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Politicians are constantly moralizing about the "dignity of work." I'm all for being able to pay the bills, but I find the phrase condescending, as though people in need of the social safety net don't quite grasp the concept of a job. And plenty of jobs are lacking in dignity; I've worked a few myself.

While doing some image research for this cartoon, I made a fascinating discovery. Did you know the Porta-john industry has its own trade publication, Portable Restroom Operator Monthly? Or that the 2014 Pumper and Cleaner Expo, billed as "the largest annual event in the world for the liquid waste industry," will be held next week in Indianapolis? Not to suggest such work is undignified, mind you. But I bet they earn their pay.

Get a signed print of this cartoon from the artist. Follow Jen on Twitter and Facebook.

Originally posted to Comics on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The elite want their workers to be as dignified (23+ / 0-)

    as Carson on Downton Abbey.

    A respectful and well mannered working class is necessary for a well run estate.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:01:59 AM PST

  •  Work sucks (20+ / 0-)

    We've got a society that runs on busy work when we could be doing a lot less. But to do anything else would mean getting rid of capitalism, and god forbid we do that.

    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

    by AoT on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:03:52 AM PST

    •  Hey, what are you? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Aunt Pat, Hohenzollern, cspivey

      Some kind of Commie or something? Living in Sir Thomas More's Utopia? Or the Land of Oz?

      Note when those were written . . . and I believe Sir Thomas More modeled Utopia after the Inca civilization. So . . . South American Exceptionalism! LOL

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:09:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a correction--working for SOMEONE ELSE sucks (12+ / 0-)

      I work at plenty of things and always enjoy it. Alas, though, I get paid for virtually nothing that I do--which of course is not why I do it.  ;)

      But yes, I see no reason why we should all waste our entire lives at jobs we hate just putting money into someone else's pocket.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:23:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All the paper-pushing bureaucrats in health care, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher, AoT, JerryNA

      insurance, finance -- doing busy work things that computers could do better, if they actually need to be done at all.

    •  forget getting rid of Capitalism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, JerryNA

      Get the hidden agenda, lobbyist friendly, for-sale, empty suits out of the Government. If people can survive on minimum wage, let the suits take a pay cut. Plenty of selfless people out there ready to take the job. With todays approval ratings for congress, its hard to imagine anyone doing worse. Then again, if the middle class had more Bernie Sanders, I'm sure greedy meddlers would work behind the scenes to engineer some kind of chaos, just to punish Americans for saying enough is enough.

      •  That would still mean we all need jobs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Broken, metalnun

        even though we don't all need to work to make everything we need. That will be true as long as we have capitalism. The things you're talking about are symptoms of capitalism, not some sort of aberration.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:26:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And they say the private companies are more .. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      efficient than the government. I have worked in big corporations for the past 20 years where there is only 'busy work' of the non-productive kind.

      We've got a society that runs on busy work when we could be doing a lot less.
    •  I Always Liked The Woodstock Movie (0+ / 0-)

      where someone was sure to get film of the guy cleaning out a huge row of porta-potties, who was so laconic about it, that one thinks this guy is the real 'elite'.

      I can really relate to the last frame of the cartoon.

      I've had a whole string of dishline/janitor jobs, and never made much, but I'm really good at that kind of work, plus, you don't have to think much while you do it, you can think about everything ELSE.

      Like, if corporations are people now....

  •  Congress worked 126 days in 2013. (30+ / 0-)

    This year it is scheduled to work 113 days.  

    I am sure they are doing one of those "empathy experiments" and working less to try to understand the plight of the under-employed, right?  Because no way would they want to be undignified and not work!!  Not our GOP-led House of Representatives.  Nuh-uh.  

    (/snark)

    Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

    by koosah on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:06:35 AM PST

    •  best comment - i hope a journalist reads this and (8+ / 0-)

      uses it the next time some Republican talks about the dignity of work.

      Something like, how do you fee on the other 252 days of the year NOT working?  Do you feel undignified?

    •  That 126 days was the time they put in allegely (10+ / 0-)

      "working for the American people".....if you want to believe the lie that they actually work for the American people.

      They put in a whole lot more hours than that, but all those hours are put in for their own benefit.

      I'm talking about the time they clock collecting legalized bribes......
      I'm sorry, I meant to say "fundraising" and "meeting with lobbyists" which is their main focus.

      •  Precisely. Their "extra-curricular" work is still (15+ / 0-)

        work, but when a poor person spends any time doing anything else besides cramming their nose to the proverbial grindstone--time volunteering in their child's school, or caring for a sick relative or helping their elderly parents maintain independence or (heaven's, no!) time being a part of some community organization or cause--well, they're just shiftless, lazy slack-about takers at that point, aren't they?

        Rich people's spare time is earned.  Poor people's spare time (if they have any) is wasted time they could spend working more.  

         

        Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

        by koosah on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:37:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very true (5+ / 0-)

          But then when the elderly parents are left on their own, when the children are raised by ansentee parents, and turn out rotten--It's our fault again for not doing those extra curricular "jobs"

          What if we made money worthless.

          What would they do then?

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:16:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I might add that on top of that, imo (8+ / 0-)

          lower wage workers now have to work multiple jobs to even attempt to have the economic security that could be secured with ONE job in the roughly late '40's to early '80's era..
          and middle and upper middle class workers work for companies that "run lean" meaning that 2 workers do the work of 3,
          And 'Being competitive" means that many are robbed of their weekend and evening time.
          Time that would be spent with their families.

          A benefit of this game to the greedheads is if you keep workers scrambling without a moment's rest to stop and think they are much easier to keep under thumb, control and manipulate.

          •  "The growth of leisure time" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW, JerryNA

            In the '50s and '60s the punditocracy worried about the "growth of leisure time". The newly-anointed "middle class" in their mushroom suburbs were reportedly enjoying disturbing amounts of it. Women were particularly idle because of all the new "labor-saving devices" that the post-war consumer economy lavished on the pampered beings.

            •  No leisure time means no time to participate in (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, Calamity Jean

              politics, meaning no time to participate in Democracy.

              After work and family obligations are met, many people today barely have time to follow what's going on in American Government, never mind participate.

              Divide us into powerless little isolated units, keep us scrambling constantly without a break and bombard us with distractions and propaganda (low information voters) and you have a population that is easily lied to and controlled.

              When people take the time to think about what's going on, join together, get educated, participate and take action the little cons games that we are being subjected too will fall apart.

  •  How about the dignity of picking cotton (17+ / 0-)

    for the "Plantation Job Creators"? (Those who claimed they would go out of business if slavery were abolished?)

    This from a Congress who works three days a week to repeatedly try to pass the "Repeal the Job Mooshing and Job Smooshing ObamaCare and Jobs Act" and then takes a two week Groundhog Day vacation?

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:06:40 AM PST

  •  Say Hello (24+ / 0-)

    For what little it is worth, I say hello to everyone doing manual labor I pass on the street.  This morning that was the grounds keeping crew in my neighborhood, the people at the coffee shop, the buy cleaning up the parking lot at the bus stop and the crew doing work on the street.  I always say thank you.

    I don't walk past people like they are invisible.  I find doing that to be creepy.

    I also say hello to my rich, white neighbors some of whom say hello back.

    I've been a lawyer for 27 years and I know and work with people of every sort of background.  I've learned something from nearly all of them.

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

    by wjhamilton29464 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:09:44 AM PST

  •  At this point, I'm pretty fed-up... (4+ / 0-)

    ...with the 1% (particularly those who have gamed the system). I wouldn't be sad at all if they all got an incurable diesease. And their insurance got cancelled.

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:11:16 AM PST

  •  since, according to the IRS, less than 20% of all (11+ / 0-)

    income reported from the top 1% of earners is actually job income from salary (all the rest is "unearned income" from stock dividends or bond interest payments), one must wonder why, if "jobs" are such wonderful character-building things, most rich people don't have one, and have never worked a day in their lives (particularly since so many wealthy people got their wealth the old-fashioned way--they inherited it).

    "Jobs" are for the little people, dahling.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:20:00 AM PST

    •  why is all 401 money taxed as income (9+ / 0-)

      while the 1% get taxed as investment income.  Most of people's 401 money is on the growth, yet we have to pay as if it was all earned income.  But if we were just wealthy investors, then all that growth is protected.

    •  I beg to differ. (0+ / 0-)

      When your money is at risk, working to fund businesses that provide jobs for others, any increase in your capital is earned.  

      “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

      by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:55:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  horse shit (9+ / 0-)

        Any money that you didn't work for, isn't earned.  Period. For many of these rich fucks, the only effort they made to get their fortune was to take the trouble to be born. Or write a big check to a stockbroker.

        PS--if the rich are such benevolent job-creators and have all this money which they selflessly devote to providing us all with good-paying jobs, then where the fuck are all the created jobs. The ones they haven't sent to Indonesia where they can pay people fifty cents a day, I mean.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:06:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  here's the problem (8+ / 0-)

        they don't put their money at risk to create jobs, they put their money at risk to make more money. with the consequence that MAYBE some jobs are created in the process as a byproduct.

        •  ...and another problem... (7+ / 0-)

          These days, many of them aren't even putting their own money at risk. They're "leveraging" other people's money, putting together deals and taking a cut without risking a dime of their own money. Investment bankers don't create jobs. They extract wealth.

        •  How do you think passive income is earned? (0+ / 0-)

          Mostly through stocks and bonds.   There is  virtually no investment vehicle today, apart from a .50% CD maybe,  where your money can grow free of risk, and that money is only taxed at a lower rate to encourage investment.  

          If Lenny's logic were to be followed, all of the profit on the retirement funds of us peons should be confiscated, as we didn't put it at risk or "earn it" by actually working for it.  

          I don't hate the rich.  I want to be rich.  I'll probably never be rich, but I work hard to try to get there.  I don't hate the poor.  Neither do I want to be poor. I'll probably never be poor, either, because I work hard to avoid being poor.  I keep paddling, like most of us, to keep my head above water.   Don't take my life preserver, please.   Learn to swim.

          Last, we can't make everybody equal by taxing the rich in a punitive fashion and redistributing all of the world's "non-earned" income because there are not enough "rich people" to do that and, even if we could, there will be no one to left to tax "progressively".  

          Logic, not demagoguery, please.  

          “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

          by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:32:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Keep watching Fox News (0+ / 0-)

            You are their perfect little critter. That ignorant middle class individual who is convinced everyone has a "fair opportunity" in this great Nation. All you have to do is work harder and longer and the wealth will find its way to you. Either that or you were also born into a comfortable living that you are able to float on when your employer doesn't raise your pay to keep up with inflation but does raise the CEO's pay by 200% to keep up with inflation. I would guess that CEO may be of close relation to you, so you don't need to worry. I'm sick of people like you who consider a "safety net" a rich relative who can care for you when your down. Bad news for you, not everyone was born into a wealthy family. We don't all have people to catch us if our jobs fail us. That's why "safety nets" are so critical to a society.

            •  I was born into a large family that ate (0+ / 0-)

              government cheese, was cold in the winter, hot in the summer,  wore other people's hand me downs and was the beneficiary of food stamps.  I was ashamed of being poor, so I worked from the time I was old enough and worked even harder to get a good education.   Everyone will not be lucky enough to get "wealthy", but almost no one has to stay poor and dependent, unless they are sick or have other issues, like mental illness or drug addiction.    

              I own my own business now.  I don't mind paying higher taxes than I would if I had stayed poor.  I know that I have to give back.  I also know that anyone who wants to can do what I did.  

              “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

              by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:54:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your last line fails, big time. (Not the rest.) (0+ / 0-)

                Not everyone has the opportunity to build their own business. That opportunity takes basic education, business education and financial knowledge (even if self-taught, it takes time), some source of capital for tools/equipment or store space or products (etc.). Lots of people want to start their own businesses or work their way up in their jobs, but cannot. Since you have already built your business, chances are that you benefitted from free public education and much lower school tuition (if you attended college). Things are different now than when you were younger (not a cliche), and social/economic mobility is much less (studied and published). In addition, your lack of empathy makes you sound like a Republican (I'm sure you are not meaning to be so offensive), though it is more likely that you're unaware of these matters.

      •  What capital is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, Nattiq

        The congealed stolen past labor of others.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

        by ActivistGuy on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:58:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So any money that I save is stolen from others? (0+ / 0-)

          Capital is the fruit of my accumulated labor.  Like the ant, and not the grasshopper, I have stored my excess production for use by me and my family in lean times.  I can store as much as I would like, without stealing from others.  

          Anyone who would try to take it from me to feed the grasshopper will have to be very smart or very well armed.  

          “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

          by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:27:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  YOU may be able to "Store as much as I would like" (0+ / 0-)

            but that does not apply to the majority of Americans in today's economy. People like you are so detrimental to this Nation. You are truly convinced that people are only poor because they are lazy and unwilling to work. And you are also convinced that you had no benefits that made it much easier for you. It's only "your own hard work" that made you financially comfortable and able to "store" money. How can people be so blind to reality?

            •  I was poor. Now I am not. (0+ / 0-)

              I have never met a hard working person who stayed poor for very long.   I had plenty of benefits, and when I did not need them anymore, I stopped taking them and started paying for them.  

              People like me and most of middle class America carry this nation, buddy.  

              “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

              by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:58:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  YOU had plenty of benefits. Many of those are Gone (0+ / 0-)

                Please, SpamNunn, read other diaries about how anti-poverty programs have been consistently reduced and reduced then eliminated over the past few decades. Can you be that unaware? It has been going from a War on Poverty under LBJ to a War Against the Poor under Reagan and Bush 1 and Clinton and Bush 2 and even Obama. Centrist Dems have gone along with cutting the social safety net that helped you.

  •  Thank god the union won the civil war (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, dewtx, Lily O Lady

    In the words of the Firesign Theatre, "Nobody gotts to be a slave all de time no more, we goin' ta take turns!"

  •  I used to think all work was honorable, but (7+ / 0-)

    I'm not so sure about the "work" done by highly-compensated executives and politicians.

  •  Easier to believe in the dignity of work if you've (9+ / 0-)

    spent long periods unable to find any.

    Hard to feel much worth when you are skirting calls with blocked numbers and fearing people coming up to your door with clipboards in their hands.  Or, for that matter, where you'll go when that door isn't yours any more.

    [Note: What follows is not an endorsement for indentured servitude.  I believe that people should be paid fairly for what they do.]

    Sometimes the dignity comes from the work itself.
    Sometimes it doesn't.

    When you've lived that way for any period of time, you appreciate the simple ability to not avert your eyes when friends talk about their vacations or their date nights.
    You appreciate being able to take care of your family.
    There is real dignity in that.

    It's a crime that the puffed up egotists treat the people who actually make their money for them so badly.  It's a crime that such jackasses fail to appreciate what is done for them.

    But that's a different topic.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:33:42 AM PST

  •  When I first got into marketing in the 1980s (7+ / 0-)

    I was amazed that there was, at the time, a trade publication for anything I could think of and quite a few I had not even imagined. I always thought high school counselors should have been on the mailing list of the advertising specification catalog that we had in our shop. It was like the old yellow pages of a big county area, over a thousand pages of tiny type with listings and the basic ad size requirements.

    Another observation, there is the old saw about doctors and plumbers being worthless till you need one. When you need one you will pay any price to get him there...and when he is done... he rips you off. Actually, the plumber in an emergency is pretty cheap.

    And on the subject of jobs with no respect, the people that work at the water department, the garbage company, and the sewage department have more of an effect on your quality of life and health than the entire medical profession.

    Lot of ObamaCare news but even free medical will not be worth much if we keep ruining our water supply, don't properly handle our garbage and treat our waste.

    "You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see." Ann Althouse, Conservative Thoughtmeister

    by Bill Section 147 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:36:33 AM PST

  •  Mittens (15+ / 0-)

    I remember Mitt Romney getting called out for this lovely hypocrisy.  He lectured at mothers on public assistance to get jobs "so that they would know the dignity of work", but then got all defensive when it was pointed out that Ann Romney voluntarily stayed home to raise their kids.

    "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

    by northbronx on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:40:03 AM PST

    •  Workers and Parasites (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, swampyankee, stevemb, olpdog, JerryNA

      Mitt Romney and his wife Ann warmly recounted how poor dear Mittens had to sell some of his inherited stock to pay for their living expenses when he went to Harvard Business so that neither he nor Ann had to "enjoy the dignity of work".   They told how Ann made Mittens grilled tuna fish sandwiches using an iron and an ironing board because they were so, uh, poor-ish?  O the indignity of the ironing board!  O the inhumanity of tuna fish!

      Mitt and Ann and folks who leech off of the dignity of other people's work (inheritances) are parasites, arrogant lecturing parasites who scold others for being "takers".  Just because you know or are related to the people you leech off of, doesn't make you not a "taker", it just makes you a more deluded ignorant and arrogant taker.

      O for the days of the quiet "off the radar" rich, those who felt it was unseemly to flaunt or lecture, but simply to enjoy a dissolute and comfortable existence following only one rule: never touch the principal, you leave it for the next parasite.

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:33:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans preach about "dignity of work" (16+ / 0-)

    while doing all they can to perpetuate the existence of workplaces in which employees are powerless nobodies, defenseless against the whims of their bosses. They preach about the "dignity of work" while redefining "work" to mean "working for someone else" -- not working in the home, not freelancing, not starting one's own business -- and condemning the ACA for "rewarding people for not working" when it allows them the flexibility to leave their current jobs. They preach about the "dignity of work" while opposing increases in wages, opposing stable pension benefits, AND opposing a safety net for the poor and precariously employed. These positions seem absurd and contradictory until you understand what they're really saying to American workers: "God created you to serve your betters. You will serve them, and you will be grateful for it, and you will not complain."

    "Dignity" literally means "worth" (fr. L. dignus). Wise people understand that every person is born with equal worth. Republicans continue to believe, and to preach, that some people are worthy and others aren't. If you're a worker, your worth -- your "dignity" -- is reflected in how faithfully you adopt the attitude of Boxer in Animal Farm. It most certainly does not mean you're in any way the equal of your boss.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:48:39 AM PST

    •  At least Republicans are consistent (4+ / 0-)

      Starve (insert anything that benefits the 99% here) until it can no longer function then blame it for not functioning.

      The Republican's noise machine is deafening - which is why it's all the more frustrating that many of our Dems sit with their thumbs up their asses and make like they haven't a clue.

      (Past) time to make some noise, folks!

      Strange but not a stranger.

      by jnww on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:08:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  New Rule: GOPers are not allowed to speak (4+ / 0-)

      on subjects they know nothing about.

      That would include the topic of Dignity in general.

      Who knows with all this quiet, we might be able to hear ourselves think for once.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:13:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pope Francis just spoke on the dignity of work: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hbk, Brown Thrasher
    Today, "we can no longer say what St. Paul said, 'Who will not work, should not eat,' but we have to say, 'He who does not work has lost his dignity' because he cannot find any opportunities for work."

    A society that cannot offer a person the possibility of work is a society that "has stripped this person of dignity," he said.

    Work is part of God's loving plan for humanity, who is called to participate in his act of creation, the Pope said.

    When, in the Book of Genesis, the Lord told Adam and Eve to "fill the earth and subdue it," the pope said that "didn't mean to exploit it, but cultivate it, safeguard it, take care of his work."

    "Work is part of God's loving plan; we are called to cultivate and safeguard all of creation's resources and this is how we participate in the act of creation," he said.

    http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org/...

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:53:11 AM PST

  •  I'm reminded of the old Martin Mull joke... (8+ / 0-)

    I'm reminded of the old Martin Mull joke...

    Columbus and his men are near to the New World but don't know it yet. They're tired, and afraid they're lost. Food supplies are almost gone.

    The first mate comes to Columbus and says "Captain, the men haven't eaten in days."

    Columbus replies "Well, FORCE them!"

    The right wing canard about the jobless is that it's somehow their choice not to work. Clueless.

  •  The same politicians who work less than half (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, JeffW, JerryNA, Calamity Jean

    the year? The same politicians who are millionaires? The same politicians who make it harder for us to have living wages and decent healthcare whilst they bathe in wealth and the best healthcare in the world?

    Are THOSE the same politicians who tell us we're lazy?

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:04:26 AM PST

  •  the thing that always gets me with this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, JeffW, JerryNA, Calamity Jean

    is the base assumption that higher paid people ipso facto work harder.

    Yet it's not the millionaires who have to work 16 hours a day 6 days a week typically to earn a living. I'm sure some perhaps do work that hard. I would bet most don't. And I doubt many do very much physical labor in the process either.

    It's rather amazing that people do actual "work" in the sense of physical labor are actually seen as the lowest valued workers in the work force.

    Meanwhile, we give tax breaks to people who literally do nothing but sit at a computer and move money around.

  •  I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, OHdog, JeffW, Hohenzollern

    ...that Bill in Portland Maine has yet to include the 2014 Pumper and Cleaner Expo in the C&J Countdown section!

    •  At music festivals and similar events the cleaners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      and pumpers of the port-a-jons (Honey Wagons) always get a standing ovation from nearby campers, particularly Sunday morning because of what happens Saturday night.

      Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

      by OHdog on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:06:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Theres a trade magazine for EVERYTHING (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    Believe me, I've worked in the trade publication industry before. It's the most boring work in the world, but I remember reading that a lot of the journalism jobs are at these kinds of publications.

    I was a graphic artist at one, so my job was really boring. They're all templated to hell and back.

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.
    YOU'RE NOT ALEXANDER!

    by samfish on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:08:14 AM PST

  •  Can we also get past the 3 job meme? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, JerryNA

    It's as if people in service industries - customer support included - aren't considered serious about working unless they have the proverbial 3 part time jobs.  Nevermind it's 3 applicants to each job as it is, and if you're able to get one, or two, the first one constantly keeps you on call and changes up the hours so you can't reliably commit to anything else.  Not even your family.  Luck you, you work nights now!  Hell, I'm LOOKING for a night job hoping there will be more availability.  

    •  Yet, diarists here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nattiq

      Extoll the virtues of illegal immigrants. E-VERIFY NOW, for all hires!! That's all the reform we need.

      •  It's the GOP who want "illegals", as they call 'em (0+ / 0-)

        But corporations who serially hire illegal immigrants get a slap on the wrist, not jail time for the CEOs. (Tyson Foods?) Undocumented immigrants work for lower than minimum wage, get no benefits, are afraid to report when they get hurt or underpaid or ripped off by the employer. Their families can't sue for a family member's death (see the diary on DK about construction work in Texas)! DK diarists in general want legalization and paths to citizenship, not maintaining an exploitative system. You are confusing us with the Tea Baggers, Irvman.

  •  I was reminded of this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RadGal70

    Woodstock Port-O-San Interview

    While doing some image research for this cartoon, I made a fascinating discovery. Did you know the Porta-john industry has its own trade publication, Portable Restroom Operator Monthly? Or that the 2014 Pumper and Cleaner Expo, billed as "the largest annual event in the world for the liquid waste industry," will be held next week in Indianapolis? Not to suggest such work is undignified, mind you. But I bet they earn their pay.
  •  Everything I learned about the dignity of work... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, TomFromNJ, JeffW, JerryNA

    I learned from an internship at a sewer district and by watching Dirty Jobs on Discovery.

      - Train and equip your employees properly.
      - Make SAFETY the number 1 priority.
      - No job is to demeaning for the boss to understand or do, if necessary.
      - Everyone starting off at the bottom has a path to the top if they're willing to train and work hard (The sewer district was big on training and promoting from within.  They would encourage desk clerks to get sewer inspection training--big money!)
      - Foster an understanding of how important the job is.  
      - Empower your employee to solve problems.
      - Encourage an attitude of camaraderie and mutual respect.  We're all in this together.

    If you treat people with respect, it doesn't matter how dirty the job is.  Some of the happiest and most fulfilled people I ever met worked at that sewer district.

  •  I wonder how many billionaires (5+ / 0-)

    Ever packed dog biscuits, swept floors and cleaned bathrooms, sheared sheet metal to size, pressed felt to thickness.  I actually got $5.25 an hour for the felt. The most any of those jobs paid.  Those are hard work, with nothing but criticism of any screw-up, the assumption is of perfect performance, no one ever thanks you or congratulates you for a job well done.  Just gives you the minimum wage.  And then I see how much they charge in stores for those high-end dog biscuits, and know that the boss got more out of my time than I did.  Again, and until I start hearing Dem pols stand up and say it, I guess I have to be the one that does:

    Labor creates all wealth!

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:50:00 AM PST

  •  ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EMBA30, JeffW, JerryNA
    “The work ethic is not a traditional value. It is a Johnny-come-lately idea. In ancient times, work was considered a disgrace inflicted on those who had failed to amass a nest egg through imperial conquest, profitable marriage, or in forms of organized looting”
        Barbara Ehrenreich   

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:57:07 AM PST

  •  Wiedemann beer (4+ / 0-)

    Reminds me of a commercial from about 50 years ago for Wiedemann beer out of Cincinnati.  It was a cartoon with a janitor coming in to clean an office.  The businessman was talking to her as she toiled.  He asked her what she did on her vacation, and she replied that she went on an African safari.  He said that sounded great, what happened?  She said that a lion ate her.  He said "Well Marge, that doesn't make sense.  If a lion ate you, you'd be dead."

    As she picks up the desk with one hand and mops underneath it with the other she replied "You call this living?"

    Hoping someday to find it on youtube.

  •  Time to usurp that meme and reframe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, JerryNA, Calamity Jean

    Dignity comes not from the work performed*, but from the equitable distribution of the fruits of that labor and resultant quality of life.  The 1%ers framing is trying very hard to focus on the input - not the cockeyed results they have engineered.

    How about instead of 'The Dignity of Work' we highlight the result, or lack there of:

    'The dignity of Fair Pay'
    or
    'The dignity of a Living Wage'

    Suggestions.....

    *The work itself can be both dignifying (Louis Pasteur, MLK, the Meals-on-Wheels volunteer) and indignifying (Frank Lutz, Jamie Dimon), but in general those are the outliers.

    •  Tweak to my first paragraph (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Dignity comes not from the work performed, but from the quality of life that work procures.  Work is the means; a fulfilling life in a prosperous, well run, sustainable and fair society is the goal.  A society that's better, stronger and more fair for our kids than it was for us.  The 1%ers framing is trying very hard to focus on the input - not the cockeyed results and slow demise they have engineered.

  •  Industrial Maintenance Magazine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, JerryNA

    Speaking of "Portable Restroom Operator Monthly," when I was a scholarship student sweeping floors and washing blackboards at a posh New England prep school, I noticed that the head janitor subscribed to "Industrual Maintenance" magazine.  Besides Latin, diagaramming sentences, calculus and the like, one of the most important things I learned before trotting off to the Ivies was that a pushbroom is supposed to be pushed in one direction only.  

    I learned another, far more important lesson washing dishes through college.  I worked the lunch shift together with an old townie-type union guy.  I began to notice that, whenever the "lunch rush" hit, he coincidentally had to take a long bathroom break.  My initial reaction was resentment -- he was ducking out of his share of the work.  But it eventually dawned on me:  in the long run, was it going to make my life less fulfilling to have to handle a disproportionate share of the lunch rush for a few years short years before the glass-tower, 1%-type life that awaited me?  No.  Did it make a meaningful difference in his quality of life?  Yes.  

    My father, may he rest in peace, was a construction worker, and he taught me yet another lesson:  there is dignity in all work.  

    Putting this all together, I count my blessings and remember to tip lavishly, among other things.

  •  Condescending, isn't it? (4+ / 0-)

    This idea that only rich people have a work ethic as evidenced by them being rich.  Conversely, the less money you have, the more lazy you must be.  

    This attitude pisses me off.  

    •  Beyond condescending (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      also completely insulting and offensive to all of the "work" that isn't compensated by a wage or a profit or anything monetary.

      It is as if no one ever got rich by cheating or lying or stealing.

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:24:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dream Job? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    I was looking for a potential temp job for my younger daughter when I came across this on on the Government jobs website....for $16.57/hr....

    PHYSICAL DEMANDS / WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work is performed in the field, laboratory, and in the office. Field work involves working in and out the water and operating motorized and non-motorized water craft in a dynamic coastal environment. The work is partially sedentary with prolonged standing and bending often required for data collection. Walking long distances over uneven terrain, in soft mud, or in water is required. The incumbent will typically hike and/or canoe or kayak several miles per day, up to 10 miles per week.  The majority of the work will be performed outdoors, sometimes under adverse weather conditions, including exposure to temperatures up to 90 degrees or more in the summer and near or below freezing in fall.  Heavy items (e.g., packs and equipment up to 40 pounds) must be lifted and carried long distances on a routine basis. Swimming, wading, and snorkeling in cold ocean waters (June - September) with tidal currents will be required to install and maintain equipment, and collect data. Field work will be performed in areas of heavy poison ivy and briar and exposure to biting and stinging insects including mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer ticks. In addition, field work will be performed in mucky / muddy habitats such as marshes, and will involve wearing and walking in chest waders and wet suits, and the capture / handling of marine invertebrates and fish. Transportation to and from field work sites will be by truck.  Laboratory work involves exposure to hazardous chemicals and long periods of standing. Planning, data entry and analysis will be performed in an indoor office setting, and may require long periods of sitting in front of a computer.
    Not bad, eh?  Heavy poison ivy (I am highly allergic to PI....my 1st job was with the NYC Parks Dept.....3 weeks on the job followed by 3 weeks of torture with PI over much of my body), deer ticks (nice potential for getting Lyme's Disease), and handling hazardous chemicals....

    Since it is a temp job probably limited benefits.  Still, better than minimum wage I guess....Meanwhile, if you are a lawyer for Gov Christie you get $600/hr most likely with expenses paid....

  •  I'd like to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq, Calamity Jean

    those coddled babies mop hot tar on a roof in Houston in August, or work a split shift at Denny's, or drive a cab for 12 hours, or enter data into a mainframe all day, or wipe 125 butts in a nursing home, or be responsible for cleaning an elementary school. Dignity of work my ass. Any politician that uses that term ought to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

  •  Terrific cartoon... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern

    you're my favorite cartoonist here. :)

    Healing the universe is an inside job. - Thomas, Mindwalk

    by roses on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:37:31 AM PST

  •  Someone should send this cartoon to Kevin Drum n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Quotes on hard work (0+ / 0-)

    “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

    “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” -Booker T. Washington

    “There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” -Henry Ford

    “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” -The Apostle Paul

  •  The dignity of work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Calamity Jean

    When people are paid less than a living wage... work is dishonored. When the tax code levies higher taxes on those who work than on those who make money gambling on Wall Street...work is dishonored. When workers are denied the right to organize to promote better working conditions...work is dishonored.  

  •  The wealthy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    don't want the government to provide you with an empty, unfulfilling life. They don't want the government to provide you with a monthly check so small that you struggle to get by on it. They don't want the government to treat you like a petty thief or a stupid child. They don't want your livelihood to depend on the beneficence of a faceless, untouchable bureaucracy or some public official.

    Instead, they want private businesses to provide you with an empty, unfulfilling life. They want private businesses to provide you with a paycheck so small that you struggle to get by on it. They want private businesses to treat you like a petty thief or a stupid child. They want your livelihood to depend on the beneficence of HR, a faceless, bureaucratic accounting practice, or some corporate executive or small business owner who sees you as a means to his wealth.

    One way or another, whether it's through taxes, employment, or crime, they're going to have to pay for you... and since they're going to pay for you anyway, they would prefer that you were helping them profit from it, and that they can abuse and bully you directly.

    A few hundred years ago, work was considered so undignified that nobles refused to engage in it, even when the alternative was real poverty. Much like today, only the lower classes actually worked for a living. Even considering the Puritan ideals that influenced this country's early development, things have not changed so much since then that begging to work a shit job for minimum wage has become dignified.

  •  Hahaha! (0+ / 0-)

    "While doing some image research for this cartoon, I made a fascinating discovery. Did you know the Porta-john industry has its own trade publication, Portable Restroom Operator Monthly? Or that the 2014 Pumper and Cleaner Expo, billed as "the largest annual event in the world for the liquid waste industry," will be held next week in Indianapolis? Not to suggest such work is undignified, mind you. But I bet they earn their pay."

    You BET your ass they do! Especially at Burning Man!

  •  Are you a valued employee? (0+ / 0-)

     The measure of the value of a thing is how much we would sacrifice to obtain it. If your employer is generous with wages and benefits, that means he values your work and by implication, you.

    What does this have to do with the "dignity of work"?  Your work enhances your sense of dignity when
    you know your contribution to your employer, the family you may be supporting, your community and our collective future are valued in deeds as well as words.  An employer who treats you like shit is saying in effect that your labor is of little value to him.  You swallow the implied disdain when you become convinced you would be valued no better by other employers.  Chances are, for the folks at the bottom of our economy today, that's  an accurate assessment of their job prospects.

    So just how is working under oppressive conditions supposed to build our sense of dignity?  We
    don't  need a sociology textbook to answer that one.  Many of us have lived it, and although we may not be able to articulate our answer, we feel it in our bones:  Our working lives are a source of discouragement, not dignity.  

  •  Work will have dignity when it pays a living wage. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Oh boy (0+ / 0-)

    The plutocrats demand " there is dignity in work" how true. It would be nice if those wealthy morons took a heavy draught of their own medicine. Imagine the outcome if some hedge funder conned the Kochs' into putting all their money in the hedge fund managers hands. And then "POOF" it's all gone. Lost. Stolen, at the hands of a criminal. How they would scream and DEMAND the government bail them out. The Kochs et al DO operate as hedge funders. They don't worry about looting the economy. Maybe we the working class should "do as they do, not as they say". After all that is the example they have set, we just need to adopt their definition of dignity.

  •  Pay (0+ / 0-)

    The dignity of work comes with the dignity of pay. If you pay people little or nothing they do not feel dignified but instead feel like they have been taken advantage of.
    The Russians say that we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.
    In the US we work our butts off and they tell us we should work even harder. They give us fairy tails about how working hard is a good thing while they take all of the money from that hard work and tell us to work harder, harder and harder.
    Hard work is a sucker ploy unless it is coupled to hard pay.

  •  Cartoons like that will be funny only (0+ / 0-)

    until the U.S. revokes the minimum wage, allows child labor again, and outlaws unions.

    We're well on the way there already. I think there's a little wiggle room left revolving around the 2014 and 2016 elections. But I'm kind of pessimistic about those, and given the Grand Old Propagandists' rage over not being able to sabotage everything in Obama's presidency, I'm quite concerned about the prospect of a GOP Senate and White House. If that happens, it's gonna get pretty ugly for the proverbial 99 percent of us.

  •  What jobs are important (0+ / 0-)

    If working class people were asked to make a list of 100 important jobs I would bet that corporate CEO, high powered financial executive and hedge fund manager would either not make the list or be at the bottom. What really moves this country is the teachers, cops, plumbers, nurses and the people who pump the crap out of port a potties. We could easily go back to a small business model economy and be just fine. Wall Street is really only for the 1% and other than your 401k plan has no real bearing on everyday people.

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