Thanks to Matt Taibbi, one of the remaining sane minds in the world as well as being one of the apparently shrinking group of people who actually merit description using the word “journalist”. I find a new piece from Taibbi online: David Brooks Wonders Why Men Can’t Find Jobs: Comedy Ensues. That sums it up pretty neatly, although I can say that from where I sit, the joke wears thin really fucking fast.
There is nothing to laugh about here, although laughter would be an understandable reaction, not to amusement, but a reflex reaction to complete overwhelming absurdity. David Brooks serves as an almost perfect example of something very, very wrong happening. This isn’t some kind of anomaly. He’s not alone. This isn’t unique, or new.
In simplest form, David Brooks seems to be operating under what seems to be a kind of delusion that is amazingly common, the sort of notion that says that the only “unemployment problem” in America is about “lazy bums who don’t want to work!”.
This is hardly an unusual delusion, of course, this expands in some people’s minds to something like “lazy bums who don’t want to work and sit on their asses expecting free money and stuff from the government stealing my hard earned money in taxes!”. It doesn’t take much looking around to find somebody somewhere talking about this general subject and suggesting, or even stating outright, that people being paid unemployment insurance payments are parasites, and so these payments need to stop, and then the lazy bums who won’t work because they get money for nothing from the government will have to get off their asses and work for a living like the rest of us.
Many things can be said about this kind of thing. The most basic of these is that here is a glimpse of a clue to many things here in early 21st century America (and elsewhere in the world, we’re not totally unique in this). Put simply, there are plenty of people around who somehow find themselves in positions where they are so isolated and insulated in the pods of their own little world that they’re remarkably detached from reality beyond the bounds of their little area of existence.
Digging into this deep and vast sea of nonsense is a tall chore. It might be tough to sort out, sometimes, what is devious blatant deception, genuine idiocy, or simple raw ignorance. At some point, you have to wonder if there’s even a point in sorting it out, as the results are generally the same.
This doesn’t end here, as in the cloud of nonsense and detachment from reality that forms current American politics, a recurring “alternative” meme is what often goes something like “we need job retraining programs for the jobs of the changing/new economy“, which gets into territory that’s often just as deluded. That raises other issues of some kind of widespread cognitive problems, like when you hear about another common riff about “The Skills Gap” from some pompous talking head bullshit nozzle on TV or in some op-ed brain fart. You know the stuff, I presume; the kind of thing where somebody laments that, “oh, there are lots of jobs out there that employers just can’t fill because there aren’t people with the skills necessary“. Really? This is news to a lot of people who, in fact, have some combination of education, training (note that these two are not the same thing), experience, knowledge, ability, skills, that do indeed make them real live skilled able people who can do good useful work, and, yet, they find themselves in positions where they’re wondering how the hell they are going to make a living and survive, never mind having something like a good life.
This is probably a whole subject of its own.
Get down to reality and the “unemployment problem” is people not being paid to do work.
But, to people like David Brooks, and probably a massive number of people who “think” just like that, and apparently, it’s a matter of getting people to just man up and get a job.