Two recent books from authors in England give the global workforce the means to find their way to a good weekend: Ivor Southwood’s Non-stop Inertia and Peter Fleming’s The Mythology of Work. Neither bloke is quite yet a social nihilist, but they are all but there, and it is only a matter of a few more tough months and they will be here with all of us. Southwood and Fleming, from quite different ends of the economic spectrum, know, as all of us should, as all of us shouldn’t, how awful the practice of finding work is in the supersystem, and then, how awful the practice of doing work is in the supersystem. Southwood retails incredible stories of being unemployed or temp-employed in today’s England, while Fleming goes full throttle as a academic in decrying the failure of social reality.
Southwood issues the obligatory hope in a wan paean to the promise of the Internet to counteract the epic stupidity, but as every clicking human knows, there is only the pathetic illusion of “community” coming through the corporate-regulated and corporate-polluted phone lines, and Fleming heralds some fantastical approach to overcome the blithering, soul-killing anomie of work/no-work in this privatized phantasmorgia, but there is great, instructive humanity in both books, and plenty of well-written, honest, heartfelt, beautiful sentences in both books that would guarantee a happy, genuine home here, safe in the world-defining embrace of social nihilism.