Owl Pellets

How fucking long has it been since I’ve done one of these things? A long time. And I know there was a reason I stopped but damned if I can remember it offhand. Anyway, though I doubt anyone really needs more news or analysis or this, that or the other, and I doubt that this is the best way to share that shit anyway, but a bit of a round-up of things I see around might not hurt. So, fuck it, all in, I guess. Here we go.

Reality Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor makes the point that the policies that Sanders had endorsed –long derided as impractical or too expensive– would have been a lot of help right now and also a lot cheaper than whatever this mess is. 

American life has been suddenly and dramatically upended, and, when things are turned upside down, the bottom is brought to the surface and exposed to the light. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath ravaged the Gulf Coast, it, too, provided a deeper look into the darkness of U.S. inequality. As the actor Danny Glover said then, “When the hurricane struck the Gulf and the floodwaters rose and tore through New Orleans, plunging its remaining population into a carnival of misery, it did not turn the region into a Third World country, as it has been disparagingly implied in the media; it revealed one. It revealed the disaster within the disaster; gruelling poverty rose to the surface like a bruise to our skin.”

For my part, I think reality may have outpaced the social democrats. We may be in some full blown Posadist situation. But I do appreciate the sentiment. 

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’: This is kind of along the same lines. It also discusses how situations such as these reveal already existing societal stresses.

What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage: This article puts the fault more at the level of supply chains then at that of individual consumer choice. And there’s probably some truth in this. But here’s the thing, it explains why the stores ran out of toilet paper but not how people were acting in the five minutes before it did.

The other thing with this is that I’m more prone to listen to the people I know who work in these stores and depend on my own experience working in one than to accept the analysis of, let’s check notes, “a senior technology writer.” I mean, I hate to get all fucking academics about it but, seriously, sometimes, fucking academics. What I heard from senior cashiers and baggers was that people were getting abusive and aggressive over this toilet paper and that’s something I’ve seen people do plenty of times over smaller things than this.  

The author makes the point that “you don’t need to assume that most consumers are greedy or irrational to understand how coronavirus would spur a surge in demand” but I would say that, if you want to survive in a retail or service sector job, you better wake the fuck up and assume that most consumers are greedy and irrational. You do that just to get through your day. If you start thinking that most people will react sensibly to most things, you can look forward to some asshole asking to speak to your manager and trying to get you fired. You have to tread carefully. You need to understand that everything is an emergency to someone. And an actual emergency? It brings a lot out of people. 

I would like to believe that the public was not acting like a bunch of panicking idiots but instead making rational choices about their own health and safety in a free market but I’ve actually spent years of my life working in various markets with that public. Most people are fine, sure, but it really does not take many idiots to mess things up for everyone. And you what — their idiocy is highly contagious. You would not believe how fast it spreads.

Like, I hope it doesn’t make me a complete misanthrope to say — this article has a valuable point of view but it’s also true that people can get really fucking carried away. Let’s not pretend that these were all or even mainly rational actors. Not in a supermarket.

Ralphs to provide face masks to employees as worker at Koreatown store demand more protective gear: This headline should really read that the union provided these masks because that’s who provided it. At any rate, it was nice and kind of heartbreaking to see some of my old friends and co-workers in this piece. But also sort of infuriating to think about what they’re being forced to go through. 

Masks are important but cake is delicious and I feel like we’re getting into a ‘let them wear masks’ type situation here. Aside from PPE, these workers need universal healthcare, mass testing, adequate wages, lower rents, and a lot more paid sick leave. They also need managers that give a shit and care about the health of these workers and the customers.

I see little indication of that and a lot of signs of the opposite. I guess I’ll just link to what I’ve already said on this matter


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