Hey Lisa Barone, the 1980’s called — they want their values back.
And so this is Christmas, a time for compassion and kindness, for thinking well of people, for hope, for encouragement, for love. How sad then, that at such a time of year I stumble onto the blog [ref] of the young and opinionated internet marketer Lisa Barone. In a rather ugly rant Lisa berates the unemployed for being, well, unemployed. “You suck” she says, from her ivory tower of Entrepreneurship. “Most people are lazy and a waste of your time” she continues, so shut up, stop whining, get out there and get a job, become an entrepreneur like me! And so on.
It isn’t that Lisa is wrong. There are indeed many opportunities for those who truly seek them, and Lisa’s black-and-white view of the unemployment situation can be put down to youthful excitement about making it big in a tough economy, and I say congratulations to her for that. The worrisome thing is her arrogance, the sheer lack of understanding or compassion expressed in the article. Lisa’s categorization of “the unemployed” as one mass of wasted space is both lamentable and shocking. The values Lisa espouses are a throwback to the bleak and dismal era of Thatcher and Reagan, an era characterized by self-interest, competition and screw-thy-neighbor. My entire 20s were spent in Thatcher’s Britain where the advice to the unemployed was “price yourself into a job”, “don’t shop when you are hungry” and other such gems, only just falling short of “let them eat cake”. The rich got richer… and more fearful, as poverty and crime exploded onto the streets. Cardboard sub-cities of broken, rejected people grew up in industrial wastelands, railway sidings and deserted archways. Misery was tangible.
This is not the world I want to live in today, and this is one reason I gravitate towards the Agile community. In the Agile community I find intelligent thinkers, change agents and social warriors who prioritize collaboration over competition, sustainable living over wealth, listening to over shouting at, and understanding over judgment. This is not partisan politics, this is simply the embracing of our humanity.
There is no such group as “the unemployed” there are just people, just us. Sometimes we work, sometimes we seek work — and it is not the work that defines us. There are no doubt many people currently working who suck too. One’s employment status is irrelevant; one’s attitude to life and other people is likely a better gauge of “suckiness”.
That Lisa can write such a smug diatribe perhaps says something about where she might be on this scale. And sad as it is to read an article like hers, it is made all the more upsetting by the number of her loyal followers who cheer her on. It is to be expected that those reading her blog would be like-thinkers, but reading praise after praise for this attitude was really quite distressing. Happily there were a few who called her on this, as I am doing here. Her response? Close down comments “before things take a nonproductive turn”.
No surprise there then. Arrogance has its usual sycophants close by: Cowardice and Fear. Lisa’s response was to censor and silence her critics. But hey, Lisa, as an internet marketer you of all people should know you can’t gag the internet. It lives and breathes, and while it does expect to see opposition to your self-righteous stance. Perhaps sometime you’ll take a moment to listen.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you a day of laughter and hope.