25 March 2019 Monday
I have been watching AOC with huge interest. She is the embodiment of the person I hoped would one day make it down those “hallowed halls”–at least she seems to be. The women I used to work with, waiting tables, being smart and street smart, having something to say, bitching about interactions with clients who mistreated us as servers, who looked down on us, but not letting it get us down. Knowing simultaneously our place of privilege to have the legal right to work, when so many in the kitchen did not even have that. Working through school. Working and knowing what it was to work but also knowing we were just somewhere in the middle of a huge huge working class that is not any one thing at all. The 1% may be more or less one thing. But the 99% — completely different from each other, in terms of what it means to survive, to work, to consume.
I’m tired of hearing white people talk about why other white people voted for Trump. I’m tired of hearing about why other people are addicted to opioids, people they dont know. I’m tired of hearing about how opioids are over-prescribed, or under-prescribed, about whose fault it is. Maybe I’m just tired of listening to a certain brand of white liberals.
I’m tired of patting the Tate on the back for refusing money from Purdue Pharma. When they have still not taken care of their relationship with Shell. I’m tired of exonerating ourselves for various things while praying that the other things are not noticed. I’m tired of not talking about thinking critically for ourselves ahead of doing something, ahead of buying something. I’m tired of always finding the person to push the blame onto.
I’m tired of not talking more about how we are depressed and we want to get high because it feels good to get high, for a while. As though getting high were just some kind of problem with poor people, or getting high were just a thing that happens to people in crisis. And yet simultaneously, yes, how much its tiresome to work for 40 plus hours a week and still not feed families, or ourselves, its not just about families, its about even us alone and our need for excitement and seeing the world differently. I’m tired of fetishizing opiods instead of talking about all the ways that anyone who can get high does get high– in any way that they can, all the time. It might be alcohol or pot or just insane amounts of coffee or antidepressants or speedy focus drugs or whatever it is. Whatever “we” get our hands on.
I’m tired of not talking about real numbers half the time as though there is “privilege” and there is “ poverty” . There is so much in between and so many gray areas and so many more classes than ever before. There are micro classes and micro differences that mean survival. There are choices, choices that people make, and some of them mean survival and some of them mean true dead end. There are micro differences in class. There is having a safety net. There is having the people who will pay attention to a kickstarter. There is having a computer to log in to start a kickstarter. Having an internet connection. There is having a smart phone. There are choices about consumption. There is the willingness to live with less, to live without a car. There is a lot there and lot that is glossed over or not talked about in all these differences. Nanoclasses.
I’m tired of acting like it doesn’t suck to just go to work every day, especially to be excited about a job that is not that interesting and especially to have to work over 20 hours for it. Who really wants to do that? I’m so sorry to hear of people who are working 60 hours a week and never get to see their children, while others cant find a job and would like to have anything so that they have the chance to survive. And there are some who are “looking for ways to spend their money” and others who work three jobs and still cant afford everything they want to afford. Maybe we could all be happier if we could just work 20 hours at a dumb job and have some other time for more interesting things. Or better, just work twenty hours at something that is fulfilling but giving. It would help us to nuance it out, to feel better. Instead we are forced into one thing that we must give all our time to.
I’m tired of not being able to say that with any kid of credibility. We don’t need one person to do 60 hours of labour a week. We need more people to do that same job. And at the same time there are so many people going after the same job. And yet there are also still so many underqualified or incompetent people being hired. So what does it matter.
Take a few different people for the same job. Pay them half. Live with half of what you have. Try it out. You might find you have more time to get high or you might find that you don’t want to get high quite as much.
We talk about the art world. What about the exchanges of paintings–a huge income–when they were created in poverty. Now they are worth millions and only the ultrarich can trade them; forget the pleasure they give as works of art. And we want free museums that run from the money from the Sackler Family. And we want free this. And we aught to. But why do we need the stamp of the Tate to get us there? To bring us into the gallery, those who cannot afford a fifteen euro ticket? And we have to say oh thank you Tate and fine, you are so good, so so so so good … good for them to finally take such a stand. Finally. Its good they aught to.