Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The current  news cycle features guns and Mexicans. Thus the title, by association. Mexicans, of course, include everyone affected by the coming immigration reform. I'll get to that in a minute.

As to guns? I think I've made it clear how I feel about guns. I have no problem with guns. I have no problem with me handling guns. I have a huge problem with you handling guns. 'You' being your average American, who, in the course of the usual gun-play is not only a terrible shot, but can barely handle the task of adequately wiping his own well-fed visibly spreading buttocks, so why on Earth would I trust him to handle a gun? Unless, of course, he's gotten safety training, a license, and insurance. That would be the least amount of responsibility I would inconvenience the American gun owner. Owning a gun is, ultimately, personal responsibility, right? So, let's show some.

"Wages? I don't need your stinking wages!"
As to immigrants, I think we are at a stage where we will see current ironies heaped upon historical ones. Traditionally, Americans will shirk hard labor if they can. If they can find someone to do all their dirty work for practically nothing they will. The sources doesn't matter much. For quite some time we (some of us, I use the general we) enjoyed the benefits of chattel slavery, but peasants from Europe or Asia or south of the border would do in a pinch.

This is not to say all white Americans are lazy good-for-nothings, but as a general rule of thumb, do seem to be at about an eighth-grade level when it comes to applying themselves. It must be the inherent anti-intellectualism, or perhaps just our deep-seated viciousness (that we inherited honestly from the Neolithic cultural package).

But I can't help but notice how many American citizens are so very upset that all these wetbacks and beaners are going to be cut some slack, even though they've 'violated the law', 'haven't played by the rules' are 'criminal elements sucking up our social services', 'taking away all our jobs', etc. Basically, the polite question, as polite as it could be phrased from a redneck would be: "Why should a person that broke the law and came here illegally not be arrested and deported?"

Well, I think that's the wrong question. The correct question is... Well, let me quote this excerpt first, from Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas. (Actually, if I could, I would quote the whole chapter Hecho En America: Migrant Labor Camp, Cherryfield, Maine):
"...A good raker with strong rhythm averages one hundred boxes (of blueberries) a day. At $2.25 a box, it's not uncommon to see a weekly check for $1,350. Compare that with just $375 a week picking Georgia peaches, or $400 down in the orange groves of Florida.   Washington County, occupying the far eastern tip of the state, is where the majority of the blueberry barrens are located, and it has 12.2 percent unemployment, the highest in the state. And yet the money does not draw the local unemployed into the fields - an inexplicable dimension to the new American dream repeated nationwide. Raking is hard, backbreaking, and the sun is hot. Just a generation ago, the harvest was a community effort. A ritual that brought out all the locals to the barrens...The locals no longer do the raking...The migrant workers I spoke to were well aware of the disconnect: they labored to support a culture they had virtually no part in, for people who had no part in theirs. "Now, you see everyone here is brown", said Noel, Consuelo's brother-in-law, one morning in the barrens. "When I first came here in 1998, there were white people raking blueberries. None now. White people got lazy and let the Spanish take over. White people are lazy."
So, the correct question is, given the increasing difficulty in crossing the border, given the risk to life and limb to get to America, given the heightened risk of deportation, and thus a necessarily longer stay in this alien Northern country, the correct question is "Why do these people risk their lives to take jobs that soft, fat, lazy, white people like you refuse to take? When did Americans like you "Real Americans" become such spoiled pampered wimps?" 

Or actually, given that, things south of the border are starting to pick up, Mexico is starting to look like the Aztec Tiger for the Twenty-teens, and it will become increasingly harder to find cheap serf labor to exploit, the answer to the redneck question is "Well, because you need them more than they need you, you stupid ignorant, fat, lazy redneck".


  1. Good post. Interesting about blueberries; I never gave much thought to the commercial harvesting process before. My family had a summer cottage in Maine for a few years when I was little, and when we went out to pick blueberries it was so romantic and idyllic. I never gave any thought to the fact that most blueberries are picked by stoop laborers breaking their backs in the hot sun day after day.

    1. Yeah, most everyone thinks machines do all the harvesting - which they do for most bulk items. But it's more than just picking stuff, otherwise we'd get monkeys to do it. It requires a degree of discrimination as to quality, ripeness, color, size, things that a human's generalized intelligence is quite good at. Robots, not so much.