blue collar and white collar workers

anonymous asked:

It's interesting your definition of capitalism focuses only on distribution and markets but not a bit on, you know, capital and the many ways labour is blocked from organizing the way capital can be.

Yeah, another major difference between my thinking and the thinking typical of anticapitalists is that I think this line of reasoning is totally unproductive. I don’t think ‘capital’ in the modern U.S. can be understood as an interest group, and I don’t think barriers to labor organizing are the main reasons for poor working conditions.

In industries where there is more demand for workers than there are workers and where hiring workers makes the company earn significantly more money, workers reliably get perks such as an excellent work environment, flexible hours, good wages, interesting and varied work, compassionate and capable managers, and good benefits. In those industries, employers compete to persuade workers that the job will offer workers personal and professional growth opportunities, important work that makes the world a better place, interesting challenges, and lots of other perks. That is what market systems produce when the workers have leverage. And this is good and it would be a huge step forward if it were true everywhere.

So what is the best way to get workers leverage? I think ‘unions’ are the answer in some contexts, but the industries I’m thinking of above aren’t union industries. And there are some union industries where things still kind of suck. Why? 

Well, the amount of leverage even the most effective union in the universe has is bounded by how much more money the company makes from having additional workers. If the company makes $20 extra as a result of having an extra worker for one hour, then no matter how fantastic the union, they’re not going to be able to extract more than $20/hour in total benefits and wages, because companies won’t make hiring decisions that lose them money. 

So what if we figure out a way for that worker to produce $40 of stuff in an hour? Now maybe an effective union can arrange for the worker to get $39.99 of that value, and maybe with no union at all but a competitive industry one company offers the worker $25 of that value and one offers $35 and the workers flock to the second one and the first one goes out of business (or competes by having great working conditions and opportunities for advancement or something). In an uncompetitive industry with no union, the company can keep offering $20/hour in total wages and benefits and pocketing the rest, but this is a pretty rare case in real life and gets excessive focus in labor politics. Do workers reliably get all, or even most, of the extra value they produce? No. But do workers reliably end up in a way better bargaining position with better wages and working conditions if someone figures out a way to produce twice as much value from hiring them? Yes.

I don’t want to say ‘unions have nothing to do with this’, because that’d be false; unions are often really important for arranging for the worker to capture the extra money the company gets by virtue of hiring them. I’m just saying that, fundamentally, the union’s bargaining position is capped by the amount of value that having an employee work in that role creates for the company.

That means that one of the most valuable things you can do for labor is find ways to increase productivity. Not because laborers are meaningless drones whose moral value is entirely in our labor productivity, but because in jobs where workers create $100 of extra revenue for their company with an hour’s work, workers have so much more bargaining power.

And, uh, capital is a thing that does that. Like, capital is the set of resources a worker uses at their job; the machines that do stuff so you don’t have to do them by hand, the software that does the tricky accounting for you, the automatic grader so you don’t have to do grading by hand. Not all capital increases the marginal product of labor but some of it definitely does, and talking about ‘this increases the marginal product of labor but not many of the benefits accrue to the worker’ and ‘this increases barriers to entry in the industry but doesn’t really change the marginal product of labor’ and ‘this increases the marginal product of labor of our white-collar workers but not our blue-collar workers’ as the same problem of “capital” is super unhelpful.

I want to be clear here: I don’t care about corporate profits at all in their own right. Corporations aren’t people, and only people (and other beings that have internal experiences like pain and happiness) matter. But I care a lot about creating conditions under which workers have opportunities to produce a lot of value with their labor, because when that happens it empirically reliably results in better conditions for workers. I have yet to find anything else a fraction as reliable about improving conditions for workers, and the other things that work (like unions) work best in conjunction with workers having more opportunities to produce more value.

So that’s one thing that improves worker bargaining power, dramatically so, and is really important for that. Another thing is that obviously workers who are not in danger of starving have a better bargaining position, and this is one of the many reason I support giving everybody enough money to live off.

I think those are the frontiers where progress will actually, concretely, improve working conditions. I think analysis of capital which is entirely focused on getting workers a bigger share of the marginal product of their labor without consideration for increasing the marginal product of their labor and without getting everybody, even if the marginal product of their labor is a big fat zero, an adequate living will end up not producing better conditions for workers. 

On Diversity: A Snapshot of My America

My main job is taking pictures of homes for real estate agents.  While most of the homes I photograph are in the upper-middle to high-end price range, I do take pictures in what can be described as blue-collar, working class areas.  One of my shoots yesterday was in one of these neighborhoods.  A neighborhood where the average home price is below the local median average.  A neighborhood where people take pride in their homes even when they don’t always have the time or money to make them look as nicely as they want.  It was in just such a neighborhood that I was reminded not only what has always made America great but just how wrong and dangerous modern-day conservatives are to what really makes America great.

As I pulled up to the house, it looked like a thousand others in the area, a nicely landscaped Cape Cod with an American flag softly waving in the breeze from a pole in the front yard and a black Ford F-250 parked in the driveway.  I fully expected the owners to be the typical white, blue-collar working class people who heavily dominate this particular part of town.  When they opened the door, all I could think of was, “Never judge a book by its cover.”  Instead of the white, blue-collar worker I’d expected to see, I was kindly greeted by a Muslim woman in her early 40s wearing a hijab.   She introduced me to her equally kind husband and the two of them proceeded to be more friendly and helpful than any home sellers I’ve interacted with in months.  They offered me water.  They offered me coffee.  They offered me cake.  They moved with me from room-to-room making sure bedspreads were straight, pillows were fluffed, blinds were pulled, lights were on…  Usually, I cannot stand sellers even in the house when I take pictures, let alone bird dogging me.  If other sellers were as nice and helpful as this couple, I’d completely change this attitude.  

While how they treated and helped me stood out, I still couldn’t stop thinking about the contrast of the “book” and the “cover.”  While the outside of their home said, “All-American,” the artwork, paint colors, Qurans, and back addition with Arabic seating area of the the inside said, “All-Muslim.”  As I was going from room-to-room taking pictures, I kept thinking about the contrast of the home’s external to internal characteristics.  I’ve shot many a home where the outside was very traditional but the inside was very contemporary.   The outside not jibing with the inside is nothing new.  However, this was very different.  This wasn’t a contrast between architectural/design styles.  The more I thought about this particular contrast, the more I loved it.  I loved the blending of cultures because this is exactly what America is supposed to represent.  From China Town in San Francisco to the Polish part of Detroit to the Irish parts of Boston to the Mexican neighborhoods of Los Angeles, America stands for people coming from other lands, becoming part of the whole but still maintaining a love and appreciation of their heritage.  

If all I had experienced was the contrast of the exterior to the interior of the home, that would have been more than enough to reaffirm my faith in what America is supposed to represent.  What happened as I was taking the exterior shots took these feelings of diversity, what America really represents, and just how dangerous and evil the rightwing hate machine are to the entire system.

While I was outside taking pictures, the owners came out to make sure things were picked up.  While they were in the front of the house straitening out a couple of chairs on the front porch, a couple of their neighbors who were out in their yards doing work came over to chat.  By the time I worked my way around to the front of the house, standing on the front sidewalk were the Muslim owners, an African-American man in his early 30s, and an older white man in his late 60s having a conversation that ranged from landscaping to auto repair to kids/grandkids to restaurant suggestions.  If I described the scene and read you the text of the entire conversation with a Texas accent, it would read like a “King of The Hill” script.

What really struck me wasn’t the nature of their conversation, it was very similar to ones I heard growing up in rural Idaho.  It was very similar to ones I’ve heard in the neighborhoods of Chicago.  It was very similar to conversations that take place every day across the country from Girdwood Alaska to Mobile Alabama.  In spite of the diversity of the participants-their ages, their religions, their cultures, their backgrounds…, they had fundamental experiences, wants, needs, desires… in common.  What struck me was this scene being played out in an average-sized town in the Rust Belt is the direct opposite of what the right-wing and white nationalist hate machines spew out non-stop every day.

The scene I witnessed is what America really is all about and what modern-day conservatives and their very overlapping Venn Diagram counterparts, white supremacists fear the most.  They fear this kind of neighborly camaraderie.  They fear that diversity really isn’t a problem because they are beholden to their ignorant beliefs and hate that have been passed down to them by their ancestors and meticulously cultivated by fear mongers and grifters.  White flight didn’t happen because minorities moving into predominately white areas caused problems.  White flight happened because whites were afraid of people that didn’t look like them, didn’t have familiar sounding names, had different points of view.  When white flight wasn’t an option, whites hemmed minorities into very specific areas through redlining policies and practices.  

The racist and bigoted fears Donald Trump tapped into to win the election are based on lies about minorities and about the natural status of whites.  The scene I witnessed on the sidewalk of a quiet, little neighborhood was perfectly natural.  It was a scene that is played out across the country every day between neighbors.  When it played out between only whites the reason isn’t because minorities don’t know how or want to participate but because they haven’t been welcomed to the neighborhood/town.  The wants, needs, fears, concerns… of people who have similar economic situations don’t vary from one another very much.  This isn’t a revelation.  Many studies have been done showing that people who live in multi-cultural, diverse areas are much more tolerant and have less racist/bigoted views than those who live in less diverse areas.  People exposed to other cultures and heritages are not as overly protective of their own.

As much as I admire and appreciate people celebrating their heritage, it is something I’ve never personally experienced. I’m an Anglo-Saxon mutt.  My heritage is mostly English and Scottish and my ancestors came to America many, many generations ago.  I personally feel no love or bond with this heritage.  I feel closer to the culture and people of Japan from living there for two years than I do to my Western European roots.  This could be because I truly lived and experienced the one and not the other.  The Japanese culture is more ingrained into my psychological matrix than something I only have a distant genetic connection to.  

Like all people and cultures, the Japanese have great traits and serious flaws. Because I’m a pragmatist at heart, the one trait they have that I admired the most is their ability, as a culture, to take an idea or behavior from another culture that is good, incorporate it into their own culture while not losing who they truly are.  I call this Ala Carte Culture.  You pick and choose what you like from other cultures, leave the bad aspects of these cultures behind, and absorb the good into your own culture in a way that doesn’t diminish who you are.  

A good example of this in Japan can be found in the saying, “In Japan, you are born a Shinto, married a Christian, and buried a Buddhist.”  When I first heard this saying, being a typical American, I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  Imagine someone in America telling you, “My kids will be born Jewish, married Lutheran, and buried Mormon.”  If someone told you this, you’d stare at them wondering what the hell they were talking about. In Japan, their phrase gets no such reaction from other Japanese.  It is accepted as being true.  “In Japan, you are born a Shinto, married a Christian, and buried a Buddhist,” bothered me for months until someone explained it to me. “Shintoism celebrates being born. Christianity celebrates getting married.  Buddhism celebrates death. The best celebrations and parties are what the Japanese adopted into their culture for each of these events.”  

I love this idea. Why not take the best of other cultures and incorporate it into your own?  It’s an idea that should fit perfectly with a country like America which was founded on cultural diversity.  If a homogeneous, often isolated country like Japan can do this, a country that is the “Great Melting Pot of The World” should not only be able to do this easily, it should be aggressively doing it.  Unfortunately, the open, diverse, all people are created equal society is the one resistant to learning from other cultures and the where the dominant group fears and demonizes those outside their group who want to honor, cherish, and incorporate the best parts of their own cultures.

This resistance and fear of other ideas and cultures are at the root of America’s long, unjustifiable history of racism and bigotry.  “If it’s white, it’s right,” is the default mindset for white America. Who is allowed to be called “white” has been arbitrary throughout our history.  Jews were once not considered white.  Neither were Italians.  Neither were Germans.  Neither were the Irish.  Only once a group has been accepted as “white” are their cultural ideas and celebrations accepted.  White suburbia now doesn’t give a second thought to their kids celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at school but if the school decided to celebrate Kwanzaa with as much enthusiasm, they’d lose their damn minds. Irish-Americans love and honor their heritage to the same degree as Mexican-Americans, Muslim-Americans, African-Americans…  The main reason we, as a country, don’t care about or think twice about Irish-Americans or other “white” nationalities celebrating their heritage is because they have been accepted into the “white club.”  Celebrating and honoring one’s heritage isn’t the problem for racists and bigots.  It’s who gets to do it.

In the America that claims to be the “Great Melting Pot,” where for the first time in history a government was formed on the idea that all people are created equal, where diversity is supposed to be our greatest strength, the tableau I witnessed represented everything America can and should be.  It was also stark counter-evidence to one of the main claims of white nationalists and the right wing that multi-culturalism can’t work because non-whites won’t/can’t assimilate.  There are many problems with this claim: 1-it presumes white culture is the dominant one that everyone must assimilate to; 2-the entire notion of “white culture” is riddled with problems; 3-the evidence in diverse areas completely contradicts it.

My America is what I witnessed the other day on a sidewalk in a Rust Belt city.  My America isn’t afraid of others celebrating their heritage.  My America isn’t white-centric.  My America is the real America and no one will ever convince me otherwise.   The youth of my America know and feel this better than my peers.  This gives me hope for my children.  If only my generation gives them the opportunity to live up to what it means to be a real American better than my generation.

This was supposed to be a 5 minute drabble. I cheated. This is why I can’t have a Twitter…

Four Stories from the Star

There was a knock on the window.

At first, Castiel thought he was imagining it. It was impossible. No one could knock on the window of the 25th floor. The knock came again and Castiel slowly turned to face the glass, sure that he’d fallen into a horror movie of some kind. He wasn’t prepared for what he saw.

It was Dean, strapped onto a small wooden platform, suspended from somewhere up and out of Castiel’s limited view. It was the same small wooden platform Dean used to wash the windows on three years ago when he and Castiel first met. It was actually how they met. Castiel remembers that first note he wrote, black marker on plain white printer paper, and how he held it up to the first window washer to come up that day and it had just so happened to be Dean.

Castiel had wanted to know how close their floor was to the “cap” of the building; the place where the exterior walls convex and form star-like points that starburst out and circle the circumference of the building. He was curious, had been since his first day, but it was impossible to see from inside. Dean had ignored his knocking at first; far too used to obnoxious white collar office workers gawking at the blue collared guy 30 stories up with only some ropes keeping him from falling to his death. Eventually, he gave in and looked.

Castiel remembers his look of surprise and the curious look he gave Castiel before craning his neck up and counting. He held up four fingers. Castiel was four floors from the star. He dropped his note to reveal a second sheet with a pre-written “Thank you!”, rather than the rather rude pre-written “Assbutt” that he’d planned to slap against the window had his simple request been refused.

Dean had smiled a bit, still confused, and continued on with his job while Castiel returned to his desk, thinking the interaction was over. And over it was, at least until the following week when Dean appeared outside Castiel’s office window once again, this time with his own note written on a ripped sheet of notebook paper reading, “PIE?” followed by seven digits and a simple cartoon drawing of two slices of cherry pie.

Castiel was baffled. Surely the man had meant to ask one of the many attractive and competent women working in the company, not awkward, male, Castiel. But when Castiel gestured to himself questioningly he only received a heavy eye roll and a look that quite clearly asked who the hell else the sign would be meant for in Castiel’s personal enclosed office empty save him.

In the end, Castiel had accepted the offer and was rewarded with a brilliant smile complete with eye crinkles from the man outside the window and later, some of the best pie (and company) he’d ever experience before that evening.

But none of that explained what Dean was doing outside that same window now. In the three years since then, Dean finished school and quit his window washing job, instead gaining employment as a mechanical engineer.

Castiel took a step closer to the window and saw what he missed before. Dean was pressing a sign against the window, just like three years ago. The corners of the familiar notebook paper fluttered away from the glass courtesy of the stiff, constant wind that came with being this high up, but the words were still legible. A brilliant smile crept over Castiel’s face.

Quickly, he scrambled for the nearest paper and pen on his desk and ended up scribbling a hasty “YES” on a yellow post-it note before he slapped it ink first onto the glass. Dean’s eyes flickered briefly to the note before they connected with Castiel’s.

In the years that come Dean will claim that it was the wind that made his eyes water, but Castiel won’t care about the little white lie told to spare Dean’s pride in the company of his brother and friends. All Castiel will need are two sheets of old yellowing notebook paper, one with the word “PIE?” and the other with the words “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” scrawled across them in fading black ink.

Tokyo Ghoul and Masculinities: Pt 1

As many of you know, I’ve been hoping to write meta for a long time on the various masculinities presented in Tokyo Ghoul. This subject represents a strong area for me both personally and academically, and it’s one of the many aspects of Tokyo Ghoul which I have found deeply fascinating. 

Standard disclaimer: though I try to incorporate a baseline understanding of Japanese culture in my analysis, I am incurably American, I have never been to Japan, I do not speak Japanese, and all of my education has been deeply entrenched in the Western tradition. I never consider any of my metas to be the only available or correct interpretation of evidence. If I make any major cultural faux pas, please let me know. I am always learning. (Cut because this is long as balls)

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On classist bullshit...

I have many things to say. Let me just start off with disclosing that throughout high school, my peer-given nickname was “trailerpark”, mostly because that’s where the bus let me off to go to our mobile home. 

My entire family for many generations are generally blue collar workers- loggers, truck drivers, mechanics, factory floor workers. Never for one minute would I believe that I am smarter than any one of my family members. We all have different (and equally valuable) skills. I sleep under blankets my mother made and drive a car that my dad maintains. My books rest on a shelf my father in law built. My food comes from a farm down the road, and my child plays at a daycare center and comes home knowing new things every day.

People who value one set of knowledge over another are willfully ignorant of the skills they don’t possess. 

Class problems in medical school are a big deal. Not very many poor people make it in to medical school because it’s expensive to get there. College is expensive. Application fees are expensive. Flying for interviews is expensive. If you’re thinking “Just get a job” or if you thought “good students get scholarships”, think again. I was a good student on 75% scholarship for 4 years and I worked three jobs through most of college. My monetary situation has limited where I was able to apply. It limited what books I was able to buy. It limited the business clothes I was able to source. It continues to limit my options, as I go further and further in to debt to pursue this passion.

Often my classmates are not nice about this. I’ve had classmates tell me to buy new clothes because I looked “frumpy”. I’ve had classmates be derisive that I was not buying study aids that they were using. I’ve even had a classmate tell me, and I quote: “I wish I could be happy being poor like you, but I want my children to experience the world, to know that there’s more than just America, and to have opportunities to explore.” Yeah. They actually said that to my face.  

The thing about humans is that we’re marvelously complex. No one is “worth more” than anyone else. No job is worth more than another. My dad is fond of telling me that if truck drivers stopped working for a single week, the whole nation would collapse. I believe him.

My hubby is not a doctor. He’d like to be a nurse, but he’s happy being an MHA for now, so I can finish my schooling first. Let me tell you, if all the MHAs and CNAs quit working, patients would die.

I’ve washed dishes and cooked food and poured drinks and cleaned houses and every single one of those jobs was important. We are all important.

The next time someone says that another person isn’t “smart enough” or doesn’t “make enough money”, let’s talk about wage inequality and the implications behind that job not existing anymore. Let’s talk about the cost of living in reality.  Let’s talk about what happens when everyone is an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer and no one grows food or fixes toilets anymore. Let’s value our artists, our garbage collectors, our flower growers, our laundry service, our AC repair folks, our blue collar workers and our white collar supporters.

Be honest. Without them, we can’t do what we do. 
That applies for every single profession out there. 

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If we automate the systems that fulfill our most basic survival needs, will it finally allow us the freedom to spend our time the way we want?

“I’m a machine,” says the spot welder
“I’m caged,” says the bank teller
“I’m a mule,” says the steelworker
“A monkey can do what I do,” says the receptionist
“I’m an object,” says the high-fashion model

But from the upper crust white collar to the lowest paying blue collar workers - one phrase is used repeatedly:

“I’m a robot”

[x]

anonymous asked:

non-white people can afford not to care about the policies implemented by Clinton and Obama that have destroyed the lives of certain americans, right? I don't understand why white blue-collar workers (most damaged by globalism and liberal policies) should care about the racist comments Trump made and vote for a candidate that would damage their lives even further. It's this kind of entitlement that got Trump elected. In fact, you know who else doesn't bloody care about them? Democrats.

1. There are plenty of non-white blue collar workers too. How are white blue collar workers most damaged by globalisation and liberal policies? How does their whiteness single them out for further victimisation? When a factory closes down, is it only white workers out of a job or everyone working there, no matter their race? Did you forget about these people too? This is exactly what I mean. This is a racially-exclusive class analysis that looks only to white blue collar workers and you’ve neglected how non-white blue collar workers can be hurt by the decline of manufacturing AND racism. It compounds their problems. Many non-white Americans for a long time have lagged behind white Americans in income. Black Americans in particular, due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and racism. Black working class people have to deal with both racism and economic problems. There is a huge problem of black unemployment in states like Michigan. It’s often several times the rate of white unemployment.  White blue collar workers, being white, don’t need to worry about institutional oppression because of their race. They have one less problem. Such white voters have problems because of their class, not their race. Don’t conflate the two together.

2.  You don’t think they should care? Are you saying basic empathy is not even possible? I mean, what are you saying then? If it’s fine for white voters to say “I know Trump’s saying racist shit and his policies sound pretty racist but he’s promised to bring back my job”, then why is it not fine for non-white voters to say “Trump’s saying racist shit so I’m not going to vote for him because that’ll be better for me, I have to prioritise my personal safety over whatever promises he made to bring back jobs.” I’m just applying your logic. And this is nothing less than a double standard against non-white voters. And economic policies obviously don’t have to be racist to address economic problems. They can help everyone.

3. But you know what usually has to be racist? Fascism. Fascism promises to make people feel good. It promises to restore national greatness, and promises to bring back prosperity. And it’ll often weaponise economic anxiety into a racist or ethnic direction against minorities. I live in Europe, so I would know. It’s a huge problem that these white voters, whether or not they voted for Obama before, either believed Trump’s crap or if they didn’t, thought it was something they could ignore. This is what happens when racism isn’t thoroughly rooted out a country. It comes roaring back with a vengeance whenever people are economically anxious and looking for a scapegoat. It’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s. Because Germany and all of Europe had antisemitism long before the Nazi party was even a concept. I am a SEAsian Chinese, and in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis, there were riots against the Chinese minority in Indonesia. And, bingo- this wasn’t the first time. There has long been a history of such racial tensions. So don’t tell me the relationship between racism and economics is irrelevant, that it’s fine for one group of people to just ignore it.

4. I’ve no illusions about the Democratic Party, but I’m quite sure all this free trade economics and globalisation began long before Clinton and Obama and that Republican presidents encouraged and abetted it. It’s in fact the global economic order your country deliberately chose to construct in the aftermath of World War 2 when it wanted to remake the world in its image. That worked great when America had the most advanced manufacturing capacities, but less so when other countries started rapidly industrialising too and offering lower wages. The comparative advantage shifted there under the very rules of the game America itself wrote. And plenty of Republican presidents encouraged it too! Because American consumers like cheap goods and fits right in with the party’s ideology about minimal government intervention and laissez faire economics and about allowing the marketplace to be the solution. It was the Republican party that was against the economic stimulus in the wake of the recession, against the auto bailout, that was more concerned about destroying the ACA as a whole even though it originated as their own idea in the 1990s. It’s the Republican party that is always pushing most strongly for welfare cuts that hurt poor people, that fumed over letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. The last Republican president drove the economy off the cliff and screwed us all over. A Republican congress held the debt ceiling hostage and didn’t care about sending foreign markets in turmoil just so they could destroy a healthcare law they didn’t like. In comparison, yeah, if I had to pick, the Democratic party has better economic solutions.

5. It’s not even like Trump has put forth logical policies that would help. I’ve read his plans. They don’t make sense or add up. They’re likely to make everyone worse off or at best just waste lots of money. Yet his rants about the “Wall” or slapping enormous tariffs on China are eaten up eagerly by many of his supporters because I guess it’s easier to think there’s a clear group of people who are to blame. It’s easier to blame Mexican immigrants than a complex mix of factors like free trade, poor protections for workers globally, corporations, mechanisation and automation and just the global economy restructuring itself. I wouldn’t find it awful that people voted for Trump if he’d actually said things that made sense or was promising economic policies that weren’t steeped in racist scapegoating. So yeah, you can say I’m quite indignant. Cos I don’t even think Trump’s policies will help those people who put their belief in him, and on top of that we have an ill-informed man at the helm of the world’s lone superpower. And I guess we can kiss goodbye to American cooperation on climate change. You don’t think its reasonable for the rest of us to be infuriated by all of this? Nothing else matters if we don’t even have a habitable planet!

6. You insist we’ve got to understand these white blue collar voters in a manner that’s just plain exclusive to how economic problems cuts across racial lines and that racism compounds it for poor non-white people. On a global scale, if you think white blue collar voters have been the most damaged by globalisation- that’s a truly Western-centric bubble to live in. I can write all of this, but it’s up to you whether you want to see the bigger picture. Not just about how race and class intersect, but about the many things under threat because of Trump’s presidency.

7. I’m going to repeat the fact that it’s ironic for an American to demand we understand these voters and accuse me of not caring as you did in your previous anon, when that favour is often not even returned when it comes to how American policies affect non-Americans. Don’t I have a right to do that too? NATO, the EU, US-China, US-SEAsia ties all are going to affect me. The ability of a number of American voters to not even think about how their president affects the world is a privilege that comes from being the citizen of a superpower. And I think it’s clear a number of Trump supporters didn’t. 

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You're Getting Slytherin All Wrong: 6 Myths About Harry Potter's Misunderstood House
#NotAllSlytherin

ASSUMPTION 1: All Slytherins are evil.

Much like we suspected, the assumption that Slytherin is the “evil” house is a bunch of garbage — remember Severus Snape, bro? AKA “one of the great heroes of the series,” as Granger refers to him?

In fact, according to Granger, the misconception that Slytherin house is evil came from two things — A, Rowling’s own value system, and B, the need for Harry to have a foil (in the form of Draco Malfoy), which is a longstanding schoolboy novel trope.

“They’re just ambitious,” Granger told MTV News over the phone. “It’s not a quality which is considered a virtue by the people who write the books… “[Rowling’s] big thing is courage, not self-interest. [When] we start off the stories, we’re being taught to sympathize with Harry… Then we meet Draco Malfoy and he’s a little git; we just intuitively despise him. That’s the necessary foil in every school boy novel. Because Draco Malfoy is in Slytherin House and he’s got Crabbe and Goyle with him, everything we see… bleeds through that filter.”

However, Granger says it’s important to remember that even despite Rowling’s distaste for the purely ambitious, she still gave some small shout-outs to decidedly un-evil Slytherin characters.

“We get people like the potions teacher, who tried to discourage Tom Riddle from exploring horcruxes, [and] tried to help Harry — he comes back in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end with Slytherin helpers and stuff.”

So there you have it, folks — just because you’re wearing green, doesn’t mean you’re evil. Moving on. […]

ASSUMPTION 2: Slytherins can’t be brave.

Now, it’s definitely true that a whole bunch of Slytherin sat out the Battle of Hogwarts. (I probably would have stayed home with a bottle of wine and some Netflix too, but what can you do.) However, does this necessarily mean that they’re incapable of being brave? Not so much, according to Granger.

“Narcissa Malfoy saved the day in that grotto in the Forbidden Forest… she has her moment where she’s punished by the Dark Lord, and sent up there to do a quick check to see if Harry Potter is dead,” Granger explained. “She finds out that he’s alive; she gets the answer that she wants. Now her son is alive, and she doesn’t reveal that Harry Potter is alive. It could conceivably cost her her life but courageously, she says, ’I’m going to let this boy live.’ She’s the archetypal Slytherin woman… but that’s a very courageous act that saves Harry from being murdered on the spot.”

Acting in one’s — or one’s family’s — own self-interest is definitely not the same type of bravery that defines a Gryffindor, but the actions of a Narcissa Malfoy should not be forgotten when you look at the bigger picture. And like, I’m sorry, but if you were put in Slytherin house, would youwant to fight Harry Potter’s battles for him? Seems like a pretty thankless job, if we’re being honest.

“When people start talking about Slytherin, they try to overlook the instances where, in their self-interest, they act heroically,” Granger continued. “[Narcissa] is a lot like Lily Potter… she’s able to stand up to the Dark Lord. It’s very staggering in the books. Even Narcissa Malfoy, in her love for her son, is going to protect Harry Potter in front of the Dark Lord. If [Slytherin] are really all bad, Harry dies there right on the spot.”

In other words, bravery has different meanings for different people, folks. MOVING ON. […]

ASSUMPTION 3: All racists are in Slytherin.

This one drives me insane. INSANE. Because again — given the insidiousness of racism in our country and all around the world, it’s borderline irresponsible to ask children to associate it with only the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Republican stand-ins that occupy Slytherin house. The world just doesn’t work like that.

But lucky for me, according to Granger, my insanity is well-warranted: other “Harry Potter” characters in other houses clearly displayed racist tendencies throughout the series.

“[Rowling] tweeted any racist would be sorted into Slytherin… This is when Ron thinks all giants are necessarily evil, despite his experiences with Hagrid?” Granger said. “So he’s not a racist? What does that make him? I don’t know if you want to call giants a race, but what else would you call them?”

Granger added that Ron judging Harry’s parseltongue is just as damning, as he’s “got all these prejudices from his childhood that are just as ingrained and unexamined as Draco Malfoy’s blood purity fixation.” It’s just that, you know, Draco’s racism is far more overt, and against real human beings instead of giants and house-elves.

Oh, and another thing? Arthur Weasley’s fetishization of muggles can be seen as an allegory for positive racism, FOR SURE.

“The enlightened figure of the book, Albus Dumbledore, is the one who says that there shouldn’t be prejudice against muggles,” Granger said. “But people who aren’t prejudiced against muggles, like Arthur Weasley… he’s fascinated by all this, this and that, always wants to talk to muggles. He’s sort of like the white liberal that likes to hang out with black people because it’s cool. He has all these bizarre conceptions of what it’s like to be a muggle, but he doesn’t actually know any of them.

“So it’s a prejudice but, in a way, an innocent prejudice. It’s like Harriet Beecher Stowe, if you read ’Uncle Tom’s Cabin’… the Weasleys are positive racists in terms of the muggles.”

Mic drop.

ASSUMPTION 4: All blondes go to Slytherin.

This one is clearly bullsh-t — Pansy Parkinson, anyone? — but according to Granger, there’s a pretty darn interesting reason for the bullsh-t.

“[Rowling] is trying to make this Nazi [connection],” he said. “It’s an easy win for a writer, if you want to identify the bad guys — especially in the United Kingdom, to identify the bad guys, you make Hitler connections. Yeah, it’s been 70 years since the war, but that’s just a given in the United Kingdom that Nazis are bad, and those who resist the Nazis are good, and an easy token for Nazis is being blonde haired and blue eyed.”

So, yeah — once again, Draco being our entry point into Slytherin house has clouded our judgment, as most of the folks that populate Slytherin house do not look like Nazis.

ASSUMPTION 5: Slytherins only care about money.

This one is insane to me, because A, everyone cares about money, and B, we really only think this because, again, Draco Malfoy has money and he’s our main entry point into Slytherin house. We know very little about the finances of the rest of the (very few) Slytherins Harry actually speaks to.

“The wealthiest person in this story, [Justin] Finch-Fletchley, he’s in Ravenclaw,” Granger added. “He cares about money — he comes from money, I should say. Harry and the Weasleys are consumed by money, and their lack of it — [they] wish they had more of it all the time. The twins basically forsake the family tradition of studying magic to make some money.”

According to Granger, the villains of a story being part of the gentry class is yet another trope, and one that can be traced back as early as the 1850s.

“This is actually a schoolboy novel trope… this decadent gentry, they have their money and privilege from land they’ve inherited, [and] they’re the bad guys,” he said. “Rowling, she rolls that into her story. She has the Slytherins be that gentry, [while] the Weasleys are middle class and blue collar/white collar workers, but they have the real virtue, and the intelligence. That’s keeping in line with the demands of the story.”

Basically, if you want to let the audience know straight away that a character is going to be the schoolyard bully, make him or her rich — and blonde, if at all possible.

ASSUMPTION 6: Slytherin does not work with the rest of Hogwarts.

Warner Bros.Let’s let Albus Dumbledore (and Granger) clear this one up once and for all — because everyhouse thinks they’re the best house, and every house is necessary if Hogwarts wants to thrive.

“Remember that comment that Dumbledore makes at the first sorting feast? He says, ’Nitwit, blubber, oddment, tweak,‘” Granger said. “Those four words are what each house thinks of the other houses from their own prejudices. If you’re a Ravenclaw, everyone else is a nitwit. If you’re in the jock palace at Gryffindor, everybody else is blubber — you know, they’re overweight, they’re not athletic enough. Oddment is what the purebloods in Slytherin think. And the last one is tweak, which is the position of the humble people in Hufflepuff… I mean, they’re proud of their humility. And so Dumbledore is saying right after the sorting, understand that you being sorted into houses already made you into little monsters. You’re already taking on these identities which are going to be the prejudices that shape your whole life.”

Don’t you see, guys?! We read these books from Harry’s perspective, so when we’re reading — no matter what house Pottermore sorted us into — we are all experiencing the world from the prejudiced angle of a Gryffindor. And Gryffindors, despite their do-gooder reputation and their heroic qualities, do not like the people in Slytherin.

Let’s be better than those Gryffindors, then, and give the Slytherin folks — minus Draco Malfoy, of course — a fighting chance to prove us wrong. Due to the bravery of Severus Snape, Narcissa Malfoy, and that dang potions teacher, they at least deserve that much.

On Culture: Strangers

A stranger can be anyone from a foreigner to someone from the other side of town to that neighbor you don’t really talk to.  How someone classifies and deals with a stranger can be extremely informative about their culture; people tend to fall back on social norms in such cases, since they don’t have any personal information to work with.

  • Classification - How one classifies a stranger has a lot to do with how society is set up.  Are they very communal, or are there different social classes?  How complex are those social classes?  Ranking systems can be very basic (“I’m a banker and you’re a farmer; I own your balls.”) or exceedingly complicated (“I’m a banker, but I’m younger than you farmer, but I own more land than you, but you’ve got family connections, but my boss is pretty high ranking, but you’ve got a contract with a noble family.  Add it all together and…I think you out-rank me?”).  Strangers can be classed by age, gender, profession, family, seniority, wealth, or a hundred other factors.  What social or visual cues are there to determine rank?  Are these classifications necessary?  Is there a standard “I’ll treat you like everyone else until I know better” classification for unknown parties, or does ones rank need to be determined beforehand?

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Heey, I rewatched 11x06, and I think Cas is actually more underdressed than Lucifer when he's relaxing? Cas doesn't wear a tie and he has his shirt untucked while he's on Netflix binge. Cas changes his clothes to compartmentalize. I think Cas might shrug on his coat even while he's doing research? Dean might have felt something off about Cas because Casifer was dressed in an awkward mid way between Cas's 'business mode' and 'relaxing mode' what with his tie on and his shirt still tucked.

I can’t even remember how I intended to answer this when I first got this ask (I am SO SORRY I’ve been so tired :S) but I scrolled past some gifs of Cas in 11x02 and since this has been sitting in the back of my mind waiting to be answered for a day, I immediately thought of your phrasing describing his clothes. Because of course that’s how Cas was dressed after the angels started torturing him. 

Most of the meta about Cas’s clothes boil down to describing his clothes as paralleling how human he is, or how vulnerable. I think (without actually reading that tag to check :P) the discussion about his clothes in 11x02 was more to show what side he was on and how he wasn’t so much of an angel any more (since that was what the angels’ beef with him really came down to), but he was also stripped down to make him vulnerable. I seem to remember a comment about him putting on the trenchcoat again as armour. And remembering how you phrased this about his clothes in 11x06 after seeing gifs of him in 11x02 makes me think a lot about how his TV watching state was paralleled with that and showing how he is just as vulnerable? It was less physical peril and more emotional peril, but as it turned out Cas’s emotional peril was much more something to watch out for this time around seeing as it led to where we are now…

But of course the trench coat represents the core identity of Cas as well, so Lucifer choosing not to wear it is showing at least in the scene with Dean that there is a clue that it’s not Cas (if only he paid attention to the meta :P) and like you say, it’s enough not like any way Cas would dress for it to seem strange. 

(Actually the whole sleeves rolled up but still wearing a tie and walking about holding paper folders thing made me feel a lot like he was channelling white collar office worker vibes - shedding the outer layers that make Cas so frumpy most of the time and leaving the shirt tucked in channels those vibes. I was saying somewhere or other how Lucifer likes the hands on approach, and it’s making me parallel apocalypse Lucifer as a blue collar worker, digging holes to get what he needs with his sleeves rolled up for manual labour:

(x) with this new different class approach where now he’s still getting stuff done himself, but he’s looking like a guy who stayed late at the office to file some important paperwork that’s due:

Which is completely separate from Cas clothes analysis, but the fact that I’m getting twisted season 5 Lucifer vibes from Misha’s acting is blowing my mind about how good he is at this, and in this case the clothes are a part of that, in the way that they fit with this previous characterisation of Lucifer, and the rolled up sleeves are just a part of that characterisation. :P)

But yeah, somehow the overall picture is much neater than Cas: we’ve seen Cas over the years descend right into laying mostly naked in bed for comfort, and 11x06 was much more along those lines of just stripping away layers and untucking and ditching the tie for slobby comfort, while Lucifer has also stripped down for comfort, but done so in a totally different way of utilising the same costume and making it look neater. He’s wearing the trenchcoat in the previews for the next episode he’s in (11x14?) so he clearly understands the point of playing the role and dressing as Cas, but we caught him here not expecting to be interrupted, so this is how he’s dressing when he doesn’t have to look like Cas, and as you said, Casifer dressed like this actually is “off” from any way we see Cas dressed…

I really love the costuming on this show. :D

reuters.com
Almost half of French approve of locking up bosses

(Reuters) - Almost half of French people believe it is acceptable for workers facing layoffs to lock up their bosses, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.

Staff at French plants run by Sony, 3M and Caterpillar have held managers inside the factories overnight, in three separate incidents, to demand better layoff terms – a new form of labor action dubbed “bossnapping” by the media.

A poll by the CSA institute for Le Parisien newspaper found 50 percent of French people surveyed disapproved of such acts, but 45 percent thought they were acceptable.

“They are not in the majority … but 45 percent is an enormous percentage and it demonstrates the extent of exasperation among the public at this time of economic crisis,” Le Parisien said.

On March 31, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault was trapped in a taxi in Paris for an hour by staff from his PPR luxury and retail group who were angry about layoffs. Riot police intervened to free him.

Le Parisien found that 56 percent of blue-collar workers polled approved of bossnappings while 41 percent disapproved. Among white-collar workers, 59 percent were against the practice while 40 percent thought it was acceptable.

“These hostage takings, we know how it starts but no one knows how far it can go,” said Xavier Bertrand, a former labor minister now secretary-general of the ruling UMP party.

“Our country must avoid entering a spiral of violence,” he said in reaction to the opinion poll, adding that bossnappings “cannot be tolerated.”

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Farah Master)

anonymous asked:

Call me jackunzel?

Maid AU

“Rapunzel!” Jack called the top of the stairs, out the double doors of his bedroom. His hair was a mess, his shirt unbuttoned and barely hanging on to him. His tie was thrown around his neck and his pants were zipped but his belt was still undone. 

“Rapunzel!” he called again, this time as he hopped on one foot with one sock on and a toothbrush in his hand. He didn’t see the petite woman walking up the long staircase, flat shoes hitting the stairs softly. She sighed to herself and shook her head.

She was hired to make sense of the man that was Jack Frost, and make sure that he didn’t live in filth while the bachelor danced through life and his trust fund. Now he was a very successful business man himself, owned and managed quite a few major medical and child care companies.

The problem was not his success, it was his lack of preparation for all this. She knew she was hired for her looks and not for her skills. She, of course, blew him away with her ability to pretty much do anything he threw at her. She was an only child and was left alone quite a bit. Despite her skill set, her job as an artist only paid so many bills so working for a millionaire seemed to be ideal for a little while. That was until she realized that ANY other millionaire would’ve been better than Jack Frost.

“Rap-”

“Hold on, Mr. Frost, your stairs are extensive and I really just woke up not an hour ago.” she called back, making it to the top step. She walked into his bedroom and sighed. It was a mess again. Clothes thrown everywhere, along with shoes, papers, buttons, underwear and socks. 

“I just cleaned this room yesterday.” she mumbled. 

Jack looked over at his maid, tooth brush sticking out of his mouth. She wore a pair of simple jeans with a white tank top and bright pink sweater. She was armed with a large purse and what looked like Starbucks coffee. Her golden locks were in a high ponytail, bangs swept to the side, her make up was minimal and her eyes read ‘god damn it’. He smirked. 

“Um ryunn’ laute.” he said over the foam and tooth brush in his mouth. She raised an eyebrow at him before rolling her big green eyes and placing down her bag. She placed her coffee on the nightstand by his four poster bed. She stepped over the clothes and into his master bathroom. More clothes and towels on the floor, ugh. She turned him from the mirror reached for his shirt.

“Forgot to set your alarm?” she asked the man who was only two years older than her yet still had the tendency to act like a college kid with his inability to function on his own (there were maids before her) and his partying. 

He nodded, brushing his teeth diligently. She started from the bottom of his shirt and worker her way up to his collar. “Spit.”

He obediently turned his head and did so. When he turned back she made quick work of his blue tie, tucking it under his collar when she was down with a simple knot. 

“I went out with Haddock last night and when I got home I invited—”

She gave him a look, “Do I have to send the sheets through bleach?” she asked and inwardly shuddered. The stains and smell of sex didn’t come out of the white sheets without bleach. He smirked and leaned toward her, 

“You jealous, Ms. Corona?” he teased.

Her cheeks went a little pink but she just pursed her lips in annoyance, 

“No, I just rather not have to touch other peoples bodily fluids if I can avoid it.” she countered, buttoning his cuffs. 

Jack took a glance at his watch as she moved to his left wrist, his eyes widened. “Shit, North is going to be pissed.”

“International meeting with Chinese medical lawyers?” she asked nonchalantly as she buckled his black belt so that his pants stayed up. He glanced at her in shock. 

“How do you know this?” he asked in surprise.

She giggled as she grabbed his cologne off the horribly destroyed bathroom counter and sprayed his neck then wrist, motioning for him to rub them together. 

“Do you know many times I’ve had to pick up your office?” she asked, placing the cologne back on the counter to worry about later. 

Jack gave her a small smile, a real one before he glanced at his watch again, “gah!” he jogged into his bedroom and pulled the matching suit jacket from his closet, before slipping on his shoes. He jogged out of his bedroom while Rapunzel picked up her purse and her coffee, watching him scurry with amusement. She followed him causally back down the stairs while he practically slid on the hard wood floors. 

“Brief case?” she called, taking a sip of her mocha.

“Check!” he replied jogging the other way to grab his briefcase from his office.

“Cell phone?”

“Check!” He headed toward the door, his white hair still a mess and his jacket slightly wrinkled. She smiled at him and laughed a bit, 

“Car keys?”

He paused and patted himself down before turning to the new installment next to the door courteously given to him by the woman who seemed to run his life better than he did. A small series of silver hooks held all different keys to his house and cars along with spares. He pulled his car keys off the hook and opened the door,

“Check.” he said. He turned to her as she stood behind him in the doorway, holding her bag and coffee, looking adorable.

“Have a good day at work, Mr. Frost.” she said with her bright smile. How could he resist?

“A kiss?”

Her smile fell in shock and her eyes widened, “What?”

He leaned forward and kissed her cheek softly. She blushed.

“Check.” he said with a smirk. She blinked at him in surprise at his random gesture, her cheeks red as he used the oppoutinty to snag her Starbucks cup from her hand.

“See you when I get home, Punzie!” he said walking backwards down the steps with a grin.

She snapped out of her daze and looked at her empty hand then back at him as he went to one of his fancy cars with her mocha. She scowled, but touched her cheek where he had kissed her. 

“Spoiled brat.” she mumbled and closed the door.