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Reddit Thread of the Week: Notes from the American Workplace

Reddit Thread of the Week: Notes from the American Workplace

This thread on a story about layoffs by AT&T illustrates the typical attitude of the modern American worker towards his or her employer. Not very, um, complimentary. You can see the new employee creed that has evolved to match the times. Be loyal to yourself, not your company. Switch jobs every few years for maximum career growth. Stick it to “the man.”

Also found in this thread: mid-life Gen-Xers giving life tips to rising young Millennials. Good luck out there!

Reddit Thread of the Week: Governmental Fight Club

Reddit Thread of the Week: Governmental Fight Club

I have heard it said that the Boomer generation has produced the worst political leadership in American history. Now, when the Boomers came of age in the 1960s, they were aggressive and confrontational, as is well known. 50 years later, they are the elder leaders of our society, but their collective personality traits remain the same – in generational studies we call this “thinking along the generational diagonal.” So the same scrappy, individualistic style they brought to their campus protests in the 1960s, they now bring to high political office. Just think of what the 2016 Presidential election was like for an example. Now we get a daily dose of Boomer scrappiness in the form of Presidential tweets. Younger generations look on, aghast and amused, as you can observe in the reddit thread linked below.

Donald Trump would beat Joe Biden in a fight and make him cry from iamverybadass


Reddit Thread of the Week: American Healthcare Horror Stories

Reddit Thread of the Week: American Healthcare Horror Stories

Las Vegas shooting victims struggle to afford mounting medical costs from news

Lots of kvetching about the mess of a healthcare system in the United States, with some comments from other countries for comparison. The number one takeaway on surviving healthcare in the U.S. – don’t ride in an ambulance if you can help it.

This is all comes down to the basic American principle of self-determination – otherwise known as, “if you can’t take care of yourself, then fuck you!” Also the ethos of Yankee ingenuity, or how to make a buck off of your fellow citizen. On this thread, you can just see the nation’s stature slipping away.

Monday Night Football Will Never Be The Same

Monday Night Football Will Never Be The Same

Here is what I think about the “NFL players kneeling for the anthem controversy,” which in this bizarre time of psychosocial media warfare is a thing. First off I will say that I have never witnessed this phenomenon live, as I do not watch football. I have only seen images in my social media feeds. Second, I will say that kneeling is not disrespectful. After all, one kneels before royalty, or before God.

In fact, the story as I understand it is that a young man named Colin Kaepernick first sat during the anthem in protest of police shootings of unarmed young black men, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. He began kneeling instead of sitting after a conversation with a former NFL player and veteran, who suggested kneeling as a way to protest respectfully. In other words, the kneeling players are intending to be respectful, while exercising a right to protest.

Now you might question whether a football game is the place for a protest. I have some personal exposure to football fans who are offended by the kneelers, and it seems that mainly they are annoyed about having their game experience tainted. They came for football and they got politics, which is upsetting. That is understandable.

But sometimes they also complain that the protesters are entitled crybabies who are disrespecting the flag and the armed services. This is overblown to me, for the reasons I gave above, but that could just be my bias. Or it could be that people’s outrage is being stoked by social media bots. Those pesky Russians are at it again, undermining our civic order.

Years and years ago I posted a chart which attempted to define the sides in the Culture War – the “red zone” and “blue zone” as colored by the contentious 2000 elections. After all this time the war rages on in social media, in a kind of playground shouting match where each side accuses the other of being “snowflakes” for not accepting the other’s point of view, and shelters in the safe space of their media bubble.

Let’s allow that the NFL kneelers are blue zoners, and their detractors are red zoners. Maybe what’s bothering the red zoners is that they’re having to face the blue zone in a public arena which they thought was a safe space for their MAGA reality. Monday Night Football is supposed to be patriotic and all-American! Now they’re seeing all these protesting blue zoners who can’t be easily unfollowed or blocked like on a Facebook feed. The only safe space they have left is a Trump rally.

When I look at the kneelers, I see solidarity and courage in a group of empowered Millennials. It’s fitting that black athletes in professional sports use their prominent position to support justice for other young black men who are less privileged. And the tide appears to be turning in their favor. I’m glad for that, but that’s just my bias showing.

Reddit Thread of the Week: KKK Starter Pack

Reddit Thread of the Week: KKK Starter Pack

I like to go to reddit to get a feel for the zeitgeist, since that is where, in my estimate, Millennials go to speak their minds. It is one of the Internet’s top sites (in terms of traffic) and is the only site in the ‘discussion forum’ format to reach the traffic rankings of popular social media platforms and search engines.

Reddit’s system of upvoting and downvoting posts causes popular opinions to percolate to the top of the comments, and unpopular ones to be suppressed. In this way a consensus will be reached on the topic of a thread – a phenomenon known as the “reddit hivemind.”

Users register under pseudonyms, disguising their real-world identity, which for a young generation used to intensive scrutiny of their online life, means more freedom to speak openly (one side-effect of this is that conversations often drift into topics that might be described as ‘not fit for polite company’). And heavy modding to expurgate abusive posts makes the site something of a safe-space.

With these considerations, I will occasionally post about a reddit thread which I think is particularly interesting, amusing, or relevant. This week’s thread relates to this weekend’s incidents of protest and violence in Virginia:

The 2017 KKK Starter Pack

You can see this post is making fun of Friday night’s torchlight march in Charlottesville by white nationalists – all young, preppy looking men who could hardly be from an oppressed minority, but apparently think that they are. Further links and comments in the post develop this theme. The image of the “starter pack” (see below) suggests a partisan group of reactionary and unimaginative people who just want to gather together with their own kind.

In fact, Trump-supporting Millennials on reddit do have a safe-space – a “subreddit” (like a discussion category) where they can enjoy their own alternate hivemind. Here is a post about media coverage of the deadly violence which ensued the next day, where you can see that they do indeed feel like an embattled minority.

But don’t they know that it is absurd for men to march, waving swastika flags and shouting ‘Heil Trump!’ in 2017 America? Yet there it is to be seen, in the videos of the Charlottesville protests which are amply available online. Emboldened by their capture of the Presidency, white nationalists are goading their opponents and raising the stakes in the battle for this country’s future.

But listen to the hivemind: they are on the losing side in the long run. Their chosen messiah is so mindbogglingly incompetent that we may just be witnessing their last gasp of self-destruction. That is certainly my hope, and I hope white nationalism expires with as little more violence as possible.