Friday, December 9, 2011

unemployed? get a job!

If this is your first time, know that I mostly talk about videogames and movies with this blog. This article is a semi-rare political outburst, most of which are brought on by overhearing someone say something that pushed my buttons. I'll be returning to form hopefully next article.

my goodness do I hate politics. Yeah, we're getting into it again guys and dolls. Get a helmet and come with me, if you will. Politics are contentious and it's far from easy to have a discussion about them without communication breaking down under the pressures of anger and arrogance. Videos like this activate my reflex to try and smother it like some kind of douchey wildfire, because most of what they say is emotion-driven, and they frame it as clinical. These people are usually angry and come from a position they believe to be of absolute, universal correctness. The guy in the video is called "mattwillwork" on Youtube, and he is a self-proclaimed unlikely conservative from Portland, Oregon. More on him in a sec.

I haven't been this angry at a video since the Alienware laptop ad. While I realize that speaking is probably just a way to fan flames, I also feel like it's only the angry people who ever talk publicly like this, and it really "pollutes" things. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's toxic people, people who like to use precious words to do shit like this. While I hate engaging in arguments and debates, I at least am in favor of the idea of trying to offer "counterweights" to the douchey in order to help bring things back to 0. Naive? Yes. Futile? You bet. But I'm doing it anyway. I'd love it if ridiculous people would simply fade away for their ... ridiculousness, with nobody listening. But that's not how it works. This video actually found it's way to me because it's being passed around like it's Thomas Paine (no I didn't ever read Common Sense. Leave me alone). So every now and then, in true Don Quixote form, I take up a stupid cause and retaliate.

I'm going to throw up a disclaimer like I always do with these articles. One thing you should know is that I don't really care much for how the protesters handled Occupy Wall Street. I also don't believe in demonstrations as an absolute good they way a lot of those my age do. While I really do appreciate the sentiment and original intent behind it, the sad thing was that nobody had anything to say when it finally came time to talk, and this actually made it easy for guys like Mr. mattwillwork to zero in and criticize. Now, suddenly all lefters (I'm not even left. I'm just under the age of 50) look stupid and childish. Thanks, guys. That's disclaimer #1. As for #2: As usual, I make no claim to intelligence or righteousness. This is just me having a layman's understanding of the situation, and having seen this video, and being angry enough to feel compelled to share what I think. Okay, now let's get to video I linked above, brought to you by that guy.   
This is one of the most arrogant and condescending guys I've ever seen, and that's a lot coming from me, as I am one of the most arrogant and condescending dickwads you will ever meet. Immediately after I pressed play and was greeted by his "fat kid who beat you at Battleship" grin, I knew this video would make me facepalm. Have you ever had to babysit a kid that just bugged the shit out of you and actually got off on making you mad? That's this guy. You know he loves the hatemail he's getting, and the controversy it's unfortunately generated. Seriously it's like Damien or something, that smile. The very first thing he does is call the protesters a bunch of "unemployed, over-educated hipsters". Nice way to start it. I'm sure the lefters and even centrists are listening now, and not too angry at you to take you seriously. Also, let's take a look at his word choice. "Unemployed", and "over-educated" (both as negatives). First of all, there's no such thing as "over-educated". I can't believe I have to say that and I think it sets the tone for the whole video. It's obvious that you never wanted a dialogue, sir, or to even really give advice. You meant to anger and to mock and shake shit up. On purpose. Even though you should have outgrown it by now. We're only 6 seconds in.

Now as for "unemployed," he's either bringing up unemployment as a negative in and of itself, or he's criticizing them for not being able to find work. To briefly skip ahead, at the end his advice to these people is to stop protesting and get a job. Sir, the reason they are protesting in the first place is they have tried that. Politics and whatever you believe caused the wealth disparity and recession aside, these people are trying to affect changes that will (among other things) hopefully make finding work possible. I have worked my entire college career, and now that I'm out, I can't afford to move out of my parents' house. I was recently lucky enough to move from a minimum wage job to a higher-paying one and might be able to support myself soon, maybe after I put some of it away and find a room mate, but it was a huge stroke of luck. Huge. If this new job hadn't come along, I'd have no chance even in a studio apartment with practically no frills. So, even if people take your advice and get a job, they'll still be in the same position they were in when they decided that protesting was a good idea.

Getting a job won't fix the problem like you think it will. Because even for educated people, most of the options are hourly, minimum wage jobs that you can't support yourself on without getting one or two more, and then working yourself old at the age of 19. I still work retail (in addition to the new job) and work with at least two other young males who are college educated in math or science fields. The only job they could find was the minimum wage, part-time job. I'm not trying to take a shit on the jobs we have. Nay, I am grateful for them. But this was the job I worked deliberately so that it would fit my school schedule, so that I could graduate and move to something that was (a) more tailored to my training and (b) better paying because of that. My education was undertaken in good faith that there'd be something better waiting on the other end, and right now that's not true for most students anymore.


In the meat of the video, which begins at about 40 seconds, he details the hypocrisy of the protesters, citing the fact that they're protesting the vague concept of "corporate greed" in spite of being dependent on (or, I'll admit it, spoiled by) the products and services that corporations provide. A valid point to a certain degree, sure. But what does he want us to do? Throw all of our shit out in the name of social justice? Move over MLK, here comes the kid who went without an iPod. The fact that our lives are increasingly integrated with tech has made these kinds of things necessary; the UN has reported that it now considers internet access a human right. This guy even calls people hypocrites for purchasing groceries and clothing. Bottom line, if you buy ... things, you have no right to protest. Ever. Mister, they just want the rich to pay the same percentage a poor person does, because we could really use the help right now. It would really help with building roads and shit, which would do things like employ workers. It's not unfair and it's not unreasonable. Tangentially, if you haven't noticed, there are a lot of billionaires banding together saying "Yes, absolutely. Please, tax me." So it's not like they'd be dragged into this kicking and screaming. They don't need you to defend them.

He wraps up his video at around 2:40 with an editorial about how he thinks this whole things is kind of dumb. He begins with "Don't go out and demonstrate for causes you really don't understand, just go get a job." I've already gone into how there aren't any, but as far as the "don't understand" part, 99% of the time I've ever heard anyone use that argument, they've been just as misinformed as whoever they were arguing with. Do any of us really know what the solution is? No. They don't, you don't, I don't. Arguing like this is getting us nowhere.  At 3:30 he criticizes them for not being willing to make any changes in their lives for justice. Unless you count living outside for 2 months. No conveniences or toilets. Missing work and school. Tazers. Pepper spray. Smelly hippies. He goes on at 3:40 to criticize about their naivete in thinking they can affect change by "yelling and holding up signs". Good point. Nobody ever did good by protesting. Way to take a shit all over one of the most important rights we have. We had a demonstration at my school to protest the rising tuition, which I chose not to march in. But I always had respect for the right to protest, and what a great and important tool it is.

 You know, it's unfortunate that despite being a cause I could see myself agreeing with, the OWS movement attracted too many hippies and hipsters to be effective. It was just way too easy for guys like mattwillwork to generalize about what this movement (that, again, I had passing support for, and only in theory) turned out to be. It was a good intention, and you've used the idiocy of a few hipsters to try and paint that sentiment in a negative light. Not all of the people who supported the demonstration were idiotic hipsters, it's just that the idiotic hipsters were the loudest ones. And you knew that. They drowned out any rational people there. Just like how respectful conservatives are drowned out by people like you.

Oh yeah, just real briefly, let's talk about his book. The book is called Will Work., and is about his experience listening to everyone whine about how they "can't find work". I'm not what you'd call "normal", but when a normal person hears that their friend lost their job and is going through a tough time, I believe the proper response is empathy. Maybe loan them a few bucks if you're the generous type. Not this guy. In a fit of courage, he rose above things like having to share the planet with unemployed people, and became self-employed, and you can too! Seriously, up and down, left and right, this book's webpage really seems to believe he deserves a trophy for that. Check this out: his story is about overcoming dependence on corporations. You did just read that. It says he doesn't like having to suck the corporate teat for money. Even though his big solution is for the world to "get a job" and be thankful for their 401K. Sure, wanting to be independent of corporations doesn't exactly demand that he be at odds with corporations, but if he's not really for or against them, then why does he criticize protesters and literally say "corporate greed ...  is a good thing"?

"I call myself "The Unlikely Conservative" because I considered myself a pretty liberal person ever since I can remember. ... Well, lately I've found myself with increasingly conservative views. I'm now a small business owner, and that alone somewhat 'forces' you to view the world a bit more conservatively."
-Mattwillwork, from

Boom. That was my head exploding. I don't think I've ever had to quote someone on here for argumentative purposes before. Sure I chopped it, but took nothing out of context. He's made no effort to hide his entrepreneurship or anything, but if I had to make a Vegas bet on it, I'd say this is why he doesn't like the idea of taxing companies and the rich. This is probably why the idea of people protesting businesses bugs him. Because theoretically, as a business owner, he'd start to make less if demonstrations like these caused anything to change. Sir, you've found an excuse to be greedy, not conservative. Conservative is just the team greedy usually plays on. Your arm wasn't twisted, don't shuck the blame onto "making money is my job". I've interacted with business owners before and they weren't greedy. Almost all of them have been cool people who were incredibly generous to their employees. Like you stated, of course they wanted to make a profit, but they never let it come between them and their own humility or the needs of the people around them. Owning a business is no reason to act that way. So you're saying you've been liberal your whole life, but then starting a business alone was enough to change your lifelong politics? That's ridiculous and a really shitty reason to believe something. That would be like if I, Jeremy the lifelong game enthusiast, suddenly joined Jack Thompson because he offered a better dental plan.

Lest you think me a hypocrite who would do the same thing: I now work two jobs, and consequently pay more taxes per job. I could argue that that's ridiculous, that I shouldn't pay more for working harder; logic follows that if a person is working two jobs, they are probably strapped. But I'm relatively, slightly, kind of, a little liberal; I am cool with the idea of paying per dollar earned, and have thought that way for my whole young adult life. If I get super filthy rich someday, tax me. I flake on things as little as possible and I'm not going to change this belief because I stand to make a little more because of it. What I pay is fair, and it's part of living in a society. If it was that easy for you to turn around, I don't really think you were that liberal to begin with. What about other liberal beliefs, like supporting gay marriage or gun control? You know, stuff most liberals believe in but that aren't related to your job? I mean not to equate liberalism with "good", I just wonder: If liberalism was the same as it ever was, point-by-point, except for its stance on corporate taxes, would you be liberal then?

This guy is every bit as hypocritical as the theoretical, worst-case scenario young people he dreamed up for his video. I mean, he named the girl Dakota. That'd be like if I made a video about the Tea Party and named my hypothetical partier Cletus. He clearly has no humility, and just loves how easy it was attack hipsters like anyone who happens to dislike the idea of an unfair system is just as stupid. That's what bothers me. If you're conservative, great. Be conservative. Just don't go around outright disrespecting anyone who doesn't agree with you because you think you're smarter. You're a couple years older than most of the protesters, that doesn't make you superior outright. Even if this guy came along thinking he was going to do good with this video, he's only made things worse. Just look at that mess of a comment section. This is exactly the sort of thing we need less of if anything is going to get done about anything. This whole video was really kind of dumb.

And incidentally, I always give homeless people money.

1 comment:

  1. Dang, I hadn't seen that video... what an ass hat. Good article man


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