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Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn


#1

Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn

Adam Johnson

You’ve seen or heard or read the personal interest story a thousand times: An enterprising seven-year-old collects cans to save for college (ABC7, 2/8/17), a man with unmatched moxie walks 15 miles to his job (Today, 2/20/17), a low-wage worker buys shoes for a kid whose mother can’t afford them (Fox5,


#2

I’ve pointed out to friends that in TV advertising, the white-collar workers who are sick are told to stay home so they don’t infect other workers and take whatever drug they’re pushing, while the blue-collar workers are shown as heroic by taking the pills, ointment, losange, and working through the pain.

Whenever I’m in a business that serves food, as groceries or meals, and I see a worker coughing, sneezing, wheezing, I want to find the store manager and ask him/her why they’re letting the staffer come to work.


#3

The corporate oligarchy understand, far better than we seem to, the power of culture in shaping attitudes. We all need to work to promote class-conscious labor culture – the kind seen in the Blue Collar Review or in my hard-hitting new collection of poetry.

We also need to spread links to real news like the Intercept, Commondreams and DemocracyNow!


#4

Excellent piece. Thank you.


#5

Great concept, Adam Johnson: Perseverance Porn! The world over, people are voluntarily submitting to slavery, and Americans are no different. I do not mean to diminish the horror and viciousness of actual bonded slavery of the kind the ancestors of our Black citizens suffered through, but capitalism requires slavery to flourish, whether it’s by brute force or instituted propaganda.

I’ve noticed in the past 15 or 20 years the increasingly harried expressions and exhaustive workloads of employees in retail work. only one cash register of several is open, but the worker is running around the store stocking shelves and sweeping up, then is expected to trot to the register to take my money.

We’ve all got stories like this, and it’s getting worse. This is outrageous, and it fuels fantasies of Molotov retribution in the dark recesses of my mind.


#6

I have been waiting for an article like this! Yes, it is excellent.

Think of all those news readers on television who sit in chairs and never have to bend over and get their hands and clothes dirty; keeping their oh so sincere phony smiles on as they give us this superficial smut . . . and they are well paid.


#7

Yes. The upper middle class and their overlords are keeping us brainwashed to blame ourselves for our problems, and that this is normal.


#8

Actually, things ARE different in America. In the rest of the world, people don’t go to work while sick or injured in an accident. Why? Because they get guaranteed healthcare, guaranteed sick leave, guaranteed one-month paid vacation, guaranteed one-year paid maternity leave, guaranteed living wage and guaranteed right to organize a union.

And, outside the USA, anyone who does have such a misguided “work ethic” of going to work while injured or sick would not be admired, but would be regarded as a chump and fool, or as the Wobs here in the USA call them, a “Mr. Block”.


#9

Certainly not the entire “rest of the world,” but a significant portion of it enjoys the hard-won rights you outline.

Nonetheless, conditions of slavery and quasi-slavery do still prevail for a significant portion of the world’s people.


#10

Excellent reporting and analysis from Adam Johnson.

We all need to learn to see through these media narratives, and understand that we are dis-empowered as isolated individuals.

We can exercise power to stake out basic rights by educating ourselves and organizing together.


#11

If there’s one myth that has to be sustained at all costs in capitalist America it’s this one: that the poor are masters of their own fate and wherever they are today is precisely where they deserve to be.

If this narrative ever falls, this system falls, because the second people believe–in large numbers–that poor people are poor through policy and not character, the legitimacy of maldistribution of wealth in this country will be directly challenged.

This is the tertiary branch of the Alger myth: the trunk is that anyone can be rich if they just try hard enough. But this variation is that in order to succeed, you have to endure all manner of ‘obstacles’ to demonstrate the worth of your character first.

This is just class sadism. And it’s unlikely that the brain dead dolts who repeat these “stories” without a second thought will ever be able to see it from that perspective.


#12

Yet no one accuses them of collectivism. Their control of political discourse (aka brainwashing) is their power.


#13

Somehow, stories of folks walking many miles to highlight the injustice illustrated here don’t merit the same cachet, do they?

And is that really “mindless”?


#14

That’s one of the main reasons I gave up TV.


#15

But…but…we’re a meritocracy.

The rich can’t be denied even more wealth…because they earned it.
And the poor can’t be paid too little…because they deserve no better.


#16

This very topic is actually one of the more prominent themes in MIller’s Death of a Salesman


#17

There’s a parallel in the stories of people with disabilities who “overcome their challenges” to be successful. These stories can have the effect of disenfranchising other people who react by feeling less than capable. Gosh, if they can do such miraculous things, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I? Indeed, why? There’s always more that isn’t being told.


#18

Excellent piece. I knew there was something wrong with that stuff, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He did.


#19

Great term, Adam! Thanks for the apt description of that blatant aspect of capitalist extremism. It’s sick and wrong, and your articulation of the issue is right on. That ol’ “Jist pull yerself up by yer bootstraps” BS goes a long way to convince people there’s something wrong with them, and not the hideously slanted system. It goes deeper than bootstraps though, as we all know that, “God helps them who help themselves.”


#20

Excellent piece. Thank you.

People need to understand the rhetorical games the mass media regularly plays upon them----and this is just one example. Better yet, stop watching TV