Late post: April 20th–4 Exploitation Templates

In Fast Food Nations (specifically chapter 3), Eric Schlosser discusses the trends found within localized fast food chains, as well as said chain’s overall growth, and disservice to its own employees. He states, “the employees whom the fast food industry expects to crawl are by far the biggest group of low-wage workers in the United States today,”to which he later adds to, explaining that, “the need to retain any individual worker is greatly reduced by the ease with which he or she can be replaced.” In other words, low waged employees, specifically those found in large fast food chains, are expendable, because there’s so many of them, not only lowering the need to train and maintain said workers, but effective robbing them of their worth.

In Fast Food Nations (chapter 8), Eric Schlosser gives insight on the deeper end of the labor trail, specifically into the slaughterhouse business, to which he says “… I met dozens of workers who’d been injured. Each of their stories was different, yet somehow familiar, linked by common elements — the same struggle to receive proper medicare, the same fear of speaking out…,” and he then adds, “We are Human beings, more than one person told me, but they treat us like animals.” I firmly believe both these articles maintain the idea the idea of morality and overall compassion seems, nonexistent in these industries. In both industries, it is shown very clearly to the reader by Schlosser that exploitation of those who can’t defend themselves is a serious ordeal that shouldn’t be ignored

In Wage Slave, Mac McClelland integrates herself into the world of warehouse labor, and gradually realizes the intensity of demand found in the work field, where the only reward for good work is more work, in other words, another form of exploitation that’s just a little short of abuse. She states “At lunch, the most common question, aside from “Which offensive (penis)-shaped object did you handle the most of today?” is “Why are you here?” like in prison.” In other words, this job is seemingly so awful that even its workers compare it to prison, which is not exactly somewhere you’d be if you had a choice on the matter. She even adds, ““Just look around in here if you wanna see how bad it is out there,” one of the associates at the temp office said to me, unprompted, when I got hired. It’s the first time any has ever tried to comfort me because I got a job, because he knew, and everyone in this industry that’s growing wildfire fast knows, and accepts that its model by design is mean.”
In Food Chains, Director Sanjay Rawal, and several other authors, actors, and mostly, fed up low wage workers try to show the true face of many big businesses, and to (try to) bring an end to exploitation in the work place. One low wage worker states (to paraphrase), “we are not poor, we are screwed”. In layman’s terms, low wage workers, especially those with undocumented statuses, are far worse off than anyone’s current idea of poor, as they’re not only living off scraps (to which one character says something along the lines of “why are we working if we’re still starving?”), they’re actually in a pit dug so deep by (most) big corporations, that it’s impossible to get out without a mutual aid/agreement between all sides; consumers, business owners, workers, etc.

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Late blog: Phenomena Article

“On The Phenomena Of Bull(Crap) Jobs” was a (ridiculously short) pleasant read; also I don’t curse so don’t expect me to use the actual title of the story. I think out of all the other stories, this one had the strongest impact on me outside of the classroom. I had a friend who was doing an internship, and was assigned to some white collar department for answering the phone. He, on record, did about 200 phone calls per day. And to make it worse, he only got paid by the amount of people that actually lasted long enough to hear out what he was advertising (I believe it was stocks), and invested it. Note he told me maybe one person a day showed any interest per day, most didn’t even let him finish, and those who did hung up anyways because what he was selling was a stock worth over 20,000 dollars! To be honest, I’d hang up too.

I’ve gotten calls like that, and I never even imagined that people actually get paid by the amount of people who said yes. The other day a girl called me telling me about signing up for some survey (I’m not sure I wasn’t paying attention), and this story actually crossed my mind, and I almost gave in, but then my friend’s asking of his caller to dish over 20,000 bucks hit me and I pretty much immediately hung up. I know I didn’t make her job any easier, so that’s why I apologized more than necessary before I hung up (must’ve sounded weird but that’s water under the bridge now). Still, throughout the conversation, I couldn’t help but think she was thinking, behind that sweet voice, “kill me kill me kill me now please.”

Worst part is, my friend’s account on his job wasn’t too different from that of described in article. All the work he had, even his low intern, less than 40 hour work week status, could’ve been done effortlessly in done in a bulk in, maybe a day. However, he wasn’t as fortunate as one might think. The job, which required him to sit motionless for HOURS and call up random numbers placed on dingy little desk and hope that someone would fork over some dough. After about 2 weeks of that, he had a few weeks before being switched over to full time status and he’d have to work over 8 hours of day, doing nothing but calling. The first thing he was annoyed with was the fake smile he had to put on, and the fact that it was his job to try to force his callers to giving in, which he strictly opposed (he doesn’t like making people do things they don’t want to do). It got so unbelievably boring and “unnecessary” that he once contemplated injuring himself so he could miss work for a few days. Which I’ll admit was a little extreme.

The big thing that really got me thinking was the “imagine if [a random class of workers] disappeared. Would you notice a difference?” question that was brought up near the end. I got me thinking things like, what WOULD happen if big name bosses just disappeared? It did honestly feel like the world could’ve benefited from some random phenomenon like that. Not to say that white collar jobs are all useless, but there are some that, honestly, aren’t necessary, and if anything, feel like they’re just there to waste money so the lower classes can’t have it (yeah I said it, it’s all a part of the government’s plan to take over the world! Sue me!). The way it was written, I got a vibe that told me that these jobs are really just there to keep people calm and from rioting from starvation or what have you. Sure, you make lots of money working these lame jobs, but they’re also so boring it makes you wanna kill yourself. While the lower end jobs try to kill you physically, the middle class is so clean and tidy that it prefers to kill you mentally (got an image to maintain, y’know?). Now whenever I see a (potentially) white collared job, I asked myself, just how important is this job to me, society, humanity, etc. You actually get some interesting ideas when you finally answer these (and weird looks on the train for talking to yourself).

After reading, and hearing my friend’s account, lead me to think of the question, would I rather have a bullcrap job or a low wage job, and it honestly disappoints me that those are basically my biggest options without a degree higher than a Masters (which is terrible news for someone as lazy as me).
I’ll be frank, there isn’t really much to talk about, since the article is really short and really compact. It hit every issue it intended to nicely. It was a nice read on the train though, since it was actually short enough to do in a commute (as opposed to literally every other piece we’ve ever read in this class). I actually recommended this article to a friend, so you KNOW it’s worth the read.

Mid-term project 5/8/15

Roesler, Christian. “Evidence For The Effectiveness Of Jungian Psychotherapy: A Review Of Empirical Studies.” Behavioral Sciences (2076-328X) 3.4 (2013): 562-575. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 May 2015.

This article elaborates on the effectiveness of (Jungian) psychotherapy, in comparison to many other kinds, and explains its long term benefits. In addition, it gives the reader an interesting perspective on the matter of not just Jungian Psychotherapy, but on Psychotherapy as a whole. It further maintains the successful research and analysis done on patients, elaborating on several studies that argue that not only is Jungian Psychotherapy effective in treating a range of patients, but that said effectiveness also results in a more cost effective manner of treatment. Many arguments could be made for this article, particularly, one that supports my “career choice”.

Adams, Phillip. Moore, Steven. “I shrink, therefore I am.” THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 6 May 2015.


This source vividly explains the position most Psychotherapists (including Jungian Psychotherapists) are in, as of roughly a decade ago. It maintains how society’s drive for instant gratification has driven them away from the long term success found in any form psychotherapy in place of medication, which according to the source, does not work forever (or rather, it doesn’t have the lasting effect ordinarily found in psychotherapy). Furthermore, there also discussion of a new rising power in the world of psychology, which is, according to the article, philosophy–many new things are slowly killing off the ever beneficial power of psychotherapy in its entirety. This could likely mean that psychotherapy is slowly dying, which in short means Jungian Psychotherapists will be out of a job if this need for an instant cure, or a fast remedy, instead of a (long but) healing and fulfilling process, persists.

That last source is weak, in my opinion. Mostly due to the age of the article(?) (January 30th, 1999, apparently), and because I couldn’t find the origin anywhere on the web (I got it from LexisNexis). I’ll ask for feedback tomorrow during class.

Seriously, ASC>>>>LexisNexis.

Homework for Wednesday 4/22/15

In discussions pertaining to physical labor conditions, one controversial issue has been exploitation of low-waged workers within the US, and it’s effect on said workers’ lifestyle. Many authors make reference to this, such as Eric Schlosser in his Fast Food Nation, where he discusses the trends found in multiple work settings, from fast food to the slaughterhouses from where the food originates from, to even the workers who clean up after the slaughtering; many of which are either illiterate, unable to properly communicate with their employers, or simply desperate. Others even, while agreeing, argue that exploitation is an issue that affects not just the lowest of the low (in context of skill and social status), but even the most well off people, such as Mac McClelland, author of the excerpt I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave, who goes into the lion’s den, per say, and sees what the big fuss is about, and discovers just how “lucky” she is, quickly realizing that exploitation is not just some fancy word for people who are overworked, it’s something that damages people physically and psychologically. From a personal standpoint, I agree that abuse, on several levels, can and do exist in the worst of workplaces. Although I, personally, haven’t experienced it myself, I know people close to me who have honorably worked very hard under the conditions present by both authors, and though their experience, given to me through private interviews, as well as through both authors’ accounts on the matter, I firmly believe a path towards a solution to said controversial issue can be forged.

Chapter 8; Worst Jobs Homework 4/12/15

Maaaaaan what was that. I expected bad jobs (which is why I wasn’t surprised when the author’s choice was slaughterhouses), but I didn’t think about the ways you could make the jobs worse. Real mind opener. Before anything else, I just want to say, due to my naive rebellious nature, and due to an issue that’s been botherin’ me for awhile, I’m confident that I will eventually give up meat. As a Seventh Day Adventist, I’ve always been surrounded by vegans, so the lifestyle isn’t unusual for me. I’ve actually tried it once as a kid and suffered from protein deficiency because what’s protein and basic health knowledge to a middle schooler? Reading about the animal cruelty and even the human cruelty that occurs in these slaughterhouses, it makes me want to rebel and do whatever to stop the madness–even if that means I’d have to give up my beloved burritos (that hurt to type). Another thing, whilst reading, I had the thought that I’ve thought multiple times. “Wow, humans really think they’re something, huh?” And I say this, because all things considered, no matter what and where you look, we’re small. Doesn’t even matter what you call yourself, or where you come from, or whether you’re Republican or Democrat, we are miniscule creatures in every aspect. Now I don’t normally like taking the absolutist route with arguments, but if one doesn’t think they’re small, then they’ve either never looked up into the stars, or they don’t know how many people have lived on this planet in comparison to just themselves, or so on and so on. So it baffles me why some people (or rather companies) do some things like throwing away all regards for the already miniscule human life. For money? Has greed really swollen up their ego into making them think that money is what matters? Personally I blame The Man.

First thing’s first, let’s skip to the last thing; our boy Kenny. Seriously, while I was reading, I thought “huh, I mean the story makes him sound old, but I doubt he’s that old….” Even as I thought that, as soon as I read, I was still surprised to hear he was still in the relatively young (though I don’t know when the excerpt was written, for all we know he could be an old man). It was pretty obvious that his lifespan would be diminished based off everything he said, but I was really expecting him to experience all these conditions at the age of sixty or so, not in his forties. “They used me to the point where I had no body part left to give.” That was heavy. No one deserves that. 10/10 would boycott meat just for this guy. His loyalty was as stubborn as a bull, and he was as forgiving as I could be for things that others would probably immediately complain about. So much injustice in this world it’s not even funny, to turn an honest, strong man into shambles.

The jobs about the sanitation people really shocked me, mostly because, I didn’t even think about the people who clean those pigsties. To think those people are paid significantly less than the day time workers, is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous at all that all these people work for dirt cheap prices. These things always remind me of what the Mexican man said near the beginning of the Food Chains documentary, which while I can’t remember the exact quote, went along the lines of, “…we work for food, what’s the point of working if we still can’t eat?” I don’t think I’ll ever forget that quote. Whenever you see jobs like these, it just keeps nagging me–I think it’s impossible to forget. How? These people work and still can’t feed their families, even worse, THESE people put their lives on the line are treated more like pests than they are workers. I could not, under any conditions, tolerate such an indignity knowing that I am not helped the same way I’m helping the company, and I’d gladly pick dying of hunger on the streets than having to deal with their crap, in fact I’d probably be mad enough to perform some kind of sabotage. I’d boycott, I’d expose some company secrets, maybe even sabotage their operations in some V for Vendetta style crime. I’m a VERY irritable person and just reading this made me want to burn down their factories; Morality over Meat.

I don’t think I’ll quote much at this point, since no one said anything that really stood out, and because I’ve already pretty much said all I had about this, I’ll just leave my favorite quote here: “GIVE UP AFTER BACK SURGERY?! NOT KEN DOBBINS!” ← Macho manliness!

To finalize (because reasons), I have to say, after reading, I had a strong urge to visit a livestock slaughterhouse (but unfortunately NYC has none), so I looked it up online. Funniest thing about this video is, that it’s exactly as the writer described it (maybe cleaner than what the writer describes for the sake of the video), and I saw all of this clearly in my head before I even saw this video (call it clairvoyance). I don’t know what others might gather from that, but I say that means that this writer is REALLY GOOD with imagery. Everything was almost exactly as I pictured it (ESPECIALLY the part with the cow walking through the narrow entry).

Here’s the video I watched (they took off the audio because they’re wusses). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxWm5lNRnSs

P.S., at 5:30 – 5:40, I’m pretty sure the cow squirm (at least it’s still alive enough to squirm). That movement didn’t exactly look natural (also for humans they say the brain is still alive for another 7 minutes after death, so who knows).

Homework for April 2nd

Response to Food Chain:

Well let me begin by saying, la vida no es facil compadre. I knew people at the bottom of the economical chain had it bad, but I never really explored what the context of bad really is. The documentary was very informative, and I felt a bit of, warmth, due to the fact that half of it was Spanish (a language I grew up speaking at home), so their words hit home a lot harder than it probably did for a lot of my classmates.

 

I couldn’t really empathize first hand with anything the employees experienced, because I don’t really work to eat/survive in general (I’m still young/living at home). However there was a time where I (think I?) was pretty poor, so poor that even though I had a roof over my head, we couldn’t afford actual furniture. We slept on cardboard, literally. But even that wasn’t as bad as the living conditions some people had to go through (like the homeless people who lived right outside the grape/wine farm they worked at (I believe the place was called Napa Valley). And around then one person said (in Spanish I think): “Uno es pobre porque el es que hace el rico lo que es.” (or something like that). Which is basically “one is poor because they’re the ones responsible for the rich being rich, and I found that really impactful, because of another line one worker said. Which was something along the lines of “in our line of work, you’re either low lower class or you’re screwed.”

 

Didn’t really think about there being a class below the lower class, and I think it’s due to the media. Media rarely talks about the lower class, and unfortunately the media is our only way of knowing what’s going on with the world….

 

I made a small chart while watching the documentary that listed the economical ranking…status…whatever as the following (I’m sleepy bear with me):

 

Consumers → Supermarkets → Distributors → Farmers → Field Workers

 

I have no clue if that’s at all accurate, but it’s what I remember hearing and it’s what I have in my notes so I’m gonna roll with it. Basically the money comes from the consumer (us), directly to the supermarket, where they keep a mass quantity of the money earned, and then they send a small portion to the next man, and so on and so on until we reach the unnamed, unvoiced hands on field workers, who make like a penny’s worth in comparison to the markets. Which is dumb, especially when these people work for hours and then “inconsistent payments”..

 

Another point was one made early in the documentary, where someone said “my father once told me it’s okay to spend a little extra to eat nicely… there’s no point in working if you still end up hungry.” Which was what completely caught my attention (could even be considered a thesis if the whole documentary were treated like a report).

Response to Fast Food Nations:

“Cynics need to be in some other industry” — guy who said something that offended me as a cynical skeptic 😡

 

I had a harder time reading this piece. It had a very slow start for me, and I didn’t really get into it right away. However, looking back on the documentary we saw, I was able to get a better grasp of the actual issue, and thus I found it much easier to dive into. I vaguely knew most of what was said, but I never really bothered looking into the matter. I don’t eat too much fast food outside of Taco Bell (because I love me some burritos), but when I do purchase something, or use some kind of service, I try to act as respectful as possible, as a way to thank the person. For example, just thanking the bus driver as I get off the bus, or not complaining to the cashier when something’s wrong with my order (because they don’t control what happens behind them). Especially with minimum wage jobs, since I know that no one ever makes their job any easier, so best way to thank them would be to pay for your food, get it, leave, without any troublesome interruptions (maybe I’ll add a joke like “where’s the bell of tacos?” or something).

 

The documentary definitely helped me fill in some context about the “big deal” in this except. Though I still don’t get much about what they’re saying (except up until the point where they talk about how students who don’t like a job in Colorado just quit and find another). I’m pretty stubborn and convinced I’m gonna end up as a bum because I’m pretty rebellious when it comes to doing something I don’t want to do (because I still prioritize myself over money or social status or whatever). So I don’t have much to say over this, minus where I could agree and why. For example, the part about crimes in Fast Food places.

 

The small part about Jose taking initiative in his own hands should someone ever point a gun at him was the most relatable part of the whole piece (in fact I was just commenting to myself how annoying I found it to be when a massive herd of people run and cower instead of making a human stampede and crushing the living daylights of whomever is pointing a gun. They’re all so individually afraid of death that they selfishly just run and let the slower weaker humans be killed by the big scary man with the weapon. It’s really ridiculous, especially that story about the six(?) employees who hid in the freezer whilst the robber took anything he wanted right upstairs. six against one? REALLY? Most thugs these days aren’t even GOOD with handling guns (at least the ones I’ve encountered in my neighborhood(s)). Many more arrogantly think a gun is a game ender, and don’t even have a plan for rebellion–assuming they don’t even want to kill.

 

The teenagers working under the horrible conditions also irritated me. I’m assuming most people work because they want to get paid, so why would I willingly work for free if I’m only there for the money? Why would I work unpaid extra hours? Knowing myself, I probably would stay til midnight to help the manager (and maybe to binge on the leftovers), but to waste my time doing something I don’t want? Those Colorado kids have the right idea in quitting when things aren’t going their way.

 

One last thing was how they mentioned that they occasionally close McDonalds and reopen, literally, blocks form the last store just to get rid of Unionizing workers. I’ve already been boycotting McDonalds due to its unhealthy selection, so I think that’s really what many Americans will have to do if they want to see any change. I know that’s not gonna happen any time soon though (before Hurricane Sandy, I once saw a McDonalds PACKED with people trying to buy themselves some burgers or something for the storm–people are OBSESSED).

 

Also… I’ve never really noticed McDonalds being constructed… they always just… appear…. Has anyone actually SEEN a McDonalds being built from the ground up? Haven’t they just, popped up like literally overnight? I’m convinced they have some kind of McSeedling that sprouts a restaurant if you bury it and add enough Coca Cola to the dirt.

Mon, March 23, Template Assignment

In “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Paolo Friere vehemently argues that the current structure of education is obsolete, and that true education cannot exist in a dystopic, oppressive environment like the one found in schools today. Under what he calls the “Banking Concept,” he continually argue that the Banking Concept, which he defines as merely depositing impractical trivial data into students’ minds, stifles human potential, understanding, and growth, as well as enforces a mindlessness in the ever evolving society. It teaches students to only question what they are ordered to question, primarily only enforces mass memorization of impractical, trivial information, and that success in the society so intricately created by the “oppressors” themselves all depends on how meekly they submit, and that the hierarchy dictates who rules with an iron fist (person who signs the paycheck>Teacher>Students); true education cannot supposedly exist in a hierarchy of sorts. In short, he addresses its flaws from multiple angles and enforces its abysmal existence. As such, an alternative method Friere then discusses is the “Problem-Posing” concept of education, where as opposed to the Banking Concept’s straightforward ideology, the Problem-Posing ideology stresses critical thinking on an existential level, abolishes the concept of superiority in the school system, and actively tries to address every student’s and teacher’s needs while simultaneously promoting mental growth; education becomes a learning experience for every party. It also helps form a student’s understanding of the world distinct to them. From a personal standpoint, Friere was on the mark. The Banking Concept is apparent in today’s times, exactly as Friere says, some could agree that they never recall the school system being even enjoyable, or remotely pleasant for that matter, and many now may consider the general current style of teaching a failure; it’s not hard to find at least one student in grade school that believes school to be “boring” or any other adjective similar to Friere’s.  However, despite agreeing, it’s quite hard to say that Friere’s argument is essentially completely true, as I personally believe that there is no right or wrong in instances likes these–that ideology applies to truths and falsehood as well. On the one hand, one could agree that the Banking ideology does indeed have its flaws, such as the oppression of students, the future of society and future teachers themselves, or such as pushing for an oppressive lifestyle where the student’s only job is to absorb the teacher’s flawed and one sided jargoon like a sponge; most students today could agree that the amount of practical things learned within school is trifle at best. On the other hand, in the same way, anyone else could argue that Friere’s argument holds no merit, as nothing can be guaranteed until it is put into practice; I’m certain even Friere himself would agree applying this method into a classroom at this point would not be easy. Regardless, the majority of what he elaborates on is interesting, and for the most part, very relatable. In fact, I can relate to his writing on a higher level, as I myself have thought of most of what he explains in one of my experiences in high school.

In the words of Friere himself, “yet only through communication can human life hold meaning.” To paraphrase, communication, presumably both mentally and verbally, are vital to the meaning of life as a species.

Friere also argues, “education as the practice of freedom — as opposed to the education as the practice of domination — denies that man is abstract, isolated, independent, and unattached to the world….” In short, education, when used in a non-oppressive, open field setting, rather than in a oppressive cell, can blossom the idea of being one with nature around them, and creates a mind wary of the world around it in a manner that allows one to think critically about problems that arise in a practical manner.