On a random day last March, half of us went home from the office and never went back, and the other half suddenly became “heroes” for doing poorly-paid and poorly-respected jobs under a fog of dread and mostly without any improvement in pay or safety. Then millions in both groups suddenly got a new job navigating an opaque phone labyrinth until they found a loot crate labeled “enhanced unemployment benefits” that would mean they could continue to live indoors and eat while they watched the richest among us get much, much richer. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that labor relations in America have gotten tense and weird.
For example, last week Washingtonian Media CEO Cathy Merrill, who earned her job by being born, wrote that those sure are nice jobs her employees have, and she’d hate to see anything happen to ‘em. Rather than be cowed, Washingtonian employees refused to work the next day, and earned an immediate apology. This morning, staff of The Appeal posted that “[m]ore than 90 percent of our workforce has signed” union cards, and five minutes later the reorganization and layoffs were announced. In media at least, the labor conflict cycle has gotten so tight that unionization and retaliation can happen almost simultaneously now.
Workers have publicly walked off the job at Dollar General, Little Caesar’s, and Chipotle, which Alex Press describes as “a criminal enterprise built on exploitation” in Jacobin. McDonald’s employees are planning a fifteen city strike for $15/hr. One ice cream shop in Pittsburgh got national attention for attracting workers by doubling their wages, instead of whining that no one wants to make owners rich by working for pennies anymore. The Washington Post’s Heather Long wrote that Friday’s low jobs number might mean “a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic.” Even Bloomberg, my good friend but let’s be honest, news for the bosses, is handing out advice on “How to Quit Your Job in the Great Post-Pandemic Resignation Boom.”
I don’t really do conclusions, but in conclusion:
Ok that was more stridently ☭ ☭ ☭ than usual, so here’s a palate-cleansing Wario bug interlude with Intern Tess!
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Because it fell on Mother’s Day eve, and because, as Emily VanDerWerff observes, the show is a cultural relic of our boomer gerontocracy, I treated myself to not watching Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live. I did, however, see this:
There are few things I find as satisfying as thinking about Wario (and Waluigi? Mama mia!). But the Wario phenomenon isn’t restricted to video game characters. Did you know that even the friendly and beneficial ladybug has a Wario?
Last week I was talking to my mom and she mentioned the difference between ladybugs and lady beetles, which are currently swarming her attic. The main clues are that lady beetles are slightly more orange, and that they have a marking shaped like either an M or a W behind their head. Lady beetles are very clever, you see, and paint M’s on their necks to make you think, “Oh, that’s-a Mario! 😸” But no, that M is actually a W. That’s-a Wario. 😾
Wario beetles, unlike Mariobugs, bite. They also spray a stinky goop if they’re upset or when they’re ”teeming,” which is a gross thing to do in the first place, while ladybugs are mostly solitary unless they’re having a fun orgy. I am sorry to report that these villains also sometimes invade dogs’ mouths (cw: canine body horror), and when they do, they go like this.
Intern Tess swears she will stop writing about bugs tomorrow, but I’m afraid the header is already made so it’s probably just gonna be Bug Time from now on.
“Legendary Sun Chief Reporter John Kay dies aged 77 after stellar career spanning four decades,” but his obit fails to even mention the time he murdered his wife. Go to Romania and get Draccinated. Speaking of which, an Italian woman just got 6 doses of Pfizer at once and became the new hottest person on the planet. Bloomberg’s Dogecoin correspondent Matt Levine has all the Weekend Updates you need. The Chinese rocket crashed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, no word on possible fish casualties.
Julia Carrie Wong talked to people who (rightfully) want to keep wearing masks because being perceived is excruciating. All I want is a mirror face mask so I can live outside the monad. Facebook is so toxic that Starbucks is considering deleting its page. Teen Vogue named a new editor, this time one with editorial experience. “Slavers of New York.” This marine worm has 100 butts, each with its own eyes and brain, like a college fraternity. Finally, an absorbing, creepy short story by Emily Sundberg: “Plus One.”
Today’s Song: The Shangri-Las, “Remember (Walking in the Sand)”
~ Softly, softly we'd meet with our tabs ~