Tag Archives: Work

Working to Play, Playing to Work: Mexican-American Baseball & Labor in Southern California

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“I remember traveling to Lake Elsinore, which was a long way in those days,” reminisced Zeke Mejia in 1996. “But the only ride we could get was from a friend who hauled fertilizer in his truck, so all the guys crawled inside … and tried not to breath during the ride. By the time we arrived to play well we all smelled like fertilized fields. We did it because we loved the game.” 1

For Mejia and thousands of other Mexican Americans laboring in Southern California during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, baseball served as a means to at once demonstrate belonging in the United States, while simultaneously asserting their own identity. In Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, Mexican American baseball teams dotted the landscape, creating a human geography of social, economic, and political connections that helped buoy working class communities, and even contributed to unionization efforts amid widespread…

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My Letter to Santa Claus:

Imperator Fish


    Dear Santa,

    It’s not easy for me to write this letter.

    I have been an admirer of yours for many years.  I have been impressed with the way you have embraced reform within your own organisation, and not shied away from making brave decisions.

    I have supported you during the tough times, and when things have been good. I was right behind you when the elves launched legal proceedings after you made them all redundant and hired them back as independent contractors at half their hourly rates. What did they expect? That they could continue to do nothing for most of the time, working barely two months in a year while collecting a generous salary? And when you finally broke into the lucrative Chinese market I celebrated your success.

    But being a friend sometimes means having to be a critic. I want you to succeed, but I also want you…

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Modern Family: ‘Mr. Mom’ & Fatherhood in the 21st Century

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“My brain is like oatmeal,” jobless auto worker Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) tells his newly employed wife Caroline (Teri Garr) in 1983’s Mr. Mom.  “I yelled at Kenny today for coloring outside the lines!”  Having lost his management position at a local Detroit auto manufacturer, Butler found himself adrift, watching over his two boys and infant daughter Megan while Caroline climbed the advertising industry ladder rising to executive as sort of comedic proto-Don Draper.  With a faux Grizzly Adams look replete with faded flannel shirt, scruffy beard, and an expanding waistline, Butler admits that his time as a stay at home dad had not gone smoothly. “Megan and I are starting to watch the same TV shows, and I’m liking them! I’m losing it.”

While hardly Oscar material – Roger Ebert called the movie a “great idea” that didn’t follow through and other critics described it as “sitcom-like”– Mr…

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