Thursday, June 4, 2009

A literature of the workplace?

Found an article neither terribly charming nor persuasive, but only because it is arguing for a body of work that is lacking. However, I like the sentiment. We should develop a literature about the modern workplace. Work is banal! And poets are suspicious beings!

The workplace is thought to be merely a place for degrading and banal labor out of which no one could spin anything of value other than (at best) a satirical or nihilistic commentary. This is connected to the fact that much modern work has become white-collar work, almost totally without obvious heroism or romanticism.

1 comment:

Trina said...

How does one write about the workplace (especially poetically) without overdramatizing what is otherwise often a completely mundane setting? How does one place "horror" and "tedium" in the same sentence without completely skewing reality?

I'm usually suspicious of literary takes on "work"--thinking of Tolstoy's heavy-handed moralizing about civil service and agricultural pursuits. Maybe I don't want to understand why I'm so alienated from my vocation, why I need that alienation to continue pursuing it in order to pay rent and create the conditions under which I might write in my off time. Maybe I understand all too well already and don't need some writer ex machina to explain it to me.

Maybe Dilbert fulfills all my work-related media needs.