3.17.2011

Some Questions About the State of Things

Speaking of rants....I wrote this a few weeks ago but didn't publish it as it seems like I've ranted on this precise subject many times before. But, reading it now, it still gets me all riled up. So on with it!

Do I really need to wake up five days a week — five days! that's almost everyday! — at some ungodly hour so I can get to work on time?

(Isn't it healthier to let one's body wake up in its own time? An alarm clock is, well, alarming and is not the way to greet the day. Isn't this obvious? Tis why I work for myself — sorta, as there's no such thing: work is working with others — such are the demands of any economy. But fuckin' a — the alarm clock has to be one of the nastiest inventions).

Do I really need to work 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week? When am I supposed to, I dunno, shop, pay bills, date, fuck, masturbate, contemplate, write, think, ponder, dream, caress a woman's thighs, kiss her neck, indulge a lengthy conversation about Bunuel, watch Assayas' 5.5 hour film, "Carlos," one of the greatest films of the past 25 years?

(This is not an advancement from the hunting/gathering days; we work all the time just to get by. Leisure — which should be the benefit of these big brains of ours — has been exiled.)

Do I really need to work so much just to make enough money to pay my bills — even a so-called good salary only lets me pay my more expensive bills such as for a nice bottle of tequila and a sushi feast? The so-called good salary of the middle-class in today's urban America damns you to a lifetime of work and a modest retirement at, say, 79.

(My god, that's insane! Why do we stand for this? Why aren't we shrieking in the streets? Pulling our hair out? Is it the Zoloft that leaves us mute? The indigestion from all those lattes? What is it that placates us so?)

All this — all this corporate profit, all these corporate innovations — and can it be true that our public schools are so downright horrific? Is this a sign of a prospering people? Or a nation in decay and utter disrepair?

(San Francisco schools operate with a lottery: you rank 7 schools you'd like your kid to attend; they pull your name out of a hat and assign you one. In order to perform said ranking, one must tour the various schools. So there I am, in a city booming with wealth, and the public schools look like Haiti. It's so depressing I literally can't believe it.)

Is it really true that we assess the economic success of our country via the GNP? But if we're making more money and getting less and less for it — less education, less healthcare — then isn't that the sign of a failing economy? Isn't that obvious, even to one such as myself with no economic training?

San Francisco public school teachers are furloughed once a month. I'm not making this up. Thirty miles from here is Google, Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, and Facebook. And teachers are furloughed. Uh, hmn, doesn't it seem like corporations are getting away with something — like not paying enough taxes?

How about we say: you can form a corporation but once your valuation exceeds a billion dollars, you have to give the schools in your own fucking neighborhood enough money to pay the teachers and provide a lunch other than mad cow meatloaf?

Isn't this all so obvious? Do I really sound insane? I'm so confused.

3 comments:

drwatson said...

I'm with you on this and reading this reminded me hear Noam Chomsky give a brilliant answer to someone trying to argue for the ultimate good of capitalism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFxYyXGMfZM

Ruby said...

I dunno, Europe isn't quite as enslaved to corporatism as the US but our social systems are morally buggered too.

The big problem I think is that those on the Left, honest intentions notwithstanding, are making arguments that no longer refer to the world we live in.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Ruby: Europe, and perhaps S America, seems to have a greater respect for dignity, affording people the time to enjoy life. But it is certainly under siege as capitalism goes global. The siesta and long summer will soon be a thing of the past.

And I agree wholeheartedly: the critique of capitalism is mired in capitalism, anachronism, cliche, and irrelevance. The search for new modes of critique continues....