Economy · Millennials · Occupy Wall Street

Unemployment Porn: How To Get Your Kicks In A Recession

There’s a new genre of online journalism. Call it “unemployment porn.” It began with Occupy Wall Street’s “We Are The 99 Percent” tumblr, last fall, where people all over America shared their images–faces often hidden–and held up signs and leaflets of paper spelling out their woes.
“My SSDI and child support come to a monthly total of $2346.00 monthly.  Our rent – we can’t afford to buy – is $1150.00 a month.  We are currently $195.00 overdrawn, and the overdraft protection has been turned off by the bank.  We have no more gas in our car.  I will get the last half of child support next week; coincidentally that is exactly $195.00.  The next SSDI check won’t be here until June 1st. “

Recently, unemployment porn has entered the blogosphere. 
Gawker, known for its angst toward the establishment and the upper crust, is running a series called “Unemployment Stories,” where they publish lengthy accounts by people who are desperate for work and unable to find it, no matter how hard they search. The stories are grim, detailed, and emotional:
“I never made a huge salary, so the savings will be gone before the year’s end, as will my unemploymentbenefits. My husband and I are talking about divorcing and sending him to live with a relative so that hopefully he can qualify for Medicaid, because without it, he won’t survive.”
On The Billfold, the “money” site within The Awl’s network, writers exploit their underemployment through posts such as “How My Job Search Is Going“; a personal account of applying for food stamps as a “privileged, white person”; and a dispatch from a man who has only had “one major interview in 21 months” and is now trying to increase his food stamp allowance.
Unemployment porn is a symptom of Americans’ deep fear about where the country is headed. In our knowledge economy, availability of information on the Internet has led Americans to become obsessed with comparing ourselves to others. People who are scraping by can instantly feel a smidgen better about themselves by indulging in some unemployment porn. Thinking about quitting that boring desk job? Take a look at what your future could be if you do. That will get you to think twice. Unemployment porn is what you look at–when no one in your office is looking, when your significant other isn’t around–when you want to remind yourself that no matter how tough things are, they could always be worse.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s