atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4324: After this, Indiana Jones

I've got a blog post to do, and then we have to watch the Indiana Jones movies.

We'll go from the deadly serious to the entertaining, and get on with it.

* * *

Fred Reed compares the America of 2014 to Weimar Germany. Weimar Germany, for those of you who attended public school, is the country that elevated Hitler to national office and thus became Nazi Germany.

The further we go, the more it looks like there's going to be a war--a big one--and that's just the sort of excuse our government needs to say, "Hey, let's just 'suspend' those civil liberties. You know, 'for the duration of the emergency'." Lest you doubt me, recall please that Lincoln did it for the Civil War...and there is no one in Washington, D.C. of his caliber. Any suspension of civil liberties will last far longer than the "emergency" that prompts it, and the pieces are already in place.

"It can't happen here," you say? You're delusional. It can easily happen here. There are acute examples of it even now, all over the damned place, examples coming not just from the municipal police forces but from the EPA and IRS and other government agencies, examples of government which simply ignores the constitutional rights of the citizens it interacts with. Occasionally--once in a long while--someone successfully wins a lawsuit for the violation of his civil rights by a government official, but the official in question almost never receives any punishment for it and the government agency involved never changes its policies. Why would it? The occasional adverse legal decision is seen merely as the cost of doing business since no one loses his job over it.

The worst part about it is the knowledge that when the time comes it is going to have bipartisan support. It's not going to be just Democrats clamping down; the GOP is going to be right there with them, agreeing gravely that the severity of the emergency wholly justifies the cessation of civil rights--"just until we get a handle on this thing", of course.


* * *

Matt Walsh is both right and wrong. He is certainly right about the self-entitled nature of the guy writing him the letter about how evil Walmart is.
First of all, f**k you very much. I happened to see your Tweets hating on Walmart employees and sucking corporate Walmart’s c**k so I thought I’d get in touch and tell you what a f**kstick you are.

I work at Walmart because there aren’t very many options. If there was something else for me to do I’d do it, but Walmart comes in and eats up all of the other jobs and leaves you no choice.

I have no problem admitting that I put very little effort into my job because I have ZERO incentive. The pay is sh*t. You’re treated like sh*t. I have to supplement my income by being on government assistance because the corporation I work for would rather buy PRIVATE JETS for its CEO then provide a DECENT WAGE to its employees. Awesome! Thanks Walmart!
If you have this kind of attitude about your job, you're really not going to get anywhere. "The pay is shit! You're treated like shit!"

Well, guess what? You work in retail. Not only do you work in retail but you're working an entry-level job in retail. "The pay is shit" because anyone can do that work. You start out punching buttons on a cash register, but you do everything you can, you work hard and cheerfully, and learn as much as they'll teach you, and then the opportunities to advance should start coming your way. Advancement means more money.

"Private jets"? Let's see--Walmart has a workforce, world-wide, of about 2.2 million people. Figure a "private jet" costs perhaps twenty million dollars. That amounts to perhaps ten dollars per employee...once. If I want to be especially generous let's say it's $10 once and then about a dollar per year afterwards, per employee, if Walmart forgoes buying a private jet so that the extremely valuable and expensive time of its CEO is not wasted sitting in airport lounges.
Its hilarious that you feel superior to Walmart employees when I have MORE EDUCATION THAN YOU and am more skilled than you. Instead of worshipping greedy corporations like Walmart why don’t you write something exposing the fact that Walmart exploits tax loopholes and refuses to pay its employees a liveable wage?
Do you know how to read this paragraph? Let me translate it for you:
I went to a very expensive college for FOUR WHOLE YEARS and I got a degree in East African History, yet I find myself doing this SHITTY JOB which is SO FAR BENEATH MY EDUCATION I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. My professors taught me all about how the evil capitalists exploit the common man, and ain't it the truth! I can't believe I'm forced to work for minimum wage doing a job for which I have nothing but disdain because I have a degree.
If you have "skills" why are you not employing them to get yourself a better job? Why are you folding t-shirts at Walmart instead of using these nebulous "skills" of yours?

Okay: when I needed a job, I applied everywhere there was an opening, because I needed income. I was desperate enough that I would have been happy to flip burgers for minimum wage, but by the grace of God I managed to find a job that paid more than minimum wage which actually uses some of my skills. It is not the greatest job on the planet, nor does it pay as much as I'd like (and there are issues with having to work five-six-seven hours without a break) but I made an effort to match my skillset to a job opening and mirabile visu the job I got was one that I had a great deal of experience with doing.

If your "skills" can't make you money, don't say something like "I have MORE EDUCATION THAN YOU and am more skilled than you" because your skills are useless. (Hey, it's fine if you know how to crochet, and I'm sure your family is well-supplied with pot holders and trivets. You might make a few bucks selling them at the European Market on Saturday morning, but generally you can't make a career out of it.)

I've worked as a CNA (wiping butts in a nursing home) and a stockboy--and other than making some wry comments about how much economic value my degree has added to my life, I've been glad to have the work, because the economy is shit. I don't expect to be doing this job for the rest of my life; I expect things to improve. I expect that hard work, showing up on time, working my scheduled hours, learning everything I can, and doing my job to the best of my ability will result in opportunities for advancement.

...but here's where Matt Walsh gets it wrong:
Go to work for the next, say, six months, and absolutely pour your heart and soul into your admittedly minor duties. Go in there clean shaven, shirt tucked in, eager and willing to work. Take on extra hours when you can. Fill in for people when they’re sick. Contribute during staff meetings. Smile at customers. Just do these extraordinarily basic things for a few months and then come back and tell me what sort of promotion you’ve been offered — because I guarantee they’ll offer you one.
There are plenty of situations where all that gets you absolutely nothing, not even recognition. That was my life at Target; I was a team member that team leads fought over. "We need him in Receiving." "No, we need him in the back room tonight." "Well, who should I take to the warehouse, then?" And what did it get me? I watched people get promoted past me who had half the drive, a third of the work ethic, and a tenth of the literacy...but who were friends with the boss, who were invited to sit in the conference room playing games on Xbox during holiday season when every hand on the floor counted. In retail you're usually doing a job that a trained monkey could manage; you still need to know who to blow. You can do everything that Matt Walsh says to do...but if you're not good at kissing ass, you're not going to be promoted.

"Bob" has a rotten attitude and his complaints are informed by his entitlement: "I have a degree! I shouldn't have to do this!" I have no doubt that his rotten attitude carries over to how he feels about his supervisor.

In any case, Walsh correctly points out that "Bob" has a world of economic opportunity to choose from, and could make a great deal of money simply by relocating. Are there no jobs where you live? Move! Find a new place to live--if you have no kids, no wife, as Bob does not, why not strike out on your own and make a new life somewhere you can make a good living?

As I said, I expect better things to come along. I'm going to have to work for them, and no one is going to hand them to me on a platter. That's an attitude which would serve "Bob" well.

* * *

A discussion of Heinlein's rules of writing. Heinlein referred to them as "channel markers", something taken from his early career in the Navy. Heinlein's rules were pretty simple:
1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you start.

3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

4. You must put it on the market.

5. You must keep it on the market until sold.
As the writer points out, these really are rules for writing for the pulp market; they should be modified for the modern era wherein we have Amazon and indie publishing and-and-and. Still, it's a worthwhile read for those of us who fancy themselves writers.

* * *

Related: One of Heinlein's "stinkeroos". This is one of the stories Heinlein wrote which he hated and never wanted to see published, ever again, in any format.'s not his best work, no. But it's better than a lot of the total shit passed off as SF these days. If he'd lived to see pink SF he might have relented.

* * *

Testbed 2016 F-450 burns to the ground. If you look at the pictures, the last one shows a charred frame and drivetrain and nothing else because the body is apparently made almost entirely out of plastic and aluminum. There aren't even axles left after the fire.

* * * 3:30 PM the new chain arrived. I had the option of installing it, but instead Mrs. Fungus and I will go ahead with our Indiana Jones marathon, as planned. Whee!

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