Sunday, September 04, 2005

BJ: Not Working on Labor Day

The Sunday teaser should have been the tip-off: the front page of the business section devoted to the business of asking union members to describe the future of the labor movement in America . . . in one word.

Oh, of course. Because political discourse isn't sufficiently watered down yet. Bumper stickers and Limbaugh soundbites can run on for as much as ten words. How is the modern American expected to wade through all that? Get prognostications about a multifacted institution with a hundred year history down to one word -- much more economical.

Anyway. The Sunday "story" teased a Big Story on the labor movement in the Monday paper. And the stories today? A couple of interviews framing a paint-by-numbers sketch of the labor landscape. Union numbers are down! Labor is challenged by offshoring! Employers cheat!! Interestingly, no discussion of Wal-Mart, no discussion of the effect de-unionization is having on wages, only perfunctory treatment of the AFL-CIO split. If you know nothing about the slings and arrows pelting labor, reading the duo of articles today will get you maybe a third of the picture.

This frustrates me because the course of labor weaves in and around the course of politics in this State. Why has Ohio gone from motled purple to deep crimson? The decline of organized labor is a key component. But the paper that can devote a week's coverage to a single gruesome case of domestic violence takes on the future of labor and phones it in.

The BJ also offers readers the opportunity to go online and provide their own single-word divinations about the labor movement. As disheartening as the whole exercise has been, perhaps we can salvage something here at House of Pho. I've never been one to beg for comments. I run this blog as an outlet to preserve my sanity. My readers -- both of you -- are a bonus. But maybe the BJ is on to something with the one-word poll idea.

So in the comments section, please give your one-word description of the BJ labor pieces.

I get to go first. "Lame."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

In order to do it justice, I'd need a new word that means "too superficial to be called superficial". Super-duper-ficial? metaficial?

Anonymous said...

I was going to stay up all night honing my description of the BJ story down to 1 word, but that misses the point - in reading your post, I did more work than the author of the story. Let's see, a couple of detail-free paragraphs about how the labor movement may be in trouble, then fill the rest of the page with pictures of peoples with their quotes, I mean WORDS, in 16 pt type. Story finished. Nevertheless, I did come up with a 2 word description, the only problem being that I had to make up both words:

decontexted depthlessness


-- the other pho

Anonymous said...

Hey count me in as reader number #3.

Randy M said...

"unnoticed"

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