Some Questions About the State of Things

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. TC mark


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  • Yakopian

    this is actually kind of fucking brilliantly written. such simple observations that everyone can relate to. like the disappearance of leisure time. everyone around me is so busy busy all the time, never stop working, never stop hustling, with nowhere to go. i think about this in the back of my mind all the time and i think the answer is simplicity.

  • Jennifer

    I dig this. You don't sound insane.

    Or, you do, but in the good way.

  • Steven Fiveoseveniam Lazaroff

    thanks, man.

    “The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. 'Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.' They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness.” huxley, quoting fromm in the middle


    Spot on, Daniel. This is why we need more powerful unions now, always have and always will.


    Think it's time to ride Waldenwaves

    •!/nvvmxac danne rassle

      well said, glad to c u here bro

  • duck_vs_rabbit

    you just wrote the words of my subconscious

  • Julene

    All so obvious, but it's never going to happen. Fight the System Friday, anyone?

  • CC

    well said

  • Dru

    If any of you have not seen the new documentary about Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine I suggest you do. You can see where all the money went and why you feel the way you do. Here is one link to it is below. The policies that have been implemented over the last 30 years in the US have been to line the pockets of the elite and take away from everyone else. This Union busting going on right now is classic Milton Freidman Shock Economics and they will not be satisfied until they get everything and people have no rights remaining. The people taking it to the streets like in Wisconsin and Michigan really are heroes!

    Great post too…..we felt that same exact way….that is why we have hightailed it out of the states to climes further south. We had just about had it.

    • broke

      Will have to watch that.

      This post immediately brought to mind a documentary i just heard about 2 days ago called 'waiting for superman'. I havent watched it yet so cant comment on it but here is the start of the blurb i read about it:
      “Davis Guggenheim's documentary An Inconvenient Truth kickstarted public debate about climate change. Waiting For Superman aims to do the same for the catastrophically broken United States education system.”

  • Marthabuca

    I'm with you on every single thing you said. I think we are all confused.

  • Quinton

    I really, really want to watch Carlos but there's just not enough time in the day. America sucks.

  • Brian McElmurry

    I enjoyed this, but sadly, yes, we all have to get up in the morning and go to work unless you are independently wealthy. Free time for leasure is one of my hugest issues. Books are short and minimal now because we don't have the time for Don Quoxite and Proust.

  • natural

    We live to work when we should be working to live.

  • Michelina

    thank god i read this on a friday and not on a monday, id probably quit my job.

  •!/nvvmxac danne rassle

    we are all working for the weekends.. hey today is friday YES!!

  • rick schitiltiz

    bro, you should totally watch fight club

    • JohnsReates

      you are not your fucking khakis amirite?

  • Andrew F.

    Yes obviously, but how the hell does one escape? That's an article I want to read.

    • Daniel Coffeen

      I couldn't agree more — that IS the question. I keep writing that piece and scrapping it: it's an ongoing effort.

  • Domokun

    I'm totally with you on this. To be fair, though, San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Living on my own in Portland with a mediocre salary, I really don't have too much trouble paying bills (granted, I'm pretty frugal). Having kids is where it really gets expensive; not to even get started on the injustices of the healthcare system. Corporate greed is terrible.

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