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Mme. Defarge

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Member since: Tue Oct 18, 2005, 12:05 AM
Number of posts: 7,720

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Blues in the Night

Stop improving things right now! Everyone must suffer as I did!

By Alexandra Petri

DISGUSTING! AWFUL! I have just received word that life is getting marginally better for some people, and I am white-hot with fury! This is the worst thing that could possibly happen! I did not suffer and strive and work my fingers to the bone so that anybody else could have a life that does not involve suffering and striving and the working of fingers to the bone. I demand to see only bones and no fingers!

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thrashing because I have had the nightmare again, the nightmare in which someone else is being spared a small hint of the suffering I endured. The world should not get better! The world should get worse along with me and perish along with me.
Every time anyone’s life improves at all, I personally am insulted. Any time anyone devises a labor-saving device, or passes some kind of weak, soft-hearted law that forecloses the opportunity for a new generation of children to lose fingers in dangerous machinery, I gnash my teeth. This is an affront to everyone who struggled so mightily. To avoid affronting them, we must keep everything just as bad as ever. Put those fingers back into the machines, or our suffering will have been in vain.

When I see unleaded paint or un-asbestosed homes, I froth at the mouth and start stomping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin. And who are we to think we deserve better than to die of sepsis? Why shouldn’t smallpox be out in the world for us as it once was? Are we too good for scurvy, now? Our great-grandparents made do without penicillin, did they not?

What a fallen, broken world we live in. The audacity of people trying to eat food not contaminated by waste, or increase the number of rhinos in the wild — they had better not! Clean the air? YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. Inhaling thick lungfuls of coal smoke was miserable for me, and it will be miserable for you. Put the cockroaches back into the kitchen, please, and lye back into the meat!


The Need for a Constitutional Right to Privacy

Perhaps, if the Constitution actually did provide for a right to privacy, it could not only serve as a basis for protecting the right to choose, but also allow for legislation addressing the assault on privacy in the workplace. Along with forcing people to give birth, I consider the all pervasive monitoring of employees’ every keystroke, mouse click, movement, breath, heartbeat, bathroom break, a form of legalized workplace violence. In both cases, an insidious kind if slavery.


Important health update (in case you wanted to know).

Today I had my best blood pressure reading since I went on medication in 2018. Maybe it was due to not having had my morning coffee, but maybe because I’m following my doctor’s advice to go for my walks every day, instead of every other day. Or, perhaps at some level I feel that the end is nigh for TFG.


The Boss Will See You Now
Zephyr Teachout
We are experiencing a major turning point in the surveillance of workers, driven by wearable tech, artificial intelligence, and Covid.

Several decades ago, when I first moved to New York City, I answered an ad to be a personal assistant to a writer. I imagined myself as amanuensis, translating inspired pronouncements into poems. Instead, I ordered and returned sweaters, scheduled haircuts, and made three-course-meal seating plans for members of the literati whom I never got to meet. My boss, her money-manager husband, and their children lived on Park Avenue, in a penthouse with Georgian drapes and triple-insulated soundproof windows. She collected bespoke services: personal trainers, personal shoppers, a personal poetry trainer, a personal opera coach. I was one of four full-time staff, along with two live-in Irish nannies and a French maid. During our thirty-minute lunchtime, the four of us would hurry into the kitchen to use the small gold-handled faucet that produced instant boiling water to make tea and soup. We slurped and laughed and complained about our boss.

During one of these meals, the chief nanny began a call on the phone in the corner, then quickly slammed down the receiver. Pointing to its golden handle, she mouthed that she thought our boss was listening in. As we huddled over our soup, I said that our boss was always asking me for reports of what we talked about, and the nanny whispered that she was pretty sure she had seen her lurking outside the kitchen door. This was funny for a moment, and then not—a thin skein of anxiety started winding its way across the room.

A few weeks later, the maid was fired. It wasn’t clear that her dismissal was related to anything that had been said. But once paranoia gets its claws in you, it doesn’t let go easily. Our wages and raises were all unpredictable. Two of the staff relied on green cards. These circumstances, which had been the subject of so many conversations, suddenly became the source of insecurity. We gradually, then all at once, stopped having lunch together.

I have lately been thinking of that small discouraging experience as we live through an explosion of corporate investments in workplace surveillance. The year 1995, when I had that job, seems almost embarrassingly quaint, an era of surveillance innocence. There was no Facebook or Google following people everywhere they went, no spooky personalized ads. Back then, Americans spent an average of thirty minutes a month online, and 24/7 intimate surveillance was reserved for targets of FBI investigations.

At the dozen-plus places I had worked by the age of twenty-four, I punched in and out, sped up my dishwashing when the supervisor came through, weighed the beans I picked, bargained to get off early in exchange for cleaning extra bathrooms, and wrote reports for the third-grade teacher I assisted in the classroom. Even the tips I received while waitressing were my business, not the restaurants’. My bosses knew me superficially—my clothes, my general productivity—not what I thought or felt outside the workplace, unless I chose to share it.


If you can access the article it’s well worth reading. We need legislation to protect people’s privacy and to insure workplace fairness.

It's been a long time comin'

Long Time Gone
Crosby, Stills & Nash

It's been a long time comin'
It's goin' to be a long time gone
And it appears to be a long
Appears to be a long
Appears to be a long
Time, yes, a long, long, long, long time
Before the dawn

Turn, turn any corner
Hear, you must hear what the people say
You know there's something that's going on around here
It surely, surely, surely won't stand the light of day, no
And it appears to be a long (Yes, it does)
Appears to be a long (Mmm)
Appears to be a long
Time, such a long, long time
Before the dawn

Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness
You got to speak your mind if you dare
But don't, no don't, no, try to get yourself elected
If you do, you had better cut your hair, mmm
And it appears to be a long (Yes, it does)
Appears to be a long (Mmmhmm)
Appears to be a long
Time, such a long, long, long, long time
Before the dawn, yeah

It's been a long time comin'
It's goin' to be a long time gone
But you know
The darkest hour
Is always, always just before the dawn

And it appears to be a long
Appears to be a long
Appears to be a long time, such a long, long, long, long time
Before the dawn


Posted by Mme. Defarge | Sun Aug 7, 2022, 02:29 PM (0 replies)

Now, what's this R. procedural maneuver that's supposed to obstruct

the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act?
Posted by Mme. Defarge | Thu Aug 4, 2022, 10:13 PM (5 replies)

Question: should professional sports teams refuse to play

play in states that do not accept the results of legitimate elections?

I Don't Want to See a High School Football Coach Praying at the 50-Yard Line

By Anne Lamott

Many of us who believe in a reality beyond the visible realms, who believe in a soul that survives death, and who are hoping for seats in heaven near the dessert table, also recoil from the image of a high school football coach praying at the 50-yard line.
It offends me to see sanctimonious public prayer in any circumstance — but a coach holding his players hostage while an audience watches his piety makes my skin crawl.
We are fighting furiously for women’s rights and the planet, and we mean business. We believers march, rally and agitate, putting feet to our prayers. And in our private lives, we pray.

Isn’t praying a bit Teletubbies as we face off with the urgent darkness?
Prayer means talking to God, or to the great universal spirit, a.k.a. Gus, or to Not Me. Prayer connects us umbilically to a spirit both outside and within us, who hears and answers. Is it like the comedian Flip Wilson saying, “I’m gonna pray now; anyone want anything?”

Kind of.

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