How Bad Do You Want It?
Photo by Jonas Svidras / Unsplash

Four  articles which speak to how desperate some are for money, fame and anything but,it and community

Over the past several weeks I've been watching a series of articles pop up about our attitudes about work, certain mothers' willingness to pimp out their kids to make money (not for sex, but is it that much better, I ask?) and how Millennials and Gen Zers in particular, all wanna be Influencers and/or it's all about the Hustle and Grind.

I thought Millennials wanted balance. I wanted it too, and I'm a Boomer. Balance never really was available. My generation and the Xers right after me decided that we wanted to have it all, all at once. Doesn't happen that way except on TV and in the movies. We have lots of things, then we lose them and something else shows up. That is life. But nobody wants to hear that.

Balance? Bullswocky.

Call me crazy, but first, there is no such thing, albeit seems like every other LinkedIn pitch is for someone selling "balance" in a world where too many are running four or five gigs just to stay alive.

BUT WAIT! ChatGPT can do that, see below.

But first, I would invite you to walk into a hall of horrors, at least from my viewpoint, beginning for me with this article about how Mommy Dearest is real and present because she thinks nothing of using her kids to sell her perfect lifestyle to the world. What happens when the kids grow up? What happens when they aren't the perfect kids? What happens when they are tired of having Mommy sell them as perfect puppets when they know they aren't?

Worse, what does that turn the kids into? What does it say about us that we are willing to tolerate, support and consume this stuff?

Why aren’t children protected from their parents monetising them? | Aeon Essays
We have laws to protect children from factory work. Why aren’t they protected from parents who monetise their lives online?

Then, this from WBUR with The Atlantic article which delves more into the idea that Americans, as we dump God et. al., we've simply shifted to another idol: Work.

Nothing new to see here; it's just dressed up differently because of new language, new people and the desperate need to keep us hustling and buying stuff we don't need rather than invest time and love in one another:

Have Americans Made Work Their New Religion?
Do you seek meaning in your day job? We ask if America’s cult of finding fulfillment at work leaves people spiritually empty.
Workism Is Making Americans Miserable
For the college-educated elite, work has morphed into a religious identity—promising transcendence and community, but failing to deliver.

I love what I do right down to my DNA. I write because I have to. Today people seem to embrace work as the Be-All because they have to and there is a good bit of messaging supporting that. I agree with Thompson: work can offer us friends, but only while we work there. When we leave....then the walls fall in for our community.

For that, please see this from an LA Times columnist who did some solid research before he made that mistake:

LA Times Today: L.A. Times columnist’s book explores the leap into retirement
Watch L.A.

Lopez does a great job of addressing what you and I need to address before we leave work thinking retirement is all that and a bag of chips. It's more work- guaranteed.

Another article that caught my eye is along the lines of how we work, or avoid it, so that we believe we are "making it." Are we, are our kids, forever throwing ourselves to the wolves of econonomic success vs. learning how to love and treasure ourselves and those around us? I've long believed the influencers- as I know them- are toxic as hell. I've said plenty on this already and prefer  you read a better writer than I am on the subject and make your own assessment:

The Influencer Economy Is Warping the American Dream
Social-media influencing is both an alternative to traditional American capitalism and an embodiment of it.

Then of course, this, below. I just posted a piece on LinkedIn about how ChatGPT is just one more tool for scammers, who are simply drooling at all the ways such new technology will allow them to scrape money from us. I am not a fan of this, nor is this Luddite-in-Training much of a fan of any new tech that lands in the market without protections. I think ChatGPT is a menace from that standpoint alone:

‘Overemployed’ Hustlers Exploit ChatGPT To Take On Even More Full-Time Jobs
“ChatGPT does like 80 percent of my job,” said one worker. Another is holding the line at four robot-performed jobs. “Five would be overkill,” he said.

The level of toxicity that I see in these articles is stunning. Anything for money, fame, anything anything anything but developing community, relationships, trust. I celebrate creativity and ideas but I do not celebrate where we are allowing tech to take us. And, of course, the combination of fear and greed, brought on in part by the very genuine fear of a very difficult future, which looms too real. Or am I being too doomsday?

But we do this:

Hustle and sell our kids, sell lies about our lives, sell lies about the work we do, sell lies about our skills and college tests.

We are immolating ourselves on the altar of work.

It's nearly five pm my time. I just wasted nearly three hours trying to find the answer to a very simple question about purchasing a protection plan on ebay. I was routed through idiot bots, idiot chat boxes, endless phone trees, and ended up finally getting the answer by lying about why I was calling in order to get a person.

This is where we are. There is nothing dreamy about this American dream. I was so angry by the time I finally reached a guy at SquareTrade (an Allstate subsidiary) that I told him I was ready to bury my cell phone into the dry wall.

Whereupon he offered to sell me a SquareTrade Cell phone insurance plan.

Okay, I deserved that.

There is a lovely man, an artist, who lives in Coos Bay. He is the painter whose two works grace my walls. At 76, he is not on the Internet.

He is happier than most of us, my bet. He does what he loves, and it shows in his work:

Seldon's work on my wall

We all need purpose and meaning. I don't know where we're headed but the trends trouble me. I am pulling further away and focusing on people, places and the kind of productivity that feeds my soul.

Not productivity that owns me or twists me into a gargoyle for greed. But that's just me.

I'd be curious about your thoughts. I want to feel hopeful but, as with many things Internet, this particular set of articles didn't feed my soul. So I am hoping for news from the trenches which tells me that our kids are going to be all right. You too.


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