Monday, October 31, 2016

You're Not as Busy as You Think You Are

I keep having the same conversation these days, and it bugs me every time I have it. Coworkers, family, and friends keep telling me about how busy they are. In detail.

At happy hours and dinner parties, it's always the same old tropes. Work is crazy. Management just let go of more people and is trying to do more with less. We're burning the candle at both ends.

This sense of busyness boils over to our personal lives, too. We're so buried during the work week that our weekends are spent cleaning the house, doing yard work, and catching up with the kids. When it's all said and done, there's hardly any time left for yourself, your exercise and hobbies, or personal maintenance.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Your Purchases Can't Buy You Class

Another Monday, another post chock-full of middle class goodness.

The notion that our economic class is defined, not by our income or our wealth, but by our purchases, is fairly prevalent. If you own a house, or a second car, and take the family on a vacation now and again, maybe that means you're middle class. If you rent and take the bus and don't get time away from work, maybe you're not. Middle class people wear certain types of clothes. They eat certain types of food.

This purchase-defined class structure has a historical basis, and it's been portrayed predictably, and inaccurately, throughout the years in television and in movies.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Middle Class & Income by Location

Sad Cayenne doesn't think she's in the middle class.
As we're in an election year, the two major party candidates are talking about how we need to improve things for the middle class. It makes sense. There's a great deal of mythology about the middle class in America, and it's a deep well for politicians to draw from. It doesn't hurt that we still don't have a consistent definition of what it even means to be middle class, despite the efforts of this little blog.

Nonetheless, the middle class exists, even if we can't agree on how to define it, and, somehow, everyone thinks they're middle class. While I like the idea of defining the middle class in terms of household income quintiles, most of us can agree that the middle class is a relative term, not an absolute one. To be in the middle, you need something on either side.

Monday, October 3, 2016

It's Not Going to Stop

It's Not Going to Stop
Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite director. All his movies are perfect, and if you disagree with me, that's your right and your opinion. But you are wrong. My favorite of his movies is Magnolia (though Boogie Nights makes it a tough NSFW). It's a tear inducing drama about a web of human heartache from which its characters try to escape.

The movie illustrates, in painful and beautiful detail, the problems that we humans bring upon ourselves over and over, like addicts. We want to quit, but we can't. Part inherited, part self-inflicted, the story rings true because I think, most of us have a story like that. The thing we want to quit; the way we need to improve, and we try, but we can't seem to make happen. We viewers identify with the poor characters, because we, too, try hard, and fail, and wonder to ourselves lying in bed at night, what is wrong with us?