The Angle 10/16/2018

A simple idea: an article, a link, a quote, and an angle, because the bigger narrative is better.

Today: Generational Warfare And Class Warfare Are The Same Warfare, Extraction Action, and The Price Of Throwaway People

>“This Comically Savage Election PSA Should Scare Every Millennial Into Voting in the Next Election” | Adweek

“With midterm elections around the corner, Acronym is currently trying to get young people—who historically have posted lower voter turnout rates than their older peers—to register to vote. To achieve its mission to get more young people off the sidelines and into voting booths, the group recently released a series of tongue-in-cheek, if not dark, films that mainly aim to scare millennials into casting a ballot this year.

The campaign, created pro-bono by Nail Communications, features some senior citizens talking straight into the camera as they explain why they’d prefer it if young people didn’t vote this year. The one-minute ad portrays elderly voters as out-of-touch conservatives who aren’t concerned with or bothered by the issues of today. For instance, one older woman blankly states that climate change is a “you problem,” explaining that she’ll be dead soon anyway. Another woman simply says she “can’t keep track of which lives matter.”

The point of the effort is to remind young people that Baby Boomers are essentially calling the shots when it comes to who is elected to office: according to the US Census Bureau, 70.9 percent of citizens 65 years and older voted in the last election, while only 46.1 percent of those aged 18-29 did. What’s more, a recent report from Pew Research Center found that millennials have “consistently underperformed in terms of voter turnout in midterm elections” compared with boomers when they were the same age.”

The Angle>Generational Warfare And Class Warfare Are The Same Warfare. History has a more difficult time coming to terms with or “processing” some generations than it does others. The Baby Boomer generation, for instance, ran the gamut from the Libertarian P. J. O’Rourke to the Maoist Weatherman, Joan Baez to Black Sabbath, William F. Buckley to Angela Davis. Surely the Boomer mark on history will be momentous. Millennials have nothing like that broad swath of variety and difference. Understandably so. One of the big American narratives since the end of World War II—the ascendance of Boomers—is propelled by the amount of wealth transferred to them from their parents and a 30-year economic boom that made them the most prosperous generation in the history of mankind. Likewise, one of the gloomier American narratives of our time is the possibility that Millennials will not prosper as their Boomer parents have. We assume that the obvious question in response to this is “Why?” as if Millennials are the paltry exception to a trend of ever increasing prosperity. But what if the question is “Why not?” as if the inevitability of their situation weren’t already baked in before they were born? If you know the answers to “Why not”—the end in the mid-70s of the greatest economic boom the world has ever seen; the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, housing and education; wage suppression; the after effects of the Financial Crisis—then a commercial pitting Boomers against Millennials suddenly isn’t funny at all. It’s not tongue in cheek and it’s not cute. It’s as real as it gets. It’s class warfare masquerading as generational warfare.  

>“Prisons Are Switching To Ebooks—But That’s Not A Good Thing” | Quartz

“Books that are donated by nonprofits or sent by families are free for inmates. Ebooks are not.

GTL tablets—on which inmates can also listen to music, play games, and send emails—cost Pennsylvania inmates $147 plus tax. The ebooks that are available through GTL’s propriety system cost anywhere from $3 to $25 each to download, and as the Inquirer (paywall) points out, many of them are much more expensive than they would be in the outside world; Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela’s Ashes costs nearly twice as much through the system than to read it on a Kindle. (Inmates are even charged for free books accessed via the online repository Project Gutenberg).”

The Angle>Extraction Action. Anti-neoliberal critiques of market ideology have focused for a long time on the carceral state, which historian Elizabeth Hinton defines as, “the law enforcement officers who police the streets and help maintain order—it’s the court marshals, the lawyers, the probation and parole officers and, of course, correctional officials. So, it’s all the formal institutions of the criminal justice system.” Over time one model of prison control, the “punishment model,” exemplified by the physical labor of the chain gang, has morphed into a different model, the “discipline model.” Under this regime since the early 70s, what we call “prisoners,” have become “resources” to be harvested for cash just as poor people generally are through payday lending, lotteries, check cashing places, prepaid debit cards, civil forfeiture, gamification, for-profit universities, and evictions. It was once unheard of that a prisoner could serve his time yet also be in debt to the state. Whether one is behind bars or not, the poor among us would be utterly useless if they weren’t fodder for a form of extractive capitalism that most of only interact with once we’ve run out of options.

>“Denver Set Up Storage Units For Homeless People. Now They’re Being Removed Because People Were Living Inside Them” | Time

“Some units near the Denver Rescue Mission shelter and facilities run by other nonprofit groups serving the homeless were damaged and vandalized and there were unconfirmed reports of narcotics sales and allegations of prostitution inside the containers, Conner said.

“There was a feeling that they had crossed a threshold and were making the area less stable and safe for people,” Conner said.

Homeless advocate Ray Lyall said he was not surprised by people lived in the containers.

“If it’s cold, it’s wet, I’d have slept in those things, too,” he said. “I can’t blame them for that.”

The city is talking to a nonprofit group about moving the containers to another location that would likely be gated and only available to homeless people who are seeking jobs, Conner said.”

The Angle>The Price Of Throwaway People. One of the most haunting things I’ve ever seen on television was a segment on “20/20” in the early/mid 80s. It was about the growing population of homeless people who had been released from mental institutions and had made their way to New York City. The truly haunting part that I’ll never forget was footage of someone sitting on a park bench, casually smoking a cigarette as he ripped a pigeon apart. I must’ve been in the 6th or 7th grade when I first thought “homeless people and crazy people aren’t really people.” My views have changed since then, having known a few homeless people and a lot more crazy people. But I don’t think I was in a minority of people who thought similar thoughts as we all became aware of just how many mentally ill people there were. Since then the problem of the mentally ill has morphed into the problem of the homeless and the problem of the drug addicted, which are all the same problem—the problem of reckoning with the price of people we’ve collectively chosen to throw away..


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IMAGE SOURCE: mcdonalds-2227657_1920 (CC0 Creative Commons)

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