Whatever Gets You Through The Night

Jose Vilson Jose

John Lennon, People For Peace

You wanna know what’s funny? That one video everyone’s cycling around with a guy who’s dead asleep on the train and bangs his head against the seat, only to wake up startled and cognizant of some jerk filming him the entire time. Hilarious, even. Or so that’s what many in my social network believe. Pardon my empathy, but I’ve had to try and wake up guys like this because they were halfway comatose getting to work. I don’t want to make grand assumptions, but if my assumptions are correct, then this is horrible. One of these men I tried to wake up actually didn’t wake up after a few minutes of shaking, and that shook me for the rest of the day.

Then you read their stories of 12-hour days, no health benefits, and seven-day work weeks (or else), and the camera person might want to consider their ostensible privilege for having a camera phone to film this guy with.

You know what else is funny? Lou Dobbs’ latest story about immigration. Not one he’s reported, but one he’s the subject of. What happens with guys like him often is that they get caught in a self-defeating lie while they’re pontificating on the matters that make them the most money, even if they don’t believe in what they’re saying at all? All that bigotry, ultra-conservative, racist heady talk, and he gets caught with his house full of the very people he’s shown so much disdain for on his previous show. I wouldn’t cast a stone in a glass house, built on the backs of undocumented labor.

Then again, it actually makes sense because it’s aligned to the policies of corporate America. Simple procedure, really: bring people in from a country that doesn’t see the kind of money American workers make, treat them like dirt and keep them working until they’re hurt or they unionize, tell the world they’re the lowest rung of American society, implicitly change the opinions of American citizen workers by putting them in direct competition with people who know their rights in this country, complicate it by throwing in race and sex, and the formula works itself out pretty well.

This sort of situation makes it possible for people who want a funny little 30-second YouTube clip to use a man like him.

Whatever gets the camera person through the night. Because chances are, this guy didn’t.

Jose, who wishes John Lennon a happy 70th birthday this Saturday …