[Fwd: Re: [Fwd: A Movie Electrician Responds to Katha]]

Katha Pollitt kpollitt at thenation.com
Tue Nov 16 08:50:24 PST 1999

Eric Beck wrote:
> Katha Pollitt wrote:
> > I said nothing about the workers -- I'm sure they're great hardworking
> >guys.
> You had written: "Once again, unions famous for racial and gender and every
> other kind of
> discrimination expect everyone to rally to their side when life gets
> tough. You practically have to be born into a union family to get into
> the Hollywood crafts unions -- those jobs are handed down >from father to
> son like vintage cars!" That's about the workers.

No. I don't identify workers and unions they way you do. I belong to the newspaper guild, But I have nothing to do with setting its policies. I assume the same is true of most union members. It's natural for people to use the advantages that are handed to them -- so I don't blame dads for getting their sons in the union, if that's the system , unless they have a chance to vote the policy out and reject it.

> when you ask why you can't pass your
> job down to your daughter, that's about more than just the union too. (I
> detect something else, perhaps jealousy: you can't hand your job down
> because it requires skills your daughter may not have; those unskilled, and
> possibly lazy, blue-collar workers, however, can pass their job down to
> anyone.)

This is very unfair. First of all, my daughter could probably be a good journalist right now, and she's only twelve! She already writes better than many college students, and argues better than me. If I could choose her profession, though, it definitely wouldn't be journalism -- it's a declining field, relentlessly trivial, with very little room for real ideas,almost none for left politics, and most people who go into it either leave or end up grateful to do celebrity profiles for Good Housekeeping.

Secondly, I don't see how you can read what I said as claiming I think blue collar workers are lazy --or unskilled (being an electrician is a very skilled trade). And I don't say they pass their job to anyone -- just their kids.

I mean doesn't that practice bother you? With all it implies about racial exclusion?

>What was your point again?

My point was that when a union is organized in an exclusionary way, it may find it has a problem getting the general population, including people of the sort it excludes, to rally to its side when its interests are threatened. I never denied that the workers who benefit from exclusionary practices may also have to work very hard in difficult conditions.


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