Thursday, November 30, 2006

still sick. but still thinking about stuff - like, how john stossel secretly hates families

my bovine-like immune system ain't what it used to be. this is my second day home from work because of a little germ!

but all is not lost. my nasal congestion has made me think about things like why i'm lucky to be able to tell my boss "I'mb sick. I hab to go homb" and she nods and says, "Yeah, you sound like crap" and i can come home and check email from home and also know this is a paid sick day. and other folks aren't so lucky when the situation is certainly more important than a head cold.

fulminating in my brain since before thanksgiving is a little rant about an article john stossel posted on that conservative site,, about his co-worker's (elizabeth vargas) return to work and her subsequent report on the mommy wars and how hard it is to be a working mother. (why won't i link to his article? because i hate that website and if you wanna look for it, be my guest. i've given you all the pertinent information you need to google.)

first - no shit, elizabeth. welcome to the world of almost 60% of the workforce - who also don't make your whopping salary.

second - john stossel, as much as he says he respects his coworker, basically says to working families 'sucks to be you!'

he can't see why it should be the responsibility of an employer or government to (this is a rough paraphrase) to make balancing work and home life easier when it was that woman's choice to have a family anyway. so all those things like paid family leave, day care, flex time, increased EITC? forget it. you never shoulda had that family.

it's the old manichean divide, so black and white and unyielding:
your family vs. your job

i read this article before i got on the plane to canada and it stuck like a bad meal in my gut. all i kept thinking was, does john stossel only know really well-off working like women like elizabeth vargas? in all his righteous muckraking, hasn't he come across women who make, say, in the low thirties? because personal choice or not, the consequence of making working people (not just women) choose between being their company's bitch and having some kind of personal life are dire.

i mean, don't we give our companies enough? the average american worker works more than anyone in the world. we work longer hours (1877 hrs vs. an avg. french 1562 hrs) with one american in three working a 50+ work week, take less paid vacation (the avg. american takes 4-10 days vs. the avg. swiss 30+), and we work for less and less benefits (ever wonder where your vision plan went? or do you have to make a choice between your eyes or your teeth?) and the benefits we do have don't seem to trickle down as far as they used to (1 in five american adults are in poverty and almost 45 million are without health insurance.)

the naysayers among you may have a point - our productivity seems to be slacking off but maybe that's because we're too scared we'll get fired to take some fracking time off to rest up!

meanwhile, our corporate entities seem to be doing rather well.

but for john stossel and all the other MarketNinjas, who cares that the average american worker needs more to just hold their head above water? that's the market! in order to survive, the corporation chooses to exploit you and you choose to be exploited by it by participating in it, family be damned.

(and it's funny that these are the townhall guys who are also always beating their manly stoical breasts about family values and tradition. if it was all up to them we'd still have child labor in place - 'they CHOOSE to be stuck in that chimney at six years old!'

rather smugly, norway's christian democratic minister for children & families says: "Americans like to talk about family values. We have decided to do more than talk; we use our tax revenues to pay for family values." yeah, i know. they're taxed at an exorbitant rate. but the point is no one is rushing to copy our way of working because it's nuts and bad for society!)

so, if we're given the manichean choice of work or family, who do we choose? we can't quit work or we won't be able to feed our families; we can't abandon our families because that's just shitty.

by not taking seriously the personal needs of the workforce, it seems that's what folks like john stossel and his corporate friends seem to want.

(of course there is a third option. it's a 5-letter word that begins with U and ends with N but that's for dusty blue collar people - not clean white collar people like us with masters degrees and shit, huh?

ooh, here's another word: 8 letters and begins with O and ends with IZE. but you're right; if we do that then our company might not like us anymore. because they, you know, aren't really that bad and we have to look at things from their point of view! and they truly have our best interests at heart. cuz that's what corporations do. take care of their workers.)


john patrick said...

We give our companies ENOUGH.

I know what your two secret words are.

Anonymous said...

i've always hated john stossel.

yah and companies get way too much. and i am stupid cuz i can't figure out the second word.

a little help?

ding said...

remember when stossel wasn't a nutbag? then he went all peggy noonan conservative.

if you know the first word then the second word is a verb that helps you get the first word. see?

Molly Malone said...

i agree with and have always felt the way the norwegian politician has: all of america's talk about family values and "what about the children" is nothing but hot air. with so many people living without insurance, municipalities grousing over school bond issues, but happily going broke over pro-team sports venues, and so many kids' not getting proper health or child care, we're essentially hypocrites on that front. no doubt most parents love their children on individual bases, but as a society, we're all about ignoring them and other family needs.

ding said...

exactly. if politicians or company bosses want to help working families make it easier for them to stretch their paychecks - either give them flex time, or a livable wage or benefits that are meaningful.

it always pisses me off when guys like stossel say that it's not the govt's job or the employer's job - then whose frakking job is it?

if you're not enormously rich, educated or otherwise socially stable where you can afford to pay for your own healthcare, childcare, education, etc., then you're basically screwed and should die in the streets. what cold hearted bastards they are.

i read a letter to the editor in one of chicago's papers that said that children of immigrants who are born here shouldn't automatically become citizens - and they used the word 'it' to describe the child. 'it' wasn't a citizen. 'it' was just an illegal alien and didn't deserve rights. cold hearted bastard. i bet the writer of that letter is in church every sunday.