Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fuck a bunch of lemonade

I'm sure you've all heard that hoary bromide, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade." And I'm sure we've all heard, read or seen heart-warming stories about someone that life's shit upon and how they've worked though adversity to become a big success at something.

Well, y'know what! I hate those fucking stories. They're all bullshit and give people false hopes while letting the perpetrators of misery off the hook. This is especially true when major stockholders, upper-level managers, executive board members and CEOs stab small town America in the back by closing down factories and moving the operation to low-wage countries like Mexico and China.

What got me started on this is a story by Des Moines Register reporter Bonnie Harris about two Newton, IA women, "resiliency coach" Julie Gibson and Presbyterian minister Tiare Mathison-Bowie. Lets sample some of Gibson and Mathison-Bowie's Happy-talk, Happy-Face reiliency psychobabble.

Gibson has decided to host a series of free workshops in Newton called "Bounce Back!" where residents can learn ways to cope in an environment of uncertainty and grief.

Much of the message comes from her own experience over the last two years. Just a month after she decided to quit her teaching job to chase a longtime career dream, Gibson's husband, Doug, was fired from his electrical engineering job at Maytag after 23 years. A few months later, Gibson's mother died.
Wow! what fucking tragedy! Her old man lost this electrical engineering job after 23 years at Maytag. It's not like this guy's some braindead idiot who tended a stamping machine for 30 years and can do little else. He he has a skill, a trade and I'm sure a college degree in "electrical engineering." He could, if he chose, fall back on his training and open a business in his home. The article says, however, Julie's hubby is working toward a degree in natural resources. He's on the fast-track to retirement, anyway, so he just needs a couple more years of earnings to fatten up that IRA and Social Security check. Soon everything'll be coming up roses for Julie and her old man. My condolences to Julie on her mother's passing.

But this Mathison-Bowie gal is a pip.
"To discover our own resiliency, we have to set goals that seem outside of our grasp. We have to push," Mathison-Bowie said. "It's my job as a pastor to say, 'Look at what we just did. We can do anything.'

"It's about resiliency, but it's also about capacity. How do you learn what your capacity is if you don't take risks?"
That's just lame. But the line that really pissed me off comes not from the body of Harris' story but from the cutline for a photograph of Mathison-Bowie: "...a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Newton, tries to propel her congregation into 'behaving resiliently,' and refusing to 'play the blame game.'"

Refuse to play the blame game? Fuck that, lady. There's plenty of blame to go around in the Maytag debacle: the board of directors, CEO Ralph Hake, NAFTA. I could go on and on. These bastards should be blamed and blamed plenty.

But in part its been this kind of psychobabble, happy-talk New Age b.s. that's making Americans suckers. By telling the poor saps, who just lost the best paying job they'll ever have in their lifetime, that they can bounce back is tantamount to aiding and abetting a bunch of corporate murderers escape punishment. And until we start playing the blame game, these bastards will go right on murdering small town America.