An interestingly hard-hitting rant for a US
newspaper (the protestant work ethic and the social stigma over
welfare are certainly more pronounced in the states than in the
Doing More With Less
In defense of creative loafing
By Franklin Schneider
Washington City Paper March 5, 2008
I was so understimulated [in my full-time
job] that I needed sensation, any sensation. Heroin would have
been ideal, but most of the time I settled for Taco Bell. Same
with intermittent shopping sprees. When you’re miserable,
you buy things. It’s the American Way; whatever your problem,
there’s a product that can solve it. Have a bad day? Buy
some jeans! Just realize that your best years are a distant
memory? Buy a big car! This is why a lot of people who make
six figures still live check to check—perhaps this 50-inch
plasma screen/Louis Vuitton bag/waterfront condo will make my
soul hurt less?
But once you’re off the hamster wheel, you find you no
longer need to overcompensate. You don’t need consumable
solutions because your essential problem—your life sucked—is
Given a choice between getting a check every
week for doing nothing and getting a check every week for flushing
40 hours of the prime of their lives down the toilet, they chose
the latter. I mean, what kind of self-hating, masochistic Protestant
bullshit is that?
Not only do I feel no guilt whatsoever about sucking from the
state’s teat, I feel that I’m absolutely entitled
to it. First of all, the employer that fired me pays for half
of my unemployment, and fuck them.
Second of all, it’s really my money in the first place.
See, your employer never pays you what you’re worth—there’s
a surplus, some of which goes toward overhead and various other
business costs, and the rest of which is kept as profit. (This
is what Marx was referring to when he talked about “exploitation
of the workers.”) A tiny fraction of this surplus—which,
again, has been skimmed off of my labor—is put into a
government-mandated account to go toward unemployment checks
for fired workers. So yeah, it’s my money. Give it back.
And since most people’s lives are so devoid of meaning
that they’d rather go directly into another shitty job
than be forced to confront the sheer emptiness of their existence,
most of that money never even gets distributed.