RCC Honors History Project

Posted by kameron1 on May 10, 2009

“Everybody looks at the employer like he’s the evil guy.”

Wife: “He is the evil guy.”

Wife:  “”You always seem to think people are doin’ you a favor and they’re not.  You’re really doin’ them a favor because they’re makin’ money on you.”

“Of course.  This is a capitlaist society, whether you like it or not.  It’s not like goin’ on welfare, you gotta work.  There’s nothin’ wrong with it.”

Wife:  “Big business uses people.  They use people as long as they can.”

(Working, Terkel pp.148-49)

This dialogue between Ruggiero and his wife seems to symbolize or represent perhaps an internal struggle withing some people of the working class.  On the one hand there is the worker who is accepting of the position they hold within the capitalist scheme, while on the other hand is the angry, frustrated position and attitude towards capitalism.

Could it be suggested that this dialogue between the accepting, submissive husband and the frustrated attitude of the wife represents or symbolizes an internal struggle within each individual of the working-class? Middle-Class?

Also,

I was looking through catalogues of clothes, stereo equipment, etc.  When I was looking through these catalogues there were pictures of seemingly middle-class folk enjoying whatever product, a stereo system.  What bothered me about these pictures is how content and comfortable they seem.  Now I’m not railing against comfort, but it seems as if these people, who are a part of the capitalisty society, do not seem to mind their position on the hierarchical ladder of the capitalist society.

In Mother Jones the workers gave up so much and fought for their rights and freedoms.  Has American society let that energy or determination of the working-class go by the way-side?  Have we become comfortable enough to not protest or express frustration?  Do we have much to protest about in the 21st century concerning worker’s rights?

Perhaps we shouldn’t make waves within the capitalist pond.

Has American society become too comfortable and content to stand up against capitalism? Or even express frustration?

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2 Responses to “”

  1. chad612 said

    It is funny that so many people think criticizing any part of anything that happens in America is an unpatriotic attack on the whole country. As if everything is always running perfectly or will correct itself over time only if we have blind faith and don’t mess with anything. In the Ruggeiro section of the book, it seems like the husband and wife have opinions on the opposite poles, but I think she sees that while he is never willing to criticize the system, he does feel bad about the people who are hurt by that system (people who lose their jobs because of his findings).

    Advertising often makes it look like the product being sold is the final thing you need for your life to be comfortable and satisfying. I don’t mind it if, for instance, I’m frustrated with how much time I have spent making rice over the years and I wonder if there’s a product that would simplify this task and also allow me to steam vegetables. But when you didn’t know you had a desire for a product until you saw a slick commercial for it, then you are being manipulated to buy a product purely for the joy of buying into consumerism. Being happy that you have the means to buy things that you don’t need.

  2. nrohr said

    I saw an issue of Ladies Home Journal once with an article called “How To Get Everything You Want.” I didn’t read the article but I’ve always remembered that title—really, everything I want? I wonder if it meant material things or things like a happy family and a good marriage and a nice house, or all of those things—literally everything you might want! Two things strike me about it. First, it seems ridiculous to imagine that you could ever have everything you want and that there would be one to get it. But secondly, I wonder if I am just so conditioned to believe that I want so many things, that to me it seems impossible that I could ever have them all. Because it seems like no matter you what, you always want something more. America has a major disconnect between want and need.

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