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One Chart Shows How the Tax Burden has Shifted from Corporations to the Working Class

By on Oct 25, 2016 in Capitalism, Class, Economics, Politics |

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One Hundred Year Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

By on Mar 25, 2011 in Capitalism, Class, Feminism, Politics | 7 comments

When we think of desperate people holding hands on a flaming building and leaping to their death, Americans are not generally thinking of the history of labor unions. But on March 24th, 1911, one couple held hands and lept to their deaths, to be followed by some 140 others, in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. Bystanders watched helplessly: Down below on the street, people started to notice the smoke billowing from the 8th floor. One of the bystanders observed a bolt of cloth come flying out the window and hit the pavement. Instinctively, he remarked that Harris was trying to save his best material. As the people on the street moved closer, out flew another bolt. It was then that the realization hit them that it wasn’t bolts of cloth at all but bodies plummeting to the pavement below. The thousands who watched as the workers jumped flaming to their deaths were instrumental in...

Hipster Hunting

By on Sep 18, 2009 in All, Class, Culture, Environment, Politics, Tech |

Janet said she wanted to go the Missouri Lounge to make fun of all the hipsters. Everyone agreed that The Missouri Lounge was just crawling with the little buggers.

I was surprised. Not about the Missouri Lounge—though I’d always thought the shack looked like more of a redneck dive—but that Janet wasn’t herself a hipster. She had the chunky, short-cropped hair and the thick black plastic glasses. But no. She was a hipster hater. How could I get them confused?

We ordered drinks and Janet picked out the most egregious violators and made fun of their outfits and drink selections. We did not stay long. Janet made a request from the DJ and there was some misunderstanding, or altercation. So we left.

That incident got me thinking. Did those people deserve to be made fun of? What made them worse people than Janet? What the hell was a hipster, anyway?

Since that day many moons ago, if I hear someone use the word I always ask them what it means. Two things quickly became apparent: 1) no two people seem to have the same definition 2) never have I ever heard the word used in a positive context.

For my money, a hipster is a person with an overly-developed sense of irony. But by that definition, the guy I know who is most likely to be a hipster is a 35-year-old Indian metalhead. He’s also the biggest hipster-hater I know. The “H-word” also seems to be associated with indie rock, though no one seems to know what the fuck that is either.

Here is what some of my research has come up with:

* “Hipsters are trust fund babies that go to expensive private art programs.”
* “Hipsters are people who wear mismatched, ill-fitting clothes and think they are hot.”
* “Hipsters are the shallow types that live in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn.”
* “Hipsters drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and ride fixie-bikes and make fun of normal people.”

Oh well then, that’s clear. If I am in Williamsburg and I meet someone in an art program I can assume they are shallow and living off daddy’s money. Additionally, if I meet a girl on a fixed-gear bike in Goodwill frocks I can assume she is a snotty bitch that can’t wait to talk about me behind my back. It would do the world a good deed to run off with her inexpensive union-made brew, taunting and laughing.

We Are Not At the Center

By on Dec 1, 2007 in Class, Culture |

This blog is in response to Joysette’s beautiful blog “On the Passivity of a Generation” summarized briefly: Have we become so comfortable, with our “on demand” society, that we’ve failed to struggle for the things that are truly important? Too distracted by the 47 ways to manipulate something as simple as coffee to understand the complexity of human nature?..I believe there was a time that people cared. I’m beginning to think that it’s not en vogue anymore. It’s not plastered on the cover of a magazine, nor can I sense that any periodical is telling the true story of our generation. But what about the Zapatistas in Mexico, holding back the state with pitchforks and emails? What about the activists in India staging a worldwide boycott of Coca-cola for what they have done to their water supply? What about the 150,000 Australians that...

Update On the Neighbors

By on Aug 23, 2007 in Class, Culture, Environment, Racism |

I am classist after all! I was saying hi to my neighbor the other day, he is about my age, Mexican, drives an SUV. I got up the will to confront him about throwing away furniture. I told him about the place up the street where they take furniture donations. He said that that wasn’t their furniture at all. Random people had been dumping it by our trash. That is why they had started locking the gate at night (another thing they were doing that was really annoying because it doesn’t make me any safer and it takes extra time). All it took was a little communication. Now to figure out why he’s driving that gas-guzzler. To make matters worse, I found out that their aunt used to live in this apartment before she died. So at that time they had this whole complex all to themselves, one big happy extended family. I feel like an intruder. No wonder they are polite. We are like a...

This Blogger’s White Privilege is Showing

By on Aug 10, 2007 in All, Class, Environment, Racism |

My Mexican neighbors keep throwing away their furniture. I don’t know how they go through it so quickly, but once a month or so I will see sofas and pillows and dining chairs stacked by the trash, like a big-boned house of cards. I wonder how many tissues, crushed soda cans and credit card offers I can fit in the space these will take up in the landfill. If they were white, I would ask them about it. I would ask whether they knew there was a thrift store three blocks up that will sell their furniture for the benefit of disabled children. I would say that I know a guy there who would walk the three blocks with a dolly to come get the stuff. But they are not white. They are first generation immigrants living the American dream: a gas-guzzler in the driveway and furniture that matches the carpeting. Herein lies the disconnect between us: conservation activism is a luxury. It is only...