I’ve been accused of being a class traitor, something that amuses me as much as being called a gender traitor or any other kind of traitor to something I never swore allegiance to. And something that, in one case, is a diseased chimera from the useless brain of Karl Marx. And in the other is not exact science “the contents match the can” the left thinks it is.
What I was accused of, particularly, was of not liking the Dinosaur-my-love idiocy because I “identified with the working class.” Which … not really. Not in the sense the idiot means by “working class.” Which is itself a deranged abstraction but in the case of the Dino-abomination seemed to mean “louts who hang out in bars and beat up people because it’s Wednesday and there’s nothing good on the telly.”
Actually that story is a good example of what I wish to talk to you about. There is a — for lack of a better term — class or if you prefer category of people who really have no clue how the other half lives. What that woman poured into “working class” was some kind of emulsified crap from reading regency romances (the gin!); the eructations of Marxist professors; and the fear of those who aren’t like them, and who must wish to murder them for being so open minded and smart. Or something.
I’ve seen this so many times it’s no longer a surprise, even if that one was particularly vile.
Revolting, yes. Surprising? no. People with a college degree try to depict people whom they consider beneath them socially, and it quickly devolves to white-trash stereotypes and insanity. (Of note, many people (if not most. I don’t think anyone has done a survey) in trailer parks have at least some college. But none of these people think they can even read or write.) And the things these people can do, often complex jobs (don’t ask me to install faucets or do anything with drains. You won’t like the results.) are dismissed as “things dumb people do.”
Which brings us to where we are.
Our current difficulties have been described as a class war. Yes, in that sense myself (and husband) would be class traitors. Or as a friend of mine calls himself “new class traitors.” We are both (hyper, alas) educated, and (him more than me) have the sort of background that should make us eat all that internationalism with a spoon. Our work with words and numbers (me/him. We divide labor that way) should make us prone to abstraction and convinced we can rule the world from our desks, with a wave of our unblistered fingers.
And yet, we insist on siding with those people that the self-proclaimed elite classifies as “hobbits.” And about whom they joke.
And about whom they know bloody nothing.
It hit me yesterday though that we are precisely on the side we should be.
Forget classes in economic or even educational terms. Marx is dead (and I feel fine). Though he had something going when he talked of workers. Not much, of course, because the man was a dumb grifter. So when he thought of workers being a separate class, he thought of it as his leading the hobbits to paradise. (Rolls eyes.) The man who was raping his kitchen drudge though he was a natural for leading workers. Sure. (You know what if I get a time machine, I might or might not kill him but I AM going to give him a Persian blessing. I.e. spray him repeatedly with cow urine. He needed it. And it’s a pity no one ever did it.)
But still, making workers a separate thing made sense. Oh, not in the “owning the means of production” because for some of us those are our minds, and I work very hard to own it, thankee ever so much.
You see, it’s like this: People who make things (even useless luxury things like yours truly) think differently from people who DIRECT things and tell you how things should be made.
This has shadings, because there is an entire preening gaggle that sort of makes things, but not really
For instance artists who live off the public dole, or the academic grift don’t make things. They serve their masters. The work is not tested. It doesn’t have to satisfy. It just has to repeat what you heard. And the flawed, broken parts will be taken as “very smart.”
While artists and writers who are public-oriented i.e. who write for money are a completely different kind of thing. They are people who work. This is why you could always tell Baen writers in the old days. They looked and acted in completely different ways from the other houses. Mostly because by and large we weren’t trying to impress professors.
In the same way, indie writers tend to be more like Baen writers were. People who work, and make a living with the sweat of their brows (ow, my arthritic fingers.)
And of course, anyone who makes clothes, paints walls, grows things is someone who works. Because they have to do things and do them to a certain standard or it fails. You can’t cover flaws in construction up with pretty words: the missile won’t fly, the bridge will collapse, the novel will never “close.”
Yesterday I was watching people install granite counters (I was supervising guy making our internet work…. He didn’t, btw) and when it all came together, the young woman in the crew said “I love it when it comes together” and it hit me it was the exact same feeling as when I navigate a difficult plot point, and bring the novel to a satisfying conclusion. I.e. I can’t just stop mideway and say I don’t know what it means but it’s commentary on something or other. I.e. I’m more kin to that young woman (I was highly impressed. Like me, at her age, she could do the physical work of a man. It’s rare, but it happens.) than to university professors explaining the symbolism in the use of punctuation in a novel.
The problem you see is that the people who never do anything, never build anything that has to be made to certain specifications, have no clue — none — of limitations.
Why not? Well, because they’ve never met them. In the realm of ideas, in which they build abstractions, the result is always right, and who are you to question their vision?
In the real world we learn that the stain won’t go on evenly (I will finally have an actually, for real workshop) despite your best efforts, and then you have to fix; that the bookcase you built should take that dictionary, but in fact it just collapsed, that….
You learn that there is a reality, and that it pushes back on you, and it’s not all shaped by your mind. The stain didn’t blotch or the varnish crocodile because of systemic racism. Preaching to the drains about systemic oppression won’t make no never mind. You need to do the work, and do it so it works.
Unfortunately, the profitable path in our society for almost a century has been to be pharaoh’s supervisor, ordering the slaves to make brick without straw.
Which is how we get to the embassy in Kabul being very very concerned with pride month, but not so much with getting their people out safely.
All of which… leads to where we are. There’s a group of people who can’t find the real world with two hands and a seeing eye dog. And they hate, despise and fear those who can, because those people refuse to fall in with the beautiful abstractions of the shit-spinners.
And they keep trying to control everything. Partly because then reality can’t sucker punch them, I think.
If we let them go on with this, they’ll kill us and destroy civilization.
I think we’ve realized this, which is why we fight. And I’m right on the side I should be, even if the things I make are in the long run rather useless.
This is a war of the workers/those who make and build and create things, against the useless supervisory class, who just tells us how things SHOULD be made: completely divorced of real world materials/specifications/market.
They’ve been driving us to a point we can’t do anything but fight back.
Heaven knows we’ve been trying to do it with words/ideas, not with steel.
But one way or another, we’re almost at
Holla ye pampered jades of Asia!
What, can ye draw but twenty miles a day?