Finally — I belong to a victim class!

posted at 11:28 am on April 6, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In moments of introspection, I wonder if I’m so passionately opposed to fetishizing victimhood because I don’t fit neatly into a recognized victim class. No one has seen “No Irish Need Apply” signs for a century, and male drum circles thankfully went out of fashion years ago. Now, however, the New York Times informs me that I am exploited, stressed, and could very well die because of my membership in the latest victim class …. professional bloggers?

They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.

Now I understand the science that brought us anthropogenic global warming.  Two professional bloggers die, and we need to worry that blogging caused it?  Once again, the media cannot distinguish between  the correlative and the causative.  Nothing — and I mean nothing — in this Times article provides any evidence that the stress of writing contributed to these deaths in any way, nor does Matt Richtel bother to give us any other history for the deceased, including more commonly considered contributory factors such as family history, exercise regimens, dietary habits, smoking, or anything else.

Richtel does talk to two other professional bloggers who admit that they don’t have healthy lifestyles.  One sleeps only five hours a night, and the other has put on 30 pounds … even though both work from home.  That would indicate that the problem has less to do with their chosen work than it does with their chosen lifestyles.  One says the work exhausts him and he wants to lie down — so why doesn’t he take a nap?

Far be it from me to disabuse my fellow victims in this new class of exploitation, but …. no, actually, it’s incumbent upon me to do so.  You think writing is stressful?  Try managing a staff of 45 in a 24/7 call center.  Try walking a beat as a cop in any major city.  Drive a cab on the night shift.  Serve food to grouchy patrons at a greasy spoon.  Work in commission sales and know that you can’t feed your family unless you can convince others to part with their money for products you yourself wouldn’t buy on a bet.

I started professionally blogging a year ago.  Since then, I eat better because I eat at home.  I sleep better because I can take a rest when I need it.  I lost weight because I don’t do drive-thru on long commutes to an office.  I am much more relaxed because I spend all day doing what I love, rather than compensating for the stress of the above jobs, at least three of which I did myself as an adult in the last twenty-five years.

Thanks to the New York Times, I do have the answer to my introspection: I have no need of victim classes, even for myself.  If making a living for constant commentary from the comfort of my own home has become the sweatshop environment of the 21st century, then we have truly reached the Golden Age of human experience.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Re. the slave-rowers from Ben-Hur in the photo–do you feel like you crank out posts at “attack speed”?

jgapinoy on April 6, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Take care of yourself Ed. And see that AllahPundit is taking his vitamins. Have you guys had your annual checkup?

Coal miners. Cab drivers. Undercover cops. Bloggers. These are dangerous jobs but someone has to do them.

Vote Sauron 08 on April 6, 2008 at 11:32 AM

I’m a part-time blogger. Trust me,the stress in my life comes not from blogging. It comes from the tenure-track position and the Mainstream Media. Most of it to the latter.

I did the Jumble and my blood pressure went up by 3 points.

You should see what happens when I read EJ Dionne.

Nethicus on April 6, 2008 at 11:33 AM

You probably need therapy and just don’t realize it.

petefrt on April 6, 2008 at 11:34 AM

AS soon as I read “the New York Times informs…” I know that pretty much nothing but BS will come after that.

bbz123 on April 6, 2008 at 11:34 AM

My health actually has gotten worse but it’s only tangentially related to blogging.

Allahpundit on April 6, 2008 at 11:35 AM

I try to avoid the NYT now so I haven’t read the article. I assume by “bloggers” the NYT means “conservatives” ? If these two guys they are pointing to were 25 or 30 there might be a story, maybe, but not really. But 50 or 60 years ? Things start happening at that age to everyone. Strange article.

JonRoss on April 6, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Just got my check-up, and my doctor expressed some surprise at the improvement in weight and general health. He asked me what I did, and I told him I started doing something I love for a living. He said that’s the best medicine I could get.

Ed Morrissey on April 6, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Haha, what do people always want to be victims of something. Next up is victimizing those poor people who play World of Warcraft all damn day.

LT Nixon on April 6, 2008 at 11:42 AM

“This is the digital-era sweatshop.”

LOL! There you have it folks. Just like torture, gulag, recession, unprecedented, and many other words have been totally redefined to fit into the media narrative, sweatshop follows.

What once was reserved for conditions where folks are physically forced to work until they sweat, under inhumane conditions, for little to no pay – now means conditions people choose to endure themselves because they can’t figure out a better way to do their job.

The dumbing and watering down of the English language continues.

Seixon on April 6, 2008 at 11:44 AM

“Row well… and live.”

Sitting on our rears in front of a keyboard all day just ain’t that healthy if that’s all you do. Bloggers fall into the same category of innumerable cube trolls.

michaelo on April 6, 2008 at 11:46 AM

And see that AllahPundit is taking his vitamins.

Please do.

The article makes some sense, frankly. Not that bloggers should be seen as victims, obviously, but that since there is a greater correlation between product and producer then in say a large corp, the stress would naturally be equal or greater. Of the above examples, blogging seems to be related to commission sales quite frankly. I can easily imagine people degenerating both physical and mentally doing a job like blogging.

Having said all of that though, please to hear you say this: “I am much more relaxed because I spend all day doing what I love”… Cheers.

Spirit of 1776 on April 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

I’m now the only person on my block who actually goes to church on Sunday. (Just got back, actually). On my way into the neighborhood, I drove past folks who were cutting grass, washing their cars, shooting hoops, and walking their dogs.

As a now legitimate minority, I demand constitutional protection, special rights, and affirmative action set-asides. I feel completely alienated from my community, which has led to my new low self-esteem and fear of discrimination at work.

I need help!

Gartrip on April 6, 2008 at 11:48 AM

He asked me what I did, and I told him I started doing something I love for a living. He said that’s the best medicine I could get.

Ed Morrissey on April 6, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I love what I do for a living, but it involves 70% travel and all the excessive eating and drinking that goes it.

flipflop on April 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Given that three out of three of us will die at some time of some cause, and many people in many jobs allow themselves to work to exhaustion, overstress and ignore the body’s nutritional needs, I fail to get the connection between blogging and death.

Seems to me people on welfare die under similar circumstances.

This is the mindset that causes our solons in Congress to allocate $280M for “counseling” as part of the solution to the mortgage “crisi”. I wonder how they figured out that was the right number…

Harry Schell on April 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM

that goes with it.

flipflop on April 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM

That’s better.

flipflop on April 6, 2008 at 11:51 AM

So do Ed and AP have a goal of matching up some Charlton Heston pic with ever post today?

flipflop on April 6, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Has Maryscott O’Connor exploded?

rhodeymark on April 6, 2008 at 11:54 AM

… and male drum circles thankfully went out of fashion years ago.

Coulda fooled me. We had a powwow Friday night/Saturday morning, with only about 150 attending; but then, some tribes are much better off than others.

Take good care of your health Capt. Ed- The real blogging fun starts in August, when the national Victimhood Convention begins.

localmalcontent on April 6, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Seems like the NY Times is really trying to say: Professional bloggers are slowly putting us out of business. Please stop it, for your own good.

JetBoy on April 6, 2008 at 11:58 AM

What are the consequences on the single blogger’s social life? Those basement’s have got to be lonely.

chief on April 6, 2008 at 12:04 PM

I’m surprised they don’t run something like

Headline: “Man has heart attack shortly after voting for George W. Bush”

Then they could tell us voting Republican is simply unhealthy, and that’s a fact.

ggoofer on April 6, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Like you I have felt left out of the victim caste in America. Being a veteran, I thought I would qualify, but being from the Vietnam era, I’m just another predator baby killer not a victim. Now my son, who is in the Army and back from Iraq, is a victim per the Left; I am s-o-o-o-o envious. But since I started blogging a few weeks ago, now I have finally made the cut. It’s about time. Ah, where do I go to get my government benefits?

amr on April 6, 2008 at 12:16 PM

I couldn’t help but wonder if the NYT’s was pushing this because bloggers are a part of their downfall!

Pam on April 6, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Coal miners. Cab drivers. Undercover cops. Bloggers. These are dangerous jobs but someone has to do them.

Vote Sauron 08 on April 6, 2008 at 11:32 AM

I personally know of people who have snuck into this country in the dead of night to do these jobs, particularly boggling, that real Americans don’t want to do anymore…..no, really! I live in Texas, and all. They are talking about making Austin a “City of Wireless Refuge” any day now.

dmh0667 on April 6, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Hey Captain Ed, maybe you should look into a safer career, like say, coal mining. After all, you’ve got to think of your family.

Cicero43 on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 PM

do you feel like you crank out posts at “attack speed”?

jgapinoy on April 6, 2008 at 11:31 AM

No, that’s “Ramming…Speed!” (I only know that cause my whole family used to mock out that scene every year when it aired on TV…
:)

Seems like the NY Times is really trying to say: Professional bloggers are slowly putting us out of business. Please stop it, for your own good.

JetBoy on April 6, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Zactly. Too bad for them. LOL

inviolet on April 6, 2008 at 12:29 PM

I wonder where bloggers fit in world of victimhood poker though

ac1 on April 6, 2008 at 12:31 PM

What I’ve noticed more about your change to full-time blogging is that you post more often (not surprisingly since it’s now your job!) and more of the posts are longer. You seem to keep at it quite a bit during the day since there are new posts from early in the morning until the later evening hours. If you’re staying healthy while doing so – great, please keep at it!

Jill1066 on April 6, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Try managing a staff of 45 in a 24/7 call center.

I usa, I usa, I usa be a Ops Man.

Speakup on April 6, 2008 at 12:49 PM

There’s still no victim class for me, and that’s the way I like it. Oh well, who wants to live forever? (bonus points for naming the movie I lifted that from)

AP, I hope that your health before was impeccable, and the “worsening” was only notable on the charts.

steveegg on April 6, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Haha, what do people always want to be victims of something. Next up is victimizing those poor people who play World of Warcraft all damn day.

LT Nixon on April 6, 2008 at 11:42 AM

I have my own victimhood to champion: I am left-handed. I have had to grow up adapting to the discrimination and oppresion of living in a society designed by and for right-handers. I demand the government give me left-handed scissors, can openers, playing cards, and manual transmissions. I demand a “Left-handed Awareness Week” where the great left-handers through history are honored, and everybody has to write from right-to-left. Finally, I demand a government grant to form a Left-handers PAC to lobby congress for bills that fight against the anti-lefthandites in our society.

Our slogan: We are Left and we are right, dammit!

Mallard T. Drake on April 6, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Mallard T. Drake on April 6, 2008 at 1:30 PM

You forgot left-handed mice </sarcasm>

Seriously, you want a lefty transmission, just import your own British or Japanese car.

steveegg on April 6, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Be careful Ed, with two deaths, the MSM sees a definite TREND.

GarandFan on April 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM

My stress comes from trying to live my life as I see fit while the government at all levels keeps taking my money, time, life and liberty from me.

Amendment X on April 6, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Time to join

Blog
Laborers
Association for
Direct
Employment
Rights

ronsfi on April 6, 2008 at 1:55 PM

No one has seen “No Irish Need Apply” signs for a century

John Lydon claims to have seen a “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs” sign in the South in 1979.

aengus on April 6, 2008 at 3:45 PM

GENDER FEMINISM 301: Victim class.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM

“I am much more relaxed because I spend all day doing what I love…”

Secret to success…………

Seven Percent Solution on April 6, 2008 at 3:56 PM

New York Times’ logic. All Americans joining the Democratic Party in 1900 are now dead. Therefore, being Democratic kills you.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 6, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Easy for you to Say Ed. My wife’s always telling me that if I was a POPULAR blogger like Ed Morrisey we’d all be invited to the best parties and she could wear minks and diamonds.

The Whistler on April 6, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Try managing a staff of 45 in a 24/7 call center. Try walking a beat as a cop in any major city. Drive a cab on the night shift. Serve food to grouchy patrons at a greasy spoon.

Coal miners. Cab drivers. Undercover cops. Bloggers. These are dangerous jobs but someone has to do them.

Vote Sauron 08 on April 6, 2008 at 11:32 AM

How about being a Soldier? Or the boredom and hard, often greasey, work of manufacturing gadgets?

What once was reserved for conditions where folks are physically forced to work until they sweat, under inhumane conditions, for little to no pay – now means conditions people choose to endure themselves because they can’t figure out a better way to do their job.

The dumbing and watering down of the English language continues.

Seixon on April 6, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Exactly, like the exploitation of the feudal activities/treatment of illegal manual labor, with the silent approval of the commerce departments, and politicians from both sides of the isle.

Entelechy on April 6, 2008 at 4:07 PM

Heck, If I could earn my daily bread trekking around the internet and then writing pithy things about it I’d do it in a minute, but since nobody seems keen to pay me to do that, I guess I’ll just have go back to teaching groups of 35+ ninth graders several times a day. That’s got to be a piece of cake, right?

Bob's Kid on April 6, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Calm down, Ed, or you’ll give yourself a heart attack!

andycanuck on April 6, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Heck, If I could earn my daily bread trekking around the internet and then writing pithy things about it I’d do it in a minute, but since nobody seems keen to pay me to do that, I guess I’ll just have go back to teaching groups of 35+ ninth graders several times a day.
Bob’s Kid on April 6, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Are you saying Ed is “pithing” you off?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 6, 2008 at 4:31 PM

What you bloggers need is a union. I’ll be glad to represent you. No one will be more effective than me when it comes to negotiating for better working conditions. Serving as your union president, you can rest assured that I have your best interests in mind. All you have to do is forward your union dues to my PayPal account.

My collie says:

Michelle Malkin called.

Let me guess. She’s witholding the coins and liquor that she rolls down the stairs to AllahPundit?

My collie says:

Yes, but no matter — AP already sent in his union dues.

Sweet!

CyberCipher on April 6, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Michelle Malkin called.

CyberCipher on April 6, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Michelle, Ma Bell.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 6, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Courage!

SwampRat on April 6, 2008 at 6:25 PM

When Washington is run by trial lawyers OF COURSE we’re all victims. No victim, no money!

Mojave Mark on April 6, 2008 at 7:03 PM

OSHA regulation of blogging might make for a humorous thread – if it weren’t so very possible.

chsw

chsw on April 6, 2008 at 8:24 PM

I can waggle my ears and scalp, does that make me a victim?

OldEnglish on April 6, 2008 at 9:45 PM

For some bizarre and twisted fashion
I see a Musical in all of this!Hehe.

canopfor on April 6, 2008 at 9:48 PM

I can waggle my ears and scalp,does that make me a victim?
OldEnglish on April 6,2008 at 9:45PM.

OldEnglish:Maybe,if you can do nose push-ups as well,then
you might qualify,haha,just kidding!

canopfor on April 6, 2008 at 9:55 PM

OldEnglish:Maybe,if you can do nose push-ups as well,then
you might qualify,haha,just kidding!

canopfor on April 6, 2008 at 9:55 PM

Tried that. It hurt! :)

OldEnglish on April 6, 2008 at 9:57 PM

QED

Chas on April 6, 2008 at 11:54 PM

Work in commission sales and know that you can’t feed your family unless you can convince others to part with their money for products you yourself wouldn’t buy on a bet.

Good Christ, did you do that???!
Glad to hear you love your job, nothing better!

4shoes on April 7, 2008 at 12:41 AM

He said that’s the best medicine I could get.

Ed Morrissey on April 6, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Agreed, and getting your priorities in order is a big stress reducer too.

labrat on April 7, 2008 at 4:57 AM

My health actually has gotten worse but it’s only tangentially related to blogging.

Allahpundit on April 6, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Michelle, this is a disguised cry for help if I’ve ever seen one. ;)

labrat on April 7, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Ever since blogs with ?ersonal comments came about, my right ?inky has been getting more ?ainful. That’s most ?robably because it stretches out to reach the letter “?ee” in the u??er right corner of the keyboard.

So I’ve decided to cease ty?ing with the letter “?ee” when ?osting re?lies. Ho?efully, this will s?are me from car?al ?inky sydrome.

Shy Guy on April 7, 2008 at 5:16 AM

Number 41 Ed, we keep you alive to serve this ship blog. Row Write well & live.

jgapinoy on April 7, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Far be it from me to disabuse my fellow victims in this new class of exploitation, but …. no, actually, it’s incumbent upon me to do so.

.
This is refreshing. Just say NO to victimhood, and do what you love.

Right_of_Attila on April 7, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Coal miners. Cab drivers. Undercover cops. Bloggers. These are dangerous jobs but someone has to do them.

Vote Sauron 08 on April 6, 2008 at 11:32 AM

I think we have a reality series in the making….

Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch, Ax Men…..now, Keystroke Coronaries!!

kcluva on April 7, 2008 at 11:31 AM