Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

In some ways, I think I Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward shaped my beliefs even more than Star Trek, which is impressive as Star Trek is basically my heart and soul.

But Looking Backward paints a picture of a similar utopia while actually making sense and being thought through.

I may need to write a thread about Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward at some point…


Looking Backward basically predicted credit cards and radios before they existed. But more importantly, it painted a picture of a socialistic world where everyone took their turn working, so that then they could spend the rest of their time listening to concerts or creating, etc.

I’ve never believed that art should be a job, not because I don’t think it’s valuable, but because I think it’s so valuable that everyone needs to get to engage with it.

But being an artist shouldn’t be a ticket out of having to participate in the work of society.

There are jobs that people don’t want to do, but they need to be done. And everyone should have to do their share to make society work.

Yes, creating art can be hard, but the point of paying people is to incentivize doing things they don’t want to do.

Anyway, I’ve said this stuff before, and if anyone much paid attention to me, I’m sure I’d be eviscerated for this, but for whatever it’s worth, I’m small enough that people can mostly ignore me if they don’t like my beliefs.

So, please, ignore me if you want.

But also, I don’t know, maybe read Looking Backward and picture the way that we could all shut the corporations down if we just wouldn’t stand for it anymore. All of us.

We need workers reforms for everyone, doing every job. That may mean some things just aren’t jobs anymore.

But I’d way rather live in a world where there are no professional artists/writers, and every job pays well enough to have the time to create on the side than a world where some people can make money creating and others work drudge jobs because they aren’t as “good.”

And they are connected. When creators — who are generally the people who are best at using their voices powerfully — get all tunnel-vision and fight to make sure creative jobs remain, they’re partly fighting for dividing the working class into fun, creative, good jobs vs. others.

And dividing the labor force is never the way to win. The way to win is to fight together.

And none of this is at all against the unions in Hollywood. I’m all for unions. But soooooo many creators never get as far as making it into those unions, & we should be fighting for broad worker reform rather than seeing ourselves as temporarily embarrassed successful creatives.

So, right, I’m tired and mostly unimportant, and if you don’t like this, leave me alone. But I’ve thought about it a lot, and examined my beliefs a lot, and it won’t be worth anyone’s time for people to come at me. If you think I’m wrong, go do something you enjoy elsewhere.

I guess my fundamental point is:

When people tell artists to practice saying, “Do you want fries with that?” rather than being offended because we’re Better Than That…

Acknowledge that, yeah, we’re all in the same social class as McDonalds workers. We’re all in this together.

And all my caveats about “leave me alone and ignore me if you don’t like this” still apply.

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