Remember back in 2009 when
Texas Gov. Rick Perry almost-but-not-quite
said his state should secede from the union? The small media blitz that
followed dramatically illustrated that even in the 21st century, the
South retains a good deal of its separateness, and its bad rap among
Northerners. After all, America’s
most populous region was the last holdout for slavery and segregation. And among many Northern liberals, the South’s
recent recasting as the low-wage, anti-union Sunbelt
hasn’t helped its standing. The solution? Let them
go, says writer Chuck Thompson, who’s written a tongue-in-cheek book
arguing for southern secession. The upshot, says Thompson in an interview with AlterNet, would be a mutual breakup,
hopefully without all the fuss of a civil war. Oh, and they can take Utah.
And speaking of culture
wars, what kind of sandwich defines you as a voter? In the wake of the
Chick-fil-A firestorm, it may come as no shock that restaurant preferences can
say quite a lot about a person’s politics. That’s the idea behind a graphic
posted on Sociological Images by
Gwen Sharp that charts customers at a handful of restaurants against their voting
behavior and political outlook. As with almost everything else in 21st
century, there’s a pretty clear partisan divide here. But what’s really interesting,
says Sharp, is what the results say about the class dimensions of voter
turnout: patrons at sit-down restaurants, whether liberal or conservative, were
in general much more likely to vote than fast food customers. It also points
out an irony of the Chick-fil-A controversy: while Chick-fil-A customers are in
general very conservative, they’re not among those most likely to vote. Whether
the restaurant’s recent politicization changes this, is hard to say.
“Quick, Henry, the Flit!” Long
before Horton the Elephant and Yertle the Turtle, Theodore Seuss Geisel made a
name for himself in advertising
and political cartoons, says Josh Jones at Open Culture. One of his most famous ads for Standard Oil’s Flit
insect repellant went about as viral as anything could in the 1930s, and Geisel
was soon called on to devote his artistic skill to the Allied war effort. Following
the war, and after recasting himself as Dr. Seuss, Geisel devoted himself to
somewhat more high minded themes and ideas. But these early works still retain
a kind of surreal Seuss magic, especially when you consider the context. Here’s a link
to some more.
Turns out dirty elections
go back a long way. In 1758, while running for the Virginia House of Burgesses,
George Washington buttered his voters up with free beer on election day. That’s
the first milestone on Mother Jones‘
money timeline, beginning with the American colonies. But of course, it
only gets worse from there.
With or without a heat
wave, most Americans are probably not taking to the beach this summer. That
Americans have less vacation days than workers in most other rich countries is
no surprise, but it turns out most of us don’t even use the time we get. A
recent survey by Right Management found that American workers leave an average
vacation days unused each year, out of fear of being fired, says Kathy M.
Newman in Working Class Perspectives.
The survey also found that two thirds of American workers avoid taking lunch
breaks and many avoid taking sick days.
And many companies are
starting to take notice. But rather than provide better working conditions,
firms like McDonald’s and Applebee’s are tapping into worker fatigue in
advertisements, Newman says. In one recent ad for VisitLasVegas.com, a Norma
Rae-looking scene unfolds in which a woman in an office attempts to organize her
fellow office workers to, well, visit Las
Vegas. Whether the woman is later fired for taking her
vacation time is hard to say.