I hate it when I see stories that I was going to write about, but Jessica Goldstein at Think Progress beat me to it. Recently, there’s been a rise of these “feel-good feel-bad” stories, which a down-and-out individual works hard and is miraculously rewarded. I have nothing but love for these individuals, but the framing is gross:
Which brings us to what might be the most unsettling element of the feel-good feel-bad story: The implicit moral tends to be that, rather than fight for a society that is more empathetic and humane, everyone just needs to be more self-sacrificing, and then all our problems will be solved.
We don’t need higher wages; just have an amazing CEO give you his car! Who cares if you can’t support a family on one job? The fix is simple: Get two more jobs! Are you a college-educated person who is experiencing homelessness? Pick yourself up, dust your resume off, and grovel for employment on the side of a highway! Why fight for paid maternity leave when you can have colleagues who are willing to go without vacation — especially in a country where the average worker takes less vacation time than a Medieval peasant?
Look, I get it. Turning on the serious news is bit a depressing, especially since November 2016. But as bad as we feel, we have to keep some perspective on the bigger picture.