Posted by Bob Lord
Actually, I don’t have thirty-one things about Thucky for one post, but I couldn’t resist the alliteration.
So, the Thuckmeister scored a victory of sorts. He had the last word at the old site. He posted an interminable comment to my op-ed, The Way Forward: Tax and Spend, which kind of straddled the move, showing up as a lead post at both sites. I replied, but the site already was down by the time I did.
And he started with a whopper, mocking me for having what he described as religion-driven views:
This isn’t an economics column, it is a religious column. Get a goat, slit its throat and sacrifice it to the Gods why don’t you.
So, it was expedient in several respects for ole climate science denying Thuck to mock me for being guided by faith rather than reason. By doing so, he could distract from his own faith-based views and, at the same time, denigrate my logic. But, being the good Catholic he is, he had to choose his words very carefully, which completely undermined his purpose. Here was my response:
“Get a goat, slit its throat and sacrifice it to the Gods why dont you” That quote says it all. What do you do when you want to mock religion, but you yourself still believe there’s an invisible man in the sky directing traffic? Why you speak disparagingly of goat sacrifices, of course, and you make sure that the reference to deities is plural, because, in your hopelessly confused little mind, believing there’s one invisible man in the sky is rational, but believing there are more than one is crazy. And, of course, the ritual of sacrificing a goat is crazy, but the ritual of eating wafers and drinking wine because they represent God’s body and blood, well, that’s totally rational.
The guy is beyond feeble-minded. He actually thought he was sowing confusion about his own religiosity, and instead wore it on his sleeve (again).
But I digress. The thing about Thucky for this post is that I think he actually is in a position of some authority and/or has had significant financial success. I say that because of the way he speaks of ordinary people in America. He’s clueless. He thinks that the more hours people work, the better off they’ll be. It’s uncannily reminiscent of the exchange between David Brooks and Matt Taibbi from some time back, when Brooks, like Thucky, demonstrated complete cluelessness about what it’s like to actually “work.” Taibbi:
I would give just about anything to sit David Brooks down in front of some single mother somewhere who’s pulling two shitty minimum-wage jobs just to be able to afford a pair of $19 Mossimo sneakers at Target for her kid, and have him tell her, with a straight face, that her main problem is that she doesn’t work as hard as Jamie Dimon.
Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company, or listening to impatient assholes scream at you at some airport ticket counter all day long, or even teaching disinterested, uncontrollable kids in some crappy school district with metal detectors on every door.
Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers.
Brooks is right that most of the people in that 5% bracket log heavy hours, but where he’s wrong is in failing to recognize that most of us have enough shame to know that what we do for a living isn’t really working. I pull absolutely insane hours in my current profession, to the point of having almost no social life at all, but I know better than to call what I do for a living work. I was on a demolition crew when I was much younger, the kind of job where you have to wear a dust mask all day long, carry buckets full of concrete, and then spend all night picking fiberglass shards out of your forearms from ripping insulation out of the wall.
If I had to do even five hours of that work today I’d bawl my fucking eyes out for a month straight. I’m not complaining about my current good luck at all, but I would wet myself with shame if I ever heard it said that I work even half as hard as the average diner waitress.
When you read someone who writes clinically about work, you know hasn’t had to do the work most Americans have no choice but to do in order to scrape by. Thucky epitomizes this mentality. He speaks of the Gilded Age as if it were a magical time, because of the rate of economic growth. But it’s lost on him that the majority of Americans lived miserable lives, toiling in sweatshops for 60 hours per week or more, with no workplace safety laws.
He abhors the laws and regulations that were enacted to protect American workers, because he thinks they slow economic growth, casually disregarding tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire that those regulations were designed to address. Why the disregard? Because those young women who died in New York a century ago during the Gilded age are just numbers to Thucky and his crowd. Their humanity just doesn’t register with him.
He comments about America’s success compared to Europe, because American workers log more hours. Of course they do, because their pay sucks so bad they have to in order to hang on. Their European counterparts live longer, healthier, happier lives. But that’s utterly lost on Thucky.
Not your average blog troll. No indeed.