WTF did we talk about?
The idea that kept re-emerging in today’s WTF session was of “Christmas as an institution”, and the role of that institution, co-opted by capitalism, as a beacon of hope and reward for the drudgery of both pre-Covid life and now more than ever during the dumpster fire of a year that is 2020. After a prolonged discussion about the role of Christmas TV ads and the balance between sentimentalism and cynicism (see a good example below), we talked about the precarity of modern work and the broken financial system that perpetuates it.
Discussions were mainly inspired by Owen Jones’ recent interview with Yanis Varoufakis, which touches on austerity for the masses and socialism for the few, our lack of investment in the future, and how we tackle the threat of fascism during a crisis:
WTF are people reading?
Grace Blakely, Stolen, 2019 – Increasing pools of labour diminish worker rights and power.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs, 2018 – Work as an end in itself, jobs you don’t believe in, and the lost promise of an automated future.
David Roth, ‘A Unified Theory of the Trumps’ Creepy Aesthetic’, New Republic, December 19th 2019 – Trump Christmas aesthetics.
Rupert Neate, ‘Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis’, The Guardian, October 7th 2020 – Amazon monopolising pandemic spending.
Karen Weise, ‘Pushed by Pandemic, Amazon Goes on a Hiring Spree Without Equal’, New York Times, November 27th 2020 – How Amazon is shaping the face of casual work as well as our spending habits.
J G Ballard, ‘The Subliminal Man’, 1963 – Ballard’s short story about a hyper capitalist future with nonstop competitive shopping.
WTF are people watching?
2020 Christmas TV Ads – “A Christmas you can believe in”, not even pretending anymore Christmas is anything other than a chance to bury your woes in spiced gin and cake. See Kevin the carrot get eaten in the Lidl Christmas ad 2020.
WTF are people listening to?
Sleaford Mods, ‘BHS’, 2017 – ‘We’re going down like BHS’
Our Voices podcast, ‘David Adler on the Progressive International launch’, October 5th 2020 – Internationalism and solidarity as infrastructure and action, not just sentiment.
WTF is next?