Archive for the ‘Capitalist swine’ Category

When will it be Labor Day?

September 5, 2022

The late, great Gahan Wilson.

We never hear of Capital Day, not because Capital has no day, but because every day is Capital Day. The struggle in which we are now engaged will end only when every day is Labor Day.Eugene V. Debs, Labor Day 1903

It’s still Capital Day. For now, anyway.

At The Guardian, Douglas Rushkoff recounts his chat with a secretive group of super-wealthy dudes “preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether.”

In short, they’ve grown tired of our sniveling about their shitting in our shared sandbox and wonder whether they might be able to dispense with us altogether.

Writes Rushkoff, a self-described humanist and Marxist media theorist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives:

Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.

One of the capitalists’ main concerns centered on how to control their security people after The Event — “their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.”

Yep, that could be risky. A SEAL might grow weary of barking for fish from the plump, well-manicured pinkies of a plutocrat. How to get away from it all when you need to take a few of “them” with you?

What happens when Labor Day finally comes around for real?

R.I.P., Barbara Ehrenreich

September 2, 2022

She took what they were giving ’cause she was working for a living.

Barbara Ehrenreich, the journalist, activist, and author who never lost touch with her working-class roots, has clocked out. She was 81.

Her New York Times obit draws from the introduction to “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” in which she recounts wondering with a magazine editor how the unskilled survive on the wages paid them and then blurting out something that she “had many opportunities to regret: ‘Someone ought to do the old-fashioned kind of journalism — you know, go out there and try it for themselves.'”

Which is exactly what Ehrenreich did, of course, working and living as a waitress, hotel maid, nursing-home aide, and Walmart “associate,” among other things. Then she came back and told us all about it.

And though she would be writing it up, she wasn’t phoning it in:

People knew me as a waitress, a cleaning person, a nursing home aide, or a retail clerk not because I acted like one but because that’s what I was, at least for the time I was with them. In every job, in every place I lived, the work absorbed all my energy and much of my intellect. I wasn’t kidding around. Even though I suspected from the start that the mathematics of wages and rents were working against me, I made a mighty effort to succeed.

She was not, and is not, alone. And in her Evaluation at the end of the book, Ehrenreich proposed that those of us who live in comfort while others barely scrape by should feel not just guilt, but shame.

When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life.

What a gift was Ehrenreich’s life. Peace unto her, her family, friends, and readers.

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!

Outside+ looking in

May 20, 2022

Ask not for whom the bike bell tolls.

Ring-a-ding-ding, bitches.

It was never a question of if, but of when. The Greater Outside+ Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Silo O’ Sports & Fitness, LLC, has begun excreting magazines and scribes, because that’s what vulture capitalists do: Gobble and shit, gobble and shit.

I knew my time was up last year when I saw the thousand-pound sack of boilerplate contract Outside’s drones expected me to sign if I cared to keep drawing funnies for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

After a quick semantic analysis boiled their bullshit down to its smoky essence — “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” — I trimmed it to a few salient grafs that cut straight to the chase, sent them off, and never heard another peep.

Not long afterward, I retired.

Now, the folks who stuck around and did the work are getting the old heave and also the ho. Talented types like Ben Delaney and Nicole Formosa, to name just two. It’s basically v2.0 of Competitor Group Inc., which gave Charles Pelkey and John Wilcockson the bum’s rush Back in the Day®. Same old guillotine, just different heads and an Outside Gear Box instead of the usual basket.

I can’t speak to the quality of the publications that lost staffers or are going dark entirely. I don’t read them. My subscription dollars are spent elsewhere.

But if these pubs aren’t profitable, I’m guessing it’s probably not Ben’s fault, or Nicole’s. Might have something to do with an overabundance of supernumeraries who don’t write, edit, shoot, sketch, or sell.

If I were showing people the door in an effort to save money I might start with anyone who uses the bloodless words “product” and “content” to describe “stories” and “photographs.” There’s always work for people who think everything is a commodity, including their souls.

All aTwitter

April 26, 2022

My final tweet, from New Year’s Eve 2017. Didn’t cost me shit.

OK, pop quiz. if you had $44 billion lying around doing not very much you would:

  1. Feed the hungry.
  2. House the homeless.
  3. Buy Twitter.

I guess I get it, kinda, sorta. I mean, I like toys. I just bought a canister stove for my occasional camping adventures; MSR said they didn’t have the bits to modernize my Bronze Age RapidFire, then offered me 30 percent off on a new burner. So, ’ray for MSR and for me.

But Twitter? Maybe Elon has the bits to fix that hot mess, and maybe he doesn’t. He can certainly throw bales of cash at it until he tears a rotator cuff or finds some other shiny object to money-whip until boredom sets in once again.

Me, I don’t even want to use Twitter for free.

Oh, rats

February 20, 2022

A college friend embroidered Robert Armstrong’s Mickey Rat
on the back of a white Levi’s shirt for me in the early Seventies.
I’m surprised Disney didn’t have us killed.

I don’t suppose this story will suppress America’s boundless appetite for cheap shit, but … how many decayed rats do you get for a buck, anyway?

Look for the union label

January 5, 2022

One big … union?

Hee, and also haw. This just in: Outside‘s editorial staff wants to unionize.

“Since the start of @outsidemagazine almost 45 years ago, we’ve been providing intrepid coverage of those who dare to push the limits of what we think is possible. So today, we are proud to announce that the Outside magazine editorial staff is forming a union,” 15 of 17 eligible Outside workers wrote in a tweet, according to the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America.

You won't find this item in the Outside+ catalog.

You won’t find this item in the Outside+ catalog.

They will become part of the Denver News Guild Local 37074.

The Outside crew is asking Outside Inc. to voluntarily recognize their unit, according to NewsGuild-CWA. Yeah, good luck with that. You fuckin’ aroun’ in Robin’s ’hood, son.

Frankly, I can’t see that the Guild has had much luck over the years when it comes to saving the scribblers at the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, or The Pueblo Chieftain from a vicious diddling at the plump, manicured hands of the robber barons.

Personally, I would’ve signed with the International Workers of the World. At least the Wobblies get to sing.

Still, up the rebels and all that. Damn the Man, full speed ahead!

Game over

December 8, 2021

“The better news is, it was an electric vehicle that killed you.”

On the way home from the grocery yesterday I managed to avoid three crashes with Burqueños who were either DWI, DUI, or HUA (Head Up Ass).

Stopping for a red light at Comanche and Tramway, a popular spot for the high-speed not stopping for red lights, I took note of the detritus from a recent collision scattered across the intersection.

And later, at home, hearing the wail of sirens and the whock-whock-whock of helicopters, I wondered idly who else had just made an unscheduled stop for a shit sammich.

Turns out a two-car crash at the next intersection up Tramway — the worst one, for my money — sent six people to the hospital, where four were listed in critical condition.

So color me unamused that Tesla is giving drivers the chance to play video games in their cars. While moving.

The New York Times notes that Elon Musk and his elves at Tesla “did not respond to several emails asking about the new video games and whether they could jeopardize safety.”

Imagine my surprise. No wonder Elon is in such a rush to get to Mars. He thinks it ain’t safe here on Earth, and he’s right.

We should pry Captain Video out of his Starship and drop him into a 1971 Ford Pinto, make him cruise around Albuquerque until he learns how to answer his emails. At a dead stop, of course.

• In other news, from our You’ve Got to be Fucking Shitting Me Department, we have the “Smart-Cockpit,” a bicycle handlebar with a touchscreen featuring Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto. Is it April 1? Did I sleep through winter?

All is well

November 24, 2021

It’s nearly kickoff time for the 2021 Cavalcade of Consumerism, so grab yourself a sammich and a frosty beverage and settle into the La-Z-Boy for the Big Game.

The NPD Group advises us that 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey yearn for the door-busting, clerk-trampling, no-holds-barred combat of Black Friday, in which sleep-deprived, half-frozen fatties who spent Thanksgiving night camped outside a Lubbock Best Buy do it hand to hand over dubious bargains on giant TVs that will watch them like famished zopilotes and suggest other must-have items based upon their observed activity, if any.

“Damn, another ad for Weight Watchers. And Planet Fitness. Who has the time? Pass the Fritos and bean dip.”

NPD doesn’t explain their survey methodology, but you know they didn’t ask for my thoughts, because 100 percent of me would rather stuff an angry ferret down his bibs than head for the trough on Black Friday to see what the Waltons are serving to the sneezers and wheezers (there’s still a plague going on, you may recall). Let ’em make their bacon out of the NPD’s dummies.

We plan a muted Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo. Herself will collect her mom from The Facility and we will do a late lunch —  cider-braised turkey thighs with taters and apples, stir-fried succotash with edamame, some class of a green salad, and Herself’s famous lemon bars. The ladies will enjoy a dram or two of wine, while I make do with a bottle of fake beer.

I bought the fixins on Monday to avoid the rush. There were just two cashiers at Sprouts and the queued natives were restless. If we get through the weekend without gunplay it will be a holiday miracle.

A workin’ man can’t get nowhere today

September 6, 2021

Luck of the draw.

Happy Labor Day, comrades.

I’m barely a worker these days; my paying chores have dwindled to one “Shop Talk” cartoon per month for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Of course, now that BRAIN is a part of the Greater Outside Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Paywalled Conglomerate, I find myself negotiating a contract to keep my faded Levi’s up and buckled while I continue to do what I’ve been doing for nigh on to 30 years. So it goes.

Thus, in solidarity with all y’all still on The Man’s clock, here a few random tales culled from our workaday world:

• Hotel workers serve as an unsung pit crew for the firefighters battling the Caldor blaze.

• Job openings outnumber the unemployed. But a gulf between the jobs available and what workers want has led to a “Great Reassessment.”

• Speaking of assessments, are the bots trying to upend the MeatWorld JobMart or are we just stumbling around in the dark as per usual? Kevin Drum has some brief thoughts on the topic.

• Is the boss watching, even when you’re working from home? Maybe. Say hello to “tattleware.”

• Can a workin’ man get somewhere today? He surely couldn’t back in 1978, according to Merle Haggard.