The Grouse Season

Posted by WiredSisters on March 30th, 2014 filed in Uncategorized


Apologies in advance to readers unfamiliar with or unbothered by the phenomena described herein..

Unnecessary words: not excessive words, but specific words that didn’t need to be invented because we already have the right words for them, like admonishment or diminishment or abolishment (whatever happened to admonition or diminution or—good grief, here in America, how can we not remember abolition?)

Why is CBS trying to kill The Good Wife?  Or is Chicago the only market where it airs right after The Great Race, which always runs 30 to 45 minutes late?

Why doesn’t the “delicate fabrics” setting on electric clothes driers ever work on delicate fabrics?  Either it generates no heat at all, and your clothes are still damp when its cycle finishes, or it reverts to the “normal”setting and destroys your clothes. 

People who don’t pay their lawyers:  this seems to be a major indoor sport in America.  Do we hate lawyers because we generally encounter them only in really unpleasant situations, so we have unpleasant associations with them?  Is it because we think all lawyers are rich and don’t really need to be paid by this particular client?  (Actually, the lowest-paid quartile of lawyers makes a LOT less money than the lowest-paid quartile of doctors.)

Just heard that one-third of the workforce, according to the GAO count in 2006, is “contingent,” ie temporary or part-time or independent contractors, or in some other way utterly lacking in job security. Watch this space for a piece on the Just-in-Time Workforce.  And seven million Americans are working second jobs.  Yikes!!

People who don’t want to pay anybody who works for them:

  • writers or editors or journalists, because (I suspect) we neo-Puritanical Americans don’t believe people should be paid for doing anything they might conceivably enjoy  (This is especially egregious among people who not only don’t want to pay for writing, but who nonetheless insist on keeping the rights to the work in question — if you don’t get paid, this is sure as hell not a “work made for hire.” Gimme a break.)
  • ·       Now that we are once again becoming interested in trades and crafts of the kind that many people would also find pleasurable, we need to be really careful about making sure people get paid for “fun work,” at least if we are not going to provide them with unpleasant but remunerative day jobs.  I do, admittedly, have one client who works on a City of Chicago garbage truck, and is protected both by a strong union and civil service, as well as by the inherent unpleasantry of the job.  But his is probably the last generation to have either civil service or a union. 
  • There are too many ways to dodge paying the people who do work for us—“he’s on Social Security or disability…”, “she’s a retired cop with a pension…”, “her husband makes good money…”, “she’s a stay-at-home mom anyway…”, “he’s a teenager, lives with his parents…”  We have seen many of these most recently as arguments against raising the minimum wage.  All of these are just ways of saying “I want whoever supports you to subsidize me while you work for me.”  Why should the taxpayer, or a spouse, or parent, or pension fund, subsidize a boss, probably a total stranger, looking for cheap labor?  You want my nephew to close your restaurant after he clocks out for the night?  Move your freakin’ restaurant to Bangla Desh!  This is America. Or anyway it used to be.
  • “This generation of college students aren’t prepared for work,” or “don’t have the right attitude,” or “don’t have the proper work ethic.”  By which, I suspect, they mean “this young person wants to be able to support himself on this job, and to get the working conditions the law provides for him, like breaks for lunch, and payment for overtime, and predictable hours…can’t have that.”

Happy April, anyway.

Red Emma

 

 



One Response to “The Grouse Season”

  1. Lynn Gazis-Sax (Sappho) Says:

    “Do we hate lawyers because we generally encounter them only in really unpleasant situations, so we have unpleasant associations with them?”

    I suspect that’s a lot of it, particularly when I consider that, in those really unpleasant situations, the other side *also* has a lawyer.

    “writers or editors or journalists, because (I suspect) we neo-Puritanical Americans don’t believe people should be paid for doing anything they might conceivably enjoy”

    Thing that ticks me off: Tongues start to wag about some movie star doing something or other not so admirable in his or her personal life. This is not the part that ticks me off. Often the thing is actually a bad thing, and if you’re famous, that means more people to criticize you when you do something sketchy, and I’ve joined in the criticism (see my last post about Woody Allen). The part that ticks me off is when somebody, such as Jodie Foster, joins the discussion by asking for more privacy for the famous person who gets caught out having an affair or whatever, and a whole bunch of people start jumping up and down and saying, how dare you? You *asked* for this by taking this job.

    Admittedly, the movie stars in question are rather richer and better rewarded than the unpaid writers you’re talking about. But I kind of wonder whether the attitude, not just that famous Hollywood people should expect less privacy (probably true), but that they deserve *anger* when they want any more privacy than they actually get, because *they asked for their lives to be an open book* (and this not even for reality TV stars, but for actors and other entertainers), comes from the same neo-Puritanical impulse that people shouldn’t be paid for doing things they enjoy. Because, actually, people *don’t* become actors, usually, expecting that they’ll become really rich and famous (hardly anyone does); they become actors hoping that they’ll actually be able to make money at doing something they enjoy, and a few of them win the lottery big time, while many more make a far more modest living (and others fail to make a living at acting at all). Speaking as someone who has known people on various sides of “the Industry,” as they call it in LA.

    “But his is probably the last generation to have either civil service or a union.”

    I’m getting to the point where one of the first things I think of, every time I read another complaint about how poor people’s family lives suck worse than ever and we have to do something about marriage, is that getting rid of right to work laws would be a step in the right direction.

    ““This generation of college students aren’t prepared for work,” or “don’t have the right attitude,” or “don’t have the proper work ethic.””

    That’s been pretty much every new generation of young people since ancient times. Get off of my lawn!