Dignified With A Response

« February 2014 »

Memo to white-collar assholes and Republicans: WHAT DIGNITY?

Of all the great public services provided by You Are Dumb Dot Net (and let me tell you, there are many), one of the greatest is keeping you up to date on conversation-murdering red flags. These are the phrases that, when you hear them, you know your only option is to take the nearest bowl of food, dump it on your head, take off your pants, and run out the door screaming gibberish because that would be preferable to keeping the conversation going.

And into those hallowed halls, today, we induct "the dignity of work".

"The dignity of work" is a term used by conservatives who want to make it sound like they're helping people by making sure they stay in dead-end jobs that don't pay enough money to earn above the poverty line. Work isn't there to give you money! It's there to give you the dignity inherent in work, as opposed to the giant pile of shame inherent in not working.

It's an incalculable added value that employers can provide without cutting into their own profits. So, you know. Perfect for Republicans.

The latest to drop the phrase was everyone's favorite fake intellectual policy wonk, Paul "I Haz A Bujjit" Ryan

Ryan was grumpypants because the CBO discovered that Obamacare, by making it possible to get health care without relying on a plan being offered by an employer, was letting people leave their shitty jobs to start a business, pursue their art, or raise their children, all pursuits that lack the fundamental dignity of a Wal-Mart stock clerk.

You know what they're really saying when they emphasize "the dignity of work"? They mean "shut the fuck up about it being time for your fifteen-minute break and carry my groceries to the car. I'm in the middle of a phone interview with Politico."

I mean, for fuck's sake. I've had the good luck, after a couple of decades in the public sector, to have settled into a pretty decent white-collar career doing work that actually utilizes a lot of my brain and skills and pays me a comfortable wage. Not vacation in Hawaii comfortable, but certainly personal entertainment infrastructure comfortable. And even for me, "the dignity of work" is kind of bullshit.

As soon as you have someone whose job it is to do shit for you that you don't want to do yourself, you shouldn't get to use the phrase "the dignity of work". Apparently, the dignity of dropping off your own dry cleaning, the dignity of fetching your own lunch, and the dignity of writing your own legislation isn't enough to make you do it, so why should it be enough for everyone else?

Dignity's not free. Dignity comes with a stack of money that's actually commensurate with the value you provide your employer. Dignity comes with being treated like an adult human being instead of a convict in Human Resources' privately-owned prison who has to blow a guard just to get a bathroom break.

Until you want people to have that, take your talk of work's fundamental dignity and cram it up your fundament. Sideways. Sans lube.