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Twenty reasons why it's kicking off everywhere
February 6, 2011 6:44 AM   Subscribe

"We've had revolution in Tunisia, Egypt's Mubarak is teetering; in Yemen, Jordan and Syria suddenly protests have appeared. In Ireland young techno-savvy professionals are agitating for a "Second Republic"; in France the youth from banlieues battled police on the streets to defend the retirement rights of 60-year olds; in Greece striking and rioting have become a national pastime. And in Britain we've had riots and student occupations that changed the political mood. What's going on? What's the wider social dynamic?"
posted by doobiedoo (111 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let 'er rip.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:50 AM on February 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is very stream-of-consciousness. It reads like a first draft to a better essay that doesn't yet exist.
posted by sudasana at 6:54 AM on February 6, 2011


It reads like a first draft to a better essay that doesn't yet exist.

I guess you missed this bit:
"My editors yesterday asked me put some bullet points down for a discussion on the programme that then didn't happen but I am throwing them into the mix here".
posted by ceedee at 7:08 AM on February 6, 2011


Points 2 & 3 in particular are the Malcolm Gladwell is still wrong about social networking points.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 7:14 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's all stand up. Eat the rich.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:14 AM on February 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Let's all stand up. Eat the rich.

Meat's too tough and dry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what's up in Belarus? I still find it hard to understand there's a dictatorship in the heart of Europe, and no-one ever seems to talk about it.
posted by Harry at 7:18 AM on February 6, 2011


Meat's too tough and dry.

That's why we usually crush them and then either finely grind them into a dry powder, or mix the sticky essence with a little alcohol and use it for flavoring, like vanilla.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:22 AM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Internet and social media has made it easier than ever for revolutionaries to kick things of and globally rally support for their causes. Not only is it becoming impossible for corrupt nation states to prevent the mediation of ideas, actions and discontent, there is no way to propaganda or PR yourself out of a revolution.

Thanks for this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:22 AM on February 6, 2011


I think there's something really missing in this list, and a lot of discussions in this are have been happening. We're seeing a 10-year maturity of the mainstream web, if not net, and the dissemination of the cultural and the politics at the heart of the software and infrastructure that underpins it. Periodically, we see businesses or whole market sectors flipped upside down as web models rewrite them - but those net models are built on a whole cultural and philosophical basis. We tend to ignore those foundations when we talk about the cultural impact of the web, but transparency, 'open source' (in it's myriad forms) and direct peer connections are propagating everywhere.

There are jokes about the web as a revolutionary medium, but I think we're starting to see the web as an essential medium which foments revolution and tries to restructure the physical referents around it in its form.
posted by davemee at 7:22 AM on February 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


The decline of the babyboom empires.
posted by furtive at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's up in Belarus? I still find it hard to understand there's a dictatorship in the heart of Europe, and no-one ever seems to talk about it.

Not true. We keep talking very loudly amongst ourselves about what a disgrace it is that it still exists; unfortunately, it seems Lukashenka just can't take the hint.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jesus. Edit window please!
... list, and a lot of the discussions that have been happening in this area. We're ...
posted by davemee at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2011


Points 9, 10, and 11 reminded me of this article from The Economist arguing that PhD's no longer pay off economically for many of the folks that achieve them.

Yeah, the article in the FPP was put together very quickly, but a lot of it lines up with what I'm reading elsewhere. That dig at folks over 40 at the end is unfortunate, though.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 7:25 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The decline of the babyboom empires.
Only sort-of.
The actual "babyboom empires" reside in the boardrooms of Wall Street and related locations worldwide. They are doing quite well, thank-you, and are watching quite intently as those pesky governments begin to crumble.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:27 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Paul Ford recently made a pretty compelling argument for the essential question the 'net asks being "why wasn't I consulted?"

I think davemee is on to something here; kids who've been asking that question pretty much their whole lives are now asking it of their governments. Iran shows that it won't be 100% successful, but they're sure as hell gonna ask.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 7:34 AM on February 6, 2011


There aren't many governments out there unilaterally representing their constituents' best interests, so it's no wonder that a bunch of people are wondering if overthrowing the system and seeing what happens is the best answer right now. The people in most places see a dwindling number of people who are receiving more and more of a benefit and aren't particularly happy about it, nor should they be.
posted by dflemingecon at 7:36 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


7. Memes: [...] Prior to the internet this theory (see Richard Dawkins, 1976) seemed an over-statement but you can now clearly trace the evolution of memes.

CEILING CAT DOES NOT FIND YOUR DICTATORSHIP AMUSING

Nope. I'm sorry but even in the age of the internet (stupid 4chan inspired jokes aside), memes are still not relevant.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:39 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


If (and it's a big if), there's a link between all the demonstrating, then it's probably got more to do with the cost of fuel & food than anything else.
posted by seanyboy at 7:41 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by dougrayrankin at 7:41 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's all about pie.

Those without it, want it.

Those with it, don't want to share it.

Education lets people know how to make pie and that some of them aren't getting large slices compared to others.

Technology allows people to share their misery over not getting pie and formulate ideas on how to get pie.

Those with pie gorge themselves and become lazy and slow. Eating too much pie does that to you. It also makes the pie lords eager to retain their pie.

Gradually people realize if they're getting tiny slices of pie or no pie, then they have nothing to lose by demanding pie from the pie lords.

The only questions are how much blood can the pie lords get away with spilling and keep the status quo vs how much blood the pie peasants are willing to spill to get some pie. No one is really sure of the math here until the exam starts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:46 AM on February 6, 2011 [84 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb here and make the claim that (the recent) mass protests in Europe have only a superficial connection to what is going on in North Africa, and that looking for an overarching "social dynamic" is searching for a pattern where none exists.

Of course, I could be wrong. But I just don't see it.
posted by moonbiter at 7:47 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry but even in the age of the internet (stupid 4chan inspired jokes aside), memes are still not relevant.

He's not talking about lolcats. He's talking about 'memes' in a broader sense - it's a useful word that is used to illustrate how ideas are transmitted, especially through the web.

"A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena."
posted by oulipian at 7:49 AM on February 6, 2011 [19 favorites]


*throws pie*
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on February 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I heard somewhere, from someone, that because the internet was created initially for military purposes, it could actually turn out to be really resilient and difficult to disable. Does anyone know if this is true?
posted by fuq at 8:08 AM on February 6, 2011



The decline of the babyboom empires.


I've wondered about this, if at some point younger people (like myself) will get tired of funding the transfers of wealth to the babyboomer generation, and tired of their taking up so much oxygen in the room, as it were. I mean, if all the babyboomers retired today at the place I work, we'd be hiring a shitload of young people all of a sudden. That's not happening (in large part because all of their 401k's got flushed down the toilet, so they are all pretty well fucked right when they thought they were going to retire), obviously, but when I look at the protests in Egypt I see a far more extreme version of this.
posted by Forktine at 8:14 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


" ... progressive" intelligentsia, intermixing with the slum-dwellers at numerous social interfaces (cabarets in the 19C, raves now) ..."
PLUR, dude. He isn't entirely off the mark, but I think he's looking for patterns that aren't there, too. And the apocalyptic tone of this piece reminds me of turn-of-the-century Jeff Jarvis (et al.) on the power of blogging. Social networks! Is there anything they can't do?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:21 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Points 2 & 3 in particular are the Malcolm Gladwell is still wrong about social networking points.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 7:14 AM on February 6


I disagree and I'm still digging for the citation, so hang on a minute

I read a news article - could have been from African or Asian media, I need to go through my browsing history to find it - just yesterday which framed this very well. It pointed out that the major protest took place *after* the internet was shut down and the telephone lines were down. It started off by pointing out that Poland had shut down the telephone networks in Gdansk when Lech Walesa started (in case someone else remembers this article).

Its main point was that it wasn't the Facebook and the Twitter that were enabling freedom to ring through the streets *cough* since humans had been managing to do this even before all of these tools, usually with the vines on which grapes grow.

Having observed (with interviews) "mass communication" among the lower income demographic in a couple of developing nations, I'm inclined to overlook the hype around social networking as the be all and end all for justice and democracy.

Otoh, is there something sweeping through the streets, where people seek bread to eat and taxes that are just, like it did a few hundred years ago in France and New England - yes, I believe so.

I also think its soon to be able to jot down 20 points why its happening as though it was a term paper on the start of The Great War, however.
posted by infini at 8:26 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's not talking about lolcats. He's talking about 'memes' in a broader sense
I know what a 'meme' is. What it isn't is a useful term. You could actually say that it's harmful, since it distorts our understanding of how these processes take place - for instance, by focusing on the similarities (lots of protests going on in many places), we completely ignore their local background the fact that the protests are being used for achieving different goals, rather just imitating the same "protest meme". In this case, it also seems to be exagerrating the role of the internet, as if the "protest meme" was a recent invention that is now spreading like wildfire.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:29 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I limit myself to one quick observation. When Egypt closed down the net in order to stifle opposition, at the same time, banks and all other businesses also got shut down because they rely upon the net working. The net quickly reopened, not I think, to satisfy the crowds but rather to keep the economy from total collapse. In sum: the net works both for and against a govt.
posted by Postroad at 8:31 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


if at some point younger people (like myself) will get tired of funding the transfers of wealth to the babyboomer generation

This will happen. It's always been faintly amusing that, by the time reforms are actually implemented, the boomers will be dead, and they will hit smack dab in the middle of the X'ers.

Retirement is for other people.
posted by underflow at 8:39 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could someone please decipher this? I am over forty and don't understand I even got on page?
posted by zylocomotion at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


14.In addition to a day off, you can "mix and match": I have met people who do community organizing one day, and the next are on a flotilla to Gaza; then they pop up working for a think tank on sustainable energy; then they're writing a book about something completely different. I was astonished to find people I had interviewed inside the UCL occupation blogging from Tahrir Square this week.

Trust the Beeb to spot the professional rabble rousers.
posted by infini at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2011


tl;dr distillation: it's all about the Internet causing these problems for the power elite - they are no longer able to control the flow of information that was being used to keep the people in line. So you can look forward to more and more controls, including the Kill Switch the White House wants and Registered Users like China has. Give the people just enough illusion of "free" and they will be happy to sit home, eat pizza, and watch dudes shove a small object up and down 300 feet of fake grass.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:41 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It pointed out that the major protest took place *after* the internet was shut down and the telephone lines were down.
I heard an interview with a young woman in Egypt yesterday that touched on that point. What she said was that she had been really reliant on the internet to keep her posted and involved, and then when it went down, she realized that the only way to stay involved and informed was actually to go attend protests. So it's true both that the internet was important to her initial engagement and that losing access was a spur to greater participation. And if the government had not shut down the internet, she might never have ended up in the street.

I think it's a tricky, complicated dynamic. I think there's something to the idea that the internet makes it easier for people to feel involved without putting everything on the line. When and how that transforms into actual engagement with a potential to change stuff? I don't know how that works.
posted by craichead at 8:43 AM on February 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'd help you out, zylocomotion, but wait, let me try to get a handle on my reading glasses *mutters* *grumbles*
posted by infini at 8:43 AM on February 6, 2011


On the meme front, I think it is a useful concept to bring into this discussion, if only because the Egyptian uprising in particular* does seem to have been co-ordinated with an eye to catchy, easily-spread concepts - memes, in other words. Essentially, it's been very strongly branded; many of the individual days of the protest having their own name ("Day of Anger"; "Day of Rage"; "March of Millions"; "Day of Departure", etc.) that keep the momentum and story flowing, when it would have been easy for both commitment to the protests and international interest to peter out.

Now, whether this is indicative of a degree of top-down planning in the protests, or simply that these things are now organically forming in this way, is a pretty interesting question. Likewise the question of how major a role these memes actually played within Egypt, or whether they were overstated by outside media looking for story hooks.

For one thing, looking at these could give us an insight into how important communications technologies were in helping it start in the first place; it also helps us see how it connects (if it does at all) with the other protests going on world wide. So from that perspective, looking at the formation and spread of the memes that have become a fairly key part of how the outside world views the Egypt protests could be an important way of better understanding what's going on here.

*Also true with the UK student protests; it seems to me that the student-led protests have been far more effective in terms of communicating a message and maintaining momentum than the traditional union-led ones, which you might have expected to be better set up to engineer mass movements. Could that be because they're more instinctively comfortable with forms of communication that thrive on meme-like ideas? It's not entirely clear, but it's a possibility.
posted by flashboy at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If his big point is that historically an excess of educated/middle class/potential ruling class young men (people) at leisure and with no stake in the political system can cause problems for the Powers That Be, this is not a new idea, and thanks for rediscovering the wheel. It's the part where he seems to want to apply this as a blueprint for present and near-term future developments that leave my inner historian a little leery.

But I'm over 40 and analog, so clearly I don't know anything.
posted by immlass at 8:47 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The net quickly reopened, not I think, to satisfy the crowds but rather to keep the economy from total collapse.

The authoritarian answer to this is (mark my words here) to eventually have separate internets for businesses, the military and normal civilians. It would be inefficient, expensive, cumbersome and a technical nightmare but those are all secondary concerns to a government that wishes to maintain power at all costs.

The early 21sy century will be defined by, I think, the increasingly desperate attempts of governments to control and corral the Internet/social networking and eventually learning how to use both in the service of pro-government propaganda. Something similar happened with the advent of the printing press in the 15, 16 and 1700's.

The future of the Internet is restricted, I'm afraid. It was extremely difficult to get controversial works published in Europe for most of the past 500 years, and that didn't really change until the 20th century when governments realized that they didn't need to actively supress dissenting books when they could just be drowned out by incessant barking of a mass media under control of the status quo.
posted by Avenger at 9:00 AM on February 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


He's missing the most obvious reason, which is simply that the Fed has been pouring dollars into the accounts of the primary dealers (quantitative easing), essentially monetizing US debt. The money burns a hole in the pockets of the PDs, who then go and spend it on equities and commodities, pushing the prices up (hence the full-on bull market since QE began). The result is a spike in energy and food prices (which doesn't show up in inflation figures, since they don't include energy and food prices) at exactly the same time that world trade hit a sticky patch.

The result in countries with large numbers of people on or below the poverty line is unrest. Clearly social media have transformed the way that unrest manifests itself, but the proximate cause is QE.

Click on the 1-year view of this graph to see what I mean.

Striking graph showing correlation of Fed open market ops to economy and indices. (From Lee Adler, who follows this stuff obsessively).
posted by unSane at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and for everybody obsessing over the throwaway "over 40" comment, it's probably worth pointing out that Paul Mason works for Newsnight, a show which has a palpable, overt and often very funny tension in it between people interested in modern stuff like the internet and motion pictures and what have you, and the old guard, who openly sneer at it. Note that the piece these notes were put together for never made it to air; you have to imagine that there was an internal debate between those camps over whether this is all a load of fashionable modern tosh, and that Mason got overruled in that debate... I suspect he's just anticipating that many of the commenters will have the same reaction as some of his colleagues probably had.
posted by flashboy at 9:05 AM on February 6, 2011


1. "At the heart if it all is a new sociological type: the graduate with no future"
Truth. I doubt this is really THE trigger, but we sure do have a lot of them around. raises hand.

3. Therefore truth moves faster than lies, and propaganda becomes flammable.
Bullshit. Lies move plenty fast, too, especially when they are convenient, bias-confirming ones. There is no truth-filter on the internet, but the internet creates opportunities for truth to get out—which, hopefully, will come with forms of proof that actually challenge lies.
posted by LMGM at 9:11 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks Avenger, at least now I know I can let go of all this existential angst and just accept that the future sucks. (Is there nothing we can do? Must we allow them to take our freedoms away?)
posted by polyhedron at 9:14 AM on February 6, 2011


infini, I see what you mean. To my mind, though, shutting off the net once demonstrations begin is a "close the barn door once the horses have escaped" thing. Everything leading up to that point was informed by the net. Gladwell's original argument was that you need strong social ties to get change, and social media only gives you weak ties.

I'm willing to agree with him that far, but I think that weak ties can augment movements. They reduce feelings of isolation and accelerate response times to changing events, for example. Strong ties are still required, particularly among whatever core organizers are involved, but weak ones help mobilize folks and keep them engaged.

At the conclusion of the original article, he made the argument that a "networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls." Maybe I'm reading too much into a rhetorical flourish, but it's one I really, really disagree with. :-)
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 9:15 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. "At the heart if it all is a new sociological type: the graduate with no future"

it's like the 70s never happened - what were the sex pistols singing back then?

and the interesting thing is that a good many of those underemployed graduates of the 70s eventually did find themselves some kind of future anyway

but there's two things the article misses - the current young generation is too young to remember a world torn apart by policial passion and extremism, economic turmoil and misery - as are the baby boomers - this means that they're going to be a lot less cautious about where they go with their actions, although we haven't seen much of that yet

second, it doesn't seem to be happening in the u s - the tea party doesn't count because that's not young people for the most part

why isn't it happening in the u s?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's global warming.
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2011


probably they're unrelated
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:41 AM on February 6, 2011


why isn't it happening in the u s?

There's enough people with just enough pie to avoid upending the social order. Lots of Americans would like more pie, but frankly, that would mean going without a lot of the little things and we're not ready for that. Protesting for 11 days means getting fired and then whatever little pie you have turns into no pie and faced with the choice of having a little pie for your family and four walls and comfy bed and satellite tv and pie insurance and general peace and order, there's no need to call for other throw of the government.

Plus, we have a nice neat change of Supreme Pie Lords, so there hasn't been a single person to get pissed at. 30 years of Carter, Reagan, BushI or II (but definitely II) and even Obama would cause much grumbling.

You can complain about big pie business, but whatcha gonna do, attack Pie Street? Eh, it's digital anyway, so they could move it to New Jersey and who wants to attack the place where you've stored all your future pie?

Oh wait, that's that pie managers of the pie lords.

Those young pie tasters, with mounting debt, rising prices, few prospects and a declining America? They'll be interesting to watch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


The population pyramids of these countries says a lot. They don't have "baby booms" like in the West -- once past 35 or so it's a steep and steady drop up the pyramid. The "boomers" are the 35 and under. We're seeing the rise of the boomers in these countries, not the decline like in the West.

It's global warming.

Well, food prices are indeed up due to extreme weather events around the world during 2010. A contributing factor since they are rioting in part over economic conditions.
posted by stbalbach at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Would *love* if this article, which points to world youth revolution, turned out to be true, but I cannot be so optimistic. For anyone over 55 on this page, just remember how disappointed we were after 1968. The rich still win and new media or not, there are a lot of gullible folks in this world who are easily led by propaganda wherever they find it, religious utopianists being only part of the problem, if a big part.
posted by Molly Burke at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what I'm hearing is, like, eight more "Like"s for Rage Against The Machine and the whole shithouse goes up in flames?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know why this hasn't hit the US yet. Conditions seem ripe, perhaps when the budget cuts start to hit in force.
posted by humanfont at 9:53 AM on February 6, 2011


His list of examples is quite bourgeois

the graduate with no future

one of the historians of the French Revolution of 1789 wrote that it was not the product of poor people but of poor lawyers.

They can "have a day off" from protesting, occupying: whereas with the old working-class based movements, their place in the ranks of battle was determined and they couldn't retreat once things started.

The activists have read their Chomsky and their Hardt-Negri, but the ideas therein have become mimetic: young people believe the issues are no longer class and economics but simply power:

heavy predomination of the "progressive" intelligentsia

meanwhile the solidaristic culture and respectability of organized labour is still there but, as in Egypt, they find themselves a "stage army" to be marched on and off the scene of history.


Working-class activism may be unfashionable in the author's milieu. All the old slogans about labor and solidarity and socialism may seem quaint and dogmatic and corny to the audience he's addressing. But he's cherry-picking his examples and ignoring 1.3 billion human beings who are kicking off in a decidedly old-school fashion, in struggles that involve strikes and scabbing and management goons and everything that you'd expect from the late nineteenth century.

The working class is not dead. If this assumption is at the core of your analysis of the world, you would do well to take a glance at China. There you will find counterexamples.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:54 AM on February 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


*cracks knuckles*

dvorak_beats_qwerty (DBQ henceforward ;p): Oh, I didn't meant to imply I agreed with Gladwell's thesis. I just meant that the over emphasis on social networking per se as this holy grail/Olympic torch can also be that horse beaten quite half to death now. With regard to what you've said about weak versus strong ties, note the comment from Craichead which observes:

So it's true both that the internet was important to her initial engagement and that losing access was a spur to greater participation. And if the government had not shut down the internet, she might never have ended up in the street.

I think it's a tricky, complicated dynamic.

posted by infini at 9:57 AM on February 6, 2011


This is just too huge a gathering of "points" to begin to try to answer, make sense. But the recent comments about the US:
Our lower classes and middle class people for some reason believe that some day they too can be a part of the small elite and so identify politically with them even though it is against class interests. Note how membership in unions has fallen over the years. For our youth bulge--young men without jobs--there is always our expanding military to keep them busy with macho tasks.
posted by Postroad at 9:58 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You lost me at the comparison of cabarets to raves.
posted by nzero at 10:00 AM on February 6, 2011


I don't know why this hasn't hit the US yet. Conditions seem ripe, perhaps when the budget cuts start to hit in force.

I rather like Old n' Busted's answer as the reason for this.

Give the people just enough illusion of "free" and they will be happy to sit home, eat pizza, and watch dudes shove a small object up and down 300 feet of fake grass.
posted by infini at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


If his big point is that historically an excess of educated/middle class/potential ruling class young men (people) at leisure and with no stake in the political system can cause problems for the Powers That Be, this is not a new idea, and thanks for rediscovering the wheel.

I've heard it pit that, historically, the only consistent factor across pretty much every successful revolution (including the American one) is hunger. That is, until an everyday normal man (or woman) sees his/her children starving, they're not going to take to the street and risk all for the promise of CHANGE. (change to what exactly?)

In light of this, my favorite post 911 comment (delivered by a well-off young broker-type): "We got way too many young guys out there with nothing to lose. How'd that happen?"
posted by philip-random at 10:04 AM on February 6, 2011


unSane, the QE couldn't conceivably have been responsible for the bad weather this past Autumn's growing season, the same bad weather that led to bad onion crops in India, less tea grown in Kenya and the Australian floods.
posted by infini at 10:05 AM on February 6, 2011


Note how membership in unions has fallen over the years.

This has nothing to do with US workers not wanting unions, as you imply. As to why protests like this aren't happening in America, I think there are a number of reasons--certainly, there's a lot of non-class-based identification going on, but I think an issue to remember is simply that geographically, this is a big, spread out country, whose capital is not the largest city.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 10:09 AM on February 6, 2011


"For anyone over 55 on this page, just remember how disappointed we were after 1968."

Heh. I'm younger than 55, but reading this, I thought about '68 and how that petered out (even though it did allow a fair amount of progressive goals to be accomplished by legislatures that looked "moderate" in comparison).

And the bit about lawyers, etc. is pretty well known to anyone who's studied revolutions. They're called the "vanguard" and generally usurp the spoils of a revolution for themselves.
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know why this hasn't hit the US yet. Conditions seem ripe, perhaps when the budget cuts start to hit in force.
posted by humanfont

My dear fellow, we don't have revolutions, we cater them.
lots of pie and crisps for the kids
posted by clavdivs at 10:16 AM on February 6, 2011


I've heard it pit that, historically, the only consistent factor across pretty much every successful revolution (including the American one) is hunger. That is, until an everyday normal man (or woman) sees his/her children starving, they're not going to take to the street and risk all for the promise of CHANGE.
I don't think that's true, at least not for the American revolution. One of the persistent challenges for people who want to explain the American revolution is that most people in the American colonies were comparatively well-off.
posted by craichead at 10:35 AM on February 6, 2011


Last year was the Year of the Tiger. I'm going with Chinese astrology as it seems much more accurate than any other thing. This is the year of the Rabbit now so thing should cool out.
posted by humanfont at 10:39 AM on February 6, 2011


"If there has to be a blood-bath [of our own youth], let's get it over with."

-- Ronald Reagan, Governor of California during the Vietnam War
posted by clavdivs at 10:39 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You lost me at the comparison of cabarets to raves.

His essential point is correct about raves. I went to them as a lower middle class kid from the suburbs who mostly had white christian friends, and became friends with people all over the socio-economic spectrum -- musicians and artists, IT people and scientists, law and medical students, blue collar people, gang-bangers and drug dealers, soldiers, the kids of diplomats and politicians, immigrants and the children of immigrants. It was a real education for me, and the connections I made with those people have lasted for years, even while these people have literally moved all around the world, some of them are now living in places like China we still keep in touch.

I can imagine that it happened all over the world. And the music is all about love and peace, etc. I can't imagine that for all the millions of people around the world who went to these parties, that it had no impact on how they saw the world.
posted by empath at 10:39 AM on February 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


People in Europe are always protesting. There's nothing new about student protests in England (whenever anyone gets a decent march together here, its always heralded as the apathetic finally getting political, but usually its just the same groups as last time. And coming up with a policy thats going to cost students money is a guaranteed way of getting people into the streets). Greece has been having riots because their economy is screwed. Likewise Ireland. As someone said above, I don't see any link between protests in Europe and whats going on in North Africa/Middle East.

The Tunisia -> Egypt -> Yemen etc thing is definitely interesting, and definitely linked, but making a link to a few protests up in Europe is the usual journalistic 'lets pretend all these things are linked together' thing.
posted by memebake at 10:42 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's about pie.

It's literally about actual pie, as in the price of food combined with some other key factors.

Check out the data correlations on this mind-blowingly prescient chart, from a Charles Blow Op-ed on the NY Times.
posted by Skygazer at 10:56 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's going on? What's the wider social dynamic?

That it's a fucked up world and that there's young people figuring that out and getting irked. Twas ever thus. As long as they stay off my lawn.
posted by jonmc at 11:12 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


not the product of poor people but of poor lawyers

Cannot find this quote but it sounds like Albert Soboul.
posted by clavdivs at 11:13 AM on February 6, 2011



So what's up in Belarus? I still find it hard to understand there's a dictatorship in the heart of Europe, and no-one ever seems to talk about it.

Because Aleksandr Lukashenko is slightly unhinged and is as nasty as he looks and you wouldn't want to be the bugler for any large scale problems you might provoke unless you're an even nastier mofo like Vladimir Putin.

Check this out for some crazy shit from the region that had its James Bond finale in a man made canal estate on Australia's Gold Coast. Sorta implying that it wouldn't be beneath some people.

They should have used a spear gun, Gilligan's Island style.

Please no talk of tin foil hats.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:14 AM on February 6, 2011


I thought this was an interesting list, maybe more readable and accessible than if he had had to tie it all together with prose.

One thing that is understated is that mobile phones are a key underpinning of all this.

A decade ago it could truthfully be said that there were billions of people on the planet who had never made a phone call. Many developing countries had very very poor penetration of land lines. Phones, where available, were in the living rooms of multi-generational houses, where familial or hierarchical social mores would be enacted. Or, they were in specialized "telephone stores" where usage could be monitored.

Cellular phone technology meant rich and poor alike could have access - instantly and uncontrollably wiring slums, barrios, all the ring of super-rapid development surrounding cities like Cairo, or Rio, or other megalopolises of the developing world.

So, now, suddenly, huge numbers of people have phones in their pocket, allowing horizontal communication outside of the more traditional and "surveilled" contexts of family, or state.

Add in text messaging to and from (what used to be called) bulletin boards such as twitter or facebook and hubs of communication are created. You don't need an expensive "smart phone" or even need exclusive or extensive access to a computer, you just need a good text message plan!

So it is not the cutting edge communication but the rapid penetration of the decade-old ability to have cell phones, use text messages, and connect cell phones to simple internet bulletin boards that should be the focus of the technological angle. This is why the role of Vodafone in disrupting their cellular network at the request of the government is the most under-reported part of this story in Egypt.
posted by Rumple at 11:16 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to see the fur pie fly.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:25 AM on February 6, 2011


Please no talk of tin foil hats.

Here's a recent short piece of fiction from South Africa that made me blink.
posted by infini at 11:25 AM on February 6, 2011


This is why the role of Vodafone in disrupting their cellular network at the request of the government is the most under-reported part of this story in Egypt.

They didn't just disrupt the network, they sent out text messages inciting violence. Er, I mean, "Help, he made me do it"
posted by infini at 11:31 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You lost me at the comparison of cabarets to raves.

You would be missing the forest for the trees, then, because they're almost identical in philosophies. The music is different, the clothes are different. The drugs aren't that different. The only major difference is time.

They're both full of people from a spectrum of financial and social classes, and while predominantly young, there's a wide age range there as well. There's art and culture there. There's information and skill sharing. Music. Dancing. Live art demonstrations. Writing. Poetry. The meeting and juxtaposition of people and things that wouldn't normally happen. There's also heavy amounts of libertine and anarchic politics and a hunger - no, starvation for social justice.

As a meme raves aren't new. These kinds of ecstatic gatherings have been happening for as long as we've had fire, food surpluses and weird plants and fungi to eat and learned to bang rocks and sticks together in pleasing patterns that activated and stimulated those psychoactive states of mind with complicated algorithms.

But as the modern incarnation, they're also a global phenomenon, perhaps a reaction to the excesses of modern civilization's quest for control and the unattainable ideal of "normalcy" and homogeneity You can find "raves" everywhere from Antarctica to Alaska and Siberia. You can find them in Iran, in Saudi Arabia. You can find them on the beaches of Thailand. The basements of Moscow city. You can find them anywhere where there's youth and electricity - and where there isn't electricity they're still partying and dancing.

And like cabarets and jazz were before they were co-opted and sanctified as acceptable modern culture - raves are vilified, attacked by law enforcement, banned, legislated against and otherwise misunderstood as though they were merely mindless orgies when the facts about what actually goes on is even more frightening: People get together and talk about things and think about how to make the world better and to manifest their dreams and will upon the often thoughtless and brutal world culture around them.

Discount the power of a good party full of young (or young-minded) people at your own peril. Music and the culture around it is powerful. Somewhere on the fringes or deep in the heart of every major revolution in the last 500 years that I can recall there's music and young people who suddenly realize, apparently during or after a nice party, that life doesn't have to suck all the time. That it could be more free, self governing and libertine, that people really can be nice to each other and get along, that it could be more comforting to the human soul.

And then, hopefully, they get mad as hell and don't take it anymore, and they do something about it.
posted by loquacious at 12:12 PM on February 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


And then, hopefully, they get mad as hell and don't take it anymore, and they do something about it.

See, this is precisely the step that is usually missed, though. An argument can be made (I don't know enough about it to say if it's right or not, though) that "raves" in the various forms you're talking about act as much as a venting mechanism to discharge potentially revolutionary energy as to stimulate it. Like the Internet, they can offer a chance to participate in something while neither experiencing significant personal risk or bringing about actual change.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:16 PM on February 6, 2011


His essential point is correct about raves

I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance, but what does that have to do with cabarets?
posted by nzero at 12:28 PM on February 6, 2011


Year of the Tiger

The last Rabbit year was 1999, compared to 1998 (tiger) it was a less violent year (politically), a laid back year. But Rabbit's lead to Dragon which leads to .. SNAKE (2001 & 2013).
posted by stbalbach at 12:29 PM on February 6, 2011


Like the Internet, they can offer a chance to participate in something while neither experiencing significant personal risk or bringing about actual change.

True, and any plan of political action that includes the trope "And then the people rise up!" needs to be immediately burnt and started anew. But sometimes the people rise up.

And a Temporary Autonomous Zone is indeed intentionally a place to vent, to make your own rules and to create, well, a zone of autonomy where the rules and laws of the land (especially the oppressive, anti-freedom ones) are thrust aside and ignored within a safe, protected space - but it's also a blank canvas, a sandbox and a scratch pad for practicing self government or other forms of organization.

But after 20-odd years of going to things that could be loosely or strictly called raves, the one common reaction a lot of people have after a really good one is "Wow. Going back to real life is going to suck. Why can't life be more like that all the time? People share. They look out for each other. They communicate. They work together and co-operate. Why can't life be more like that, every day? How do I apply this to my friends, to my day to day life?"

And then they go and do it. Or try. I've seen people go become politicians, lawyers, drug policy reform workers. I've seen people go become organic farmers. Or travel the world to volunteer. No, it's not every last person suddenly drops a tab at a rave and suddenly rushes off to become Mother Theresa, but a significant number of people get inspired to go do something good with their lives and try to help people.

Seriously, it's one of the reasons I try to write what I do on MetaFilter, and do what I do in my life. If it wasn't for "raves" and the collective sum of my cultural experiences... Well, I had a really shitty childhood, but if it wasn't for the fact that I saw that life doesn't actually suck even most of the time, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be alive. I wouldn't even be human.

Yeah, I have been to the mountaintop, and I have a message for you: All you really need is love. And yeah, a bit of hard work, a bit of courage, a bit of humility - but love makes all of that easier.
posted by loquacious at 12:35 PM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


And then, hopefully, they get mad as hell and don't take it anymore, and they do something about it.

Not having a go, but that part of your comment reminded me of this:

Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something, and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any diseases ever again.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:54 PM on February 6, 2011


Turn on the tv and you hear the predictable bray from predictable types...that, say what you will, Mubarak and Tunisia’s ejected president Ben Ali and other prospectively tottering tyrants are “our sons of bitches”, as FDR put it, and we should stand by them in recognition of decades of useful service to the Empire.

Republicans will be hammering Obama for “losing” Tunisia and maybe Egypt etc., through this coming election cycle. The prototype here is 1979, after the Empire “lost” Iran and Nicaragua on Carter’s watch.
[...]

The...case was made by Jeane Kirkpatrick in an article in the November, 1979 edition of Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary...Kirkpatrick’s trick was to have two different words for their dictators and ours. Their guys were “totalitarian”; our guys were “authoritarian, ” a fine distinction that was swiftly seized upon by the Commentariat in general and hailed as a marvel of intellectual perspicacity. Pro-western “authoritarian” regimes were always preferable and more susceptible of reform than the “totalitarian” regimes that might succeed them.[...]

So the Empire fostered its cordon sanitaire of “authoritarian regimes”, stretching from fanatic sons of Islam (Ul-Haq in Pakistan, the Saudi Kingdom), to Hussein in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, on through the Maghreb. It was from Tunisia that US Ambassador Godec sent his famous Wikileaked cable of July 2009 to the State Department, describing “a police state, with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems,” ruled by a family of greedy thieves. Washington promptly provided $12 million in military aid to Tunisia, a handout where , as Noam Chomsky points out, “Tunisia was one of only five foreign beneficiaries: Israel (routinely); the two Middle East dictatorships Egypt and Jordan; and Colombia, which has long had the worst human-rights record and the most U.S. military aid in the hemisphere.”[...]

Here we are in 2011 amid the rubble of these theories, three decades into full-bore neoliberalism and “restructuring”... But there’s a limit to what people will put up with. As Simone Weil put it in her great essay on the Iliad, “the strong is never perfectly strong, nor the weak perfectly weak.” These days, amid the huge inflation in the price of basic commodities, soaring unemployment, zero prospects for young people, plutocratic parasitism at an apex – something has to give, just as it has in Tunisia and Egypt and will elsewhere.

--Alexander Cockburn on The God That's Failing
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 1:08 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance, but what does that have to do with cabarets?

Belle Epoque
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on February 6, 2011


But after 20-odd years of going to things that could be loosely or strictly called raves, the one common reaction a lot of people have after a really good one is "Wow. Going back to real life is going to suck. Why can't life be more like that all the time? People share. They look out for each other. They communicate. They work together and co-operate. Why can't life be more like that, every day? How do I apply this to my friends, to my day to day life?"

One other common reaction is to see people that you connected with while under the influence avert their eyes and try to forget the whole thing happened once the drug wears off. So raves create utopian hope by promising and failing to deliver utopia, because to be truly radicalized, first you have to pass through the utter shattering of protective illusions and false hope. Maybe the only true utopian position is the radical notion that utopia does not exist - not literally, nor imminently, nor latently in the hearts of humanity, if only we could eliminate greed and hatred - so it must be built. To put it another way, the problem isn't that people don't have hope, but that they do.

This is what is ambiguous about the celebration of the internet as a revolutionary tool, it's an excuse for passivity because it says we don't need to build utopia, it's already being built, capitalism is doing it.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:22 PM on February 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's us old farts who are well past 40 who will watch your backs and quietly and efficiently take care of threats you don't have enough experience to anticipate. We'll do it without asking for credit, and likely you won't realize it for years, but that's ok as we're far more risk adverse than you are, and don't want to blow our cover.

That is the one and only time you're likely to be told this.
posted by MikeWarot at 4:03 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's us old farts who are well past 40 who will watch your backs and quietly and efficiently take care of threats you don't have enough experience to anticipate. We'll do it without asking for credit, and likely you won't realize it for years, but that's ok as we're far more risk adverse than you are, and don't want to blow our cover.

Shutup old man It is our turn now. You boomers took the legacy of the greatest generation and blew is on coke, Ronald Reagan, SDI, deficit spending on billionaires and kicked the welfare kids to the curb based on bullshit about black women driving caddys. You're last tantrum was to blame everything on hardworking immigrants and throw them out. So we have to close the Denny's and don't expect anyone to change your soiled sheets in the old folks home. Time to pay the check. We arnt letting you pass these debts along. We're cutting your social security and Medicare. Now smile and thank me for shopping at Walmart as I walk out the door.
posted by humanfont at 4:25 PM on February 6, 2011


As has been said, this is all very rough, but I think there are a lot of good points there. The "over 40" stuff was harsh, but there's also a point there. The educated youth are graduating to find a dearth of the jobs they feel entitled to (full disclosure: I am among this class), and the generation that perpetuated the policies which led to this situation are holding onto their positions in a world now belonging to, but not controlled by, the next generation. These protests are a way of screaming for the boomers to step aside.

Whether the boomers (and their analogues throughout the world) deserve the vitriol could be the subject of much debate. But that feeling is nonetheless at the heart of all of this. Given that, it should be unsurprising that the protests are being led and organized by educated young women, who have even more to fight for and can back it up with something more righteous than simple feelings of needing to get theirs.

As for the role of technology and social networks, Gladwell misses the mark. It doesn't matter how much organizing goes on over this technology - he's right, people have used whatever was available to them throughout history for that purpose. But what maters is that this is how the narrative is being told. The effect of this is twofold. First, it takes away any media advantage that the ruling powers may have previously held; they can't control this, and as we're seeing with Mubarak they only shoot themselves in the foot when they try it. Secondly, as a direct result of the first, using social networks to tell the story has a HUGE symbolic value of drawing the lines between the old ways and the new.

SO Mubarak gets scared of the internet, shuts it down, and then realizes that he's crippled his economy by doing so. So then he turns around and targets journalists, which is not only a horrifying and stupid move, but one which does nothing to stop the news from getting out there through Twitter et al. We can say all we want about how similar this all is to the old days, but that makes no difference - a dictator who cannot control the means of mass communication, in fact who doesn't even seem to comprehend them, cannot keep his people under his thumb. Not on an international stage.

The bottom line is not that the 'net provided the means to protest. It is that the 'net provided the means to tell the story of the protests in such a way as to, for the first time in a long time, make protests seem like a viable instrument for change.

That's why it's kicking off everywhere.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:26 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Time to pay the check.

with what, chevy and ping-pong balls.

you forget S-21 the Neo-École Robespierre.

posted by clavdivs at 4:44 PM on February 6, 2011


Shutup old man It is our turn now.

"A young man will hurt you but an old man will kill you." Do you walk the talk, toughguy?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:48 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

-John Adams
posted by clavdivs at 4:50 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Shutup old man It is our turn now. You boomers ...

The funny thing is, that was exactly the attitude of "the boomers" back when they were young and feisty. I guess you have a lot in common.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:54 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't find the quote but one of the historians of the French Revolution of 1789 wrote that it was not the product of poor people but of poor lawyers.
Does anyone have a source on this?
posted by Ritchie at 5:13 PM on February 6, 2011


clavdivs: "...in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." "

Then does it cycle back to politics and war?
posted by telstar at 5:37 PM on February 6, 2011


My post was tongue in cheek BTW. I am a wuss.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:05 PM on February 6, 2011


Shutup old man It is our turn now.

Just what is it that you want to do?

posted by philip-random at 7:43 PM on February 6, 2011


Re: Raves

Raves were a much bigger deal in terms of youth culture outside the US. Here they were almost entirely underground outside of the big cities, and even then, they just weren't nearly as popular as they were in Europe. We got college rock then grunge instead of raves, Burning Man set excluded. And the rave scene was much, much more optimistic than the grunge set.

I can totally see someone in England wanting to connect populism to positivity through raves, and I totally understand that worldview seeming wildly naive to a lot of folks.
posted by klangklangston at 9:09 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


David Ronfeldt, Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks: A Framework of Social Evolution

The forms of social evolution differ in scale, geographic reach and now in communication costs. It's not the internet or Twitter or Facebook (which get a lot of mention because they are the new thing being heavily marketed), it's the entire global communications infrastructure. Social networks (and non-hierarchical forms of social organization) absolutely must have copious and inexpensive communications.

Markets thrive on communications, but markets (and colonial empires) flourished with data rates and costs little different than were available in ancient Babylon and Egypt. So markets provided the impetus for massive and cheap communications, which in turn enabled the evolution of networks.

Social movements (at least modern ones) are almost always initially organized as networks that create institutions to perpetuate themselves. As the cost of communications falls, it may be that social movements will persist as segmented, polycephalous, ideological networks (SPIN) that do not need to form institutional hierarchies in order to survive.

Institutional hierarchies are geared towards centralizing command and control with sparse and expensive communications. Mubarak's gangsters shut down communications because a blackout will paralyze hierarchies. What they didn't understand is that once a network mobilizes, it can outperform a hierarchy in a short-term or partial blackout. However, blackouts will cripple markets, so markets trump hierarchies and networks trump markets.

The SPIN concept of movements was first described by Luther Gerlach and Virginia Hine. See People, Power, Change or alternately here. Ronfeldt's work builds on Gerlach and Hine, among others.

The youth bulge is clearly a factor, but there are also the factors of failing economies, developing food shortages (partly to the impact of trade globalization), falling expectations, increased cross-cultural communications, etc.

Markets drive most of international politics and markets have shown themselves recently to be very bad at assessing risk. One thing we are seeing is the failure to assess geopolitical risks driven by demographics and the stagnation of authoritarian regimes.

Just as WWII made the civil rights movement in the US, anti-colonialism and regional economic unification (initially the European Common Market and now regional free-trading blocs) more or less inevitable, the stagnation of post-colonial authoritarian regimes in a global (and faltering) economy will make the de-centralization (and possibly the democratization) of political power a historic force.

Things are gonna slide....
posted by warbaby at 10:01 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


O warbaby!
posted by filchyboy at 10:27 PM on February 6, 2011


This is the year that Jack Black's best-seller "You Can't Win" turns 85. (@ Google Books)

Could be that in the coming decade those Beat books will be read as reality, not fiction and not just something to giggle at. Cuz that's where we're heading.
posted by Twang at 11:04 PM on February 6, 2011


Time to pay the check.

with what, chevy and ping-pong balls.


Reducing the COLA increases in Medicare and Social Security for the next few years ought to do it, when combined with mild inflation. Basically you drop every boomer's payout by 30% but it's through an accounting trick so boomers are just getting less in real dollars. Say a 3-4% spread in inflation vs. COLA for 9 years that drops your costs by 20-30%.
posted by humanfont at 11:26 PM on February 6, 2011


Time to pay the check.

with what, chevy and ping-pong balls.


Tax the rich.
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:24 AM on February 7, 2011


It's us old farts who are well past 40 who will watch your backs and quietly and efficiently take care of threats you don't have enough experience to anticipate. We'll do it without asking for credit, and likely you won't realize it for years, but that's ok as we're far more risk adverse than you are, and don't want to blow our cover.

That is the one and only time you're likely to be told this.


If by "watching our backs" you mean "worry about how you'll retire in this economy, discover the novelty of a human body that's starting to get a bit rusty and nag the young 'uns to procreate already..."

I think when they talk about younger folk being the revolutionaries, they're not saying you're useless, they're saying that precisely because we're not risk averse, you tend to find us playing chicken with tanks. But I don't think you're actually "watching our backs" if it gets to that point- if there's a tank, metaphorical or literal, to dance in front of, someone somewhere either dropped the ball or had their sector of anti-chaos beyond their capacity.

So take your mineral and vitamin supplements, mother, father, step-parents, aunts, uncles and non-gentic older friends and relations, get your morning constitutional, and understand we're all in this together, but actual need for more aggressive action comes from the risk averse soloution not working. With luck, we'll all get what we want- you'll get retirement and a grand baby, and we'll get the job you were holding and the resources to reproduce.
posted by Phalene at 7:15 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't make me be cogent, get off the FUCK off the lawn.
'CHICK-CHICK'
posted by clavdivs at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2011


Don't make me be cogent, get off the FUCK off the lawn.
'CHICK-CHICK'


Hello social services, grandpa's off his meds again and weilding a shotgun. Yeah I think it's time we talked about a temporary 3130 hearing. You know this transitions is difficult for an old bear like him. But maybe it's time to move him to a more structured setting. Yeah I'll meet the cops at the house, say 9pm he's usually in bed by 730.
posted by humanfont at 10:34 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I'm watching the generation gap go grar right in front of my eyes in this thread of so called conversation.
posted by infini at 11:29 AM on February 7, 2011


I can't believe I'm watching the generation gap go grar right in front of my eyes in this thread of so called conversation.

Everyone wants pie but there's only so much pie to go around. Scientists are hard at work on a perpetual pie making machine, but it's several decades away at least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2011


A perpetual cold pie making machine, no less. I understand it is hard to keep the pastry stable.
posted by jaduncan at 12:58 PM on February 7, 2011


Reducing the COLA increases in Medicare and Social Security for the next few years ought to do it, when combined with mild inflation. Basically you drop every boomer's payout by 30% but it's through an accounting trick so boomers are just getting less in real dollars. Say a 3-4% spread in inflation vs. COLA for 9 years that drops your costs by 20-30%.
posted by humanfont at 1:26 AM on February 7 [+] [!]
"Under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2011. Why? As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2008, the last year a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010."

Signed, someone who lives on $750/mo w/no health care

posted by jtron at 3:24 PM on February 7, 2011


Shutup old man It is our turn now.

What's it mean? What's it leading to? You know, if you'd have told me 20 years ago I'd see children walking the streets of our Texas towns... with green hair, bones in their noses... I just flat-out wouldn't have believed you.

Signs and wonders.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:33 PM on February 7, 2011


It's the tattooed grandmothers that I find disturbing.
posted by warbaby at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2011


Hello social services, grandpa's off his meds again and weilding a shotgun.

I think you have some terrorists from Iran to apologize too, there in isle 4.
posted by clavdivs at 9:47 AM on February 8, 2011


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