Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

Moment of Truth: The Socialist Leisure Work Ethic and the Spirit of Falafel

Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thirst that is the drink.

Well, it's happening. The days are starting to get longer. More daylight time for me to fritter away, thumbing my nose at our rapidly degrading society and its sadistic norms. Yeah, I've got a bad attitude. Cuz, friends, our society runs on pure bullshit, and everyone knows it. But that's no reason to operate a mediocre restaurant. Well, maybe it is.

Maybe our society's current completely ass-upside-down arrangement of priorities is a reason to serve mushy falafel with watery tahini. The privatization of nature, the draining of wealth from working-class communities, and the poisoning of our air, soil and water, just might justify serving harrisa seemingly flavored with a hint of Murphy's Oil Soap. I'm not a chef, I'm not a restaurant manager, I'm not even a food saboteur, so I don't know what-all goes into making such decisions.

Our nation's systemic impoverishment of its elders and its children is an international scandal, as is our substandard health care system, and our underfunded public education system, if it can even be called a system, as fragmentary and haphazard a jalopy as it is. I'd think a restaurant would take the opportunity to provide food to their patrons of an enjoyable nature, given how parsimoniously joy is being distributed these days. Is now really the best time to overcook chicken shwarma till its texture is that of cork paneling? Surely now is the least opportune moment for serving dry shwarma, which can only exacerbate a diner's sorrow rather than relieve it.

Lentils should be cooked, of course, but a bit of resistance is desirable. They aren't rolled oats, for crying out loud. A lentil salad shouldn't be slurpable, like a milkshake. And serving them thus is no way to take my mind off Donald Dump's spastic narcissism, or Ajit Pai's perverse misguidance of the FCC, or Betsy DeVos's uneducated leadership of the Department of Education. I'm not telling you how to run your business. I'm not a businessperson. I'm only expressing what countless patrons are probably thinking.

They're thinking, "This food is only making us more dissatisfied. This food is monstrous. This food is corrupt as all hell. This food is the opposite of food, the way Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is neither supreme, nor courtly, nor just."

What's with the tiny plastic bowl-shaped micro-vessel for pickle? Where did you find these, is there a store that sells disposable tableware for hamsters? Black people are far over-represented in prisons and in poverty, which I consider an outrage, and you're nickel-and-diming me over some turnips and vinegar? Are you not aware of the epidemic of gun violence in our country? Can I get a napkin? And would it kill you to put a few more olives in the salad? I know times are hard, but if three olives is going to bankrupt you, maybe you shouldn't be operating a restaurant.

Maybe you'd be happier in Congress. When you sit with your thumb up your ass in that institution, people consider giving you lucrative quid-pro-quo jobs in the private sector. Right now your only reward for being crappy at your job is an irritated clientele. You could do so much better if you switched to a more appropriate field, where your mind- blowing lack of abilities and integrity seem to be exactly what's called for.

Listen, I'm as intolerant of hard work as the next person. I'm all about getting by on doing as little as possible. But when I am forced into a situation where I must achieve something for someone else's benefit, I do my best to do a good job. Because it's just as much work to do a lousy job, if not more. As an inveterate malingerer, I've learned that avoiding work is actually depressing. All it does is make the time go slower. And doing a lousy job is just a half-assed form of work-avoidance. It's actually an ineffective way of weaseling out of work. You're not even doing a good job of not doing your job!

Anyone with enough experience of what it's like to work at any kind of task, occupation, profession, job, responsibility, mission, or chore will tell you that getting into the flow is the only way to survive it. Time passes, you feel useful, you feel good about yourself and others. You might even find yourself enjoying it.

Yes, we're all trapped in an economic system that exploits us and requires that we exploit others, but adding additional misery to our lives when it is in no way necessary to do so is self-harm without the payoff of undermining the system.

Yes, the system treats us as a piece of equipment, but you don't need to consider yourself a thing, internalize the system's dehumanization, sabotage yourself to hurt the masters. Sabotage is often appropriate, but the benefits of self-sabotage in the war against capitalism dwindle rapidly to nothing, coeval with the dwindling of oneself. Be human. Always be human. It's our secret weapon.

Rise above the machine. Put your heart, or soul, or spirit, or whatever you know as your most multi-dimensional self, into your onerous slavery, into your bitter circumstance, in whatever way most fits your constitution. Even the torturer knows to do this. Even the fiend. Even the cop. Who knows, you might even discover you have a hidden talent for something, like torture. Or running a restaurant. Or some combination thereof.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


Share Tweet Send