Sunday, July 24, 2011

Information at Work

Yesterday Islamophobia reared its ugly head in the form of a crazed killer who fed on hate language and then began bombing and shooting people in the name of cultural purity. Paul Woodward blogging on War in Context does a good job of tracing the ideological currents feeding the particular sociopathic acts of Anders Behring Breivik yesterday in Norway.

Note that the poster for a cross-Atlantic meeting of Islamophobes features graphic images reminiscent of pro-war posters of the 20th century, and that the flag of Israel is prominent in the toxic stew of nationalism depicted. The image reminds me of all kinds of antiquated, idealistic notions -- like the melting pot, and a U.S. fueled by the strength of its successive waves of immigration. Also why propaganda needs the talents of artists.

Hot on the heels of that news came an email link to a thrashingly good op-ed in Truthout by Barbara Ellis calling for Works Progess Administration II. I am embarrassed to admit that this is exactly what I expected Obama to do in his first week in office. I even expected him to sweep aside the writers who pen crap like "winning the future" and go with a proven successful brand name, WPA. There was already tons of awareness to build on. (A friend I grew up with told me she asked her mother what the mom's brother would have done if he had not gone into the WPA work force during the Great Depression. "Starved," said her mom.) And WPA artists were the best!
Ellis did her homework and includes lots of fun facts about WPA as it was, and she details the infrastructure needs here at home right now that could be addressed. She also notes that a likely reason for the tepid drawdown from Afghanistan is fear of bringing home tens of thousands more to join the ranks of the 15 million already unemployed in the U.S. today.

The problems of employing some of those PTSD suffering returnees is the subject of a young adult novel that a fellow teacher and I finished this summer, now available on Amazon as a Kindle book (you can also download reading software, and read the first few chapters, for free).
But the Obama administration may think they have the jobs problem i.e. the economic Great Depression II problem solved. Check out their exhaustive list of great job opportunities OVERSEAS! Blogger Martha Shelley wrote about all the many employment opportunities "servicing" the military via cake decoration, clerking at a hotel desk or store, and much more. Thanks to Martha for sharing this link to the full list of jobs online.

No need for a new poster. The old WPA produced the perfect one already:

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