Labor Day

I look forward to Labor Day every year.  It’s the unofficial end of summer, and I don’t like summer.  It means the US Open is happening, and I love the US Open.  It means the baseball pennant races are heating up, and I love baseball.  It means a day off of work.  I didn’t always look forward to Labor Day.  It also means the beginning of school, and I hated school.  The one thing it never meant to me, and I think this is true of most people my age and younger, is anything about organized labor or the labor movement.

In a lot of ways it is an odd holiday for Americans to celebrate.  Reagan went a long ways towards killing labor when I was too young to understand what was happening.  Ever since, American attitudes toward labor have ranged from disinterest to open hostility.  Even the unions that still function are far more interested in getting what they can for their specific members than doing anything for labor as a whole.  Yet, here we are again, supposedly celebrating labor.

Why isn’t there a union representing workers in the financial services?  Restaurants?  Retail?  Or any of the myriad jobs where people work too hard and get too little?*  The Occupy movement was constantly (and rightly) criticized for not having a focus or discernable purpose.  Starting a new labor movement would have been perfect for them.   Lack of a labor movement is one of the key differences between the relative equality of the mid-twentieth century and the rampant inequality before and after.  Anyone who is worried about the 1%/99% divide ought to be worried about labor.

Anyway, that is what I’ll be mulling over in the back of my mind as I watch tennis and baseball and get ready for another work week to start tomorrow.


*I know there are unions that try in some of these industries.  But they are not very organized or successful.

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Derek Jeter Is the Cover Model for the 2015 SI Swimsuit Issue

The title of this piece is not accurate.  Hannah Davis is the cover model for the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.  But every single headline I saw lead with Derek Jeter, look at Yahoo!, CBS Detroit, and the Huffington Post.  In other news, Pierre Curie’s wife won the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics.  Oh, and in 1955, Raymond Parks’ wife was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

I don’t just find this annoying because I find everything about Derek Jeter to be annoying (I do find Jeter’s very existence to be annoying, see here).  It’s annoying because Hannah Davis has apparently reached the top of her chosen field and America’s mainstream news sources can only talk about it in relation to the man she happens to be dating.  I know next to nothing about modeling and slightly less than that about swimsuits, but I know that if this is a newsworthy story, the story should be about Hannah Davis.  Congratulations Ms. Davis.

While we’re on the subject of the SI Swimsuit Issue, there’s apparently a plus size model named Robyn Lawley in this year’s edition.  According to Time magazine, she is a size 12, which is only two sizes smaller than the average woman.  God forbid they use an average woman as a point of comparison.  Apparently, the average model is a size 2 (Does that mean Ms. Lawley is 6 times bigger than the average model?  I don’t understand how this works).  The picture they have doesn’t look even a little plus size to me.  Don’t get me wrong, she looks much less like a pre-pubescent boy than most models and that’s nice.  But, if she’s plus size, what are all of the real women I see every day?