NR Digital

The Straggler

Labor Pains

by John Derbyshire
The world of work is much on John Derbyshire’s mind

August lived up to its reputation as the Silly Season this year, the news dominated for several days by JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who quit his job August 9 in a sensational manner, venting his grievances over the plane’s PA system and then exiting via the emergency chute. (Fortunately the plane was stationary on the tarmac.) Though there are open questions about what triggered the incident, Slater’s deed returned an echo from many a wage slave’s breast, and he was a folk hero for a week or so there in the dog days of high summer.

The world of ordinary work and its discontents makes the news much less often than, it seems to me, it ought — when you consider, I mean, the sheer quantity of work that gets done every day. When such stories do show up in the press, I take down my copy of Studs Terkel’s 1974 bestseller, Working.

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