There are so many jobs I’d pay dearly not to have to do.  Yet in many cases I am paying — indirectly, via my dinner check or hotel bill — just $7 or $8 an hour not to have to do them.  (Thank you for plucking my chicken.)

Should unpleasant jobs pay the most?

I know . . . I know.

Just a thought.


Teaching is potentially enjoyable.  At the right school, with the right kids, I can certainly see doing it (so long as classes don’t start before noon — how about night school for gifted teens?).  But the pay and benefits are either inadequate or overgenerous, depending (in part) on whom you’re talking with.  Surely some teachers should find another line of work; but if your Republican uncle thinks that teachers on the whole have it too sweet — “three months off!” and all that — ask him to consider this graphic.


Have you seen it?  Lee Daniels’ oddly named “Lee Daniels’ The Butler“?  Someone I know — certainly not me — cried through almost the whole thing. What a story!  What this man has seen!  What times he — and we — have lived through!  (My eighth grade algebra teacher, Bob Moses, left Horace Mann School to help build the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and organize the 1964 Freedom Summer; my friend Al Lowenstein, who had been a student at Horace Mann years before Moses arrived, went down to Mississippi, too.  I would never — ever — have had the courage to do anything like that.  I didn’t even have the courage, a decade or so later, to use my real name on a book I wrote about being gay . . . well, it was 1973, very different times . . . and yet former congressman Lowenstein did — he blurbed the thing with his real name.*)  Imagine: a black boy in the Jim Crow south, making his way up to Washington to serve white folks in a hotel bar . . . ultimately rising to serve as personal butler to presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan — and living to vote for, and meet — the forty-fourth President of the United States.  I don’t want to spoil it by telling you more, or by telling you which actors play those presidents in the movie (yikes!), or by telling you how much of the story is literally true and how much merely inspired by a true story.  But what a way, in two hours with some popcorn, to relive these last 80 years.  And what context it adds to the current efforts, in North Carolina and elsewhere, once again to keep African Americans from voting.  Go see this movie.

*In Googling to refresh my Lowenstein/SNCC recollection, I found this profile from the January 8, 1968, Harvard Crimson.  No relevance to The Butler, but I can’t resist the footnote.


Someone I know — again, I want to stress, not me — even teared up watching the Steve Jobs movie.  Now that’s just pathetic.  And yet what a story his was.  And — from a tech point of view, entirely divorced form the political — what amazing times we’ve lived through with that.  And here’s the story!  At least a good chunk of it.  From a time before . . . everything.  I almost didn’t see “Jobs” because the reviews have been so mixed.  But count me with those who thought it was completely gripping and terrific.


Have a great weekend.  See these movies.  Support a higher minimum wage.  Be outraged by efforts to keep people from voting. And tip your hat to Steve Jobs. What an insanely great impact he had on a billion lives.



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