Wha’ Happened This Week? So you’re never LATE TO THE PARTY.
1. UNIOOOONS! (That my ‘Braveheart’/’Streetcar Named Desire’ impression — never realized how similar they are.) Yeah yeah, this was a big week for NFL watchers since a major game Monday night hinged on a highly questionable call, but really behind the scenes this week’s news wasn’t about football (or even money, it turns out) but about those pesky union weapons-of-negotiation called collective bargaining rights… and how a nation reacts when workers try to get what they want from the man. I KNOW THIS ISN’T SEXY but hold on a second. The facts, if you want ’em: last year it was the players; this year it was the refs. They sat down to negotiate with the bazillionaires who own their teams and the dude who runs the whole shebang, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and by the time football season began they still hadn’t reached an agreement. Largely because that group of rich guys, or “ownership” (that’s what they’re called! It’s so feudal), didn’t believe the refs should get pensions, although that’s only pocket change to them, because it’s the principle of the thing, people! Ehem.
Really, I’m totally not a sports gal, I don’t watch football, but the reason this is news for all of us is that, in the mere weeks since Labor Day, there’ve now been two high profile collective bargaining issues making national headlines — this one reaching an impasse that resulted in a lockout before it was resolved, and a Teachers’ Union one last week in Chicago that resulted in a strike before it was also ultimately resolved, kinda — and they’ve inspired a lot of evaluation about what we Americans think about unions, beneath our posturing of good will toward them. Namely, that a lot of us are sick of workers asking for more money when they should be grateful to have a job at all, or they should be grateful for getting to teach our kids and be on that football field. As Gawker writer Mobutu Sese Seko says in this awesome article it’s… kinda a Republican thing. They’ve been demonizing unions for 40 years and it’s working. For one thing, they want us to believe that the rights our forebears fought for and got are permanent, so unions served their purpose and are now obsolete. Doneso. And for another, if workers feel undercompensated by the man, well they’re just whining — ‘cuz really, they’re not taking into account how well-compensated they are in glorious non-financial ways:
“Years ago, the American right started pimping a term called “psychic benefits.” It’s a catch-all term that […] means: “You have a job that already rewards you for the feeling you get from performing it, so you require fewer rewards in terms of salary and benefits.” In shorter terms: you’re being paid by feeling “good,” so we can pay you less.”
2. Second thing everyone’s talking about this week: the fall-out regarding the new iPhone operating system’s map app. The high school boy in me thinks “IOS 6? IOS SUCKS!” I’m still holding out on doing the big system update because I’m kinda partial to getting where I need to go. Har har. Everyone’s imagining Steve Jobs rolling in his grave since, as the New York Times tech writer David Pogue bellowed:
“Maps is an appalling first release. It may be the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed.”
Really, the issue seems to be that Apple’s been in a bitter rivalry with Google and whereas the old system we frolicked with everyday represented a happy cohabitation of the two big guys in a single phone (I’m envisioning Burt and Ernie now), this new version represents the stark reality of their break-up. We can install Google accoutrements onto the phone (and damn is Google doing some cool new stuff), but we’ll never return to that distant utopia. Apple actually just this morning apologized for that map SNAFU. And guys, it bears remembering:
3. Truth be told, this was a slow news week, which is mostly a good thing. Leaders from around the world met at the annual United Nations General Assembly for a week of “general debating” in New York (without much fireworks) and Obama’s speech was about diplomacy and free speech and stuff. The Emmys told us who’s the best at making television (without much fireworks) (or like, entertainment value), and there were some pretty horrid fireworks at a Minneapolis sign-making company when a worker opened fire on his co-workers and then himself… but it’s too early to say what the larger ramifications are of this latest handgun-in-the-wrong-hands debacle. Besides the obvious one. And without much to talk about, all the news shows have just been crunching (and recrunching to skew toward their preference) the poll numbers on this upcoming presidential election. Here’s a good breakdown of them, that considers the damage made by ye olde 47% video from last week. Apparently, it’s a slow news week in Iran too — a mag over there did what any good journalist would, and ran an Onion article as real news.
So, the presidential & vice-presidential debates start next week. Besides chance gaffes or a soaring impromptu soundbite, it’s hard to imagine any of these guys will stray far enough away from their talking points to make things interesting. What do you guys wish they would talk about?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, a la Marianne Williamson (who I get to hear live tomorrow evening!) —
“Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.”