Thanks to friend Nicola for telling us about these brilliant subway hacks.
Yesterday, activists pasted quotations from Dave Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs essay over existing adverts on the London tube.
They did this specifically yesterday because Monday 5th is the first day back to work after Christmas for many Londoners, and tube commuters are probably the ones who will benefit most from a dose of Graeber wisdom and mischief.
Among the quotations used are:
It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs for the sake of keeping us all working.
Huge swaths of people spend their days performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.
How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labor when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist?
Ugly, idiotic Vice magazine has an opportunistic interview with Graeber about the posters in which he rises to the occasion to say:
over the course of the 20th century there’s been a huge effort to re-imagine the world; it’s the imagination of these great entrepreneurial geniuses that create all these things—workers are just robots, working in the factories, doing what they’re told, extensions of the minds of these quite great people. It seems there has been an increased emphasis on work as of pure value unto itself.
A job that isn’t bullshit should have concrete benefits to other people. But we can’t do jobs that aren’t bullshit because of debt. That’s a great dilemma from which that movement actually started I think. I would say to unions and organizers, think about that, redefine what is valuable about work—work is valuable if it makes other people’s lives better. It would be nice if we were rewarded for making people’s lives better, not punished. From an individual point of view, think about the way that you can navigate that with your own conscience.
All of this happened while I was sleeping.