David Thompson
Subscribe

Categories

Blog powered by Typepad

« Friday Ephemera | Main | Tidings »

December 21, 2020

Comments

John D

They keep commodities away from people and demand that you pay a fee to the bourgeois to access them. And if you refuse, they will use the violence of the state against you by reporting you to the authorities for shoplifting.

Sounds like someone got busted for nicking. :-)

David

Sounds like someone got busted for nicking. :-)

Well, it’s not an entirely unreasonable suspicion.

David

Readers will of course recall these glorious scenes from a Moscow supermarket, circa 1990.

Atempdog

Under a non-capitalistic society, nobody would do what they do.

It wasn't real socialism; they had people regulating the bread line.

David

The first item here seems somewhat apposite.

Jacob

Best comment: "I found the person who's never worked in the service industry before"

David

I did briefly get drawn into the slightly demented sub-debate as to whether police officers can ever be considered working class.

Felicity

Kinda reminds me of....

Farnsworth M Muldoon

They keep commodities away from people and demand that you pay a fee to the bourgeois to access them.

The Morlocks wonder if this one will be gamey.

Sounds like someone got busted for nicking.

No, no, "Sounds like someone got taken to the nick after being nicked for nicking some stuff that was in good nick".

WTP

I've said it before and I'll say it again, socialism is a cargo cult.

anon a mouse

No, no, "Sounds like someone got taken to the nick after being nicked for nicking some stuff that was in good nick".

Hmmm. Seems someone watched too much Nickelodeon as a kid. Nick, nick, nick... and all that.

asiaseen

Presumably someone who is unemployed or retired is not working class either.

David

Don’t do Marxism, kids. Not even once.

L

People really need to go read David Remnick’s “Lenin’s Tomb”. He was the NYT Moscow bureau chief as the Soviet Union was collapsing. The book is a live time postmortem of the collapse. If anything, he was predisposed to sympathetic views of the communist experiment. The book ends up being the reflections of a man who is so shocked by what he sees, and who is so eager to write them down accurately, that he doesn’t have time to filter them through his leftist-sympathetic ideological lens. Which, make his descriptions of life in the Soviet working class is the single greatest indictment of communism I’ve ever read, anywhere.

His accounts of the physical conditions people work in are horrifying, but the thing that really comes across is the psychological Hell those people endured. The world of constantly changing lies they lived in and the complete havoc that caused, is absolutely more grotesque than anything Kafka or Orwell or Bradbury could ever imagine.

Tony

When you have to put a few items back at checkout because you don’t have enough money to pay for everything, you might feel mildly embarrassed and begin to wonder why you are so disorganized and unproductive that you can’t even feed yourself. Much easier to blame the cashier I guess.

David

The world of constantly changing lies they lived in and the complete havoc that caused

Sounds oddly familiar, somehow.

Burnsie

They keep commodities away from people and demand that you pay a fee to the bourgeois to access them. And if you refuse, they will use the violence of the state against you by reporting you to the authorities for shoplifting. So how are they, in a Marxist analysis, working class?

Quick quiz. Was this written by:

a. An easily led 15-year-old
b. A university grad student
c. A university professor
d. A professional journalist

My point being, of course--you just can't tell.

Squires

Under a non-capitalistic society, nobody would do what they do.

This much is correct.

In a free market cashiers help customers check out and bag items they have chosen to purchase.

In an unfree market cashiers are kept by The State to maintain appearances at stores where the shelves contain:

A) Nothing.
B) Produce allowed to become inedible.
C) Items the property common citizens of The State either cannot afford or do not have a use for.

aelfheld
I've said it before and I'll say it again, socialism is a cargo cult. -- WTP

Except . . . cargo cults were based on direct (if fantastically misunderstood) observation.

David

If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me, top left, and I’ll poke about in the spam filter.

Sporkatus

The only problem I have with the appearance of comments is that they don't appear fast and continually enough to allow me to avoid work. Thus necessitating trips into the archives of some of your more amusing tags.

Ahem: actually on topic, does our Bizarrely Anti-Cashier patient of the day seriously believe that in whatever dispensary was enjoyed by luxury robo-communists, that there needn't be an orderly process for obtaining goods or any type of rationing-out of things? I rather thought the equal distribution of goods was the main... gimmick. Everyone going to be distributing fairly among themselves, then. Such angels they'll be.

David

Such angels they’ll be.

Them thar anarcho-communists, like dear darling Laurie.

Mark L.

Marxism:

1. People are greedy.
2. We need all your money to stop this.

WTP

Except . . . cargo cults were based on direct (if fantastically misunderstood) observation.

Socialists watch people go to work. They see stuff come out of stores. The complex process that gets the stuff in the stores, the reason the cashiers (and stock boys and managers and etc.) are just charades as far as they understand. The stuff just appears. Though you do have a point. The socialists think they're so smart as to see that the charades are completely unnecessary. The stuff just is and they know where it should be.

Forbes

Sporkatus, in part, wrote:

...an orderly process for obtaining goods or any type of rationing-out of things? I rather thought the equal distribution of goods was the main...gimmick

Ain't that the principal shortfall of communism/socialism vis-à-vis free markets, i.e. free markets, having figured out an orderly process of obtaining things, survived to see the Soviets into the dust bin of history.

Our Bizarrely Anti-Cashier patient has distilled the surface oil-on-the-water without considering the depth-of-the-ocean complexity as how free markets arise to solve the obtaining goods question. As if eliminating the middleman gatekeeper (grocery checkout clerk) delivers equal distribution nirvana...

As well, the definition of equal is always a stumbling block for the nomenklatura, as "Animal Farm" teaches your typical middle schooler.

Sporkatus

The charades are completely unnecessary

The kind of person to take apart a drum brake for no reason other than to "see if it's working properly, because 'I'm a genius'", observe with total certainty that the adjuster never bloody moves, see that the handbrake cable duplicates the function of the main brake, and to put the whole thing back together without the springs or any of that riffraff, because they're just making it harder for the brake to do its job properly.

The people whose death in a fiery wreck could not possibly have been avoided, and whose actual former mechanic will subsequently be blamed.

In any machine, a government not excluded, the smallest part takes the greatest thought, "big picture" be hanged. One doesn't award a patent (metaphorically) to the system of total socialism, because it's a crank device that is not only non-functional, but is missing pieces. Pieces which don't exist and cannot exist.

Aline

As Chesterton said about HG Wells' concepts of luxury robo-communism...

And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.

Fred the Fourth

"The smallest part takes the greatest thought."
That's brilliant. I am SO redistributing that for my own use.
Back in 1978 I worked at a silicon valley tech startup founded by a couple of Czech refugees. They sponsored another guy who had escaped with a wife and kid, giving him an enginering job.
Seeing his reactions to life here was quite the eye-opener for this 19 year old.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

Speaking of H.G. Wells, this is his bastard son (Anthony West) on his old man's knowledge of socialism:

“Although he had been calling himself a socialist for years, he had little knowledge of political theory, and none of practical politics. … He hadn’t at that stage any idea of what socialism was, beyond that it required a man to go about looking fierce, running down the system, and wearing a red tie. When called on to defend his position, he hadn’t been able to do much more than sick up some scrambled stuff that he’d got from a random sampling of the literature of dissent.”

Sounds familiar, like I've heard this before somewhere.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

"Seeing his reactions to life here was quite the eye-opener for this 19 year old."

My wife was in Norfolk, Va., in the Navy in the late '80s when a Soviet ship paid a visit. Part of the sailors' itinerary was a visit to the local supermarket.

Not a special market for the Nomklature, just an ordinary grocery store.

They walked through the store, these fit young men in their cute uniforms, flabbergasted at the amount and variety of food.

They bought what they could, and when they ran out of money, the Americans there paid for what they couldn't afford, because meeting and befriending Russians was as exciting to them as what they were experiencing. It was a mutually exploitative situation.

Then they saw something on the shelves that stopped them dead, according to my wife. They saw something for sale that blew their minds.

Brace yourself ...

What really, really stunned them the most ...

Ready?

Cat food.

Single-serving cat food.

In cans.

With pull-tops.

pst314

As Chesterton said about HG Wells' concepts of luxury robo-communism...

Full Luxury Communism Today! I have been told that leftist Iain Banks' sf stories demonstrate that this is entirely practical and desirable and that we should start moving towards it today. (Why, oh why, do so many sf fans have so many serious and dangerous blind spots?)

pst314

Instalanch!

pst314

Them thar anarcho-communists, like dear darling Laurie.

From the link:

"How terribly precious. Imagine all of our delicate hand-wash-only radicals, all those little Lauries, self-determining how much wealth should be distributed their way, and how much, or little, they could be arsed to do in return."

Well said, David, well said.

Squires

Why, oh why, do so many sf fans have so many serious and dangerous blind spots?

It’s because they are nerds.

pst314

It’s because they are nerds.

I think I'll start a charity to cure this terrible affliction. Maybe call it the March of Dumbs.

David C Fleck

I think it's great that so many of the entries on the r/socialism subreddit read like self-parodies:

"This subreddit is not for questioning the basics of socialism. There are numerous debate subreddits available for those purposes."

...But the things is is that I'm not exactly "socialist material". I'm very anti-capitalist, but I'm also upper middle class, and it doesn't help that my grandfather is both a Vietnam AND Iraq war veteran. I'm not sure if I belong in this movement.

Getting asked if a doctor should get the same pay as a janitor, help.

New to Socialism, Depressed, Feel Worthless
I'm lucky to be able to do so because I'm a class traitor (am bourgeoisie, have both parents as managers over large parts of companies).

Is it okay that I believe and support the socialist cause despite being from an upperclass family?

Socialist Therapy?
My boyfriend is struggling with severe anxiety based in the political climate of Canada and the meaninglessness of capitalism and he needs help.

according to everyone around me fidel castro was a terrible person and a dictator, but everyone here and on r/communism seems to love him. why?

I'm half way through Animal Farm and I have to compulsorily finish it.
See, I'm a young socialist (14). And in my school it is absolutely compulsory to read Animal Farm, (which I will [b]e examined on). The book has gotten to the point where it's just pure anti-Stalinist propaganda, which continues little to no historical synchronisation. Therefore I have no interest in reading it but I have to.

fnord

This is what a lead deficiency looks like.

fnord

His accounts of the physical conditions people work in are horrifying, but the thing that really comes across is the psychological Hell those people endured. The world of constantly changing lies they lived in and the complete havoc that caused, is absolutely more grotesque than anything Kafka or Orwell or Bradbury could ever imagine.

You sure he wasn't writing about wokeism?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...for all manner of unglamorous but necessary tasks, are somehow not explored.

Nonsense...

pst314

Nonsense...

Take a look at that Twitter account: seriously racist, criminal, malevolent "community" of people too deranged to be treated as fellow citizens. They make David Duke seem like a solid citizen by comparison.

pst314

Parasitology: noun. The study of socialism.

Sam Duncan

“I have been told that leftist Iain Banks' sf stories demonstrate that this is entirely practical and desirable and that we should start moving towards it today.”

Even Banks himself was smart enough to recognise that his stories were fantasies; that a) communism is only feasible without scarcity of goods, and b) eliminating the scarcity of physical goods, if it's even possible*, is millennia away. Largely because it would require insane amounts of energy. Square turning all of the planets into a Dyson sphere with your environmentalism if you can, Lefties.

*Which, of course, it isn't. Abundance may minimize its effects, but you can't alter the fact that if I eat an apple, you can't eat the same one; i.e., they're “scarce”.

Furious

Under a non-capitalistic society, nobody would do what they do.

That’s funny, because in the long-ago worker’s paradise known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics there wasn’t one, weren’t two, but *three* comrade checkout ladies at retail establishments like the GUM, Intourist souvenir shops and food markets: one to pull the purchase from the shelves, one to wrap it in plain paper and one to ring up the purchase on an abacus (ubiquitous at the time).

Witnessed it with my own pre-teen lying eyes while touring the country with me mum.

David

Quick quiz. Was this written by:

a. An easily led 15-year-old
b. A university grad student
c. A university professor
d. A professional journalist

My point being, of course--you just can’t tell.

Heh.

[ Slides along bar a voucher for 5% off chitterlings and bag, to be used at nearest kerbside vendor. ]

Daniel Ream

Seeing his reactions to life here was quite the eye-opener for this 19 year old.

We seem to have a large number of Russian and Eastern European ex-pats working in the IT field here. The stories many of them tell about life under Communism are chilling in their banality.

It’s because they are nerds.

Tautology. It's because they're children (emotionally). If you look at the Geek Social Fallacies, they seem incomprehensible until you realise that you're looking at a description of how children view relationships.

I'm lucky to be able to do so because I'm a class traitor (am bourgeoisie, have both parents as managers over large parts of companies).

Speaking of the ex-pats - I've noticed that the children of parents who fled Communism are often the most vociferous supporters of [adjective] socialism. I suspect there's more than a little "F*** you, Dad" going on there.

My boyfriend is struggling with severe anxiety based in the political climate of Canada

So am I, although I suspect not for the same reasons.

Largely because it would require insane amounts of energy.

Frederik Pohl's Midas World is a fascinating collection of short stories on what happens when room-temperature fusion power is perfected - because when energy is cheap, so is everything else.

Alice

[ Slides along bar a voucher for 5% off chitterlings and bag, to be used at nearest kerbside vendor. ]

Lol. Eww.

fnord

To each according to his need......

In their childish world Marxists are only about things , well I need the exclusive and enthusiastic attention of beautiful women. How are you going to satisfy that need comrade?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...chitterlings and bag...

To this day I find it remarkable that, for reasons unfathomable, most people think the only Brit food fit to eat is fish and chips. Pass the bubble and squeak please, and a side of canned baked beans on toast...

David

[ Slides voucher across bar to Mr Muldoon. ]

First lay-by on the left. Ask for Big Sheila.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, good news, everyone, you are now allowed to play tennis, but you and your opponent cannot use the same ball.

More good news, as long as you wear a face diaper and stay six feet apart, you can go on a date. No tongues, though. Sharing needles is not addressed.

Clam

Googled 'chitterlings and bag'. One of the first things that came up was "How do I cook chitterlings and eliminate that horrible smell that they make while cooking?"

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Over in Notlob, it is unclear whether generic holiday songs are also verboten.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Speaking of questionable food, as if the Chinese haven't done enough this year.

pst314

Over in Notlob, it is unclear whether generic holiday songs are also verboten.

Well, I have occasionally seen drivers bouncing wildly around in their cars as they sing, which must be dangerous *, but the wording wording of the news item makes it unclear whether merely singing shall also be an offence. Bad news reporting or badly formulated announcement from the police?

* On the other hand, it is a useful signaling device: "I have the mind of a four-year-old. Do not expect me to exercise prudence or self-restraint."

pst314

Even Banks himself was smart enough to recognise that his stories were fantasies; that a) communism is only feasible without scarcity of goods, and b) eliminating the scarcity of physical goods, if it's even possible*, is millennia away.

Some sf readers seem to think that AI will make almost all jobs obsolete in the very near future--while making goods very cheap--so that we should immediately begin implementing a universal basic income scheme to bring about the glorious socialist future. They ignore the fact that automation generally creates new sorts of jobs, that most current unemployment is due to offshoring of industries, over-regulation of many sorts, cradle-to-grave guaranteed welfare (why work?), and cultural pathologies that make people unemployable. Furthermore, they refuse to face the fact that cradle-to-grave welfare rots a culture. Theodore Dalrymple's observations go in one ear and out the other. Perhaps they like to think that in the future life will be one long ComicCon.

pst314

Frederik Pohl's Midas World is a fascinating collection of short stories on what happens when room-temperature fusion power is perfected...

Hmmm, only ever read the original 1950's short story.

Governor Squid

...for all manner of unglamorous but necessary tasks, are somehow not explored.

I'd volunteer to be the night-soil man. Distribute fertilizer to the few hardy souls willing to wrest food from the Earth, and deposit the rest in the living rooms of all the poets and philosophers as feedstock for whatever profound works they come up with next.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

Furthermore, they refuse to face the fact that cradle-to-grave welfare rots a culture.

We've been subjected to an experiment in Future Socialism today. Given the amount of rioting and looting and increases in abuse in the home, it appears that, given a free ride, most of us do not turn into artists, poets, and other creative types. Fascinating.

MC

questionable food

Even in Hong Kong, McDonalds offers atrocities like cheese tea and Pizza Hut thinks peaches and thousand island dressing are appropriate pizza toppings. Not that Pizza Hut isn't shit everywhere of course...

Squires

Tautology. It's because they're children (emotionally).

I do not identify them as nerds because they like to escape into sci-fi that is based on fluff-headed premises. Rather, this behavior is a conspicuous symptom of being a nerd.

Furthermore, they refuse to face the fact that cradle-to-grave welfare rots a culture.

Anyone remember a short story where normal living meant sitting in front of a monitor wall, engaging in unproductive social networking, all day, with no in-person human contact? I think it was by Harlan Ellison, but it might have been JG Ballard.

pst314

Anyone remember a short story where normal living meant sitting in front of a monitor wall, engaging in unproductive social networking, all day, with no in-person human contact?

The best I can come up with is Ray Bradbury's The Pedestrian in which a man is arrested for taking a walk rather than sit in front of the TV. And then there's Asimov's The Naked Sun, in which people live alone and only interact via video.

pst314

[...chitterlings and bag...]

David will not say whether or not CMOT Dibbler is his food supplier.

David

David will not say whether or not CMOT Dibbler is his food supplier.

Big Sheila, she of the kerbside offal emporium, assures me, and I quote, “Them’s good eats.”

Daniel Ream

Anyone remember a short story where normal living meant sitting in front of a monitor wall, engaging in unproductive social networking, all day, with no in-person human contact?

Fahrenheit 451?

Steve E

Big Sheila, she of the kerbside offal emporium, assures me,

I have it on good authority that Big Sheila gets much of her supply from these fine people.

LW

Anyone remember a short story where normal living meant sitting in front of a monitor wall, engaging in unproductive social networking, all day, with no in-person human contact?

The Machine Stops?

FlynPigRanch

"Over in Notlob, it is unclear whether generic holiday songs are also verboten.
but the wording wording of the news item makes it unclear whether merely singing shall also be an offence."

That's why I wear a mask when driving alone in my pickup truck. No one can tell if I am singing.

Trevor

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, good news, everyone, you are now allowed to play tennis, but you and your opponent cannot use the same ball.

Many years I used to joke (in response to any pettifogging bureaucratic intrusion) that I could foresee a time when I would need to submit an application in triplicate for permission to have a shit. Well, I'm laughing on the other side of my face now.

pst314

[ Slides along bar a voucher for 5% off chitterlings and bag... ]

David, could I please have instead d. A professional journalist? I have a number of dirty, unpleasant and humiliating jobs that need doing and who better to do them?

pst314

Many years I used to joke...that I could foresee a time when I would need to submit an application in triplicate for permission to have a shit. Well, I'm laughing on the other side of my face now.

New York City says Permission denied!" (After public outcry, city walks back directive that outdoor diners may not enter restaurants even to use bathroom.)

Trevor

Take a look at that Twitter account: seriously racist, criminal, malevolent "community" of people too deranged to be treated as fellow citizens.

I've taken a wrong turn and found myself in Black Twitter a few times before, so I didn't tarry, just long enough to see the approving post of a video of the late psychotic singist Nina Simone. There seems to be a very strong aversion to admiring anyone wholesome in that world. (Note to self: recount my Nina Simone story some day.) Didn't I read recently that around now some cosmic forces were going to bestow upon our melanated friends special powers that would render them even more awesome than they already are? Has anything been detected?

pst314

I've taken a wrong turn and found myself in Black Twitter a few times before...

Who are most racist in America? Blacks, by a large margin, says black conservative columnist Larry Elder: "Thirty-eight percent of whites felt most blacks were racist. Even blacks agreed, with 31 percent saying most blacks were racist..."

pst314

[glances at recent posts] Sorry about the extra trailing blank lines, David. Not sure how that happened. Couldn't possibly have been carelessness on my part.

Squires

The Machine Stops?

We have a winner.

https://www.plexus.org/forster/index.html

Pooklord

Muldoon,

What's hard to fathom about gross and near inedible?
Except for those little scottish meat pies. They're delicious. Lived off them for nearly a year.

Dr Evil

Back in the 1980s I did indeed visit communist countries such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I bought things. Someone would take my money and give me the goods. It wasn't a supermarket but the principle is the same. So that contention re a supermarket checkout person is utter drivel. Shows up Marxism for exactly what it is, nonsense.

WTP

Shows up Marxism for exactly what it is, nonsense.

But they're the good people. Everybody thinks so.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

What's hard to fathom about gross and near inedible?


Farnsworth M Muldoon

Didn't I read recently that around now some cosmic forces were going to bestow upon our melanated friends special powers that would render them even more awesome than they already are?

You may be thinking of this:

pst314

You may be thinking of this:

"As black people, genetically we are stronger and smarter than everyone else, we are more creative, on December 21 our Real DNA will be unlocked and majority will be able to do things that we thought were fiction. Learn who u are as a people. they wanna make us average."

Average would be an improvement. She's clearly compensating for that sad fact. Rarely does the Dunning Kruger Effect manifest itself so malevolently.
And as I may have noted before, a significant fraction of African Americans would willingly do what Hitler's SS did.

Trevor

You may be thinking of this

Cheers, Farnsworth, that's the one. We must be telepathetic!

APL

Re: You may be thinking of this

Well, it's the 23rd here, I am not seeing anything different among the POC in my neighborhood (or from People of Pallor for that matter). Any unusual reports from other parts of the world ? Is this going to be a sudden manifestation of powers a la X-Men or something much slower like the opening of 2001 ?

pst314

Well, it's the 23rd here, I am not seeing anything different among the POC in my neighborhood...

Meanwhile, the cabdriver from Ghana looks at that Twitter account and asks "what is this shit?" His cousin, the economics major at the local university replies, "yes, what a bunch of losers."

WTP

Merry Christmas to all.

And thanks for the Hades' Star recommendation. All things considered, probably the most useful "gift" this year. A Merry Christmas ping shortly...

WTP

Damn...meant to put that comment on the Tidings page...Sigh...Well, pinged anyway.

David

Will move comment to relevant thread. I do like to keep things tidy.

pst314

I do like to keep things tidy.

[glances at door to wine cellar, to see if drops of blood have been removed yet.]

dcardno
glances at door to wine cellar...
Blood?!? Geez - I thought that was just a full-bodied, but slightly metallic Cab Sauv.
Alex DeWynter
Is this going to be a sudden manifestation of powers a la X-Men or something much slower like the opening of 2001 ?

One word -- Wakanda.

pst314

One word -- Wakanda.

The Once and Future Was Was Kangs?

Alex DeWynter
The Once and Future Was Was Kangs?

That's them. I, personally, wouldn't find empowering an imaginary country that's only successful because it got hit by a magic rock, but clearly that's just my whiteness talking.

Killer Marmot

The internet doesn't build intelligence, it reveals it.

GWB

In an unfree market cashiers are kept by The State to maintain appearances at stores where the shelves contain:

Read Theodore Dalrymple's description of the North Korean department store, with attendants who never sell anything and customers who never buy anything. When they realize they're being watched, they simply begin handing out identical crappy bowls, which the customers then queue to return elsewhere in the store.

GWB

Well, I'm laughing on the other side of my face now.

Which would mean you're laughing out your other cheek(s)?

Rick Henwood

Venezuela has a simple solution for the cashier problem. No goods = no cashiers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJu95z_LCv4

Rick Henwood

Chicago has also realized cashiers are unnecessary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO4p97PK_Xo

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blogroll