Charles Pierce is Shrill

Right on:

I am not flexible about this. If you want to look tough at the expense of public-school teachers, you are a snob or a coward, or perhaps both. Every member of this MSNBC panel that Digby found, including all the liberals and all the Democrats thereon, can bite me, seriously. If I have to read one more smug, Ivy League writer from Slate talking, as the big strike goes on, about public-school teachers as though they were unruly hired help, I may hit someone with a fish. Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it. The idea that, say, “Chuck” Lane cares more about “the kids” than do the people walking the picket lines in Chicago is damned near close to obscene.

What he said.






66 replies
  1. 1
    Warren Terra says:

    I love Charlie Pierce, and he’s right on. But the 20-percent-more-work-for-less-pay thing is a misapprehension. The days are 20 percent longer, but both sides agree that this increased workload is being handled by the hiring of 500 more teachers, not by increasing the workload to match.

  2. 2
    Radon Chong says:

    Pierce is having one of the great blog-writing runs of all time.

  3. 3
    Heliopause says:

    Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it.

    How hard can it be to spout 20% more neoliberal conventional wisdom? Shit, I could do that in my sleep, and I’m not even a neoliberal. Pierce needs to give Yglesias a higher bar to clear to make a proper analogy.

  4. 4
    Ben Franklin says:

    It’s always Labor when it comes to tightening the fiscal belt. What about the Board of Ed, Supervisors of Ed, you know, all those laggards who putter with education for job justification? Cut their pay and increase their hours; see how that flies.

  5. 5

    Zombies approve of this. Charlie Pierce gets ONE mulligan in the zompocalypse.

  6. 6
    LosGatosCA says:

    Does Matt Y have to spell the extra 20% correctly?

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    Wannabee moobee star Michelle Rhee is now married to our mayor and trying to build a career by bringing teachers and their union thug enablers down several notches, if not onto the street. And she’s got the support of both parties at present.

    WTF is wrong with these people?

  8. 8
    jefft452 says:

    “Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work…”

    Math Fail!

    0 plus 20% of 0 is still 0

  9. 9
    Linda says:

    Why are so many so-called left of center pundits anti-union? Because they seriously see themselves as members of the tribe of meritocracy and are horrified that somebody has a job security protected by a union. Of course, many pundits have their job security by conventional thinking and writing, butt kissing and sincure, but maybe that doesn’t count.

  10. 10
    whidby says:

    Yes all school teachers, along with all firefighters and police officers are HEROES!!!

    Anyone who suggests any change to the current education system – which is working flawlessly – is a fascist tool.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Linda:

    The “tribe of meritocracy” is based on legacy admissions to Ivies.

    It’s fail from the getgo.

  12. 12
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Charles Pierce is a national treasure & a daily must read.

    And I owe so much to so many under paid and under appreciated teachers.

  13. 13
    Citizen_X says:

    I may hit someone with a fish.

    He spelled “fist” wrong.

  14. 14
    mikefromArlington says:

    Lol. John McCain and Sean Hannity just went at it and he pretty much just cut off McCain.

  15. 15
    Darkrose says:

    Reposting from an earlier thread here where it’s more on topic:

    If you want to support the Chicago teachers from afar, here’s one way, from Dave Zirin:

    There is no winning a game when the rules have been rigged, but there is power in numbers. There is power in struggle. And there is power in pizza. The easiest way to support Chicago teachers is to order them a piping hot pizza pie. You can get food to the picket lines by calling Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052. When pizza shows up to the tired picketers, everyone’s spirits are lifted. It’s read to them from which part of the country a pie was ordered and it makes them feel that much less alone.

    It may seem like a small, kind of silly thing, but trust me, it means a lot.

  16. 16
    Schlemizel says:

    Why is he not on the blog roll & that fat, bloated, puss bag, always wrong. never in doubt, useless fuck, Sullivan back on it?

    Did he write a single post wroth reading since you elevated him? No. Yet Chuck constantly knocks it out of the park and gets no credit.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Using Charles Pierce to stomp on AL’s thread – that’s like performance art.

  19. 19
    gnomedad says:

    @mikefromArlington:
    Who said what?

  20. 20
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @Darkrose: called. Got no answer.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If I have to read one more smug, Ivy League writer from Slate talking, as the big strike goes on, about public-school teachers as though they were unruly hired help, I may hit someone with a fish.

    The key thing in this sentence is “unruly hired help.”

    This ties in directly to the Dubya Mittens Rmoney view of the universe.

    Everyone but him, Queen Ann, and the Mittlets and their spawn, are “hired help.” To be disposed of on a whim.

  22. 22
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Neil Armstrong who was memorialized today, was educated in public schools(exception was his masters from USC), as well as the majority of people who made it possible for him to reach the moon. Just saying Matt and the rest of the progresive snobs.

  23. 23
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Warren Terra:

    The days are 20 percent longer, but both sides agree

    That would be true if the Board wasn’t trying to break their promises and saddle the teachers with both longer days and less prep time:

    The Board is proposing to do away with 18 separate articles in the contract that relate to details of our work day such as our class load, our breaks, and the nature of our work assignments. These include Article 4 (Elementary School), 5 (Middle School), 6 (High School), 7 (Elementary School Counselors), 9 (PSRPs), etc. The Union is proposing language that would guarantee that the Board follow their promises on prep time, staffing, and breaks.

    This is another situation like how the Chicago Teachers’ Union wants to reduce class size while the Board thinks things are just a-okay: the teachers are the ones looking out for the kids

  24. 24
    Yutsano says:

    @whidby: Snark fail. Try harder.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @whidby: That straw is burning brightly.

  26. 26
    Darkrose says:

    @MikeBoyScout: They may be closed or closing, since it’s 9:00 central. But thank you regardless.

  27. 27
    Gopher2b says:

    “Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it. ” Not at all true but why let facts get in the way of a good tantrum.

  28. 28
    Triassic Sands says:

    Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it.

    Let Matt Y or any of the snobs do ANY significant amount of work for what teachers get paid — I doubt there would be any volunteers.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    One side of my family were many of them teachers. Went all through the strikes growing up, and the humiliating bullshit from many quarters that thought teachers should be paid pauper wages, for putting up with punks like I was long ago. My mom taught special ed, mostly autistic kids, most of the time doing it while suffering a bunch of health problems herself. So have at it Mr. Pierce, and don’t let up till morale improves amongst the idiot class that don’t support the vital work teachers do.

  30. 30
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    You get that lazy fucker to put in just 20% and count yourself lucky.

  31. 31

    […] Charles Pierce is Shrill By John ColeSeptember 13th, 2012 […]

  32. 32
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @Darkrose: NP. Will do it tomorrow.

  33. 33
    mikefromArlington says:

    @gnomedad:

    I Flicked it on already into it. McCain was saying Hannity was wrong about Libya since they ended up having a democrat elected gonvt, then it went onto Hannity saying McCain was taking the admins side on this issue…just back and forth. McCain wasn’t having any of it. Kinda funny to watch hannitys interview blow up in his face

  34. 34
    Christian Sieber says:

    Bagging on Matt Yglesias like this is dumb, especially since he hasn’t espoused anything like what Pierce is accusing him of. The strike disagreements aren’t really about pay in the first place and Yglesias is quite distant from treating that issue like, say, Romney does — or in the way that Pierce implies by attacking him.

  35. 35
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Christian Sieber: Does Matt Y have a dedicated crew of defenders that roll through the blogosphere defending his entitled, poorly-spelled, neo-liberal arguments? I swear the same thing was going on at LGM the other day.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    Thus Spake Yglesiasthustra:

    The most salient difference, completely absent from his armchair psychologizing, is surely that public school teachers work for the government. If AT&T workers get a better deal for themselves, that may well mean a worse deal for people who bought AT&T stock in past years but I’m not going to cry on their behalf. By contrast, if Chicago public school teachers get a better deal for themselves that may well mean a worse deal for Chicago taxpayers.

    Because education is a zero sum game. The more money you save on education, the more wonderful your community will be!

    I’m glad to see Matt Y has become a disciple of Scott Walker and believes that public employees shouldn’t unionize. Because everyone knows that the government is run entirely by kind-hearted Jimmy Stewart-types who would never dream of fucking over its employees.

  37. 37
    RSA says:

    Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it.

    And if he changes his publishing schedule in the slightest way, accuse him of hurting the children.

  38. 38
    Original Lee says:

    @Triassic Sands: Exactly. We once had a School Board President, who replied, when asked if he would work for the average salary being paid to teachers in our district at the time, “Of course not. I have a bachelor’s degree.” Good times.

  39. 39
    Joy in FL says:

    @Darkrose: I saved the number. I’m going to call Friday after work. I’m a teacher in Florida, and I was looking for a way to support those teachers besides tweeting my support. Food is good. Thank you for the info.

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joy in FL: It really made a difference to people protesting in Madison in 2011. You feel supported.

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    I’m basically on the side of the teachers, but I have to say that Karen Lewis did her side no favors by mocking the negotiating process.

    Also, something I found interesting: The local scuttlebutt over the past couple of days was that this would be a long, drawn-out strike — 30 days, maybe. All of a sudden, today we’re on the brink of an agreement, and the kids are likely to go back to school Monday. My guess? Someone picked up the phone and started cracking heads together. Maybe one of our Chicago neighbors in DC. Whose name begins with Arne and ends in Duncan. Acting with the blessing of another neighbor whose name starts with Mr. and ends in President.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mark S.:

    I think you’ve captured what disturbs me about Yglesias on this topic.

    The catch, as always, is that ramming everything into the zero sum game box is very good for simple minds. It eliminates all that nuance and shit that gets in the way of a simple solution to everything, and frankly, eliminates all that work stuff that gets in the way of me heading off to some nice table with a white tablecloth with chafing dishes filled to the brim with cocktail weenies.

    Yup, that’s it. Nice, simple solutions to problems that never ever need to be encountered, ever again. We’re done here, it’s Miller time!

  43. 43
    Increase Mather says:

    Yglesias has advocated helping teachers by expanding the housing supply (see end).

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon....._are_.html

    He also has an article explaining how efficient markets can protect you from deadly penis enlargement. This is the single Slate-iest article of all time.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon.....gedy_.html

  44. 44
    Mandalay says:

    Every member of this MSNBC panel that Digby found, including all the liberals and all the Democrats thereon, can bite me, seriously.

    Agreed. The only thing that prevented the MSNBC mob from completely savaging the teachers was that they had to spend some quality time shoving their tongues up Rahm Emanuel’s ass. Sickening.

    Alex Wagner is the worst of the lot – a vacuous phony. I think she taught Mitt how to smirk.

  45. 45
    Marc says:

    I’m getting a really shitty and intolerant vibe across liberal blogs. People are competing to explain why anyone who doesn’t toe the union line is a scumbag, and why no decent person could have any reason to have any reservations about the wisdom of this particular strike. I’m seeing front-pagers like Freddie slagging people for things that they didn’t even say, and I’m seeing simple lashing out in the comments. Matt annoys the hell out of me a lot of the time, and I simply can’t see why what he wrote deserves the level of hostility that I see here.

    You can think that the union is right in this case without the name-calling and verbal abuse directed at people who agree with you most of the time. This attitude is complete bullshit and it’s going to backfire massively if it’s maintained. And I can say that as someone in basic sympathy with the Chicago teachers union and what they’re trying to accomplish.

    If you want to figure out why liberals in the 80s pissed off and antagonized a legion of former supporters, these sort of rage-filled attacks on dissenters are the instruction manual. And 12 years of Reagan-Bush were the reward.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Marc: I get a little confused as to why virtually automatic support for unions is not de rigueur among people who claim to be left of center.

  47. 47
    Marc says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’d rather convince them than tell them why they’re shitheads and demand to know what their salaries are.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Marc: Just as an example, how would you convince Yglesias? The man is impervious to contrary argument.

  50. 50
    Marc says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I read him as making an argument of the form “this is why some people might have a problem”, not “this is what is true.” You can explain things without endorsing them – something that the wingnuts raked people over the coals for after 9/11, for example. I’m not even seeing people able to make basic distinctions like that, and it genuinely bothers me.

  51. 51
    SmallAxe says:

    Funny thing is Pierce went to my Alma Mater, St. John’s High School in lovely little Shrewsbury (he’ll say Worcester) but it’s actually Shrewsbury. Private all catholic boys school run by the Xaverian Barbarian brothers. Great school but definitely not public. So good on him for the rant.

  52. 52
    dogwood says:

    I taught high school for 35 years and loved it. That said, outside of cops, firefighters and perhaps emt’s, the public as a whole hates public employees and it’s perfectly acceptable to denigrate them. Charles Pierce can be as shrill as he likes and it won’t make a damned bit of difference. Hating teachers is part of the culture. To give you an example of how teachers are viewed, every year of my career early in the first semester I would be challenged by a student claiming that my explication of a text or discussion of a fact was simply my opinion, thus it could be dismissed. I always used the opportunity to let them know that as a teacher, they could take what I said about many things I’m not an expert in with a grain of salt, but when it came to the areas where I had expertise, I wasn’t going to be bullied. I would always shock them by stating that all opinions are not of equal value. Thus, if I told them “simple” and “simplistic” do not mean the same thing, I wasn’t going to let them treat that as a matter of opinion. I learned early on that teachers are not held in high esteem. One of the big mistakes teachers make that perpetuates this situation is that we allow ourselves to be intellectually bullied by students, parents and a host of outside agitators.

  53. 53
    Mandalay says:

    @Marc:

    You can think that the union is right in this case without the name-calling and verbal abuse directed at people who agree with you most of the time. This attitude is complete bullshit and it’s going to backfire massively if it’s maintained.

    No! The name calling is richly deserved. Look at this discussion of the strike that Pierce referenced. It is an MSNBC panel led by Alex Wagner:

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/now...../#49005700

    If you read the transcript with the names suppressed you would swear that the discussion took place on Fox. Not a word on what the strike is really about, but plenty of genuflecting to Rahm Emanuel, with comments on how the position of the teachers is “untenable”. Absolutely sickening.

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    Quit thinking that “pundits” hate unions. It’s the goddamned PUBLIC that hates unions. Democrat or Republican, they hate us. After 5 years serving my pseudo hippy town and witnessing their smugness, the japes about our “fat” pensions, our “fluffy” benefits, last night watching a rich businessman who owns 3 thriving stores complain that he probably made less than the staffers, and listening to very well off people whine that highly specialized engineers who are in demand at private institutions, deserve competitive salaries; I can say this without a doubt, the public detests the people who make their fat, lazy American lifestyles possible.

  55. 55
    Mandalay says:

    @ruemara:

    Quit thinking that “pundits” hate unions. It’s the goddamned PUBLIC that hates unions.

    One does not preclude the other. I’ll stop hating pundits when pundits stop hating unions.

  56. 56
    Christian Sieber says:

    @Mark S.:

    You quoted a Matt Yglesias post. Is anything untrue about it? Liberals advocate for reducing government spending on stuff we think is a waste all the time. I don’t think teachers are a waste and I’m happy to say that they should be paid a LOT more so we can attract a lot BETTER talent to the field. But that doesn’t make what Yglesias said untrue. Obviously responsible government is going to both try to get the best teachers it can but also get the best value it can. You’re creating a straw-man out of Yglesias’ post that isn’t real.

  57. 57
    dogwood says:

    I’m going to take a lot of shit for this, but I’d still be teaching if it weren’t for the fact that I was being asked to do more for my students each year with less actual contact time. I would have worked a longer day and a longer school year for close to the same salary because it would have made my job easier. I was burned out because the job became impossible. You can’t increase demands without increasing contact time.

  58. 58
    Marc says:

    @Mandalay:

    Yea, that’s pretty shallow. And they don’t seem particularly well informed about the actual differences between the union and city. But the take on Yglesias seems simply wrong on the merits, and that’s getting depressingly common on this topic.

  59. 59
    sneezy says:

    If I have to read one more smug, Ivy League writer from Slate talking, as the big strike goes on, about public-school teachers as though they were unruly hired help, I may hit someone with a fish. Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it.

    I’d pay good money to watch someone hit Yglesias with a fish.

  60. 60
    Mark S. says:

    @Christian Sieber:

    I don’t agree with the premise that strikes against corporations only affect the shareholders of those corporations. I was in France during a truckers’ strike and things like groceries and gas were starting to get a little scarce before they came to an agreement.

    Aside from that, I guess he doesn’t say anything false. Yes, public school teachers are government employees, paying them does cost money, most of that money comes from taxes, etc. But most people already knew this or at least gleaned it from playing Sim City.

  61. 61
    different-church-lady says:

    Let Matt Yglesias do 20 percent more work for four percent less pay and see how he likes it.

    Wait… what Yglesias does now counts as work?

  62. 62
    Christian Sieber says:

    @Mark S.:

    So what cause to be snarky about him and act like he is saying something wrong, or evil? Pierce’s article calls him out (as do many people on this blog and elsewhere) when there is no there there in his writings on this topic.

    Freddie even acknowledges this and is much more even-handed than he normally is about Yglesias.

  63. 63
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Marc:

    Well I’m not a liberal but I think you are a grade-A whiner

  64. 64
    Josie says:

    I found this great post on the Lawyers, Guns and Money site:

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo.....l-teachers

  65. 65
    chopper says:

    @Mark S.:

    Because education is a zero sum game. The more money you save on education, the more wonderful your community will be!

    apparently according to matt, seeing your children get a higher quality education counts as a ‘worse deal’ for chicagoans.

  66. 66
    chopper says:

    people deliberately ignore the knock-on effects of spending money on education, acting like the teachers here are asking for the city to pay for gold-plating their cars or something meaningless.

    these teachers are demanding things like fixed roofs and climate control and reasonable class sizes. you try getting 50 kids to learn geometry in a 95 degree classroom that leaks every time it rains. try grading 50 kids worth of english homework every night in detail so they can really learn how to write well. spending money on this shit may raise the burden on chicago taxpayers, but you’re a moron if you think the benefits of improving the education of these kids doesn’t add in to the equation at all.

    whenever we talk about gummint spending i.e. stimulus and aid we talk about the multiplier effect in the economy and how certain types of spending are better suited than others. well, education is a pretty fucking big one.

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