Europe has it together.

Welcome! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome…to the last blog post of the FNMS senior seminar!!


I considered titling this blog post: “How to read academic jargon without going crazy”, but then I realized that it was making me crazy…

Some quotes from the past several weeks of Senior Sem to make you nostalgic:

“Love is blind. So is justice” –Alex

“An idea that would have been revolutionary at the time. Eddie Murphey is every character” –Tim

“[Let’s get sponsorship from] prison suppliers. Aramark.” Emily

(not a quote but a question) Throwback to 9/23…Does anyone remember why the “taco cat” was a socialist? In my notes I literally have “socialism taco cat” written…

Some points from this week’s Ross reading (Nice Work If You Can Get It : Life and Labor in Precarious Times) that I found interesting:

“For youth entering the labor market today, stories about those decades of stable employment are tall tales indulged by the elderly” (Ross 2). This quote really made me think, because as graduating seniors, will we be trying to find jobs that we like, or jobs that will last? Is a stable job that is going to support you more important than everything else? Obviously from this class we have learned that there is more flexible and creative work available now, but then why are we still struggling to find jobs? Ross also says that “organized labor has a role to play in helping to build more sustainable livelihoods…” (9). And he distinguishes mere job creation from the making of livelihoods.

Christmas Day Pictures Grama Sofija Videos 058Thank goodness we have so many more options available now than sweatshops- my grandma Sophie, an immigrant from Lithuania, worked as a stitcher in a sweatshop in the 50s, and then worked her way up to the sample making factory. As a result, Grandma, now 92, still has all these old fur coats in sample sizes that she took home (or was given, I don’t know). But she never learned to drive, not that she ever needed to, and stayed in that sample making factory for many years after she and my grandpa got off the boat.


I hope I’m not subconsciously remembering this (3 minute) video from someone else’s blog post, but I watched this a couple weeks ago and the reading reminded me of this video and how life would be so much easier if we were more like Europe. It makes me sad and annoyed that we can’t pay our wait staff a decent wage in this country, and that Europe just has it all together in the tipping department.

Ross had a lot to say even in the first chapter about jobs and the economy. He writes, “it is commonly assumed that creative jobs, by their nature, are not deficient in gratification… arguably the most instrumentally valuable aspect of the creative work traditions is the carryover of coping strategies…to help practitioners endure a feast-or-famine economy in return for the promise of success and acclaim. The combination of this coping mentality with a production ethos of aesthetic perfectibility is a godsend for managers looking for employees capable of self-discipline under the most extreme job pressure” (Ross 18-19).

“the rapid flowering of Internet amateurism has hastened on the process by which the burden of productive waged labor is increasingly…outsourced… to the “social factory” at large” (22).

Ross then goes on to prove my point: Europe has it together.

In the Creative Economy Programme of Britain, “the government offers its services as a broker between the creative entrepreneurs and potential investors in the understanding that creators are not always the best placed to exploit their ideas” (27).

The European Union’s Lisbon Strategy aimed to improve the EU’s economy between 2000 and 2010, by not only creating jobs, but creating sustainable, innovative jobs, and inclusive environmental and social policies, which would also help economic growth. It ended up not working, but in 2010, a committee launched the “Europe 2020 Strategy”, so they’re still trying.

A Culture Programme (2007-2013) also tried to enhance cultural cooperation, and increase cultural institution in Europe” (29).

Ross writes that “most sizable European cities have adopted the model of the cultural district–the fashioning and promotion of an urban quarter that houses significant institutions and populations in the creative field” (31) and then goes on to list examples, such as the creation of museum quarters, artistic conversions, etc. which all of course promote cultural activity.

This “art conversion” reminds me not only of all of the “creative spaces” and modernized warehouse offices that we’ve been discussing, but also of the local Boston Children’s Museum, which, since 1979, has been housed in what used to be a wool factory. This is a perfect example of a cultural oasis whose home was transformed from an industrial cube into a creative play space. Yay, creativity!!


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