I thought that I would have this website completed by now, but NOPE. I bought the domain name and the web space last November and I’m still learning on the job.
I’m still having bad ideas, working on them for several days and then trashing it all when I figure out that it stinks.
I started out with NO vision for this site, but one is slowly cohering by trial and error. When it’s finished, I’m hoping that this Constant Bleeder bullshit is something decent. We’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s a piece about a good book that I just read:
The Talkative Corpse
Hopeless Books, 2013
In this novel, a 40 year old educated man toils in minimum wage helljobs in Chicago circa 2011-12. Also, his girlfriend dumped him and he’s late on the rent for his shitty apartment.
Life has been kicking this guy in the balls ever since the internet killed his old newspaper job. Anne Sterzinger’s John Jaggo is a man under EVERYONE’S boot heel. Is he The World’s Biggest Loser or is he a kind of tarnished saint who suffers for the sins of modern living? Sterzinger argues the latter. This book is his journal, written to be sealed up, buried and discovered by people in the future. If Jaggo’s given up on happiness now, he’ll take immortality in a hundred years or so. He writes like it’s the only thing that keeps him sane.
It’s an essential perspective on the follies of the early 21st century. Sterzinger knows the sting of fluorescent lights, the horror of customer service and the terror of shitbag bosses at low-level office computer drone jobs like John Steinbeck knows Salinas Valley. Her narrator is articulate (and funny) in a well-read way. He neatly disembowels the Occupy movement (Jaggo attends a demonstration and finds it less than inspiring, to put it mildly), while also having little fondness for the fruits of capitalism.
And while everyone today has something to say about technology, Sterzinger is among the very few to talk frankly about how it’s taking away our jobs. Whatever the hell it is that you do for a living, there’s someone somewhere working on a machine, a website or a program to make your job, or even your entire industry, obsolete.
Capitalism considers the working class to be cattle, at best (and a burden, at worst), and Socialism has slid into laughable irrelevance. Most people into Socialism in 2017 are privileged bumblers. Socialism needs a strong and galvanized working class to make any sense at all. Today’s working class ain’t buying it. They’re not on board. They don’t care. They’re too busy bracing themselves for their jobs to become worthless while the rest of the world enjoys the technological innovation that made it happen. For Socialism to be relevant, the working class needs to feel relevant. And that’s the exact opposite of what’s happening.
Some in Generation X got hit extra hard with this. They went to college in the very last moments that a degree in the Humanities was still considered worthwhile. They graduated into a precarious job market and so heavy in debt that a suspicious mind might think that said debt was the sole reason why they were lured into college in the first place.
On the upside, Ann Sterzinger is doing HER job as a novelist to document all of this shit. THE TALKATIVE CORPSE is a book about one sad man in 2011 and 2012, but it feels like the end of the world.
But it’s NOT the end of the world.
The brilliant stroke of this book is that it’s presented as an ancient artifact discovered by the people of an unimaginable future (their presence felt faintly in an introduction and a few scattered “translator’s notes”). Every tragedy is undercut by how its main character, and all of us, are now dust. You and I are far-gone fertilizer here, no matter what our problems or status. It’s poignant and in a way it makes us all laughable.
It’s a book that gives us exactly what we deserve.