How Things Work

One of Gawker’s most cherished tags was “How Things Work,” a rubric that applied to posts revealing the sausage-making, the secret ways that power manifests itself. The phrase has a children’s book feel to it, bringing to mind colorful illustrations of animals in human work clothes building houses or delivering mail. Of course it also carries the morbid sense of innocence lost, and the distance between the stories we tell ourselves about the world and the way it actually works. Collapsing that distance is, in many ways, what Gawker has always been about.

And so Gawker’s demise turns out to be the ultimate Gawker story. It shows how things work.

Source: How Things Work

Much lauded, much hated. So long.

Wallowing in it, in a bad way

My work has taken me on visits to a lot of classes. The thing that I have noticed is that a poor person will have zero idea what to do with a 401K should they get one. A rich person will have no idea how to cash a check if they don’t have a bank account. It’s a completely different skillset with disparate goals and values and norms. It is definitely a different culture.

For example: You need to score some illicit drugs. How do you do that? Rich answer: Ask your assistant. Middle-class answer: Ask your teenager. Poor answer: Walk outside.

Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts.

I’ve been there. I can consider myself fortunate that I’ve been able to let go of most vices, most wants, and am able to go for long stretches of time without actual employment.

But a big part of that is thanks to the middle-class trappings of my lower-class life. I live in a house with a full kitchen, laundry room, all utilities; all for a ridiculously low price. Were I renting an apartment by myself, I’d be working two jobs just to be able to pay rent, nevermind having the time to cook at home and go to the movies every so often.

I am fortunate to know how people of all social walks have lived, having been exposed to all of them at least briefly throughout my life. I know how to deal with rich people without having them try to own me. I know how to interact with middle class people in a fair manner. I know how to hustle with the poor like one of them — I know I’m poor but I try to afford myself the luxury of not feeling poor. Feeling poor saps your body of energy, robs your mind of steel and your spirit of joy.

But I can attest to the knowledge that it is hard to look at the stars while your back is bent toward the ground.