Rent will not be “cancelled”. It will be paid by the federal government printing money like a khat-gobbling Zimbabwean warlord and giving it to those landlords willing to accept 80 cents on the dollar after extensive paperwork. We are doing this while jobs go unfilled everywhere. Like at Firestone, where after two hours no one could be found to crank a wrench for $60 labor cost per tire.
That’s the situation in Van Nuys, but who cares if you don’t live there? Ah, you might care because all of California is simply a TV show about what will be common/popular/mandatory in flyover country someday. Maybe. Meanwhile in sunny Traverse City, Michigan, there is this: A sign begging people to treat Burger King workers with decency.
We should be doing that anyway. One of my co-workers, a woman who grew up dirt-poor in China and is fourteen years younger than I am but who now exceeds my career luminosity by the sort of calculable-but-incomprehensible amount that separates the mass of our local Sun from that of VV Cephei, says that I am overpolite to waitresses, fast-food counterpeople, supermarket checkers. “They probably think you’re making fun of them or something, you’re so formal about it.” Had to explain to her that the ghost of my father could appear at any moment to keelhaul me for being a mumbling, floor-staring eleven-year-old, and that therefore it’s necessary to have the precise correctness of Robert Crawley, 7th Earl of Grantham, while patiently repeating for the ninth time, to someone who could not possibly care less about the quality of their work: Ah, it is possible I neglected to mention the fact that I wanted this cheeseburger plain, would you be willing to shoulder the burden of correcting this situation which I am certain is my fault, having made my previous eight requests on the subject in a manner that simply wasn’t a good “culture fit” for you, or was simply too quiet to penetrate the Future-und-Weeknd audio curtain laid in by the $299 iPods you wear at work?
Can’t help it. I’ve worked too many dishwater-dull, dishwasher-poor jobs myself to have any natural high-handedness when it comes to service-industry workers. In this, I am apparently rare. And the mechanism by which Burger King rage is engendered should teach us a bit about the way we live now.
What is the core of empathy? Why, it’s the simple realization that you share a common humanity with the person facing you. Our ancestors weren’t always very good at this; read an unvarnished history of any war, from the siege of Troy to the worst excesses of the Civil War or Vietnam, and that will be made plain. Yet we’ve now managed to divide ourselves along more lines than ever before. We’ve never been so willing to immediately unperson someone. The brouhaha over the mRNA treatments for COVID-19 is proof positive of this. Rolling Stone ran a 100% fabricated story about how decent vaccinated people couldn’t get treatment at hospitals because all the beds were being used for Trumptards recovering from poisonous doses of “horse paste” aka ivermectin. Meanwhile, TheHill.com warned people that ivermectin-related calls to the Washington Poison Center had TRIPLED this year.
Well, there were eight calls so far this year, so last year there were… 2.7?
The RollingStone story was so poorly researched and so entirely fabricated that it wouldn’t have made the cut anywhere that does a single fact check… but nobody wanted to check the story out, because it was so deeply satisfying. It neatly divides people into “science followers” and subhumans. It’s entertaining to watch subhumans poison themselves with horse paste, because they aren’t really people. They don’t even shop at Whole Foods. No empathy required, or even possible.
Similarly, claims that VAERS that shows over 7,000 deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine don’t always get full context. VAERS is a plain-Jane database that doesn’t require full proof that a vaccine caused a death. If you get the COVID-19 vaccine then fall down the stairs the next day, that could make it into VAERS, much the same way that a lot of morbidly obsese and deathy ill people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of their death were retconned into “COVID deaths” because Medicare pays 20% extra for COVID-related deaths and there is a government program to reimburse hospitals for uninsured COVID cases on their rolls.
The “vaxxed” and the “unvaxxed” are now two separate groups who not-so-subtly cheer each fabricated report of TRUMP VOTER CRIES ON DEATHBED, SAYS HE WISHES HE’D BEEN VACCINATED or BOOSTER SHOT CAUSES HEAD TO EXPLODE IN CVS PHARMACY, PEOPLE KEEP SHOPPING REGARDLESS. The ACLU is now assuring us that vaccine mandates help guarantee civil liberties, a position that directly contradicts their 2008 stance on the matter. What’s changed between now and then? Why, nothing — except that the Uniparty wants a vaccine for everyone now, and the ACLU is no more likely to protect people from the Uniparty than Turning Point USA would be interested in keeping 120,000 Afghans from arriving in small-town America ASAP.
As divisions go, however, the GeneTherapy Vs. HorsePaste fight has nothing on the real division happening in America right now: between the Zoom-Eloi and the Physical-Morlocks. For the Zoom-Eloi, the pandemic has taken them out of the offices and into their living rooms, from which they attend meetings and enjoy a full suite of delivery services: Amazon Prime, Uber, Doordash, Seamless, et al. Yes, there are emotional side effects of this, and several Uniparty organs such as The Atlantic devote a tremendous amount of ink to them, but in reality most of us would give up a little social interaction if it meant we didn’t drive two hours each day to pay an hours’ wage just for parking.
The Physical-Morlocks have no such option. You can’t run a Burger King over Zoom. You gotta show up. Well, maybe you don’t want to. If you’re not paying rent right now, why would you go to work? For the first time since the Industrial Revolution got started, we’ve come up with a legitimate excuse for people to stay at home indefinitely, and we’re paying some of them to do it. Let me tell you this, as someone who worked a lot of hours at Wendy’s: if the government had offered to cover even half of my Wendy’s pay while I did not, in fact, go to Wendy’s, I’d have jumped on that deal.
The so-called “Fight For Fifteen” has been largely won across the country: most fast-food jobs start at twelve bucks an hour or more, with some paying seventeen-plus. But most people would rather just stay home and watch Netflix. Can’t blame them.
Meanwhile, your Zoom-Eloi are all stressed out from having their face on corporate display nine hours a day, so when they get to Burger King and the service isn’t immediate, they apparently lose their minds. Which further demotivates the Burger King workers, which causes some of them to quit their jobs, which in turn reduces quality of service, and so on.
(Side note: You cannot convince me that video conferencing is not largely a tool to enforce the meek compliance of the modern Outer Party. The purpose of video conferencing is to let people stare at you without retribution. This is deeply humiliating to our monkey hindbrains; as we permit it, we become meeker and more compliant, the same way that Mike Cernovich’s “gorilla walking” apparently increases free testosterone. Your body knows what’s happening, even if you don’t.)
I don’t have the answers to any of these problems, except: If you’re vaxxed, try to see the point of view of the unvaxxed, and vice versa. Don’t take out your Zoom frustration on the people who are making you a meal. Don’t automatically hate the people who have “fake remote jobs”. Be excellent to each other, is what I’m saying. We’re all human beings, even if we don’t always realize it.