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What Fun!

American wage slaves: the sadness of life in the 70s – in pictures
West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1972
In photographing tired, unfulfilled US workers as they attempted to relax, Chauncey Hare depicted their domination by multinational corporations

Recall, this is the life many would have us return to. As Polly and the like keep reminding us, this is when the capitalist nations were at their most equal – at their best by that metric……

18 thoughts on “What Fun!”

  1. Mauripol in Ukraine is a lot more equal than last – no one owns a liveable home thanks to Putin.
    I wouldn’t say it is an achievement.

  2. Most of them look pretty well off for 1971, much as I remember we were happy and looking forward to more prosperity. Although I’m still waiting for my flying car.
    Seriously, after the moon landing in 69 it was an optimistic age

  3. Most of us have resting unfulfilled faces. It’s just the way we are. Happy portraits mean that someone is making an effort to look positive and fulfilled.

  4. What unbelievable junk, even for the Graun and the wankers who contribute to it. Everyone in the photos looks fine, apart from a slight resentment towards the twat photographing them. Decor’s a bit dodgy, but they all seem to have domestic appliances and plenty to eat.

    No doubt they’d say this was bad, but it got worse after, due to the evils of neoliberalism etc. Wankers.

    If you have a wage, you are not a slave.

  5. If you remember the seventies you … em, uh, how does that go again?

    Anyway, to be pompous for a minute, I loathe expressions such as “wage slave” that seem to diminish the nastiness of real slavery. Could I, do you think, lead a Woke crusade against the habit?

  6. All the photographs show scenes that would have been considered prosperous for then. The fact that we now look at them and see them as “poor” is a sign of good progress.

  7. I was expecting knackered out Pennsylvania miners with short lives from all the coal dust they’d consumed. Office work at Standard Oil? Those were the jobs people wanted.

  8. 1972? That was the middle of the Nixon terror! The golden age of 1970s egalitarianism to which Polly and co wish to return is the Jimmy Carter Era. Do keep up 🙂

    Honestly, that decade gets sliced and diced to the point that my verdict is: I remember the 1970s – it was a lovely weekend in October!

  9. Dennis, Cabin Boy To The Aristocracy

    For all the Guardian’s calls for equality, the article and the photos reek of upper middle-class condescension.

    Evidently you can be egalitarian and patronizing at the same time.

  10. Dennis nails it.

    While I realize the ‘70s was a period of stagflation, relatively high unemployment in the latter part of the decade, very high interest rates, Jimmy Carter, lousy American cars, polyester shirts, and disco music, I still enjoyed them. But I was young. You really do have to be miserable, or perhaps a true leftist, to not enjoy yourself when you are young.

    I also recall that I could afford to live in San Francisco on my own on my initial salary. That same little apartment today is probably stuffed with half a dozen techys. Oh, and the girls. I should mention the girls.

  11. What struck me was the size of the cookers. OK, rather oddly installed but not a sign of masses downtrodden by capitalist overlords.

  12. Dennis, Credentialled Mental Health Amateur

    From Wikipedia:

    Chauncey Hare (born June 19, 1934 – May 2019) was an American petroleum engineer for Standard Oil who began to photograph in the late 1950s, becoming a fine-art photographer best known for his photographs of American residential interiors, work places, and office spaces.

    …In 1977 Hare stopped working as a petroleum engineer after twenty-one years at what became a Chevron refinery in Richmond, California; Hare enrolled in the MFA program in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.

    …In 1985, Hare abandoned photography and returned to school, becoming a therapist. A book of his from that era is Work Abuse: How to Recognize and Survive It (1997).

    So what it boils down to is this: Chauncey Hare was an educated, well paid middle-class professional who never got over the distressing fact that he had to work for a living. Back in the 1970s, being a petroleum engineer meant you had corporations bidding for your services. It was one of the most in-demand professions of that decade. He made damn good money, and he was far from a “wage slave”. Given that fact, the self-portrait of himself – from 1980 – is pure bullshit. He wasn’t a working class stiff with a lunch pail … He was a former petroleum engineer who abandoned his well paying career to get a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and noodle around with a camera.

    Just another middle-class Marxist fraud who resented the fact that everything he wanted in life wasn’t handed to him. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

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