Tag Archives: psychological aspects

(1073) Fu&k work

end-of-work
Is work a forever thing?  Probably, in the sense it just means doing stuff to secure our existence, yes, you can bet on work.  Employment in a complex consumer-industrial society on the basis of some rationalized value system (like, oh, say the Protestant work ethic) that rewards individual merit and builds up community, well, that is turning out to be a whole other thing.
With deindustrialization, financialization, free trade agreements, and automation work may soon cease to exist at anything like the scale we in North America have come to know it.  In this piece from Aeon a US academic asks us to get ahead of events and economics and free ourselves from our cultural perceptions.  Tone and logic make this a really great piece.  Statistics are used to bolster the author’s arguments and the title is nicely provocative to boot!
Fuck work. Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

(1068) Subdivided. City Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity [Book review]

Subdivided. City Building In An Age of Hyper-Diversity
Jay Pitter & John Lorinc, editors
2016. Coach House Books, Toronto
279 pages. $20.95 CAN
This collection of essays was much tougher reading than we expected.  After nearly six years blogging about social difficulty in the suburbs we don’t expect to be unnerved by our topic.  Subdivided unnerved us.
The good old days of multiculturalism, in which eastern and southern Europeans (and maybe a few other groups), found Toronto adjusting to, and eventually welcoming, them are long gone.  In its place, we now see an ever bigger and richer Toronto home to newcomers in a living arrangement of hyper-diversity.  This infinitely more complex Toronto is by turns depressing, ugly, unjust and unequal despite recurrent commentary about its peacefulness, high socio-cultural potential and general awesomeness.
Subdivided delivers unto us many a less-than-comfortable truth.  There’s too many people here in isolated lives centred on a combination of shit jobs and lacklustre housing.  Reading Subdivided made us feel like Toronto’s diversity is the stuff of an Adam Curtis documentary, another nightmarish expression of the global economic machine and its operating system, neoliberalism.
Toughness of presentation is what makes this collection of essays so amazing, …so real.  It’s hard to think of any other such wellspring of direct, sustained observation of what it is really like to live here.  A chapter on Brampton, for example, brings forth a wave of nausea faster than a jar of expired mayonnaise.  ‘Browntown’ is next door to suburban-poverty.com’s backyard, we can attest to the truth of what is said about Brampton.  Same for another entry on Mississauga, which is literally our backyard.  You’d almost wonder why Canada bothers attracting new residents to its Sprawlvilles.  Except perhaps as a cynical ploy to increase domestic markets and the tax base and to fulfill some corporate/ideological role in the global economy.
What to do?  Good transit, a strong social safety net, higher wages, police reform, and affordable housing would help us toward a healthy, cross-connected society according to the essays in Subdivided.  None of these things will be achieved quickly or cheaply, though.
We better get busy before something really awful comes of the present lame and indifferent regime of city building in greater Toronto.  Stress is not good for the indivdual or the community.  Stress and reaction brought us Rob Ford, the scale model mock up of Donald Trump.  Who knows what the stresses of race and class we are leaving in place will inflict on us?  We aren’t Milwaukee yet but how much longer will we sleepwalk into this?
We suggest future editions of Subdivided include a stamped, pre-addressed thank younote readers can mail to the one percent.
Buy Subdivided for your unnerved urban affairs shelf.

(1004) Grinding around the GTA

subway doors
Maybe having a not-so-great-job and travelling to it via public transit is something a lot of us are kinda destined to get stuck with.  Life isn’t always fair.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a fair bit better than what transit riders described to Torontoist recently.  The experience of being a second class citizen is acquired in layers and getting to work here is increasingly an encounter with such a layer.
How riding the TTC has affected my mental  health
torontoist.com
See also:
(974) Way too long for too little: complex & expensive trips to work [Study]

image: Andy Nystrom via Flickr/CC

(1002) Don T & US child poverty

Donald Trump billboard
We keep hearing about all this generalized American anger.  Swathes of the population there are feeling filthy about the way things have turned out after decades of neoconservative nonsense from both sides of a two-party federal system.  This generalized anger in turn explains the success of Mr. Orangeface Clownpants.  Trump has been able to say pretty much any nasty-ass thing he wants to say and still get ahead because of the funk and fury the American voter has sunk into and seethes with respectively.  Rage serves to peg in place political illiteracy these days.  Hillary Clinton offers herself as the calming Mommy to the tantrum-throwing voter and so she benefits from the unfocused rage as well.
So, how about you Americans focus a little.  Dare we even suggest an apoplectic unity on behalf of the children who will someday inherit your republic?  A good starting point would be this kick in the head of a paper from March this year.  Half of all children in America are in poverty or pretty damn near it.  Half of them!  What does the lackluster alumni of US federal political party leadership have to say about this topic during the weirdest of elections ever?  Looks to be pretty much nothing.
Poverty and child health in the United States
(abstract & link to .pdf file)
Council on Community Pediatrics
Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters
washingtonpost.com

image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr/CC

(947) Excuse me kind sir, WFPIT?

aaaaaaarobfordTime for a new text messaging acronym, yah?
How about WFPIT?
What Fucking Planet Is This?
A certain amount of emotionalism and a whole lot of media drivel was to be expected from the passing of Rob Ford.  Indeed, we have that, layered as it should be, over an acknowledgment that his family’s (ongoing) pain is quite real.  Even for us reading the media output after the big man’s passing from cancer has been pretty awful stuff.   The combination of North America’s aspirational culture with the political illiteracy of the masses offers us one of its most  disturbing manifestations in the career of Rob Ford.
We like these three items because they offer considered perspectives on Ford and Ford Nation.
Rob Ford, 1969-2016: a legacy he never intended
spacing.ca
Andray Domise: the Rob Ford legacy that many refuse to confront
tvo.org
An honest assessment of Rob Ford’s legacy. Rob Ford’s impact on the city includes harm inflicted on some of the city’s most marginalized residents, and a worsened political discourse. We shouldn’t forget this
torontoist.com
Click here for Rob Ford-related articles aggregated on suburban-poverty.com