Gone Suburban No. 4

Blogger, the folks who supply the stuff that makes it possible for me to write these things and then have them appear on a website,* have a slogan: “Push-Button Publishing for the People.” It’s a slogan of the sort I’m inclined to like–a ‘zine published in my old home town always said it was “Free for the People.” (To give fair mention, it’s called The Garlic Press. I take no responsiblity for anything they do (or don’t) say).

Of course, judging any enterprise positively because it says it’s “For the People” is undoubtedly a dangerous exercise, but one I think about a fair amount, especially these days.

You see, I don’t know who the People are out here in the ‘burbs. This is one of those places that doesn’t have poor people–or rather, it may, but you don’t see them. Or you do see them, but you don’t recognize them as poor. I just read that 30 million Americans work low-paid jobs–defined as $8.70/hour or less. That works out to around $18,000/year, the poverty line for a family of four. (I made nearly $17,000 in my last year as a graduate teaching assistant and complained of poverty. Those grad students who also have families are legitimately poor, but a lot of us are just whiners). The last staggering statistic in this article (which, if you want to look it up, is called “Four myths, 30 million potential votes,” by Beth Shulman, published in the Alameda Times-Star, August 24, 2003) is that those 30 million low-wage earners represent one out of every four American workers. Yikes.

But you get the picture. Enough for now.

*Addendum on 15 January 2006: These Gone Suburban posts started out on Blogger, and I’ve just now moved them over to my main WordPress blog, much of which is a retro-blog to begin with.