Powerful unions have joined with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street. The movement is exploding across the nation, taking root in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The protests are a direct reaction to the inability of the government to fairly tax its people even in the face of a major worldwide financial catastrophe. With the shrill and irrational assertions of Republicans and their Tea Party people sounding like some sort of majority opinion, people are getting out in the streets to show what the real majority really thinks.
The Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles is posting films made in its youth film class structured around the concept of work. The students made films about how they view jobs and work. It’s a great idea for a film class and throws the students into a very mature thought process. I really like this very fine film by Kathy Choi, Ce N’est Pas La Meme Chose (It Is Not The Same Thing). She lets a woman from France compare the working life there to the life in America. There are fascinating and sharp observations made about how the French worker simply wants to be efficient and get the job done within the regular day contrasted with how the American worker is expected to show a willingness to stay longer and ‘look’ more busy or dedicated.
Having closely observed American corporate office life I can attest to the phenomenon that is the actual ruling principal behind the entire American economy: at all costs one must always look busy.
The sad fact of our current jobless recovery is that an enormous percentage – probably in the 50% range – of all corporate American jobs are totally and completely unnecessary and should not exist. In other words, those jobs should not come back because they are fake. They are occupied by people spending the vast majority of their time looking busy, talking busy, pretending, and doing next to nothing.
The French view which holds a job to be something limited and something to do efficiently and well, while not allowing it to overwhelm one’s life strikes me as a very mature and reasonable view.
This little film is exceedingly good and reminds me of Godard.