American hedonism closes its eyes to death, and has been
incapable of exorcising the destructive power of the moment
with a wisdom like that of the Epicureans of antiquity.

- Octavio Paz
Death is un-American, and an affront to every citizen's inalienable
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- Arnold Toynbee
"As long as such self-serving hypocrisy
motivates America's response, Ukraine will
only sink further into needless bloodshed,
and that blood will be on America's head."
In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors,
since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors,
for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal
applies only upwards, not downwards.

― Bertrand Russell
Global Coke
Global Coke
"What those 'racists' are reflexively and rightly reacting
to is the soulless chill as the fire goes out beneath the
melting pot. Those who think America can thrive as a
'cultural mosaic' are worse than fools; they're Canadians."

Global Coke
Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe.
It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster,
in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe
have grown to appalling dimensions.

― Frantz Fanon
What the United States does best is understand itself.
What it does worst is understand others.

- Carlos Fuentes
Poor Mexico, so far from God
and so close to the United States.

- Porfirio Diaz
"Indeed, everything about the American southland was magical
and exotic to the young Canadian musicians, from the sights
and smells to the drawling manner of speech to, especially, the
central role that music played in people’s everyday lives."

America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
- Sigmund Freud
America is an adorable woman chewing tobacco.
- Auguste Bartholdi
"This is the tone of the China Century, a subtle
mix of Nazi/Soviet bravado and 'oriental'
cunning -- easily misunderstood, and
heard before, in a real enemy, by the West."

Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
"And for the others who argued for English-only
patriotism, I note that there are more than
57 million Americans (about 20% of the nation)
whose first-language is not English...."

Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
"This is the behavior, and the fate, of paranoid
old-world tyrants like Hitler or Saddam, not liberal new-world democracies like America pretends to be."

America is the only nation in history which
miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to
degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.

- Georges Clemenceau
I found there a country with thirty-two religions and only one sauce.
- Charles–Maurice Talleyrand
A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle,
and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.

- Edmund Burke
America is the only country ever founded on the printed word.
- Marshall McLuhan
"The removal of racist sports nicknames (and mascots) seems outrageously belated
-- why, exactly, has this civil rights cause
taken so long to gain momentum?"

The atom bomb is a paper tiger which the
United States reactionaries use to scare people.
It looks terrible, but in fact it isn't.

- Mao Tse-tung
They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but
they kept only one; they promised to take our land, and they did.

- Red Cloud
In America sex is an obsession,
in other parts of the world it is a fact.

- Marlene Dietrich
I would rather have a nod from an American,
than a snuff-box from an emperor.

- Lord Byron
One day the United States discovered it was an empire.
But it didn’t know what an empire was.
It thought that an empire was merely the biggest of all corporations.

- Roberto Calasso
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather
be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.

- Alexis de Tocqueville
"No one, I thought, could watch those scenes, of young children slaughtered en masse, and so many parents grieving, without thinking that this, finally, would tip some kind of balance in the country."
If you are prepared to accept the consequences of your dreams
then you must still regard America today with the same naive
enthusiasm as the generations that discovered the New World.

- Jean Baudrillard
I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.
- Samuel Johnson
America, thou half brother of the world;
With something good and bad of every land.

- Philip Bailey
"What can be more powerful than disinformation in the Information Age?"
England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
- Sir Walter Besant
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by
posterity because he was the last to discover America.

- James Joyce
Now, from America, empty indifferent things
are pouring across, sham things, dummy life.

- Rainer Maria Rilke
If the United States is to recover fortitude and lucidity,
it must recover itself, and to recover itself it must
recover the "others"- the outcasts of the Western world.
- Octavio Paz
The youth of America is their oldest tradition.
It has been going on now for three hundred years.

- Oscar Wilde
"America really is, for most Americans, all things considered, a good place to be, and all they really want is for everyone to enjoy the same privilege and pleasure."
When good Americans die they go to Paris;
when bad Americans die they go to America.

- Oscar Wilde
jobs drug dealer
jobs drug dealer
They're nothing more than traffickers; and as the smart traffickers'll tell you, you don't use the merchandise. They are just inoculating their kids with a tech-drug serum, to immunize them against the very merchandise that put the **** bowling alley in their basement.
jobs drug dealer
America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that
lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself.

- Georg Friedrich Hegel
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room.
Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.

- Arnold Toynbee
Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else.
- Winston Churchill
The thing that impresses me most about Americans
is the way parents obey their children.

- Edward, Duke of Windsor
Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering
what average opinion believes average opinion to be.

- John Maynard Keynes
Europe was created by history.
America was created by philosophy.

- Margaret Thatcher
America is God's crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of
Europe are melting and reforming!... The real American has not yet arrived.
He is only in the crucible, I tell you - he will be the fusion of all races.

- Israel Zangwill
American dreams are strongest in the hearts of those
who have seen America only in their dreams.

- Pico Iyer
America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.
- Ringo Starr
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
It has never yet melted.

― D.H. Lawrence
I have two conflicting visions of America.
One is a kind of dream landscape and the other is a kind of black comedy.

― Bono
The American mirror, said the voice, the sad American mirror
of wealth and poverty and constant useless metamorphosis,
the mirror that sails and whose sails are pain.

― Roberto Bolaño

April 24, 2024


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Author Topic: Dehumanizing Labour?

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Dehumanizing Labour?
on: February 12, 2018, 15:39

In class today, we analyzed Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener and I just think that it was super interesting that there was a comment in class about it being a a description on dehumanizing labour. I just feel that it's so relevant to today and the idea of jobs today. We live in a world where there's a lot of emphasis on making something your own and personalizing it to fit your needs and what you aspire or desire for in life. There's a big push for choice and diversity, however, when we looked at Bartleby and my classmate made that comment, it made me think that while personality and being an entrepreneur and making your own business and whatever is cool and all, society still survives on work where someone is literally just a cog in the machine. We work as a society where everyone has their place and if you don't necessarily fit that position, you can be easily replaced. I feel that Melville's Bartleby presents this so well because it's a such an extreme portrayal of what happens when you don't want to fit in. As Bartleby says, he just "prefer[s] not to". He overturns the idea of a working class society in doing so because he makes a choice in not doing what he and everyone else is doing. And while it seems cool to go against the flow and all, an idea especially prevalent today, this story also presents that extremity of not conforming with society. And on the other hand, it also presents the issues with this kind of society and that kind of job where it really is dehumanizing labour and it can be argued that while Bartleby is out of his mind with what he prefers not to do, it can also be a stand against the idea of conformity and going with what others expect of you. Of course, like always, there's a need for balance and this story is such an extreme case of choosing not to that it becomes sort of laughable. If any of us went to work and told our managers that we just preferred not to do our job today, we wouldn't last that long.

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Re: Dehumanizing Labour?
on: March 14, 2018, 21:21

Interesting way of Looking at Melville's "Bartleby". I agree with the fact that Bartleby may have not very well liked his previous job, and because he was placed in a situation that that he could not seem to get out of, it ended up effecting his next job. Melville also uses a lot of death and decay imagery to show the dehumanizing aspect that his previous job may have had on him. You can also look at his job at the "Dead Letter? impacting him to such an extent that he has basically lost the motivation to live, and as a result engages in a type of self-deprecating behaviour. A for conformity, yes, Bartleby is choosing to not do his job or certain actions, and therefore is not conforming to society's expectations. One thing I find interesting is, going back to Emerson, he states in his essay "Self-Reliance" how "imitation is suicide". In a sense, this is what is happening: Bartelby was stuck in a job he did not like, and at some point his sadness turned into Depression-like symptoms. This type of behaviour leads to him engaging in self-destructive behaviour which by the end of the story, results in his death. "Preferring" not to, is Bartelby's way of being free, but by that point, he is already too far into his Depression, that it is difficult.

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Re: Dehumanizing Labour?
on: April 9, 2018, 14:10

What I found particularly interesting about "Bartleby, the Scrivener" is its wild duality of implication in terms of the whole "cog in the corporate machine" idea.This duality is kind of built up through implication though.

On one side Bartleby's refusal to do anything doesn't just free him from the shackles of corporate bondage, his refusal to work actively disrupts the work place. It bothers his boss to the point where he spends nearly the whole story obsessing over it. So Here we have the idea that "the removal of on cog can disrupt the entire machine" in that the refusal of this one cog to function actually stops the cogs that rely on that cog to stop functioning as well. This I think hints at some latent but substantial individual power, even in the face of "dehumanizing labour".

On the other hand this is always undercut by the idea that Bartleby's boss could and should just replace him. Bartleby should be replaceable. In theory "one cog" should not bring down the entire machine.

What's so interesting about this to me is the way it plays with the readers expectation to make its point. It's the reader's expectation that Bartleby should be replaceable, that his refusal to work should not break the entire corporate machine. But it does. It subverts the reader's expectations of reality to teach them the value of a single individual in the face of society.

Side note/rebutal: Yes, as the two of you have stated, Bartleby's refusal to do anything does represent a kind of freedom gained in a refusal to adhere to societal norms. But, I don't believe that this refusal is quite as Emersonian as it seems. Or perhaps it is, but I will explain that in a second. Emerson's particular brand of Self-reliance is not simply a passive refusal to adhere to societal rules, trends and ideologies but rather and active refusal of them in favor of some personally found alternative. Bartleby's refusal is simply that, a refusal, he doesn't DO anything else instead, he simply says "I don't want to". I think Emerson would absolutely hate this idea of rebellion for the sake of rebellion. However, I think what this might highlight, from an Emersonian perspective, is the very importance of a personally driven alternative. Because the point of self-reliance is not to simply refuse to comply but to evaluate, through introspection, what facets of law and society are good or bad FOR YOU, and either comply or do something completely different in response.

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