November 23, 2007


Caption: " sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child..." King Lear

The theme of this week's Goat Rope--yesterday's possum recipe excepted--is gratitude and ingratitude. If this is your first visit, please click on the earlier posts.

It is El Cabrero's theory that the key to a sense of gratitude is a pessimistic streak. When you realize that things can be and often are really, really bad, it makes you appreciate it when they're not.

One of my pet peeves is the temperamental ingratitude of some activist types. These are the people who, when you work you @$$ off for some small victory, complain that it didn't go far enough.

An example that happened almost two years ago was our WV campaign to raise the minimum wage. After one hell of a fight, we finally did. There were all kinds of loopholes and it only covered a small fraction of minimum wage workers--maybe 2000 at first.

There were those who complained about it and were dismissive of it. (Usually these weren't the people who really worked hard on it.) It made me wonder whether perhaps they were spoiled brats as children who were used to getting anything they wanted.

I wasn't raised that way.

I was happy we could impact that many people. And that little win added momentum to the eventually successful effort to raise it at the national level.

El Cabrero has two rules of gratitude when it comes to working for social justice:

One, savor the small victories. They may be all you get. In Monday's post, I quoted one of Alice Walker's characters who said it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it. Little victories are part of the color purple.

Two, stop for a minute and think of all the nasty things that have happened all too frequently to people who challenged the status quo. If that's not happening right here and right now, then be grateful, dammit.

And by the way, you're welcome....

CAN I HAVE ONE? This came out a couple of days ago but the thought of an 8 foot sea scorpion is pretty cool.

A FRIEND IN THE WHITEHOUSE? It happened at least one once. Here's Bill Moyers on FDR.

ANTHROPOLOGY GOES TO WAR in more ways than one. Here's the latest in the ongoing controversy over the use of social sciences by the military in the Human Terrain System program.



The Film Geek said...

As usual, a thoughtful and spot-on commentary.

I often thought the behavior you described here was part of our culture, a part of this Appalachian guilt and fatalism folks talk so smartly about these days. Then I got older and realized it's everywhere, man. We live in a all or nothing sort of world these days, where victories are too often counted as "small" or "large" and not what they are: "victories."

So, thank you.

kevertt said...

Gratitude? You want GRATITUDE?

Well, kiss my pouty lower lip.


PS: Thanks