On Protestant Work Ethic Mutations and the Joy of Washing Dishes

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran restaurant dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown. He is very aware of his privilege, so there’s really no need to remind him of it.

Inequality, not a higher tax on multimillion-dollar properties, is what’s causing division in Vancouver. I love it when the rich cry ‘class war’ when they’ve been waging it on the poor for decades with absolute impunity. And make no mistake, they won’t stop until they have all of it.

They’ve almost completely obliterated historical class lines, but stomp their feet when we attempt to claw back a semblance of livability: Vancouver’s real divide isn’t West vs. East. It’s North vs. South. It’s true. I’ve never even set foot south of King Edward. I always thought it was…Richmond.

Seems low: 37% of Metro Vancouverites think real estate market is ‘extremely corrupt’: report. Are the other 63% real estate agents or something?

The Liberals’ disregard for workers’ rights. And this is why the yellow vests are out in the streets en masse! Oh wait, that’s not why they are out in the streets en masse?

Two detained after clash between yellow vests and counter protesters outside Alberta Legislature.

The Alberta protests have been co-opted to serve as a blanket protest for a laundry list of frustrations, from Alberta’s carbon tax, the federal government’s pipeline regulation legislation Bill C-69, illegal migration and general resentment toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley

Good on those counter-protesters. I mean, I’m doing my part too. I joined the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group and spam them with things like this so…

It’s so bizarre to me that the left can’t ever harness this populist rage. They are both rooted in the structural imbalances created by neoliberalism. Can you chalk up a mutation of the protestant work ethic into a kind of capitalist Stockholm Syndrome? Or do the roots roots of populist anger go much deeper?

Even the country’s mythology is rooted in anger: The American dream is, in a sense, an optimistic reframing of the discontent felt by people unwilling to accept the circumstances life has handed them.

Recently, however, the tenor of our anger has shifted. It has become less episodic and more persistent, a constant drumbeat in our lives. It is directed less often at people we know and more often at distant groups that are easy to demonize. These far-off targets may or may not have earned our ire; either way, they’re apt to be less invested in resolving our differences. The tight feedback loop that James Averill observed in Greenfield has been broken. Without the release of catharsis, our anger has built within us, exerting an unwanted pressure that can have a dark consequence: the desire not merely to be heard, but to hurt those we believe have wronged us.

Yeah, I guess we can’t all be in a hardcore band and work a job where you get to splash around and yell inane inside jokes at the top of your lungs: I’ve got a top degree, but I’m stuck washing dishes. This is pretty close to being my autobiography except I don’t have a degree and I actually love washing dishes and I’ve only applied for…like, one job that wasn’t in the restaurant industry in the last year (your loss, Lush). Oh, and thanks to Graeme Berglund for sending this my way. Prick.

Local hero of the day: Pamela Anderson’s political activism – from French riots to broken capitalism.

RIP: ‘End of an era’: Vancouver comic store closing after 44 years.

Bonus: Canada’s 10 worst cities for hate crime.

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