The jobs are out there, but culture is in the way

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About 20 million men between the prime working ages of 20 and 65 had no paid work in 2015, and seven million men have stopped looking altogether.

The rage and despair of some of them helped propel Donald Trump to the White House. They may be waiting for him to deliver on his promise to bring back well-paid manufacturing jobs. Economists fear a long, fruitless wait.

In the meantime, the jobs most in demand — like nursing and nurse assistants, home health care aides, occupational therapists or physical therapists — sit open.

pub. 06/2017

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4chan, basement-dwellers, and Trump

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Thus these Trump supporters hold a different sort of ideology, not one of “when will my horse come in”, but a trolling self-effacing, “I know my horse will never come in”. That is to say, younger Trump supporters know they are handing their money to someone who will never place their bets — only his own — because, after all, it’s plain as day there was never any other option.

In this sense, Trump’s incompetent, variable, and ridiculous behavior is the central pillar upon which his younger support rests.

pub. 02/2017

An easy-to-digest listicle version of smart guy Umberto Eco’s “Ur-Fascism”

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6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.

That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old “proletarians” are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

Excerpts pub. 11/1995, orig. pub. 06/1995

White working class doesn’t mean what you think

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Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money.

pub. 11/2016