News & Analysis
Rolling Stone Channels Steinbeck With Story About the US Declining Middle Class
They had good, stable jobs – until the recession hit. Now they're living out of their cars in parking lots ... Every night around nine, Janis Adkins falls asleep in the back of her Toyota Sienna van in a church parking lot at the edge of Santa Barbara, California. On the van's roof is a black Yakima SpaceBooster, full of previous-life belongings like a snorkel and fins and camping gear. Adkins, who is 56 years old, parks the van at the lot's remotest corner, aligning its side with a row of dense, shading avocado trees. The trees provide privacy, but they are also useful because she can pick their fallen fruit, and she doesn't always have enough to eat. Despite a continuous, two-year job search, she remains without dependable work. She says she doesn't need to eat much – if she gets a decent hot meal in the morning, she can get by for the rest of the day on a piece of fruit or bulk-purchased almonds – but food stamps supply only a fraction of her nutritional needs, so foraging opportunities are welcome. – Rolling Stone
Dominant Social Theme: The American middle class is dying. Why? ... Just BECAUSE.
Free-Market Analysis: Another farcical story from the Kingdom of Farce that has resolved itself gradually into a magazine called Rolling Stone.
Is it well written? Sure. Is it moving, even heart-wrenching? Absolutely.
Then, you may ask, why is it farcical?
Because it does what media stories of this type have done for almost a century now – it observes everything and explains nothing.
It is indeed like John Steinbeck's most famous novel, Grapes of Wrath. Or like Hemingway's great novel about the Spanish Revolution, For Whom the Bell Tolls. These wonderful works of art are presented with all the talent that world-class minds can bring to the task. And yet, in a sense, they tell us nothing.
Steinbeck observed the indigent heartbreakingly in Grapes of Wrath and yet we learn nothing about the REAL reasons for the troubles that his poor characters are suffering. He provides us with no background about central banking manipulations or the purposes for which they took place.
Hemingway writes eloquently about the Spanish Revolution but the tumultuous reality of the power elite and how it REALLY affected the Spanish Civil War is never fully explained. One could argue that Hemingway never even attempted it.
Does it need to be this way? Ezra Pound showed us how one could integrate great art with acute, if wrongheaded, analysis of the human condition. Ayn Rand was able to do the same thing in her own way (though we remain suspicious of her larger agenda).
So much has been written so brilliantly with little effect. The 20th century may well come to be seen as a wasteland for significant statements.
The 21st century, on the other hand, may be seen as an epoch that harbored the resurgence of vital writing and acute freedom-oriented commentary. But it won't be because of articles like this.
Is there a place for such intimately observed and moving articles? Of course there is. If Rolling Stone would follow up this article with a commentary on central banking and its associated maladies then we would have a wonderful combination of art and analysis.
But art without analysis is ultimately puerile. William Shakespeare, whoever he was, gave us both. But too often in the modern era we get art devoid of critical content.
Of course, in our view, it has been planned that way. Modern art is devoid of context. Pop music actively avoids it. All of this is apparently the outcome of Tavistock and its massive engineering of the sociopolitical and economic scene. Nothing is supposed to mean anything. And when it DOES mean something, the reasons behind the meaning – import – are stripped away.
Here's some more from the article:
The Great Recession cost 8 million Americans their jobs. Three years after the economy technically entered recovery, there are positions available for fewer than one out of every three job seekers ... I last see Janis Adkins in the off-leash area of Tucker's Grove Park, near the lot where she parks her van. She takes her dog, Jojo, here several times a week. Jojo is a shaggy, shambolic border collie, 16 years old and blind and deaf and nearly toothless. Life in the van recently became too hard for him, and a woman Adkins met at the Wildlife Care Network found someone willing to take him in.
The day is mild, and Adkins is wearing the sandals that she's worn almost exclusively in nice weather for two years. We sit on a bench as Jojo snuffles around gimpily. The off-leash area, an ample lawn perforated by gopher holes, forms part of a meadow that ends in green hillsides, with low mountaintops behind – surplus gorgeousness typical of Santa Barbara.
When she returned to the city, Adkins tells me, she went to a plant nursery where she'd worked as a teenager and asked her old boss if he needed help. He said he was letting people go, not hiring them, but she'd gone back three more times; the last time, a few weeks earlier, he'd said, "You still haven't found a job? Come on," and gave her two eight-hour shifts a week at $10 an hour. Later, she'd added two more shifts, but the day before, her manager had warned her that unless business picked up, he would have to let her go.
"I wonder whether that was just an out, in case they want to fire me," Adkins says. She pauses. "I've lost a ton of confidence in the last year and a half," she concedes. "It just takes a wedge out of you."
The staff at the plant nursery treat her like an entry-level salesperson. Not so long ago, they might have been her employees. "You learn to let go of the concept of identity, of what 'I' means," she says. "That's a concept people really have trouble with. But it's been important for me. I've let go of my ego – or I'm trying to let go: I could be the dishwasher, I could be the janitor. I'm trying to re-form, trying to allow the job to become me. And I keep referring back to the fact that a lot of people would not allow it. They would hold on to their identity – hard."
Adkins has just gotten her first paycheck from the nursery, but expenses and debts have evaporated it right away. She went to the YMCA to take care of her outstanding balance of $80, but she could only afford to pay it down by $20. The young woman behind the desk balked, indignant. Not long afterward, the manager of the Y called her to talk about the balance. He appreciated her payment, he told Adkins. "Why don't we just make it a clean slate?" he proposed.
Adkins stops talking. I look over at her. She has her head in her hands; her shoulders are shaking. Finally, she looks up and wipes her eyes.
"I don't know what happened there," she says. "I think what got me was the recognition that I'm trying. He saw I was trying. He saw I was a responsible person." She pauses. "Because," she says, her voice breaking, "I always have been."
Well, Ms. Adkins, WE know what happened – and if the Rolling Stone writer spent some time online he, too, could figure out what happened.
Central banks owned by an unconscionable elite that wants to run the world created first a boom by overprinting money and then a bust. Either because they don't wish to or because they cannot, the power elite has not been able to restart economies in either the US or Europe.
In fact, we tend to believe that the top elites want ruin in order to create a more fully functional world government. Out of chaos ... order. THEIR order.
This is the real story. People like Janis are so much flotsam and jetsam rising on top of massive waves of financial ruin. That's the way the power elite sees them anyway.
The real story – the biggest story of this sad millennium – is the rise (and rise) of an unrepentant and untethered secretive elite that is trying as hard as it can to drive the world toward global governance.
To write this story is to run the risk of being labeled a crackpot and a "conspiracy theorist." But really, is there any other story to write? The alternative is to write sad stories about people whose lives have been mercilessly slaughtered by this tiny, vicious cabal.
True, such stories need to be written. But not at the exclusion of anything else.
We'd have no real quarrel if Rolling Stone and other publications like it explained the truth every now and then. But simply observing the sadness of this wretched world without ever explaining the mechanism behind it (or even worse, obfuscating it) provides us little or nothing of value.
Conclusion: In the 20th century, the media provided us nothing but a kind of echo chamber "full of sound and fury but signifying nothing." Here's hoping the 21st century will be at once less loud and more meaningful.