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      Ok, here’s the deal.  Torture does not work to get information.  Period.  You do not torture people to get information, you torture people to send information, or rather, to send a message. What is that message? (Originally from Dec 16, 2010, but it seems worth re-upping for a new generation of readers – Ian.) We […]
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Reprise: To the Manor Born

Dan Froomkin and Jeff Faux have recently written about the new Servant Economy.  Ha! Once again, I scooped them by three years.  Here’s my post on the subject from 2009: To the Manor Born. Enjoy.

My dearest reader,

This letter hopes to find you and your family well and that the fortunes of employment bestowed upon you are sufficient so as to alleviate your most strenuous anxiety that frequently attends the lack of an income.  The news daily importunes a great degree of future distress and depression on that front but I beg you leave off such ruminations.  For it is a truth universally acknowledged that bailout recipients of great fortune must be in want of retainers.

Gentle reader, take heart.  We shall all be wanted to serve our masters most diligently.  There shall be need of cooks, chauffeurs and gardeners. And we will simplify the need of our betters to have to remember our names, we shall be called “Cook”, “Foote” and “my own Gardener”.  We shall see the world too as we will be required to set up the many houses upon which our masters will depend for their amusement.  Verily, our cares will be few as we will be relieved of even the details of our costume with the new livery we shall be required to wear.  Musicians and cookery artists may gain full employment now by attaching themselves to one houshold or another, thereby ensuring a modest steady income that will make tolerable the lack of taste that is the failure of good understanding in the ruthlessly fittest.  Is there a felicity in the world superior to this?

Indeed, such a change is already taking place and it will not be long before we entertain ourselves with the arrangements of the nuptials of the gentility.  How much merry  we will make over the sport of alliances between houses of many billions and poor connexions indeed will the girl have who will settle for less than $5 million a year.  Of those of us who cannot go into service but will be left among the professional class, it is true that we cannot all benefit half so well,  But those among us with a natural inclination for the sciences will by necessity attach ourselves to the billionaire biologists who live on their interest and can dabble at leisure on the cure for cancer.  Meanwhile, there will be no further need of scientific inquiry that does not directly benefit our betters and what financial interest they have in the area of innovation will find it thought of by those few remaining who can afford it and carried out in the Indies by those whose lives depend upon it.

Be of good cheer.  Your degrees will not be for naught as diligence in improving ones mind must always find employment in entertaining the spirit during a lifetime of artless routine.  There will always be an opportunity to move up in the world for your daughters, so take care to educate them as well as you can and guard their excesses lest they be thought below the station of the company they intend to keep. As for your sons, the militia is an honorable profession.

I beg to take leave of you now but I hope this missive has had the effect of good persuasion and that you will in every way endeavor to exert yourself to optimism and hope.  It can not be long now before we shall be required to adjust to our reduced circumstances, which will affect in us a discipline to such an extent that will in time reduce the surplus population.   To be sure,  pliancy and resiliance of spirit will serve ourselves and our future masters well.

Your most humble and obediant servant, etc.,

Riverdaughter

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Happy Labor Day to those of you who still have jobs!

Since I cut the cord, I have been blissfully unaware of all the meme pushing out there.  Lambert says there has been quite a stir on the Democratic side over the Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC.  A couple of days ago, I checked out the youtube video of it but couldn’t get past the first few minutes.  But it wasn’t because he sounded incoherent.

It was because I was so touched that Clint Eastwood remembered the unemployed that I didn’t want to see the rest of it where he might have gone completely off the rails.

Remember when Ross Perot went on and on about the deficit being the crazy aunt in the attic or wherever?    Well, he always was one sandwich short of a picnic.  Nowadays, all you hear about is the deficit.  One party is going to gouge us.  One party is going to gouge us and ask for a token sacrifice from the bonus class.

No one is talking about unemployment except everybody I know.  Because everybody I know has been laid off, got a new job, got laid off again, is about to get laid off, is retraining before they get laid off.  Layoff is inevitable.  It’s a fact of life now.

Just because an old semi-conservative Hollywood star talks about unemployment in front of a bunch of heartless, mean spirited rich people doesn’t mean that his criticism of Obama and the Democrats is incorrect.  As Karl Rove said recently, you don’t have to get personal.  The truth is the best thing the Republicans have going for them.  They might have caused the crisis to begin with but they weren’t in charge when the decision was made to ignore the unemployed so the bankers wouldn’t feel inconvenienced.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s something the Republicans would definitely do but voters never expected that kind of behavior from Democrats.

All I want to hear from the Democrats in Charlotte is how they are going to deal with Unemployment.  I don’t want to hear about the deficit or “entitlements”, i.e. those benefits we PREPAID, or any other stupid thing the bonus class would like to use to commandeer our attention.  I don’t want to hear about how this has been “played”, or the style, or the inside baseball, horseracey, competition.

Unemployment is not a competition.

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to watch crappy cable news coverage of things that are of no importance to me.  But I will be periodically perusing the videos coming out of the convention.  You’d better not let us unemployed people down because we may not have money anymore but we do have votes and there are a lot of us out here in the suburbs where four years ago you thought you had us in the bag.

Time to rewrite those speeches, Democrats.

*****************************************

I hate Facebook.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.

I thought I was the only one who hated Facebook.  It’s not like I don’t want to be social. It’s just that I don’t like the interface or any of the stupid things people have to do in order to remain relevant.  I have an account but I NEVER use it except if I have to sign into the damn thing in order to get registered for a sweepstakes at my favorite design blogs.  If I had bothered to accept all the friend invitations I received since 2008, I’d look like one of the most popular people on Facebook.  We hit 58,000+ unique hits here at  The Confluence on one day in 2008.  Everybody wanted to be my friend (I don’t take this as an indication of the attractiveness of my many wonderful qualities or charisma.  As if. It’s just what people do, they “friend” you when you hit their radar).  And I’m sure that most of you are very lovely people…

But I hate Facebook.  Yep, I just hate it.  I’m right up there with George Clooney’s hatred of Facebook when he said “he would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page”.  Fortunately, I don’t have a prostate but I know the feeling.  Er, not of cold hands in my rectum.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Well, anyway, you know what I mean.  I don’t want to get into too many examples and extended metaphors.  Let’s just say that Facebook requires me to use my brain in ways that I find unnatural.  As a person whose former profession involved quite a bit of learning new interfaces, Facebook is non-intuitive to me and besides, why?  Just… why?  I don’t understand what is the big draw?  Don’t people get enough of my trivialities and whining here?  And I’m not interested in your trivialities and whining anymore than you’re interested in mine.  Post a blog and I’ll read it.  I want to hear your thoughts and the way you’re figuring things out in writing, your internal monologue.  That’s interesting.  That you’re eating breakfast?  Not interesting.

So, on the final day of the summer season, but not the season of summer, I’m stepping away from all the tech for awhile so I can do other stuff.  Maybe go outside, go shopping for the kid’s school supplies, see a movie, finish cleaning my basement, you know, useful things.  Don’t look for me on Facebook.