Thursday, November 17, 2011


How very suitable for this neglected corner of my blog network. With all the workplace related posts piling up in my reader, I really should be doing better here.

Briefly commenting on the following article: emphasizing the recent bull market in this truly annoying genre overlooks that it has always been with us. Remember Paul Harvey? Little People Overcoming Adversity On Their Own stories were a specialty of his. As an underemployed single parent at the decade turned from 60s to 70s, I recall the depression of reading and hearing about other single parents rising up what was dragging me down and wearing me out. Not just overcoming without assistance but single-handedly reroofing their homes. Somehow the roofs were the final straw.

The last few years have seen a bull market for Sadness Journalism – stories of foreclosures, medical bankruptcies, layoffs, homelessness, hunger, and a host of other woes that were invisible when they happened to the underclass but are now polite conversation since they're happening to middle class people. The narratives inevitably follow one of a few well established frameworks. The sad story (man loses job, descends into alcoholism, accidentally kills loved ones/ends up in prison). The downshifting story (well paid professional loses job, realizes she is happier living in a small house with a garden and no car).

The it's-your-fault story (the lavish wages and benefits of a group or individuals are presented as justification for why Mr. Spacely had to move the Sprocket factory to Uttar Pradesh). And lastly, my own personal version of hell: the It's Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me story, wherein the protagonist gets a pink slip, overcomes the urge to wallow in sadness, and then (with luck, pluck, and diligence straight out of Ragged Dick) starts a new business (or more rarely, finds a new job) far better and more lucrative than the old one

..... Some stories have happier endings than others. I doubt, however, that being over fifty and getting fired qualifies as the best thing that ever happened to anyone except corporate propagandists and uncritical journalists.

Read all of THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME at the inestimable Gin and Tacos (opiate of the asses). Subscribe too for regular servings of snarky goodness.

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