Ikea’s Minimum Wage

Ikea is raising its minimum wage for workers to $10.76 an hour.

“By taking better care of our coworkers,” says Rob Olson, the acting president of Ikea U.S., “they will take better care of our customers, who will take better care of Ikea. We see it as a win-win-win opportunity.”

In other words: Ikea Won’t Employ Anybody Worth Less Than $10.76 an Hour.

Muscles Scare Away Middle-Upper Class

…Carl Stempel, for example, writing in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, argues that upper middle class Americans avoid “excessive displays of strength,” viewing the bodybuilder look as vulgar overcompensation for wounded manhood. The so-called dominant classes, Stempel writes—especially those like my friends and myself, richer in fancy degrees than in actual dollars—tend to express dominance through strenuous aerobic sports that display moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance. By chasing pure strength, in other words, packing on all that muscle, I had violated the unspoken prejudices—and dearly held self-definitions—of my social group.

I question the overcompensation angle, but then I thought of Planet Fitness’s “Lunk Alarm.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the upper class rejection of strength training is part overcompensation and part fear.

Design Help From John

A profile on the guy who showed Richard D. James how to use Photoshop to make those freaky album covers.

He retired from music:

“For me, in terms of working in design, there’s almost nothing to do in the music industry. I mean, what would you really be doing? Design is of far less importance than ever. I think video still has a certain degree of importance, but what are covers now? They’re little thumbnails that pop up in Spotify. You can have a little visual language around that that matters, but not so much now. I mean, can you imagine Richard doing his portrait thing now, how striking that would be now? Where would you see it – as a thumbnail on iTunes or something?”

Selfies from the 9/11 Memorial

After visiting Auschwitz in June, I argued that photographing and sharing pictures of places where atrocity has happened—specifically, Auschwitz and Birkenau—was essential for recognizing and acknowledging that history.

We should keep posting—and sharing—photographs of places where horror has happened until these places inevitably disintegrate, even if the photo of such a place does not fit so neatly into a social network, where the crass language of the sharing community—“likes,” “hearts,” “selfie,” “re-gram” etc., etc., can denigrate the austerity of an image. If we use social media for only the happy or banal events in life—weddings, brunches, signs with terrible grammar—well, why bother?

The 9/11 memorial makes me reconsider that thesis, if only because it feels built to be photographed. It’s glitzy, tactile, antiseptic and commercial all at once.

Hate Song – Sublime’s “What I Got”

I hate Sublime because they represent every asshole I knew in high school in Hawaii. Nothing better than Sublime could have come out for these white dudes who loved reggae that I went to school with. Every white, blond-haired, piece of shit surfer jock guy, when this came out, they were like, “Oh! Now we have a Nirvana.” And they just ate it up. Everywhere you went, there was a white guy with an acoustic guitar singing Sublime songs; I’m sure one of them was Jack Johnson. And you had to deal with these guys who thought that this band was the band. And I’m not going to judge the way people dress or look, but Sublime looks like the Guy Fieri trio. People who like Sublime are probably people who think that Guy Fieri is badass.

Bret Easton Ellis Podcast – Youth At The Movies

Check out Bret Easton Ellis podcast.

I listened to the latest episode of this with Michael Tolkin – near the end there’s a good conversation about cinema in modern day life.

Paraphrased:

BBE: That idea with the relationship you have with the content now, with the active control of the content, rather than being the person who lets it flow over you. Some people think something is lost with that. I know that my boyfriend who’s in his twenties and others at that age who tell me that they can’t go to a movie theatre to sit and watch a movie for two hours and ten minutes because they get itchy.

MT: Yeah, I think there’s something on the way that is gonna be like a melt of one of those glaciers in Antartica. Something is going to happen very quickly that’s going to swamp Hollywood. I have a twenty-two year old and a twenty-seven year old and I talk to them and their friends – they HATE the movies. They LOATHE the movies. They loathe what the movies are about. They don’t care about the movie stars.

Everybody talks about binging on Netflix. I don’t even have the patience for hour-long episodes unless something is REALLLLLLLLYYY GOOD.1

Via: Lefsetz.

…the truth is people are overwhelmed with grazing, there’s so much information, that they can only go deep in a few areas, and those in the arts just cannot fathom this.


  1. Which I don’t think Orange Is The New Black is after two episodes. “But give it a chance” you might say. But there’s already so much stuff. Also, how come all the REALLY GOOD movies aren’t on Netflix? I’m thinking of giving up my subscription because I end up just rewatching stuff I’ve seen before because I KNOW it’s good. I don’t want to waste time on anything less. If Netflix has taught me anything it’s that you need to pay more than $10 a month to see good movies. 

“North Country is coming back big time”

The governor came up to the area to promote the outdoors and how great it is up here.

But that last line puts it into perspective:

Outside Indian Lake Central School, the staging area for the day’s events, Bruce Mitchell, a local resident tasked with shuttling dignitaries to and from the rapids, remained skeptical on the effects of such a star-powered event in this small community, the second in as many years.

“We still don’t have a grocery store,” he shrugged.

A New NewYorker.com

The New Yorker has radically changed their website and will lift paywalls this summer before trying a metered paywall this fall.

That they thought this line was funny tells you everything you need to know about The New Yorker.

For months, our editorial and tech teams have been sardined into a boiler room, subsisting only on stale cheese sandwiches and a rationed supply of tap water, working without complaint on intricate questions of design, functionality, access, and what is so clinically called “the user experience.”

Foodie High Ground

Food writers Jane Black and Brent Cunningham went to Huntington Alabama, the town where Jamie Oliver went to film his food-reality show and tried to change the lunch program and get people to eat better food. This feature, Servings of Small Change, discusses some of the things they faced while embedded in town and working on their book.

Black:

You’re sitting with people, and they’re really poor, and their lives, because they are poor, are very chaotic. Somebody’s brother is in jail, somebody is on drugs, somebody is working the night shift at the gas station, the kid has ADHD. And you’re sitting there going, “Have you thought about whole grains?” It sounds, to them, like somebody saying, “Oh, my private jet broke down.”

There’s always been an element of food snobbery mixed in with what should be about health. This discussion of food has been drifting from nutrition and towards supporting local farmers and artisinal crafts that charge a premium. Foodies have been unable to talk about this stuff without appearing self-righteous.

Artwashing

On trying to increase property values through fostering a rich, artistic community. “Rich” could mean at least two different things.

However, we need to be aware of a couple troubling trends underneath these celebrations of the transformative power of art. First, we have to ask who are they transforming an area for? And at whose direction? Because, as the excellent, if sobering, article “The Pernicious Realities of Artwashing” on CityLab.com details, too often the presence of artists is becoming a deliberately engineered move to increase the cache of a building or area, until prices rise and the artists themselves are priced out, along with the original lower income residents of an area.

“Defending the indefensible?”

Lawyers talk about representing some of the worst people ever.

John Henry Browne, who defended Ted Bundy.

My father once said: “To keep our society free and democratic, someone has to do your job, and do it well.” Then he paused and said: “I’m just really sorry it’s you.” I feel the same way.

“Incarceration Society”

Related to the post about the Upstate NY tourism economy: North Country Public Radio has recently reported on how prison closings will affect communities upstate.

It’s a messy conflict. State government wants nothing that could look like a for-profit prison industry and incarceration society, but people in rural communities have depended on those opportunities to support themselves and their families. For those that don’t depend on those jobs, the phrase Nimby comes to mind.

Adirondack Tourism Lifts Some Boats

If you want to know how things are in rural areas like upstate New York, this report by Brian Mann sheds some light.

There has been a tug-of-war between tourism and industry here, but I think most industry has given up the fight because of changing economic realities. Young people don’t usually stick around the area because of job opportunities elsewhere, leaving an industry of tourism built upon remote areas. Now the traits that have made these areas desirable before can end up hurting them because of their lack of infrastructure.

This report states that in 2012 about 12% of the jobs available in the Adirondacks were tourism related. I thought it was higher.

A Quest for the Secret Origins of Lost Video-Game Levels

This story focuses on Sonic 2, but there are other stories out there. People are still looking for secrets in Shadow of the Colossus.

In 2nd grade there was a boy in my class who told me there was a boxing level in DuckTales for the NES.

Other video game rumors I remember:

“Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense”

Millennials are more liberal than the rest of the country, particularly on social issues, but they get more economically conservative when they make more money.

…something interesting happens when Millennials start making serious dough. They start getting much more squeamish about giving it away

…makes sense to me.