thebaffled

Tumblr Followship Of The Ring

I’ve been reminded of why I love my tumblr community so much yet again as I’ve received these nice birthday wishes from so many of my favorite tumblr peeps. And I’ve noticed that the people who like me, and whom I like, all have similar tumblrs. We each have our things we’re passionate about (usually represented by what we reblog), things like Star Wars, science, faith, humor, romance, music, wrestling or what have you. But we all also produce something original, even if it’s just some pictures or some rants. And all of our tumblrs feel “alive.” Our personalities come through and we interact sincerely with people we have never met. We don’t just post Sherlock gifs and complain about fifth period algebra (no offense…well, a little offense).

So I’ve been thinking that I’m tempted to make up some kind of “Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval” to identify those tumblrs. Yes, it would likely be quite subjective, but I feel like I want a list of links on my homepage for people so that they know that if they like my style, they might like Un, or Culby, or iambal, or the baffled, or tacgnol. Even though the interests of those individuals couldn’t be more different, they all represent the best of what tumblr can be.

They’re my phony baloney Internet family. And I love them!

So I should probably just start by doing something like a “Follow Friday” posting. I know I’ll miss some, but I can always add to the list at any time.

And then we’ll need a logo.

A kick ass logo.

Ag

Thanks to kathartie (I’m HUGE with young women in New Zealand), angelwithbadhabits (who probably reblogs me more than anyone…thanks!), and aerissa (one of my most consistent supporters who regularly overcomes her chronic Canadianism to recommend me regardless of her stunning anti-americanism) for the recommendations in the humor category. Thanks to the five others who recommended me. As I fall asleep tonight I imagine all five are models to find me irresistable. It could happen. I have at least one who I know follows me and she’s pretty cool and follow worthy as are my three friends above!

As always I am grateful for anyone who takes the time to visit and humbled that anyone would recommend me. Thanks!

I’ve decided to use this space each week to let you know the very cool blogs I recommend each week. This week I recommended thebaffled in the humor category. One of the most consistently amusing and interesting sources of content on my dashboard, thebaffled is a far too hidden treasure on tumblr. Follow!

Thanks, Everyone!

thebaffler.com
Class War with a Smiley Face

The scope of the illegal wage-fixing cartel was vast. It reportedly affected at least 100,000 employees at half a dozen of the world’s leading tech firms and cost them over $9 billion in lost wages. The government’s antitrust case was settled when the firms involved agreed to drop the no-poaching practice. A class action suit on behalf of the workers affected has been filed and is set to go to trial in May. Additional lawsuits may follow. Recently released documents suggest that the wage-fixing scheme was even broader, possibly including dozens of companies and over a million tech employees. Both the federal government and the state of California are currently investigating eBay in similar antitrust cases.

The documents Ames has uncovered provide a ringside seat to the depredations of late capitalism. It is an unlovely spectacle. Put aside, for now, the shameless hypocrisy of these self-styled heroes of the free market secretly engaging in such grotesquely anti-competitive practices. What’s particularly interesting to witness is how, in contrast to the smarmy public face of the Silicon Valley execs (the corporate mottos of Apple and Google are “Think Different” and “Don’t Be Evil”), in fact, when it comes to protecting their profits, these companies demonstrate the kind of ruthlessness that would do the old-school robber barons proud.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is Steve Jobs who comes across as the most cutthroat of this cold-blooded lot. When he learned Google was considering hiring some of Apple’s Safari team, he shot off an email to Google’s Sergey Brin:

if you hire a single one of these people that means war.

Brin backed off. Naturally.

In 2007, when one Google recruiter mistakenly extended an offer to an Apple employee and Jobs got wind of it, he was furious. He fired an email of complaint to Google’s Eric Schmidt. Much groveling ensued—as Ames notes, “[a]pologizing and groveling to Steve Jobs is a recurring theme throughout these court dockets.” The Google recruiter was terminated within an hour of Schmidt’s email being sent.

As for Jobs’s reaction to the employee being let go with such brutal dispatch? His response to the email, in toto, was a smiley face, i.e., : )

In deposition last year, Brin was questioned about the smiley face. In his answer, he sounded a distinct note of petulance: “Wow, Steve used a smiley. God, I never got one of those.”

thebaffler.com
Ban St. Patrick's Day

The popular conception of a jolly, leprechaun-esque “Irish drunk” is probably a picture of a working-class guy without access to health care, self-medicating to deal with an exceptionally painful and debilitating illness. It’s possibly the least celebratory image you can come up with. Yet Americans have stuck with it, probably because getting blasted is a lot easier than developing class politics.

I’m as Irish-American as they come. I grew up in Boston, I’ve got all Irish heritage on both sides of my family, and I grew up listening to the Clancy Brothers. But I hate St. Patrick’s Day, and I hate it with a passion.

When I was a teenager I made a conscious decision not to drink (a decision I’ve stuck with for over 20 years). This was partly a political decision, and partly a personal one, but the political part was (among other things) a reaction to what I felt was a pernicious stereotype — one fully embraced by my Irish-American peers — of the broken Irish drunk, the violent, out-of-control, but still fun loving fool (there had to be something to hide all the bad stuff). When I was in Boston I thought this was mostly a problem of disordered self-presentation, that we Irish were doing it all wrong. But when I left for college and departed the green-hued twilight zone of Irish-American hegemony that was my childhood neighborhood, I realized how utterly commodified the whole St. Patrick’s Day thing is in the rest of the country. At college my friends would call me up to wish me a happy St. Paddy’s day and announce that they were going to get so wasted in honor of “my people.” I was repeatedly told I was disrespecting my heritage by not drinking, by not getting hammered, man, and I lost count of how many people expressed a deep desire to “get me drunk for the fist time” every March 17th.

It was all so depressing. Here was this messy thing, this plague that tore at the fabric of the place where I grew up and destroyed the lives of so many people I knew and cared about, being tossed around like a cheap and offensive gag costume. When I’d mention to people how it all made me a little bit uncomfortable — my reactions were rarely militant — I was uniformly met with incredulous stares or sincere advice to just learn how to have fun. Because that’s what it was all about, it was all about fun. But here’s the thing: most of the people who get wasted on St. Patrick’s Day get wasted on other days, too. All I was asking was that they not pretend to “honor” the Irish by getting sloppy drunk on St. Patrick’s Day — by mimicking one of the most serious social problems facing the working class world I grew up in — to not use the Irish as an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. If you want to get wasted, get wasted on your own behalf and leave me and the Irish out of it.

Happy Evacuation Day.

thebaffler.com
Proof of Wealth’s Power Over Policy

According to Gilens, were it not for the opposition of the wealthy, Congress would have enacted “a higher minimum wage, more generous unemployment benefits, stricter corporate regulation (on the oil and gas industries in particular), and a more progressive tax regime.” All policies that overwhelming numbers of low- and middle-income Americans support.

Bartels’s own research confirms these results, as well. In his paper “Economic Inequality and Political Representation,” Bartels showed that U.S. senators are highly solicitous towards constituents in the top third of the income distribution, much less so towards those in the middle third, and not responsive at all to those in the bottom third (“The opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes,” he writes.)

“If hope is too hard to manage, the least we can do is take basic care of ourselves. On my greyest days, I remind myself of the words of the poet and activist Audre Lorde, who knew a thing or two about survival in an inhuman world, and wrote that self care “is not self-indulgence—it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”