And it’s no doubt gotten worse since this was written in 1984 — just look at the shabby way the heroic workers who became ill from Ground Zero have been treated:
“Every year 100,000 workers are killed or die of work-related accidents or disease; 400,000 are disabled; 6 million are hurt at work. In The Working-Class Majority (1974), Andrew Levison says, ‘All the clich豠and pleasant notions of how the old class divisionshave disappeared are exposed as hollow phrases by the simple fact that American workers must accept serious injury and even death as part of their daily reality while the middle class does not.’ And he goes on:
‘Imagine the universal outcry that would occur if every year several corporate headquarters routinely collapsed like mines, crushing sixty or seventy executives. Or suppose that all the banks were filled with an invisible noxious dust that constantly produced cancer in the managers, clerks, and tellers. Finally, try to imagine the horrorif thousands of university professors were deafened every year or lost fingers, hands, sometimes eyes, while on their jobs.'”
— Paul Fussell, from his book “Class,” Ballantine Books (1984).
Re: “Imagine the universal outcry…” Or the Senate, the House, the White House. Of course that last one would depend on whom is in that structure and what the party of the “concerned” might be. I would like to think Dems would still be concerned, but most Repubs these days? Hell no. They’d cheer as long as it’s not their guy or gal.
I wonder if politicians have any idea, when they do those ‘sleeves rolled up with a hardhat, regular guy’ photo-ops, how much contempt the real working people at the job site have for them? The workers know this guy (and it’s almost always a male) has never had a job where he got his hands dirty since college, if then. Sure, they’ll shake hands, be polite and smile nice for the camera because they want to keep their jobs, but you should hear them talk later when the boss isn’t around. Whoa! It’s like Junior pretending to be a real cowboy when he’s afraid of horses and making a rite of manhood out of the routine chore of clearing brush, which impressed no one except the pampered divas of the national press gang and the more fanatical Bushaholics. (Notice now that the Dingbat Dauphin is out of office, he doesn’t spend any time at his Crawford ranch — so much for all of that brush piling up!)
Right up there with that piece of cringing crapola are the pundits and reporters who appear on camera hammering in nails or doing some other form of manual labor (esp. post-Katrina) along with the real volunteers to show what a Great Person they are. How many in the audience realize that the moment the camera is off, the Great Person is headed for their air-conditioned trailer or the nearest bar for a cold drink, leaving the actual sweat-producing work to the uncelebrated peons?