ends. It raises the biggest possible questions, and doesn't patronise us that there are easy answers. The second in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, is a perfectly good bridging volume… and then in book three, The Amber Spyglass, something goes wrong. It has excellent bits, it is streets ahead of its competition… but there's sentimentality, a hesitation, a formalism, which lets us down. Ah well. Northern Lights is still a masterpiece.


Ayn Rand -- Atlas Shrugged (1957)
Know your enemy. This panoply of portentous Nietzcheanism lite has had a huge influence on American SF. Rand was an obsessive "objectivist" (libertarian pro-capitalist individualist) whose hatred of socialism and any form of "collectivism" is visible in this important an influential -- though vile and ponderous -- novel.

Mack Reynolds -- Lagrange Five (1979)
Reynolds was, for 25 years, an activist for the U.S. Socialist labour Party. His radical perspective on political issues is reflected throughout his work. This book -- examining a quasi-utopia without sentimentalism -- is only one suggestion. Also of huge interest are Tomorrow Might Be Different (1960) and The Rival Rigelians (1960), which explicitly examine the relation between capitalism and Stalinism.

Keith Roberts -- Pavane (1968)
These linked stories take place in a present day where Elizabeth I was assassinated and Spain took over Britain. This examines life in a world where a militant feudal Catholicism acts as a fetter on social and productive functions. Though Roberts was no lefty at all, and you could probably power France on the energy from his spinning grave at being included in this list.

Kim Stanley Robinson -- The Mars Trilogy (1992-96)
Probably the most powerful centre of gravity for Leftist SF in the 1990s. A sprawling and thoughtful examination of the variety of social relations feeding into and leading up to revolutionary change. (It's also got some Gramsci jokes in it.)

Mary Shelley -- Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818)
Not a warning "not to mess with things that should be let alone" (which would be a reactionary anti-rationalist message) but an insistence on the necessity of grappling with forces one unleashes and the fact that there is no "innate" nature to people, but a socially-constructed one.

Lucius Shepard -- Life During Wartime (1987)
Horrific vision of a future (thinly disguised Vietnam) war. Within the savage examinations of the truth of war and U.S. foreign policy, Shepard also investigates the relation between SF, fantasy, and "magic realism", and uses their shared mode to look back at reality with passion.

Norman Spinrad -- The Iron Dream (1972)
A SF novel by Adolf Hitler…Spinrad's funny, disturbing and savage indictment of the fascist aesthetics in much genre SF and fantasy. What if Hitler had become a pulp SF writer in New York? Not a book about that possibility but a book from it. "By the same author: Triumph of the Will and Lord of the Swastika." Brave and nasty.

Eugene Sue -- The Wandering Jew (1845)
Huge book by radical socialist Sue, about the adventures of the family of the Wandering Jew of legend. Symbolic fantasy elements: the Jew is the dispossessed laborer and his partner is downtrodden woman. Marx hated Sue as a writer (not without reason -- less, for Sue, is not in more) but hell, it's an important book.

Michael Swanwick -- The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993)
Great work that completely destroys the sentimental aspects of genre fantasy. From within the genre -- fairies, elves, and all -- Swanwick examines the industrial revolution, the Vietnam War, racism and sexism, and the escapist dreams of genre fantasy. A truly great anti-fantasy.

Jonathan Swift -- Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Savage attack on hypocrisy and cant that never dilutes its fantasy with its satire: the two elements feed off each other perfectly.


Alexei Tolstoy -- Aelita (1922; trans. 1957)
Distant relative of the other Tolstoy. The "revised" version is less good, written in the stern environment of Stalinism. A Red Army officer goes to Mars and foments a rebellion of native Martians. Good rousing stuff, but also interesting in terms of "exporting" revolution. See also the superb avant-garde film version from 1924.

Ian Watson -- Slow Birds (1985)
Left-wing author whose short story collection above includes a cold demolition of Thatcher and Thatcherism. His take on oppression -- cognitive and political -- informs all his rather austere, cerebral writing.

H.G. Wells -- The Island of Dr Moreau (1896)
Like a lot of Wells's work, this is an uneasy mixture of progressive and reactionary notions. It makes for one of the great horror stories of all time. A fraught examination of colonialism, science, eugenics, repression, and religion: a kind of fantasy echo of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

E. L. White -- "Lukundoo" (1927)
One of the most utterly extraordinary (and almost certainly unconscious) expressions of colonial anxiety and guilt in the history of literature.

Oscar Wilde -- The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888)
Children's fantasies by this romantic, socialist author. Marked by a sharp lack of sentimentality, a deeply subversive cynicism, which doesn't blunt their ability to be intensely moving.

Gene Wolfe -- The Fifth Head of Cerberus (1972)
Wolfe is a religious Republican, but his tragico-Catholic perspective leads to a deeply unglamorized and unsanitized awareness of social reality. This book is a very sad and extremely dense, complex meditation on colonialism, identity and oppression.

Evgeny Zamyatin -- We (1920; trans. 1924)
A Bolshevik, who earned semi-official unease in the USSR even in the early 1920s, with this unsettling dystopian view of absolute totalitarianism. These days often retrospectively, ahistorically, and misleadingly judged to be a critique of Stalinism.




http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com/show.html?rw.50socialist

Nostalgianaut said...

Anon,
No intention to be elitest or even bitter. I just find that a lot of the SF I read genuinely moves me and is far more challenging than the New Yorker style short fiction that is supposedly a "higher" form of art. Ted Chiang for example. Thanks for the list.

Noah Cicero said...

You forgot James Morrow, he's fucking good and he's a sci-fi writer. I also liked Richard Matheson's "I am Legend." And I read a Steven King short story the other day. Their writing is way better, more entertaining, and has more intelligent content than today's MFA New Yorker writers.
I don't care if someone writes a Sci-fi story or whatever. But they should sometimes be able to write a story about what happendd to them last tuesday and get it published. As long as life really sucks, extreme escapism will always be needed. Or maybe that's it, lower class people know how bad their life sucks and the only way they can escape is through writing sci-fi and romance stories. And when they looked at me shocked and appalled because they wondered for a second what would make a person want to write about the horror of lower class living. Because well, writing sentences about spaceships and men with piecing eyes that own horse ranches and their huge throbbing members is a lot more exciting than writing sentences concerning heating bills, forty hours of work that only pay two hundred dollar a week, and how everyone in their family hates each other but sticks around each other for money.
But I don't think the fantacy and sci-fi I mentioned is the same SCi-fi and fantacy you mentioned. Most genre fiction, sci-fi, romance, fantacy, horror, and detective books are pure escapist and if they do have intelligence, it is only a facade, just the retelling of old incorrect notions in differnt ways. But the question of why people read those books is not a question of literature but of sociology and existentialism.

Anonymous said...

You must remember most people don't care, I for instance have $0 income, and in fact am in debt, and often have to get food from the free store foodbank, or eat rice, during the last week of the month, until the first of the next month. To me, just because something is Realism does not qualify it as anything special. I prefer the multi-Cultural experiance, say of a poor native american on the reservation or an asian transsexual, in addition to it being quality. Most realism dates fast and for escapists it has no appeal, and as soon as it becomes political, and/or philosophical it tends to be elevated to the "establishment" class. Even most working class readers aren't knocking over shelves to get to proletariat literature, or it would be big business. Look at Rap Music, it is the prime example of the "underclass" expressing themselves, MTV refused to play it early on, and it's in constant battles with the government, Yet in 20 years it managed to become a staple in most free countries.

On the other hand literature in the last 100 years, has offered far more options and didn't take off, because Literature is never going to have mass appeal, save for quasi-reality books such as the Da vinci code, which is genre (thriller) with real facts interwoven.

We are in a different time, the celerity of everyday life simply does not match equally with LIT. Save for thrillers, which are a microcosm of everyday life speed.

To be fair, I'm sick of chick lit, and shit about vacations to St.Tropez (I don't know why I read Danilelle Steele) even though I am a lover of the world, in fact I dream of using my novel's advance (I am unrealisticly sanguine) and travel to lower class places throughout the world, from latvia, to brazil, to Cambodia. But this Cosmo.Lit is killing me, just like working class stories, with weak chracters.

Rap Music, Punk, and other forms, have stolen Lit's message. Even as a writer, what do i find myself doing? Getinng moved all day by music, when I drink I cannot read, but music is there, when i write music is there, Music is a far better medium to express the class message than fiction.

Fiction (literary) is inherently insular--which is why people go apeshit when a literary novel sells 1 million, but the average is what a mere 10,000 at most. Fiction is about preaching to the choir, and the hope you can win a few converts.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason why fiction must be decisively more "inherently insular" than many other forms of reading, art, and experience. A lot more people more easily can read about life and exploitation, etc., in some city or region than can readily travel there and find out/research/live in person, for example.

I was fortunate enough to take a creative writing course from James Morrow as an undergraduate. His novel This is the Way the World Ends is a lively good, informative read on the insanity of the Mutually Assured Destruction logic/illogic of nuclear weapons systems policy.

Tony Christini

King said...

Barbara Ehrenreich "working for change" is just bullshit. Working for change alright-- except among her own affluent crowd. Tony, you seem unable to see that for these people it's all about the pose. She's working for change the way John Kerry is working for change-- neither is going to do anything to change the foundations of this system which allow they or their aristocratic friends (Ehrenreich's patron Katrina vanden Heuvel for instance) to dominate the culture while posing as good guys; noblesse oblige and all that crap. Why are you giving these people a free pass? If B.A. were for real she wouldn't be involved with these phony revolutionaries in the first place. She'd be like the wacked-out protagonist in James Nowlan's novel-- or she'd be Nowlan himself. B.A. is being lauded as having written a "Down and Out" Orwell book-- but the real thing is being done by Nowlan. The real life is being lived by him and by other ULAers.
Sorry, but we don't need watered-down profs teaching watered-down books, but gritty polemical angry authentic prose and poetry that doesn't get students nodding their heads in polite agreement, but jumping out of their seats running to the gun ranges. But I guess it's just another example that colleges are safety valve ways to soporize and anesthetize students more than anything-- yeah, when I attended college for awhile I met my share of Lefty windbag coffee-spilling professors who were all just bullshit and talk by signing up for their roles had signed away their connection with real life. There were very few students who took any of these guys seriously then and I'd wager there are very few students who take them seriously today. Revolution is not made by tweedy intellectualized Chomskys, my friend, but by those who have passionate voices. I saw Nader speak here in Philly in front of a genteel crowd, and he was articulate and impressive-- but he should have been shouting with his jacket off to the homeless at the 30th Street train station. (My old man had been on sit-down strikes in the late 40s and I got a lot more passion from him and other old Detroit workers than from any theorizing prof!)
Re the last post before this one. Needless to say, I'm a lot more optimistic about the ability of LIT to be popular and make change in this society. When I compare the way literature has been managed and promoted the last several decades, with, say, sports, I conclude that mismanagement more than anything has led to LIT's marginal state. (Yes, rap has appeal to the underclass and to suburban underclass-wannabes, but let's not forget that it's been backed by the gigantic record companies, Sony and so on, promoted by huge sums of money by executives who seem to enjoy stereotyping poor people as hopelessly violent misogynist etc etc.)
Stay pessimistic. I hope all such lit people as you maintain your defeatist attitude-- because this will leave the field wide open for the ULA.

King said...

p.s. ANYTHING can be re-invented, whether Babe Ruth re-inventing baseball, or Rush Limbo talk radio. No genre or art is ever dead-- only its practitioners.
NOTHING has more power to reach people or has ever had more power than the simple spoken word.
IF Michael Savage and Sean Hannity can outdraw rock bands, than so can writers.
If they can get people involved than so can writers.
p.p.s. Failure to Grasp the Concept Dept.
I don't use this blog to promote sellout co-opted pets like Russell Banks or any of that ilk. This blog was set-up to promote the most energetic kickass writers on the planet-- those who belong to the Underground Literary Alliance. As I said elsewhere, we're always open for peace, but we love going to war. No quarter given. We've blown the deguello-- taking no prisoners. No genteel frauds like Ms. Ehrenreich who've made their accommodations with the System are going to be let off the hook. I'm just not in the mood for it at the present time. Fuck 'em all.

Anonymous said...

Ehrenreich's work speaks for itself. As does Chomsky's. If your opinion differs, that's your contention. I'll pass on the rants, along with the difficulty of trying to pick out any cogent points to respond to.
-Tony

Anonymous said...

You're right. Ehrenreich's work does speak for itself. It says people who work for minimum wage are a species to be studied. A lost tribe in a remote part of the jungle. A fascinating sociological experiment. If she really wanted to say something, she would give that 100k to the people she worked alongside. She's worse than the ones who just sit and watch and write about it. She couldn't just ask the people what they did and how they did it. She wanted to play at it. And whether it was her intention or not, it comes off sounding like a joke. Like the Prince and the Pauper without the trade. I think maybe for shits and giggles, I'll take on a $150,000 a year job for a couple of months. Summer in the Hamptons this year. Attend a party I'll have to buy a $300 dress for. Then write a book about it and sell it at Wal-Mart, because I'm sure those people would give a damn about what I did while I was pretending I'm not poor as fuck.
Bernice Mullins

Anonymous said...

You know what I just realized, Ehrenreich's book is escapism. A petty bourgeoisie asshole reads her book to escape from their guilt. Their guilt of watching humans live in shit, make shit pay, have shit houses, shit cars, shit clothes, shit shit shit! They will give the lower classes a can of beans and corn and send some college students or Jimmy Carter out to build them a new porch, but won't let them speak. What gives Ehrenreich the RIGHT to her money, tell me what gives her the right to live so nicely.
To that person who listed Ayn Rand as something good to read, Ayn Rand fucking sucks, she was about as horrible as a human could get. I've seen so many females get shitbrained because America shows her as a great writer amd philosophy and not Simone De Beauvoir, who they should be reading. Ayn Rand's writing style, format, and content are all shit! They only show Ayn Rand as a good writer because she was pro capitalist and pro stupidity!
To the person who said "Realism dates fast to the escapist reader." or something like that. How the fuck would we know that, they haven't been given a literature written by them, for them, to them in years. I suppose the popularity of Dickens and Dostoevsky was because of, hmm, I don't know, make something up, because you obviously made that up.
To Tony, there you go again referring to what we say as "rants." That is all we goddamn have! You get a class taught by James Morrow, I can't even afford to go to a state school! And if I did go, do you think Iowa or NYU would take me even if I got straight As, fuck no they wouldn't take me. And the level of toadishness and prostitution a person must go through to get through those programs is just disgusting. Today I ate frozen pretzels with generic cheese ripped up thrown on top of the pretzel and cooked in the microwave and you get to take a class taught by Jame Morrow, why don't you just come to my house and take a dump right on my fucking head! Because that is what you and Ehrenreich are doing, shitting on us, showing us how our lives are for shitting on!
Everyday the people of the lower and lower middle classes wake up knowing all day long that they are locked out of certain schools, locked out of certain possibilities, that no one wants to hear them speak about their lives, that they will never have enough money to take a big vacation or buy anything new, everything by the time it gets to them is used and shit. Try to imagine that, being locked out of chances, locked out of your dreams the public school promised all americans have a right to have, and to one day finding out why not in any school text book, from a friend or relative, but through constantly trying to attain goals and being shut out repeatedly until your spirit just breaks, when you find out how little you really are, and that all you are is cheap labor, expendable and easily tossed away. To find out that the whole point of your life was not for you to capture your dreams and to grow as a person, but to be cheap labor so some guy you'll never meet can show his other rich buddies his new boat, his new car, his new house he just had built from scratch. That all you are is someone that supplies a man who've never met a beautiful life. And the only people that ever spoke about why this is occuring to you is Marx, Engels, Sartre, Trotsky, Lenin, and some others, completely ignored writers in America. They are ignored for the same reasons the demi-puppets ignore and not rebute Wenclas because they are still unable to find problems with their observations to debunk them. Imagine that Tony, can you see the pain yet of being locked out and the only people that voiced concerns about you are locked out also. I've never read Ehrenreich's book, but I seriously doubt she discussed any of what I mentioned.

Noah

Anonymous said...

Noah:A petty bourgeoisie asshole reads her book to escape from their guilt

Do you know what petty bourgeoisie means? A guy that runs a hot dog stand can be classified as petty bourgeoisie. They tend not to own 100% of the means of production, and do not exploit labor, there is a reason why the Left in America is laughed at, I doubt some guy busting his ass running a family gas station, has a bunch of guilt.

Noah:Their guilt of watching humans live in shit, make shit pay, have shit houses, shit cars, shit clothes, shit shit shit!

Can we at least admit, there is more class mobility here than anywhere else? Granted with the way Bush is trying to return us to the pre-new deal days, it might not always be that way. But everyday we get hundreds of new millionaires.

Noah:They will give the lower classes a can of beans and corn and send some college students or Jimmy Carter out to build them a new porch, but won't let them speak

Who the hell is preventing them from speaking, it's funny I seem to be reading a lot of literature about the state of the black community, fiction and non-fiction, in fact I just watched a story on Bet about black authors, writing about the ghetto getting book deals, not to mention Rap Music is the voice of the underclass, no one is preventing them from speaking, it's just the bottom 90% have no desire to hear the bitching and moaning of their reality. Just like the Leisure class, underground writers dwell in a solipsistic reverie.

Noah:What gives Ehrenreich the RIGHT to her money, tell me what gives her the right to live so nicely

Because it's hers, as an american she has the right to succeed.

Noah:To that person who listed Ayn Rand as something good to read, Ayn Rand fucking sucks, she was about as horrible as a human could get

Ayn Rand was an average philosopher, and I enjoy Objectivism. Are you thretened by a strong woman who makes no qualms about individuality?

Noah:not Simone De Beauvoir, who they should be reading

Once again is there some law against reading her?

Noah:They only show Ayn Rand as a good writer because she was pro capitalist and pro stupidity

Who is this "they" you know who Ayn Rand is most popular with? THE WORKING CLASS, she is not admired much by academia, it's people adhering to a philosopher who recognizes individuality, and not socialist hokum. Although I see no grand conspiracy to stop Orwell or any other leftist writer. Have you noticed Ayn Rand is actually popular? In one breath you manage to denigrate your very class, which you so claim you advocate for, because they choose to have different tastes

Noah:I suppose the popularity of Dickens and Dostoevsky was because of, hmm, I don't know, make something up, because you obviously made that up.

Talk about hypocrisy, what is the difference from the Wealthy Dickens, writing about conditions, from Nickle and Dimed? And Dostoevsky wasn't exactly selling millions to serfs.

Noah:Because that is what you and Ehrenreich are doing, shitting on us, showing us how our lives are for shitting on!

So then do not complain about there being no lower class literarture.

Noah:
Everyday the people of the lower and lower middle classes wake up knowing all day long that they are locked out of certain schools, locked out of certain possibilities, that no one wants to hear them speak about their lives, that they will never have enough money to take a big vacation or buy anything new, everything by the time it gets to them is used and shit

I am poor, in fact I have $0 income, and live off a parent, who makes about $13,000 a year. But lets see how bad we really have it.

For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 35 million persons classified as "poor" by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity. Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. Today, the expenditures per person of the lowest-income one-fifth (or quintile) of households equal those of the median American household in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation.1

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

While the poor are generally well-nourished, some poor families do experience hunger, meaning a temporary discomfort due to food shortages. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 13 percent of poor families and 2.6 percent of poor children experience hunger at some point during the year. In most cases, their hunger is short-term. Eighty-nine percent of the poor report their families have "enough" food to eat, while only 2 percent say they "often" do not have enough to eat.

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. While this individual's life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.

Of course, the living conditions of the average poor American should not be taken as representing all the poor. There is actually a wide range in living conditions among the poor. For example, over a quarter of poor households have cell phones and telephone answering machines, but, at the other extreme, approximately one-tenth have no phone at all. While the majority of poor households do not experience significant material problems, roughly a third do experience at least one problem such as overcrowding, temporary hunger, or difficulty getting medical care.

The best news is that remaining poverty can readily be reduced further, particularly among children. There are two main reasons that American children are poor: Their parents don't work much, and fathers are absent from the home.

In good economic times or bad, the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year: That amounts to 16 hours of work per week. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year--the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week throughout the year--nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty.

Father absence is another major cause of child poverty. Nearly two-thirds of poor children reside in single-parent homes; each year, an additional 1.3 million children are born out of wedlock. If poor mothers married the fathers of their children, almost three-quarters would immediately be lifted out of poverty.

While work and marriage are steady ladders out of poverty, the welfare system perversely remains hostile to both. Major programs such as food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid continue to reward idleness and penalize marriage. If welfare could be turned around to encourage work and marriage, remaining poverty would drop quickly.

What Is Poverty?
For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. For example, the "Poverty Pulse" poll taken by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in 2002 asked the general public the question: "How would you describe being poor in the U.S.?" The overwhelming majority of responses focused on homelessness, hunger or not being able to eat properly, and not being able to meet basic needs.2

But if poverty means lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, relatively few of the 35 million people identified as being "in poverty" by the Census Bureau could be characterized as poor.3 While material hardship does exist in the United States, it is quite restricted in scope and severity. The average "poor" person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines.


http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1713.cfm

Anonymous said...

The problem with America now is that they want to be darwinist and christian. Whereas for the christian anger and hatred are sins and for the darwinists they might be considered adaptations like fangs and claws. Insanity too could have its purpose if as some anthropologists have put forth ritual cannibalism was an essential part of the hominidization process then one can readily see the advantage of madness. If someone’s twitching and talking to themselves they might be considered possessed by demons. One wouldn’t want to eat them and get those nasty devils inside oneself now would one?
James (jimmy the hyena) Nowlan

Anonymous said...

Who wrote that rebuttel to my thing, it wasn't Christini, he's way smarter than that. And Christini knows history exists and doesn't get his worldview from television news networks. Oh, it must be that dude that makes shit up as he goes along and replies with Hannity/tucker carlson type pat responses to make himself feel better because he won't to admit to himself how little he is.
You have stated all the current notions of reality, notions that didn't even exist thirty years and won't exist thirty years from now. You have the philosophy of a reactionary, if I know anything about debating with a reactionary it is pointless. Their fear of reality is too intense to be dealt by anyone but a team of psychologists.
Nowlan is right about the Christians and Darwinists. The Christians get God to take away their freedom and responsibility, amd the liberals get DNA to take away their freedom and responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Who wrote that rebuttel to my thing, it wasn't Christini, he's way smarter than that. And Christini knows history exists and doesn't get his worldview from television news networks. Oh, it must be that dude that makes shit up as he goes along and replies with Hannity/tucker carlson type pat responses to make himself feel better because he won't to admit to himself how little he is.
You have stated all the current notions of reality, notions that didn't even exist thirty years and won't exist thirty years from now. You have the philosophy of a reactionary, if I know anything about debating with a reactionary it is pointless. Their fear of reality is too intense to be dealt by anyone but a team of psychologists.
Nowlan is right about the Christians and Darwinists. The Christians get God to take away their freedom and responsibility, amd the liberals get DNA to take away their freedom and responsibility.

Noah Cicero

Anonymous said...

Who wrote that rebuttel to my thing, it wasn't Christini, he's way smarter than that. And Christini knows history exists and doesn't get his worldview from television news networks. Oh, it must be that dude that makes shit up as he goes along and replies with Hannity/tucker carlson type pat responses to make himself feel better because he won't to admit to himself how little he is.
You have stated all the current notions of reality, notions that didn't even exist thirty years and won't exist thirty years from now. You have the philosophy of a reactionary, if I know anything about debating with a reactionary it is pointless. Their fear of reality is too intense to be dealt by anyone but a team of psychologists.
Nowlan is right about the Christians and Darwinists. The Christians get God to take away their freedom and responsibility, amd the liberals get DNA to take away their freedom and responsibility.

Noah Cicero

Anonymous said...

Goddam white russian bitch Ayn Rand reads like it’s written for adolescent episcopalian girls in a New England boarding school. Objectivity? How can somebody call their rabid anticommunism objective if the bolsheviks chased them out of the country they were born in? And hey if they got chased out they lost and that must mean that they were inferior no? Oh no it’s the herd and its manipulators isn’t it. I never understood that. Before the revolution they are freethinking or what then they start to be manipulated? If you got no money and you’re living there in your mothers basement or garage or whatever (unless of course you don’t really exist maybe you're just another neocon roleplaying netwhore) then you must be pretty inferior yourself no? Okay let’s say it’s true the usofa is the most egalitarian and meritocratic country that ever existed then the people who have risen to it’s top are not just supermen but hey lets call them ULTRAMEN! Yes and the nec plus ultra must be THE W hisself. Groovy neeto the world’s in good hands. But if not then……
Do you know how damaging the propaganda you people are putting out is? Everyone can become a millionaire in the states if they just try! It's like a country is trying to encourage racial stereotypes of its own citizens. Make everyone else in the world think that the majority of the US must be subnormal morons because hey you're not rich and you had the chance to be born in the country that's the richest in the world no? What in Europe were saying hey this country in Africa the people there got voodoo powers we better keep them out and then the government and the media instead of protesting said Yep that's right they do have voodooo powers better keep them out.

Anonymous said...

Noah, you simply posted a non sequitur in the form of a rant, it's no wonder you have a distaste for academia, judging by the fact you have a jejune understanding of class terminology, and even less about Ayn Rand, after all if it is pro-capitalist it must be evil racist/classist/sexist/opressive, and whatnot.

ANON:Goddam white russian bitch Ayn Rand

Well so much for racism being a tool of the Demi-Puppets

ANON:Objectivity? How can somebody call their rabid anticommunism objective if the bolsheviks chased them out of the country they were born in?

Well you obviously have no concept of what objectivism is, there are plenty of resources, however I wouldn't go around using that as an example.

ANON:If you got no money and you’re living there in your mothers basement or garage or whatever (unless of course you don’t really exist maybe you're just another neocon roleplaying netwhore) then you must be pretty inferior yourself no?

I write full time.

ANON:Okay let’s say it’s true the usofa is the most egalitarian and meritocratic country

You are asking a contradictory, rhetorical question, pick one are you asking about Meritocracy or Egalitarianism?

ANON:Everyone can become a millionaire in the states if they just try!

Everyone is not meant to be a millionaire, hell not everyone wants to be a millionaire. You actually have to have some talent, it doesn't matter if you are Eminem who makes 30 million a year, or Stephen King, who pulls in just about the same on a good year, both came from poverty.

ANON:What in Europe were saying hey this country in Africa the people there got voodoo powers we better keep them out and then the government and the media instead of protesting said Yep that's right they do have voodooo powers better keep them out.

???
For revolutionaries you people sure do rant in an almost incoherant Stream of Conscious style that is impossible to follow, are you talking about america? africa? or europe? and America is not a country in europe, so I don't see the reason why they are included.

Anonymous said...

Also this apartment has digital cable with Premium channels, digital phone and Broadband internet, and just got a $7,500 loan for a car, the furniture is purchased at rent to own stores but is of good quality, the biggest problem is often towards the last 3-7 days of the month, the food options are limited, usually to potatoes, rice and some light meats, although we could feast better if we gave up the cable, which we have to do thismonth because of the down payment on the car.

Also I have no health insurance, and took some hits on my credit report for some unpaid medical bills, however this is not classism, and I could move up within 5 years, by simply getting a degree from a community college, or work for the city, my families class mobility all came from city jobs and in many cases no college degree.

By the way they despise typical proletariat rriting, for its socialist, defeatist, blame someone else mentality, I don't know too many avid randian objectivists, however many are in sympathy with the stance that the individual is supreme.

-The Truth

Anonymous said...

Noah, you simply posted a non sequitur (non sequitur means it cant be followed by anything so why did you follow it with something?)in the form of a rant, it's no wonder you have a distaste for academia judging by the fact you have a jejune understanding of class terminology, and even less about Ayn Rand, after all if it is pro-capitalist it must be evil racist/classist/sexist/opressive, and whatnot.
Ayn Rand is more whatnot than anything else
ANON:Goddam white russian bitch Ayn Rand
white russian as opposed to red or blue
Well so much for racism being a tool of the Demi-Puppets
ANON:Objectivity? How can somebody call their rabid anticommunism objective if the bolsheviks chased them out of the country they were born in?
What country was your objective slut’s family from?
Well you obviously have no concept of what objectivism is, there are plenty of resources, however I wouldn't go around using that as an example.
Take me Roarke you underclass born destined for greatness housing project blowing up redheaded celtic ultraman
ANON:If you got no money and you’re living there in your mothers basement or garage or whatever (unless of course you don’t really exist maybe you're just another neocon roleplaying netwhore) then you must be pretty inferior yourself no?
I write full time.
You’re a secret genius? A secret genius for the new right !(well it’s kinda old and forgotten now)
ANON:Okay let’s say it’s true the usofa is the most egalitarian and meritocratic country
You are asking a contradictory, rhetorical question, pick one are you asking about Meritocracy or Egalitarianism?
ANON:Everyone can become a millionaire in the states if they just try!
That’s what the retarded rejects of the Ivy league pimping the American dream around Europe would like everyone to believe.
Everyone is not meant to be a millionaire, hell not everyone wants to be a millionaire. You actually have to have some talent, it doesn't matter if you are Eminem who makes 30 million a year, or Stephen King, who pulls in just about the same on a good year, both came from poverty.
Okay lets all become rapper horror writers that’s the ticket
ANON:What if in Europe they were saying hey this country in Africa the people there got voodoo powers we better keep them out and then the government and the media of that country instead of protesting said Yep that's right they do have voodooo powers better keep them out.
???
For revolutionaries you people sure do rant in an almost incoherant Stream of Conscious style that is impossible to follow, are you talking about america? africa? or europe? and America is not a country in europe, so I don't see the reason why they are included.
I was talking about the way in which the United States Government and media actively encourages racism against its own citizens living abroad.
Also this apartment has digital cable with Premium channels, digital phone and Broadband internet, and just got a $7,500 loan for a car, the furniture is purchased at rent to own stores but is of good quality, the biggest problem is often towards the last 3-7 days of the month, the food options are limited, usually to potatoes, rice and some light meats, although we could feast better if we gave up the cable, which we have to do thismonth because of the down payment on the car.
I really don’t care about your life. When the revolution comes you’ll be shipped off to a reeducation camp.
Also I have no health insurance, and took some hits on my credit report for some unpaid medical bills, however this is not classism, and I could move up within 5 years, by simply getting a degree from a community college, or work for the city, my families class mobility all came from city jobs and in many cases no college degree.
Yeah gosh get yourself a community college degree you should be able to get through it in about five years if the professors feel sorry for you! So you’re against any kind of socialism but you owe everything you got to government hand outs
By the way they despise typical proletariat rriting, for its socialist, defeatist, blame someone else mentality, I don't know too many avid randian objectivists, however many are in sympathy with the stance that the individual is supreme with cheese puhleeze. Rriting rreeding and rrritmatik learn that objectivity boy!
I don’t blame you. I ACCUSE YOU!
The Truth
LIE
This is not Noah but the hyena

Anonymous said...

"Ayn Rand was an average philosopher, and I enjoy Objectivism. Are you thretened by a strong woman who makes no qualms about individuality?"

I wanted to say something to that, I mentioned Simone De Beauvoir after her, that doesn't make any sense. Simone De Beauvoir is as strong as a PERSON can get.
I like your word "Enjoy" Ideas based in reality really aren't enjoyable, I can see now how you pick and choose your opinions on subjects.

Anonymous said...

The last post was written by Noah Cicero.
TO the hyena and the other guy who about Ayn Rand being a loser. Good posts.

Anonymous said...

Noah:I like your word "Enjoy" Ideas based in reality really aren't enjoyable, I can see now how you pick and choose your opinions on subjects.

Then I suppose you too oppose the minimum wage laws?

Anonymous said...

Because the minimum wage law was just an Idea (and should have stayed one) which the lower classes seem to enjoy. Although that terrible idea, caused more inflation and unemployment, than most other government interventions.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that if minimum wage rose starting back in the ninites instead of CEO pay minimum wage would be 25 dollars an hour. 25 fucking dollars an hour. Minimum wage is $5.15.
And here's my defintions of certain words:
Lower class to middle class in 2005: a household of no more than four that makes less than 70 thousand in one year, because even with 70 thousand you still can't buy anything new, and you still don't have full health coverage. These people are all in the same boat if they make 10k a year or 70k but the media has convinced them to convince themselves they aren't.
Petty Bourgeoisie: Annual income of over 100 thousand to three hundred thousand in year for a household of four. They can buy new shit and go to expensive colleges. I don't have a 70k to 100k thousand dollar category because for some reason in america household incomes just skip that brackett of pay. These people professors, doctors, lawyers, the higher educated. The ones that think they are innocent of any wrong doing.
The Bourgeoisie: The millionaires.
The Gods of Hell: Bill Gates and Rupurt Murdock and some others.
But really since Bill Gates has like fifty billion shouldn't the middle class make on average twenty-five billion. Really? I'm serious about that. The middle class should make whatever is half way to the richest person right? That's simple logic isn't it. So by that standard all petty bourgeoisie and most bourgeoisie are just bottom feeders like the rest of us.
But the petty bourgoisie think they are like gods who can study us like animals, that doesn't really make sense now does it?

Noah Cicero said...

I don't see your comment on minimum wage and not quite understand it, that makes me wonder who you are anon.
And here's my defintions of certain words because there seems to be some confusion:
Lower class to middle class: a household of no more than four that makes less than 70 thousand in one year, because even with 70 thousand you still can't buy anything new, and you still don't have full health coverage. These people are all in the same boat if they make 10k a year or 70k but the media has convinced them to convince themselves they aren't. If their situation is better than thirty years ago or better then France's that does not mean it does not suck. All that means is that people thirty years ago and people in France lives sucked and suck too.
Petty Bourgeoisie: Annual income of over 100 thousand to three hundred thousand in year for a household of four. They can buy new shit and go to expensive colleges. I don't have a 70k to 100k thousand dollar category because for some reason in america household incomes just skip that brackett of pay. These people professors, doctors, lawyers, the higher educated. The ones that think they are innocent of any wrong doing.
The Bourgeoisie: The millionaires.
The Gods of Hell: Bill Gates and Rupurt Murdock and some others.
But really since Bill Gates has like fifty billion shouldn't the middle class make on average twenty-five billion. Really? I'm serious about that. The middle class should make whatever is half way to the richest person right? That's simple logic isn't it. So by that standard all petty bourgeoisie and most bourgeoisie are just bottom feeders like the rest of us.
But the petty bourgeoisie think they are like gods who can study us like animals, that doesn't really make sense now does it?
"But everyday we get hundreds of new millionaires."
With that comment you have won The Easiest to be Duped Mother Fucker of the Month. Or the Jonah Crassus Award. I've never even met a millionaire, I've caddied for some doctors at a country club once, but no millionaires. Actually Micky Monus belonged to that club, but now he's in prison, does he count? his mother was a bitch she would make the caddies pick up food and smoked cigarettes off the ground and make the caddies put the half eaten food and cigarette butts in their pockets to throw in the garbage. If that is what it means to be a millionaire, to force and watch with a sadistic smile poor bastards not only carry your golf bag because you're too lazy but then to make them carry someone else's half eaten hot dog in their pockett for five hundred yards to a garbage can then I don't want it. the greatest thing about caddying was that you were not allowed to speak to the golfer, you had to pretend even though you were standing amongst four other humans having a conversation and even if had something to add to the conversation you were not allowed to say it or not human like they were, you were an object, a mule, a piece of human waste or the correct phrase, "Cheap Labor."
There are two main reasons why a person wants to be richer than the vast majority of the society around them: First because they have no personalty so they use their money and the expensive objects around them to define their personalties and to validate their existences, and second their insatiable sadism, rich people are subjugation junkies. If a poor person becomes rich it is for the same reasons.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha! I love the idea of literary Darwinism that slinks through this wordy thread.

If that's the case, then the ULA have developed nice claws, fangs, short-throw muscle groups for fast jumping and sprinting, and some nice long-throw muscles as well--Karl is a marathon runner in this battle, as are any of us who have fought for so long, but we're still quick enough to tear apart the sheep who bleat and spit from behind cubicles, tenure, trust funds, grants, cronyism, sycophancy--we're rising like the MC battlers in the Bronx in the 70s, battling it out on the streets where the strong, and not the connected, survive.

We're going to eat your lunch, you fey apparatchik metrosexual assholes. We're coming after you, and we're going to crush you.

--I'll Give You My Name When You Write It With Lipstick On My Dick

Anonymous said...

NOAH:Lower class to middle class: a household of no more than four that makes less than 70 thousand in one year, because even with 70 thousand you still can't buy anything new, and you still don't have full health coverage. These people are all in the same boat if they make 10k a year or 70k but the media has convinced them to convince themselves they aren't. If their situation is better than thirty years ago or better then France's that does not mean it does not suck. All that means is that people thirty years ago and people in France lives sucked and suck too.

Class is an arbitrary distinction, and in american terms you are off. The lower/working class, leans more towards living paycheck to paycheck, for what is deemed the basics, vis-a-vis cost of living. The lower class in new york city, will not be in oklahoma for the most part, because the cost of living is not as high. Also they survive soley off the selling of their labor to survive and do not own the means of production.

NOAH:Petty Bourgeoisie: Annual income of over 100 thousand to three hundred thousand in year for a household of four. They can buy new shit and go to expensive colleges. I don't have a 70k to 100k thousand dollar category because for some reason in america household incomes just skip that brackett of pay. These people professors, doctors, lawyers, the higher educated. The ones that think they are innocent of any wrong doing.

No that is not the petty bourgeois. The petty Bourgeois are people who partially own, or own the means of production, but do not "exploit" labor. For example the family gas station, that is the petty bourgeois.

NOAH:The Gods of Hell: Bill Gates and Rupurt Murdock and some others.
But really since Bill Gates has like fifty billion shouldn't the middle class make on average twenty-five billion. Really? I'm serious about that. The middle class should make whatever is half way to the richest person right? That's simple logic isn't it. So by that standard all petty bourgeoisie and most bourgeoisie are just bottom feeders like the rest of us.

In america almost 90% by my estimates, don't understand their class, and always assume, due to market liquidity and credit, that they are higher than they are, something like the bottom 30% think they are in the top 2%. I diasgree with your statement "should make" income is not a right, if you are creative, and talented you will make what you make, an insurance adjuster won't make as much as a Bill gates, because there is no demand.

NOAH:But the petty bourgeoisie think they are like gods who can study us like animals, that doesn't really make sense now does it?

I don't think anyone is trying to study us, however they tend to actually understand the value of education more.

NOAH:With that comment you have won The Easiest to be Duped Mother Fucker of the Month. Or the Jonah Crassus Award. I've never even met a millionaire, I've caddied for some doctors at a country club once, but no millionaires

I've met many, who came from nothing. In fact I could have been one, but I made a few bad decisions, and have no one to blame but myself. However you seem to think people are entittled to success, versus having to work for it. Here are some stats

ONE MILLION new U.S. millionaires just in 2000 alone

Lottery millionaires plus lawsuit AND athlete millionaires AND entertainment millionaires, all added together, are less than 1% of all our US millionaires!!


80% have little or no college education, let alone a degree

America has 271 of the world’s 563 known billionaires, along with six thousand and eight hundred groups of a thousand millionaires per group! This doesn't even include those who are merely worth a million, just those who are earning a million or more per year. Another 50,000 people flicker above/below million-dollar mark.


NOAH:the greatest thing about caddying was that you were not allowed to speak to the golfer, you had to pretend even though you were standing amongst four other humans having a conversation and even if had something to add to the conversation you were not allowed to say it or not human like they were, you were an object, a mule, a piece of human waste or the correct phrase, "Cheap Labor."

Then quit no one is forcing you to work there.

NOAH:There are two main reasons why a person wants to be richer than the vast majority of the society around them: First because they have no personalty so they use their money and the expensive objects around them to define their personalties and to validate their existences, and second their insatiable sadism, rich people are subjugation junkies. If a poor person becomes rich it is for the same reasons.

How about the fact they are reeping benifits of their hard work? See how far your message gets amongst hard working americans, who actually want to be successful. The rich are rich because at some point hard work got them there, I don't care if it was selling marijuana, it was hard work (Since I believe drug laws are immoral, I see them as freedom fighters of a sort)

-the Truth

ANON:we're rising like the MC battlers in the Bronx in the 70s, battling it out on the streets where the strong, and not the connected, survive.

You are contradicting yourself, do you support darwinism, where the strong survive, or some cry baby egalitarian world where you submit to the corporate world to get out of the ghetto?

Anonymous said...

Mr the truth,
At the root of persons like yourself is a deepseated psychosexual masochism. To be abused and exploited gives you joy in the same that being tied up whipped and sodomized does for others who have the courage to acknowledge this need within themselves.

Anonymous said...

It's called taking responsibility, although I have been done wrong, Had I actually had my shit together in High school everything else would have been a lot easier, would I be a billionaire right now? No, but I would be better off. I don't denigrate the success of others in a fit of jealousy, for whatever crimes the establishment commits, the majority of crimes will be committed by the lower classes (Let me guess it's not their fault, because they are "exploited")

-The Truth

Anonymous said...

You sound sexually deprived truth. Have you thought about necrophillia? I'll dig Andy Randy up and send her to you. You can keep her preserved in your mothers basement like Norman Bates in Psycho. When no ones home you can undress her put her clothes on and traipse around the house talking to yourself about the dignity of the individual.

Anonymous said...

When you post an intelligent retort I'll respond

Anonymous said...

I'm a clinical psychiatrist/psychologist with both a PhD and a MD from the University of Chicago. I've treated many analy retentive objectivism types like yourself. We in the profession call it the Atlas Farted Syndrome (or in some extreme cases Atlas would very much like to fart but can't). You are a very disturbed individual and I'm trying to make you if not well less sick. Do you want to finished lobotomized? Let's hope not! Why not let me let you to help you help me to make things better in your not so good head.

Noah Cicero said...

The Truth

It is obvious that your truth is derived from the present system and cable television media. I'm not sure what to write, because I don't like to argue with people has deluded as you. You can see several clear things in your ideas, you pick and choose your ideas because you like how they sound and not if they are true, you have no imagination and cannot understand that certain terms would take on slightly new meanings in a different context-which is taught in public schools and colleges in America and it is hard to escape that, you don't know what you're talking about when something is said that leaves your little reality, but you keep making comments on it anyway. In those situations you make a comment about "How they could do it if they wanted to." As in the case of Simone De Beauvoir, and faced with the fact of how rich people behave you refused to say you didn't know who she was and you negated the fact presented, you site problems with our system but don't blame the system, you think hard work brings millions, but in capitalism the theory is that God grants millions to those commit the less sin and vice, that is why our economic system is disconnected to our government, because it is religious in nature. If you say any truth, it is only one tenth the truth, and that truth's foundation is nothing but decayed notions. Those problems you site and truth you site are caused by a truth that has no basis in reality.
I won't fight with you anymore because you are obviously a victim of our culture and system. There is a great difference between you and someone like Christini and other college liberals. The college liberals are trying to fix things within the system, and some even have good hearts, but they are going about it the wrong way. You on the other hand have the symtoms of too many Americans that arent bad people at all, and are just severally misled and scared. I attack who deserves to be attacked, those with money who have the education and power to do something real and aren't doing it because they enjoy circle jerks too much. You are on the other hand I assume have no power, no money, and are just a victim, and you don't want to admit that you are victim and that all you are is cheap labor to the people that control this world. To win a war you have to know who to attack, and you are not what needs to be attacked.
I've met many workers and poor people like you, and a lot of them have had horrible lives. And to face the reality of that life would be too painful to bear which is a problem in itself. If you persist on writing this decayed notions on this blog and writing Truth undernearth them do not expect anyone to believe them and not shit on them. I assume your life is hell and that you had the choice between drug addiction or deayed notions to hide in, and you chose the latter.

Anonymous said...

PhD:
I'm a clinical psychiatrist/psychologist with both a PhD and a MD from the University of Chicago. I've treated many analy retentive objectivism types like yourself

What is an objectivism type? I think you were shooting for -ist, and in which case you would still be off the mark, because I'm not an objectivist.

PhD:We in the profession call it the Atlas Farted Syndrome (or in some extreme cases Atlas would very much like to fart but can't).

Actually that is what they call it on College campuses and DemocraticUnderground.com

PhD:
You are a very disturbed individual and I'm trying to make you if not well less sick. Do you want to finished lobotomized? Let's hope not! Why not let me let you to help you help me to make things better in your not so good head.

Are you sure your PhD isn't from a diploma mill?

Noah:
It is obvious that your truth is derived from the present system and cable television media

I'm opposed to the present system in many areas, not uniformly that would be jejune, and a position those with minimal knowledge of politics hold. As for Cable Television, I don't watch much, I do catch international programming, for it tends to be less sensational, and I like a progressing visual image of say what is going on in Iraq. I watch the Daily show religiously, however not for information, so much as a risible, mordacious take on current affairs.

Noah:
You can see several clear things in your ideas, you pick and choose your ideas because you like how they sound and not if they are true, you have no imagination and cannot understand that certain terms would take on slightly new meanings in a different context-which is taught in public schools and colleges in America and it is hard to escape that, you don't know what you're talking about when something is said that leaves your little reality, but you keep making comments on it anyway

And that is a reply to what position? I think you have some sort of inferiority {sic} complex that prevents you from remotely understanding an opposing viewpoint. Actually I attened slum public schools and the 3rd most advanced school in my state, for as hard as I worked to get in there I shure did piss around a lot.

Noah:
In those situations you make a comment about "How they could do it if they wanted to." As in the case of Simone De Beauvoir, and faced with the fact of how rich people behave you refused to say you didn't know who she was and you negated the fact presented, you site problems with our system but don't blame the system, you think hard work brings millions, but in capitalism the theory is that God grants millions to those commit the less sin and vice, that is why our economic system is disconnected to our government, because it is religious in nature

I am quite familiar with Beauvoir, and i'm sure I have a tattered copy of The Second Sex around. That is the problem with many on the left/liberals/progressives and even most conservatives BLAME BLAME BLAME. You do not understand capitalism, in fact it doesn't, with pristine veracity, mix with religion. For instance Christianity with it's dictaorial stances on chairty, and love/compassion, are not exactly toeing the liberty line. And there is a difference between capitalism, and free-market or laissez-faire economics. Our government is (Well bush is changing it) more agnostic in nature. But the founding fathers new this, and many detested democracy for this (and)other reasons.

Noah:
If you say any truth, it is only one tenth the truth, and that truth's foundation is nothing but decayed notions. Those problems you site and truth you site are caused by a truth that has no basis in reality

Based on?

Noah:
I won't fight with you anymore because you are obviously a victim of our culture and system. There is a great difference between you and someone like Christini and other college liberals

I think it's because your rhetorical replies have been all but dessicated, and I'm not a liberal by the way, Oh my, my, my I am quite far from one.

Noah:
those with money who have the education and power to do something real and aren't doing it because they enjoy circle jerks too much

Actually America is the most philanthropic nation on earth. You expect a handout, sorry.

Noah:
You are on the other hand I assume have no power, no money, and are just a victim, and you don't want to admit that you are victim and that all you are is cheap labor to the people that control this world. To win a war you have to know who to attack, and you are not what needs to be attacked.

You are correct, I do not adhere to the Victim mentality, those people are a penny a pound. I am building my futre at this point, and choose to better my life, because I recognize that I am in control of my life, sure I have to swallow a few hawks to get there, such as completely abnegating a social life, in order to work on what I want to work on, I admit, having loving parents makes it a lot easier, then again John Kennedy Toole killed himself in spite of it.

Noah:
I've met many workers and poor people like you, and a lot of them have had horrible lives. And to face the reality of that life would be too painful to bear which is a problem in itself. If you persist on writing this decayed notions on this blog and writing Truth undernearth them do not expect anyone to believe them and not shit on them. I assume your life is hell and that you had the choice between drug addiction or deayed notions to hide in, and you chose the latter.

Actually me dicking around in high school with drugs, along with Emotional problems caused me to vere off course, however this is no one elses fault. If I wanted to play in the NBA and some gangbanger shot me in the knees, then we can talk about blaming someone. I actually engage in very little escapism, I like to drink, but I have a weak stomach, and not much money to spend, so it's usually a 30 pack for me a month. However--literally speaking--CRying in my beer is not going to make my situation any better, but hard work, will I end up where I want to be? Depends on how realistic I am, If I say I will be a world renowned physicist, I'm simply pollyannish.

Anonymous said...

By the way the above was written by The Truth.

Noah Cicero said...

The truth

No shit you're far from being a liberal. My point is that it is more profitable to argue with one and even to work with one than someone upholds the notions you have. If I argue with a colleg liberal I might learn something, if I argue with someone of your views I just want to go into my room and cry for several years because it shows me what this culture does to the lower classes people's minds.
I just told you the sociological, existential, and philosophical reasons that you have your view points. Can't you see that people are laughing at you at Truth. That your ideas on reality are so silly and out of date and out of touch that people don't even bother to argue with you properly, that everyone is just either making fun of you or discussing what mental illness you are suffering from. If I ever said something I thought was serious and people starting laughing and discussing what mental illness I might be suffering from I would think, "maybe something is wrong with my ideas, maybe something is wrong."
"Based on what?" That is the closest you've gotten to the truth yet Truth.
Write something back, go ahead. Keep up the comedy routine going, pretty soon NBC will give you the 9 o'clock spot on Thursday night.

Anonymous said...

Noah:
No shit you're far from being a liberal. My point is that it is more profitable to argue with one and even to work with one than someone upholds the notions you have

It's called preaching to the choir.

Noah:
If I argue with a colleg liberal I might learn something, if I argue with someone of your views I just want to go into my room and cry for several years because it shows me what this culture does to the lower classes people's minds.

So actually you hold the exact same viewpoint of those you criticize? The lower class isn't capable of having the ability to decide what to do, and needs charity, and someone to hold their hand. The only difference is you seem to envy the othersides ability to appeal to the lower class (which coincidently has more mobility than any other countries bracket)

Noah:
I just told you the sociological, existential, and philosophical reasons that you have your view points. Can't you see that people are laughing at you at Truth. That your ideas on reality are so silly and out of date and out of touch that people don't even bother to argue with you properly, that everyone is just either making fun of you or discussing what mental illness you are suffering from

Actually I have arrived at my viepoints through logic, I allow next to no emotions to affect my views. Emotion is not good for politics, excellent for fiction though. I would expect them to laugh, it's a lot easier than providing evidence for a position, or even using a dialectic approach to reasoning. Present some sort of facts for your viewpoints, I have mine.

Noah:
If I ever said something I thought was serious and people starting laughing and discussing what mental illness I might be suffering from I would think, "maybe something is wrong with my ideas, maybe something is wrong."

Actually my views go with logic, as such I do not support such emotion driven things as "It's their fault" "Or give me" which actually resembles mental illness more than anything I have. And I suggest you actually read a textbook, it's not as if I am a blithering Invalid, just depression, it doesn't affect my thought process too negatively, in fact for editing it's pretty well, because the thought process is slower, and if focused right it can provide a different insight.

Noah:
"Based on what?" That is the closest you've gotten to the truth yet Truth.
Write something back, go ahead. Keep up the comedy routine going, pretty soon NBC will give you the 9 o'clock spot on Thursday night.

Actually, I don't know if you have been simply debating people who agree with you too long, or simply aren't aware you just avoided the question, in fact, every paragraph is nothing but Ad Hominem slurs, I can't even call it ad hoc reasoning, because there is no logic behind it. It's obvious you are just bitter about your lot in life, and rather than work at it, you allow yourself to blame "them" or "the Man" perhaps once you realize you don't have a natural entitlement to success, and are responsible for yourself as an individual, will you then be able to make moves towards success, this however is not a guarantee you will be successful, for the definition is idiosyncratic. Also there is a book by Irving Copi, called introduction to logic, I suggest you check it out from the library, and study it carefully.

Noah Cicero said...

let's see what logic is capable of:

Was Hitler a good leader?
Hilter was Time's Man of the Year.
Therefore Yes Hilter was a good leader.

Lets do it again

Are Paris Review writers good?
They get great reviews and have graduated from universities like Columbia, NYU, Brown, and Iowa.
Therefore Yes, the people The Paris Review publish are great writers, they've graduated from the top MFA in America.

Lets do it one more time

Should America go to war with Iraq?
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Therefore they should to go to war with Iraq.

Note the fact that justifies the conclusion. Any fact can be put in there if it is true or false.

Analyzing reality is more like connecting the dots and following the implications.
See you site problems caused by the system that said all people can pick themselves up by their bootstraps. But that system has never made happiness for everyone in 200 years of being in place. People say insanity and stupidity are, "A person keeps repeating the same behavior hoping for different results." The results are there of how this system treats humans, they've had two hundred years, and the evidence keeps coming up with the same results.

lets try the logic game one more time

Does the American system work?
Millions are unemployed, many work two jobs, and thirty percent of annual household incomes don't add to over thirty thousand a year, and the bankruptsy record is broken every year, all that while one human has over fifty billion dollars.
Therefore no, the system has something wrong with it.

Logic always works, it depends on where the fact comes from to supply the implication.

keep writing The Truth. I've contacted NBC and they want to see more of your stuff.

Anonymous said...

Karl,

I just read Nickeled and Dimed. I have some question I'd like to ask Barbara. How does she feel that she not only goes back to her upper class writing life, but made addition money from her book, while her subjects still remained in poverty? Has she ever thought about donating a percentage of her earning to organizations, food banks, etc., that help out the working poor?

Stephanie Durann

hplauze said...

I really do agree on that one :0).To much blogging, back to writing my thesis on cheap cellular phone cases.Super work,cheap cellular phone cases.

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