Thursday, April 14, 2016

Another Implementation

The go-live I talked about a few weeks ago was only for the lodge bar staff. The wait staff were still using the old "system" (which wasn't really much more than slips of paper and a spreadsheet that I fill out every morning). That changes on May 1st. So the next couple weeks will be filled with training people whose attitudes range from positive thru indifferent to openly hostile. That's OK; business is slowing dramatically now that the snow birds are heading back north and we have more people than we have shifts. If someone feels strongly enough to quit, both I and the kitchen managers are in agreement: let 'em.

Of course that means all sorts of crazy hours for yours truly, with the first of May being another hell week of long days and little sleep. What will save us this time around is that we only serve food until 7pm, so at least the administrator and myself won't have to take turns being up all night.

We still don't know what is going on with my mom and if my parents will be going back to Michigan anytime soon. It's just endless tests and doctor appointments with no meaningful information coming back to us. In other words, business as usual for the medical/industrial complex. As I'm the one tasked with driving them back, that leaves me and my job hanging in limbo while all these clowns are maximizing their Medicare billing.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate these guys? Anyway.

One of the things I like about the web pages I routinely read (that list over there on the right) is how people coming from radically different starting points can all end up more or less at the same place. (That place would be "We're completely screwed" by the way.) First up, we have John Michael Greer, fresh back from vacation and already busting American taboos:

...the word “racist” in the mouths of the pundits and politicians who have been applying it so liberally to the Trump campaign is a dog whistle for something they don’t want to talk about in so many words. What they mean by it, of course, is “wage class American.”

That’s extremely common. Consider the recent standoff in Oregon between militia members and federal officials. While that was ongoing, wags in the blogosphere and the hip end of the media started referring to the militia members as “Y’all-Qaeda.” Attentive readers may have noted that none of the militia members came from the South—the only part of the United States where “y’all” is the usual second person plural pronoun. To the best of my knowledge, all of them came from the dryland West, where “y’all” is no more common than it is on the streets of Manhattan or Vancouver. Why, then, did the label catch on so quickly and get the predictable sneering laughter of the salary class?

It spread so quickly and got that laugh because most members of the salary class in the United States love to apply a specific stereotype to the entire American wage class. You know that stereotype as well as I do, dear reader. It’s a fat, pink-faced, gap-toothed Southern good ol’ boy in jeans and a greasy T-shirt, watching a NASCAR race on television from a broken-down sofa, with one hand stuffed elbow deep into a bag of Cheez Doodles, the other fondling a shotgun, a Confederate flag patch on his baseball cap and a Klan outfit in the bedroom closet. As a description of wage-earning Americans in general, that stereotype is as crass, as bigoted, and as politically motivated as any of the racial and sexual stereotypes that so many people these days are ready to denounce—but if you mention this, the kind of affluent white liberals who would sooner impale themselves on their own designer corkscrews than mention African-Americans and watermelons in the same paragraph will insist at the top of their lungs that it’s not a stereotype, it’s the way “those people” really are.

I see this a lot here in Florida. While "nigger" is as verboten here as it is most other places, "cracker" is fine because, ya know, all poor whites from Florida are a bunch of crackers. Therefore, is isn't racist/classist to point that out. Thems just facts.

Speaking of dog whistles, Counterpunch (which, as a relative pointed out to me, is an extreme liberal, probably socialist, maybe even communist web site) steps up to the plate with a beautiful example of exactly what John Michael was talking about with an article entitled Why Bill Clinton is Full of Shit. As much as I agree with the sentiment expressed in the title, I have to take exception to the article's insistence that drug laws are exclusively aimed at blacks. Plenty of poor whites have had their lives destroyed by our War on (some) Drugs. This article doesn't mention my favorite example (but plenty others on the site do); the difference in sentencing guidelines for powder vs. crack cocaine. This is always presented in terms of racist suburban whites beating down poor urban blacks. Again, I'm quite certain that substantial numbers of poor urban (and rural) whites did a nickel in the state pen for being busted with a couple rocks of crack while Wall Street types were getting slaps on their wrists for equivalent amounts of powder cocaine.

Then today over at Taki's Magazine (which, as a friend pointed out to me, is an extreme right-wing, probably fascist, maybe even neo-Nazi web site (it's so nice having all these people looking out for my mental/emotional well-being; like being a well-cared-for child)), there is this bit on what the author calls The Bubbafly Effect:

This need to surveil and control isn’t applied just to white people in power, but to any white person, male or female (though more commonly male). Why? Why does it matter so damn much to the members of racial, ethnic, and gender victim groups what average white folks are saying and doing?

Well, that’s where the Bubbafly Effect comes in. This is the belief that the words and actions of any white person, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can have ripple effects that will eventually harm a member of an officially sanctioned victim group. The words of the lowliest random white person—an average “bubba” from a hick county—can, like the seemingly inconsequential wind generated by a butterfly’s wings, grow in strength until some poor innocent nonwhite non-cis non-male is swept off “thems” feet (to use the proper PC pronoun) by a hurricane of hatred.

If Bootless Clem in Owsley County says “nigger,” it could create a ripple effect that leads to a proud young African-American genius being barred from admission to a prestigious Ivy League university. If Fartmaster Chad at Kegger House wears a tiny sombrero on his head during his frat’s “tequila sunrise” party, the ripple effects might lead to a brilliant Latino tech wizard being passed up for a job at a major Silicon Valley firm.

“Progressives” really believe this; they’ve just never given their operating theory a name. You’re welcome, lefties.

Again, all things must be seen through the lens of racism. Unless you happen to be John Michael Greer, who posted a follow-up to his post previously quoted from called American Naratives: The Rescue Game:

Here’s how it works. Each group of players is assigned one of three roles: Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer. The first two roles are allowed one move each: the Victim’s move is to suffer, and the Persecutor’s move is to make the Victim suffer. The Rescuer is allowed two moves: to sympathize with the Victim and to punish the Persecutor. No other moves are allowed, and no player is allowed to make a move that belongs to a different role.
There’s one other rule: the game must go on forever. The Victim must continue to suffer, the Persecutor must continue to persecute, and the Rescuer must continue to sympathize and punish. Anything that might end the game—for example, any actual change in the condition of the Victim, or any actual change in the behavior of the Persecutor—is therefore out of bounds. The Rescuer also functions as a referee, and so it’s primarily his or her job to see that nothing gets in the way of the continuation of the game, but all players are expected to help out if that should be necessary.
A variant of that game still goes on in the pseudoconservative end of American politics. When Hillary Clinton went out of her way to characterize African-American youth as “superpredators” not that many years ago, she was playing a version of that same game, in which law-abiding white citizens were the Victims, black youth were the Persecutors, and white politicians were the Rescuers. On the other end of the political spectrum, of course, the roles are reversed; in games played on that field, people of color are the Victims, working class white people are the Persecutors, and affluent white liberals are the Rescuers. The players have changed places but the game’s otherwise identical.
It’s only fair to note that each of the three roles gets certain benefits, though these are distributed in a very unequal fashion. The only thing the people who are assigned the role of Persecutor get out of it is plenty of negative attention. Sometimes that’s enough—it’s a curious fact that hating and being hated can function as an intoxicant for some people—but this is rarely enough of an incentive to keep those assigned the Persecutor’s role willing to play the game for long.

The benefits that go to people who are assigned the role of Victim are somewhat more substantial. Victims get to air their grievances in public, which is a rare event for the underprivileged, and they also get to engage in socially sanctioned bullying of people they don’t like, which is an equally rare treat. That’s all they get, though. In particular, despite reams of the usual rhetoric about redressing injustices and the like, the Victims are not supposed to do anything, or to expect the Rescuers to do anything, to change the conditions under which they live. The opportunities to air grievances and bully others are substitutes for substantive change, not—as they’re usually billed—steps toward substantive change.

The vast majority of the benefits of the game, rather, go to the Rescuers. They’re the ones who decide which team of Victims will get enough attention from Rescuers to be able to start a game.  They’re the ones who enforce the rules, and thus see to it that Victims keep on being victimized and Persecutors keep on persecuting.  Nor is it accidental that in every Rescue Game, the people who get the role of Rescuers are considerably higher on the ladder of social privilege than the people who get given the roles of Victims and Persecutors.

All of which goes a long way in explaining the Bubbafly Effect.

OK; I'm going to quit before this gets as long as War and Peace. As always, follow the links and read the quoted articles in their entirety.

No comments: