There’s an intense strangeness to this argument

The American Dream is that idea that in a free society you can indeed get ahead. Starting from near whatever point you can, by dint of work, application and that modicum of luck necessary in any human life gain a proper foothold on the economic ladder. Can, in fact, move up to the sort of riches and security which were nothing but a dream to earlier generations – and to distressingly large numbers of people out there in other countries.

So, here we’ve got a woman writing an acclaimed book telling us how hard this all is. How she worked as a maid and this proves the American Dream doesn’t work. Except, of course, having an acclaimed book published when one has been working as a hard pressed maid is a proof of that very American Dream, isn’t it?

13 thoughts on “There’s an intense strangeness to this argument”

  1. By sowing mistrust among future employers (is my cleaner really doing the job she’s here to do, or is she leafing through my things for juicy gossip to write a book?), what damage has she done to future cleaners? By breaking confidentiality, she has made their lives a little bit worse, just to make a fast buck for herself. Rancid.

  2. It’s currently the morning book on Radio 4. You’ve put your finger on exactly what my vauge uneasiness about it was.

  3. I agree it’s vile that Western Civilisation, an evil, exploitative, capitalist, imperialist society, exists.

    But then again, if it didn’t exist, you people of colour would have to invent your own civilisation capable of allowing you to write, print and publish your book.

    Sadly, you had 50,000 years and never did make it, did you?

  4. The American Dream is the promise that anyone can grab an opportunity, not that everyone will be successful.

    Why the ‘American’ dream? Because the USA was/still is to some, a place where social rank, lack of qualifications does not preclude an individual from reaching for that opportunity as it did/does in some Countries.

    As ever, some folk conflate equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. It just ain’t so in the real world.

  5. Exactly, John B. It’s not Land’s success that is the story, it’s that she actually had to work for it.

    ‘As a single parent caught in the welfare trap, Stephanie Land’

    Single parent. Whose fault is that?

    Welfare trap? WTF? I’m paying for a “trap?” Then may I propose getting rid of welfare?

    ‘a dismantling of the lies the US tells itself about the poor: namely, that they don’t work.’

    The Guardian complains that she actually had to work.

    And a hasty generalization fallacy. That this one fine young woman worked is proof that all ‘poor’ (sic) work.

    ‘got the only job she could’

    Those tats on her hands had nothing to do with that.

  6. “The American Dream” is an expression which stops me reading any further. Others with the same effect include “The Special Relationship”, “the time is right”, and anything containing “zombie”.

  7. Dennis Topaz McGonagall

    Land’s work isn’t even original: It appears to be a rather simple reworking of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed,… a book that in and of itself wasn’t worth a shit.

  8. As a single parent caught in the welfare trap…

    Where you are in life is the sum of the decisions you’ve made in life. Ms. Land flatters herself by blaming “The American Dream”.

  9. That’s thus the fourth reworking of it that I know of. Polly Toynbee’s “Hard Work” , one by some English git a year back, now this.

  10. That’s thus the fourth reworking of it that I know of. Polly Toynbee’s “Hard Work” , one by some English git a year back, now this.

    Reworking existing mythology has been a time honored tradition for more than a few millennia…

  11. “Not sure who you’re talking about, but she doesn’t look it…”

    Victimhood is pan-racial…except when it isn’t.

  12. Polly Toynbee wrote a book called “Hard Work”? I might have to rethink my definition of “chutzpah”.

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