A week or so ago it was announced that Studs Terkel had died. When I looked-up his extensive work on Amazon - all of which had excellent reviews - one guy had written, intriguingly:

Great Book
I read this book 30 years ago. It has probably kept me unemployed for most of that time. Warning: if you read this book you may quit your job.

Here's an extract from the synopsis for that volume, 'Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do':

"There is hardly an interviewer, commentator or probing journalist among us who can elicit so much grief and passion, so many forlorn hopes and decayed dreams, so much of the tedium and frustration of daily existence from his subjects as Studs Terkel. Subjects? Hardly. Talking casually, sometimes disjointedly and hesitantly, or unleashing long suppressed feelings in an angry torrent, these are not clinical case studies but complex, fully human people whose humdrum reminiscences of long hours, days and years on the job are almost painfully involving. Even their laughter, abrupt and nervous, will make you wince because in Terkel's words, "This book, being about work is, by it's very nature, about violence - to the spirit as well as to the body." "You're nothing more than a machine. . . . They give better care to that machine than they will to you. They'll have more respect, give more attention to that machine," says the twenty-seven year-old spot welder at Ford. "I'm a mule" says the steelworker. Nor is the sense of waste and futility confined to blue-collar workers. Terkel talks to shipping clerks and sports figures, copy boys, hospital aides, salesmen, press agents, a doorman, a barber, a fireman, a cop, a pharmacist, a piano tuner, a stockbroker, a gravedigger. . . and yes, there is a common chord. Pride, the pride of craftsmanship is harder and harder to sustain; the old work ethic seems to many like a dirty trick."



Now for my little contribution (pc):


A constant source of puzzlement to me is that so many people who are well-off enough to stop working, decide instead to continue the other-directed (and essentially arbitrary) activity - frequently tedious or unpleasant - that has already claimed so much of their lives. How is it that so many people are incapable of recognising the benefits, and taking the initiative, of redirecting their lives towards permanent freedom and the far more worthwhile existence that accompanies it?


Most people, unless they're prepared to live at subsistance level, are too poor to escape the tedium of work and have no choice but to join the treadmill at some point or other.

But many more people than do, could afford to throw-in their job tomorrow if they chose, and could thereby begin at last to enjoy life for what it really has to offer. That so many people defer for as long as possible the great luxury of freedom which we are all supposedly working towards - in favour of the mind-numbing grind the elite who rule over us have ordained - represents a kind-of mass paralysis, a mass betrayal of heritage.

Why do so many people find it so hard to break from their 'shackles' - shackles as ephemeral, in fact, as fairy-dust - shackles of such obvious lies and propaganda? It is a travesty in the first place that kids are stuffed with the work ethic: of motivating and driving oneself, of having to achieve, compete, outshine and outpace one's neighbours - and swindle them into the bargain if one can (after all, isn't that the implicit understanding in buying-and-selling, in making profit, in 'investing'?). It is a travesty that all this tosh is drummed into people so young, as though it expresses the principal purpose of life which should take precedence and be pursued above all else.

Well, that brief comment (in red) above suggests that the efforts of the great Studs Terkel went some way towards correcting this perennial curse.

It's even worse for kids who are victim also to religious bunkum (is there anything religious that isn't bumkum?) especially Christianity - which is actually anything but in the US - and Islam in Islamic countries.

Why do we feel compelled to shove so much tosh into the heads of infants - tosh we can so obviously see that, except for the most astute, will later only destroy their chances of ever growing into free-thinking individuals? Why do we insist on burdening them with the corruptions, hangups and outworn follies of a dying generation that has made such a monumental cock-up of the world, and who should be forced to take all their bilge with them to the grave? Why?

As Kurt Vonnegut so poignantly pronounced shortly before he died: "A message for the new generation: I HOPE YOU'LL FORGIVE US." (or something to that effect). Unfortunately, we inherit the previous generation's faulty genes. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't discriminate rigorously in what we keep of theirs, and instantly discard what is so clearly trash: ie: first, the notion that we HAVE TO work, compete, excell, and so on - and second, that we HAVE TO believe in some crazy supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

You only have to examine it to see that almost all the trash we inherit is actually, at bottom (as they say, amusingly),about maintaining the status quo for the benefit of a ruling elite which holds the power and intends, come what may, to retain it.

So much for November's cheerful addition to the site!