One of the few things that moves me to near-violence is when I hear some soft-handed twit prattle on about how anyone can succeed in this country so long as they’re willing to “work hard”. Sounds like that’s something Matt Tabbai and I have in common. He quotes David Brooks:
David Brooks: Yes. I was going to say that for the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious?
and then goes on to say:
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 get to 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 business trips to London and Paris and Las Vegas.