Tuesday, October 11, 2011

False Consciousness, Lesson 53

The Gawker reports on a Right-Wing Version of 'We Are the 99 Percent' - it's called 'we are the 53%', apparently the half of Americans who pay federal income tax and work their fingers to the bone so that long-haired pot-smoking drop-outs can protest against Wall Street.

It's hard to know if the people posting their pictures and hard-luck stories really exist, and it's certainly unlikely they are very representative. But still, it's an astonishing read: post after post describes what a miserable exploited existence these losers have had, and then goes on to express pride at never having complained about their lot or asked for any government help (or so they claim). The idea that 'occupy Wall Street' might be about them getting exploited a bit less is clearly difficult for them to grasp.

This type of reasoning is probably not that typical of today's America, and instead reveals a very high resistance to cognitive dissonance on the part of the '53%'. However, the claims that never having asked for help, even in the worst circumstances, is some kind of American virtue does seem to resonate in the US. It certainly would sound strange in Italian or Greek, or probably for that matter, in German.

In any case, I prefer this version of the hard luck story:

Note Marty Feldman's convincing Yorkshire accent.