The workers in the vineyard

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, "You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right." So they went.

He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, "Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?"

"Because no one has hired us," they answered.

He said to them, "You also go and work in my vineyard."

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, "Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first."

The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. Especially that douchebag Rick Santelli from CNBC. But each one of them also received a denarius. When he received it, the overpaid, whining, miserable prick began to grumble against the landowner. "These men who were hired last worked only one hour," he said, "and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day."

But he answered him, "Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?"

I changed a word or two in there, but that word "envious" in the final question is holy writ. The perverse irony, of course, is that you're most likely to hear that word tossed about nowadays by exactly the sort of greedy, grumbling sorts described in the parable above. These are warped, stunted, soulless creatures who lie awake at night worrying that somehow, somewhere, some poor person might be catching a break that they didn't 100-percent deserve. Some poor family might be getting extra food stamps. Some poor mother might be using WIC to get the good cheese. Some family might not get kicked out of their home and onto the street when really they should have been responsible enough not to trust the professional realtors and bankers who assured them they could afford that house.

And these awful people — Santelli and his fans who are consumed by this fevered jealousy of hypothetically "irresponsible" and "undeserving" poor people receiving help, relief or mercy — then have the chutzpah to accuse those in favor of helping those in need of "the politics of envy."

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Froborr: The context of the prodigal son is more like Ursula’s take than not. Barring a wife, the son is supposed to stay home-ish. So his leaving is a big deal (don’t forget the lack of contact… no post-office. Messages, if any, carried by word of mouth, because the means of writing them down was expensive).
    The feast would be to everyone. Fatted calf and all the neighbors invited to the celebration. The twist J adds is plausible, but not in the story (and not set up from the story’s details).
    To look at the denarius (which, IIRC, was a decent wage. Not exhorbitant, but more than just enough to keep body and soul together) offered by the employer we also have to recall one of the ideas undergirding the story, “The workman is worthy of his hire”. A fair wage is incumbent upon the employer. A day’s wage was not to be delayed.
    Related to this is the idea that some sorts of loan were to be such that there was significant risk to the lender (if one takes a garment as guarantee for a loan it must be returned at the end of the day, regardless; lest the borrower need it for his warmth in the night and suffer).
    Which makes the fairness of the vinyard owner more understandable, and the envy of the employees (who weren’t asked to take a pig in a poke; he offered them a fair wage), more regrettable. They were, in effect, saying the latecomers ought to suffer.
    If we accept this is a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven, well the question is why ought those who are good for all their lives get the same as those who come late to awareness? Because this isn’t day labor. Not all will be able to understand at first hearing. Not all will be present at each offering of “The Good News”.
    It’s a parable.

  • http://knighthawk-ah.deviantart.com/ KnightHawk

    “The comment about how it was a shame it wasn’t feasible to upload a photo of your old girlfriend nixed that possibility for me”
    …okay, I missed that part.
    Ya know, if it wasn’t for that, I’d, again, say that y’all was reading too much into what he said. Yes, you’d want a sexbot to be compliant and only say sweet things to you because, and I can’t stress this enough, it would be just a complicated sex toy, not a person. I don’t see the problem with that, and, again, I know many women who’d like a manbot for the same purposes.
    But putting you’re ex’s face on there takes it to a entirely different place. The very one y’all were taking it to. So, while I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with the idea of a sexbot that does housework (male or female), I will admit that there’s alot of creepy assholes out there (of both sexes) that would use them to replace real human companionship due to actual humans having that annoying “inherent worth” thing.
    Love. Peace. Metallica.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Technomad: We have thought about it, and you are presenting a strawman (the foolish spendthrift). If we were talking about saving them from themselves, you might have a point, but we aren’t. The real thing here (from the purely selfish decisions you seem to be starting from), is the cost to the rest of us from letting the people who have poorly structured mortgages fail in them.
    Really, the “bailout” as it’s been run so far is precisely the sort of profligate propping up of people who have gambled away their money. The amount spent to buy bad paper from the banks would have paid for all the mortgages in default, and so prevented all the secondary effects (of Credit Default Swaps, etc.), without transferring several thousand dollars from my pocket to the shareholders and executives who recklessly gambled their money, and expect the taxpayer to keep them from reaping the rewards of that short-sighted folly.
    So, when you are done with the passive aggressive, “wanting us to think about it”, carefully ponder why the idea of helping people who were screwed by banks, and lenders,; who were sure they could avoid the problems of not having any real security for the risks they were taking, and are now wailing they need the taxpayers to bail them out (again, because this dick-dance was done when the S&L crisis went down 20 years ago), is so bad to you, but letting banks take our money and pay bonuses to the people who didn’t see this coming isn’t.
    Because the banks told these people they could afford the loans, and then; when the badly built loans went south they (as you are now) are blaming the people who trusted them to be honest actors, for being fooled by the people paid to take smart risks.
    As to real poverty… I’ve lived on ramen. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been dependent on the charity of friends (because I wasn’t eligible for other benefits) to avoid starvation. I’ve been better off too. I’ve lived in a three room apartment with my mother, step-father and sister. I’ve seen people borrow money for stupid things. I don’t care. No one deserves to starve, just so someone else can feel morally superior to them.
    Kit Whitfield: Race, as a concept, has changed a lot (and it has also been dependent on where one lives, the British idea of race was different to the US idea, and even the US idea of 100 years ago (No Irish Need Apply, and Paddy-Waggons) had different ideas about it. To project the present sense that race is one of skin color is to make a grievous mistake.
    Take Brazil, where class, in a large way, equals race. To be wealthy is to be, “white”, no matter how dark one’s skin; the converse is also true. Class is a strange factor in race, even in the states; where an educated black is seen by many (white and black) as “acting white” and the mmiddle class blacks are sort of expected to identify with whites, not poorer blacks.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Technomad: unlike private charities, government charity doesn’t have any incentive to make itself unnecessary Wha…? How does a charity have an incentive to make itself unnecessary? It’s a an organisation. It is run by people. They are people who love helping people (and some of them are people who like being in charge).
    If we assume, arguendo, the Salvation Army can end homelessness, there will be something else which needs to be addressed. The Charity will not be unnecessary until no one needs anything.
    Then again, you are seem to be against the gov’t making such things unnecessary. Unless you agree with Froborr that, First we make sure that everyone, without exception, has access to food, shelter, medical care, and education, within the framework of a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable system. Then we worry about rewarding socially responsible hard workers with extra perks. Because when gov’t can do that, welfare will wither away.
    Bugmaster: re roomba, it’s not a subsitute for a person. The folks I know who have a roomba got it because it saves them work. It doesn’t replace a partner. It makes time more available.
    The cutouts… do you see someone interacting with the caardboard cutout in lieu of interaction with other people? If so, then they have an unhealthy relationship with the cutouts. And that’s the real issue (to me) with real doll type sex toys. They are being presented, not as fun masturbatory aids, but as standi-ins for real people.
    Stellar Jay-Eff: the cutout on the roomba, it’s funny. And it’s not the same as a real doll (which are different, I think, from inflatable toys, which aren’t the same as things like fleshlights). That’s someone engaging in some self-therapy, but it’s not the same.
    If they got cut-outs of the ex,and then put them in various parts of the house and pretended the break-up hadn’t happened… even if they didn’t find some way to incorporate it into their sex-life, I’d think it a bit off. It’s not the sex, it’s the scale. I’d not think it was off if they had pictures of the ex, and used them for fantasy material either; so long as they weren’t also not going out in the world and entertaining the possibility of a new love.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    I’d not think it was off if they had pictures of the ex, and used them for fantasy material either; so long as they weren’t also not going out in the world and entertaining the possibility of a new love.
    This is something that’s long perplexed me: why is “entertaining the possibility of a new love” a benchmark for “healthily over ex”. (I’m assuming that’s how you’re using it – please set me straight if I’m reading you wrong.) Can someone not be healthily over their old relationship and also happy to spend the rest of their life alone with their own imagination?

  • Lori

    Can someone not be healthily over their old relationship and also happy to spend the rest of their life alone with their own imagination?
    Do you mean imagination in general or imagination about the ex in particular? I think the former is possible, but the later is unlikely.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    Do you mean imagination in general or imagination about the ex in particular?
    I guess in general, with the ex as potentially one possible subset.

  • Lori

    @Nick
    If not all one’s fantasies are about an ex then I suspect that the healthy vs unhealthy aspect of opting to remain single is ultimately an issue of correlation vs causality. If the fantasies about the ex are part of what is keeping the person single that’s not healthy.
    If the person decides for other reasons that they don’t want/need another relationship and also has fantasies about the ex I don’t see any problem with that.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    This is something that’s long perplexed me: why is “entertaining the possibility of a new love” a benchmark for “healthily over ex”. (I’m assuming that’s how you’re using it – please set me straight if I’m reading you wrong.) Can someone not be healthily over their old relationship and also happy to spend the rest of their life alone with their own imagination?
    I’d say someone who has an ex was looking for a companion. I’d say that giving up on that idea is probably not a healthy sign.
    Entertaining the idea,isn’t the same as seeking it out. When someone is saying, “there’s no one for me but, “x” and “x” isn’t interested in them, that’s not healthy.

  • Lori

    I’d say someone who has an ex was looking for a companion. I’d say that giving up on that idea is probably not a healthy sign.
    Well, to be fair, having a companion is sort of the social default. The tendency is to assume that of course everyone wants one. Some people actually don’t, but they may have to have one for a while in order to realize that.
    I do agree with you that thinking that there’s only one person in the world for you is generally not healthy.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    I don’t have a problem with someone who isn’t looking for a companion. But I think someone who has decided they don’t want one, is less likely to be obsessing/focusing on an ex.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    I’d say someone who has an ex was looking for a companion. I’d say that giving up on that idea is probably not a healthy sign.
    So you don’t think it’s healthy to think about what you want out of life and discard the goals that are no longer working for you?
    Entertaining the idea,isn’t the same as seeking it out. When someone is saying, “there’s no one for me but, “x” and “x” isn’t interested in them, that’s not healthy.
    What about “there’s no-one for me, and x just helped prove that”?
    But I think someone who has decided they don’t want one, is less likely to be obsessing/focusing on an ex.
    There’s obsessing/focusing and there’s straightforward using for fantasy material…

  • Sniffnoy

    Well, to be fair, having a companion is sort of the social default.
    Uh, how can anything that requires effort be considered a “default”?
    Entertaining the idea,isn’t the same as seeking it out. When someone is saying, “there’s no one for me but, “x” and “x” isn’t interested in them, that’s not healthy.
    What about “there’s no-one for me, and x just helped prove that”?

    To expand, how about “there’s no-one for me but x, but I accept that this impossible, and am not going to worry about it”? That seems to me to be the most reasonable reaction.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Amaryllis: (he must have a heart of stone who can read about the death of Little Nell without laughing.– who siad that?)
    Oscar Wilde, I think.

  • Lori

    @Sniffnoy: I wasn’t clear. I meant that the default is to assume that a person wants a companion, not that actually having one is automatic. IME many people who end up preferring to be single have a period when they assume that they will end up coupled because it’s just what people generally do. It’s certainly true that a relationship or two can change a person’s mind about that.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Nick Kiddle: Stop rewriting what I said when you try to disprove it.
    I said that not wanting someone was fine, but that saying only the ex will do isn’t a sign of healthy. I didn’t say using the ex in fantasy was unhealthy (in fact I specifically said the opposite). I said obssessing about the ex.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    Nick Kiddle: Stop rewriting what I said when you try to disprove it.
    Err, I wasn’t, and I wasn’t. I was trying to figure out how your pronouncements applied to a slight variation on the situation you were describing.
    I said that not wanting someone was fine, but that saying only the ex will do isn’t a sign of healthy. I didn’t say using the ex in fantasy was unhealthy (in fact I specifically said the opposite). I said obssessing about the ex.
    You initially said that using the ex in fantasy was ok as long as it was accompanied by openness to the idea of a new relationship, which is what prompted me to ask in the first place. It sounded as if you were defining obsession to include using the ex in fantasy while not being interested in a new relationship – it sounds now as if I just misunderstood.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Nick Kiddle: I’m sorry for how I phrased my response. Other venues making me more tetchy, but you did, in your questions recast what you thought, as what I said.
    Honestly, humans being social animals, I think the default is that one wants some level of romantic companionship. It’s not required for being a healthy person, but it’s the way to bet. Someone who has been in a relationship (and pobably more than one) is reasonably likely to be so inclined.
    Breaking up with someone involves all sorts of grieving, which includes avoidance behaviors; not wanting another relationship is a normal aspect of it. But staying in that headspace is usually a sign of not getting past it. Which is what I said.
    When people asked for clarification, “why is it that looking for a new relationship is seen as being healthy?” to collect a few questions into one thought, I clarified. Others chimed in.
    When you asked, “So you don’t think it’s healthy to think about what you want out of life and discard the goals that are no longer working for you?” you put words in my mouth, which I never said. Words which, in fact, I’d allowed were perfectly fine choices, so long as other, less than healthy indica, weren’t present.
    Which is why I said you were rewriting what I wrote.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    When you asked, “So you don’t think it’s healthy to think about what you want out of life and discard the goals that are no longer working for you?” you put words in my mouth, which I never said. Words which, in fact, I’d allowed were perfectly fine choices, so long as other, less than healthy indica, weren’t present.
    I think I must still be missing something though. You seem to be suggesting that if someone has been in a relationship, it ends, and they don’t want another relationship, this is a bad sign. But it’s entirely reasonable in other areas of life to abandon goals that aren’t working, so why the big difference for romantic relationships?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    No. I’m saying, when you look at the answers to the follow up that
    1: By and large people want relationships.
    2: It is not unreasonable to assume that someone who has had a past relationship is likely to still wasnt a relationship.
    3: If a person who has had a breakup is still focusing on the ex, and saying they don’t want another relationship, they have not yet come to a healthy end.
    The two factors in “3″ are important; and interrelated. If they aren’t looking for a relationship; and aren’t obsessing on the ex, then there’s no problem.
    I also admit that the use of exes in fantasy isn’t, ipso facto a sign of an unhealthy mind. It’s got to do with the summa of ones interests.
    You, for some reason, keep divorcing the obsessive aspect from it, and focus only on the first.
    Lets try the reverse, and see how that looks:
    If they are obsessing about the ex, and not considering the possibilty of another relationship, then they have not come to a healthy resolution.
    To go a little further, you are, implicitly, having them entertain the idea of another relationship, and rejecting it; as well as abandoning the ended relationship.

  • http://ksej.livejournal.com Nick Kiddle

    I think what I’ve been doing is reading into your words all kinds of assumptions I’ve run into from other people on the subject, for instance the earnestly helpful person who insisted that if I said I missed the kind of easy conversations I used to have with my ex and wished I could have similar conversations with my friends I must still be making it all about him. I’m sorry for, effectively, making you a proxy for them.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/T_Karney/ pecunium

    Nick: Not a problem. We all do things like that. Honestly, though it didn’t come up, I’d also say having no thoughts about your ex is also a sign of something unhealthy. There is a reason one is with someone else. If the relationship was healthy, there will be things worth remembering (and, if the relationship was sexual, some of those will be sexual too).
    Gluttony isn’t eating too much, it’s an obsession with food. The super-zealous health nut is a glutton too. So a complete, and utter, denial of the ex, would be just as bad as the reverse.
    Since I’m dealing with a break-up right now (soft, amicable, and there is the slight [but very slight] chance a change in circumstances will make it possible to put things back together) I’ve been thinking about all sorts of things related to this topic too.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    You know, it’s funny; people (not anyone here–just people in general) often do assume that if, after a break-up, you’re not interested in a new relationship, then it’s only because you’re not still over your ex and one day you will be and it’s their job to help you get to that point, usually by trying to set you up on random dates with people they think will be perfect for you.
    No one assumes that about pets. They’ll go so far as to ask, after your dog dies, if you’re thinking of getting a new dog. Sure. But if you say “I’m just not ready yet,” they respect that and they don’t suggest outings to the SPCA to help you get over the dog you just lost. And if you say just plain “No,” they don’t assume you’ll change your mind once you’re “over” your loss.
    Again, not describing anyone here. Just describing the weird assumptions I see out there in the world. And maybe it’s not a fair comparison, because the loss of a pet isn’t a break-up but an actual death–still, most people also assume that when you meet The Right One, you’ll be with them for life, which is only the case with pets when you’re talking certain breeds of parrot or perhaps the Galapagos tortoises, so shouldn’t they have even more respect for a body’s reluctance to rush out and seek a mate at any given point?
    Pleh. Cultural assumptions can bite me. *grump*

    Regarding sex toys, my two cents: I’ve never knowingly met a person who used a Real Doll or the like, but if I did, or if it came out that a man I knew did fit the description, I would have a hard time maintaining my previous level of respect for them. My thought process would go something like this: Clearly, this man’s sexual preferences involve something he can legitimately treat as an object that he can still pretend is a real woman. That does not say flattering things about that man’s attitudes toward real women. It reminds me of the Crumb comic involving a salesman with a miraculously living headless woman (or apparently headless) intended for use as a sex toy. Just like a real women, only she can’t complain no matter how you abuse her! Perfect! [/sarcasm] Maybe I’m not as tolerant as I like to think I am, but it’s hard for me not to see that sort of attitude towards women in the use of a Real Doll or similar. If the desire to treat a real woman like a pliant, uncomplaining, rights-less, feelings-less object isn’t there, why buy an object so painstakingly created to resemble a living, flesh-wearing human being with an actual face and all?
    And yes, this would bother me if it were a man-shaped Real Doll. If it bothered me less, it is only to the degree that treating actual men like pliant, uncomplaining, rights-less, feelings-less objects is less historically entrenched and less still evident in today’s world than treating actual women like & etc.

    And while we’re on the Humorless Feminist Train (on which I travel daily), what’s up with the use of “douche[bag]” as an insult word against men? Even feminists use it. To me, it looks like yet another example of that proud tradition of “it is a dire insult to label a man with something associated with women, because women/women’s parts are icky/unclean/lesser/objects of penetration”- but some how it’s OK where other examples aren’t. I mean, its use as a male insult certainly seems less offensive to the Community Of Humorless Feminists than words like “pussy,” “cunt,” or “bitch”. I’m curious as to why. Does it have something to do with douching products falling out of favor among women, what with them being foisted on women via a campaign of convincing *us* that are parts are icky? So maybe women have disowned the douche and thus don’t feel like they’re spattering themselves with shrapnel when they use that word to insult a man?
    Me, I’m so very much a Humorless Feminist that *any* of those female-associated words used as special male insults makes me uncomfortable. But the rest of everyone on the train seems unconcerned with “douche”. So I wonder what sets that word apart as harmless for everyone else.

  • burgundy

    Nicole – if I remember correctly, there was a discussion on Pandagon a few weeks ago about douche-bag, with a couple of people linking to a feminist essay which I did not read, but which I gather was something to do with some kind of reclamation. A quick google search does not turn it up, but does turn up other conversations (for example, on Feministing), so you are far from the only one with misgivings here.
    Personally, I have never thought of douches as anything other than fundamentally ridiculous – and a bit gross, not because vaginas are gross, but because douching does not make for happy vaginas. So it’s never bothered me to see it used as an insult; the negativity reflects only the idiocy of douches. I don’t use it myself, but that’s probably more a function of my social circle not using it, so it doesn’t come naturally to me.
    I can see where the discomfort comes from though, and I have bought too many tickets on the Train to cast aspersions on any other riders.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    burgundy, thanks for the input and the suggested googlings on the issue.
    I think for myself, there’s an extra chain in the logic such that I feel like the negativity also reflects upon “women stupid enough to use that ridiculous product/women stupid enough to be duped by men foisting products on us by convincing us that vaginas are icky”. I’m not sure it’s rational of me to see it that way and not yours, but that’s where my discomfort partially comes from.
    Another part of my discomfort is that while we may question exactly how closely associated with women such a ridiculous thing as a douching product really is, it’s a fact of biology that men can’t douche. Not unless you really stretch the definition to remove the vagina-specificity. Which I guess makes it hard for me not to hear “product associated with female genitals = specially insulting to men” in there. And typically I don’t hear women getting called “douches” or “douchebags”. Only men.
    Just… further thinking aloud about why I’m uncomfortable with it. That’s all. Not trying to convince others to be uncomfortable.
    I have a long list of words I no longer use as insults, because I’ve thought too hard about where they come from to avoid recognizing that their use smears a lot of innocent parties or otherwise condones hateful things. Not all of them, however, do I feel confident enough in their objective offensiveness to get preachy about.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    And yet this argument is still going on… For instance, Congresscritterand negligent father Joe Walsh: http://leftcheek.blogspot.com/2011/11/you-aint-neva-lie.html


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