There is no hint of a contrived disaffected and put-on teenage style angst here (even if that is a thing!). He is celebrating his freedom from bondage at age 65, from the tyranny of a boss wielding his fate at a whim, from suffering the fate of “emptying out” as a consequence of slaving at jobs that are no better than slavery was for folks living in ancient times.
You read that as “teenage angst”? May I ask how old are you? And may I ask kindly also: was there ever a choice in your life when you thought being a barfly would be better for you than toiling at your “post office”?
If we can’t countenance his exposition of our pathetic working lives (and he does this in brutal and lucid prose), it’s only because we are likely deluding ourselves we aren’t living the way he sees it.
Cognitive dissonance may be at work here.
Something about our psychology that meshes terribly with society, but obviously not for all members of society. However, those it hits seem to get hit quite hard.
- no ownership of your physical and intellectual contribution to your employer
- devoting at great cost to your own personal life the most productive time of your own life to your employer
- running the very real possibility of marooning your skill sets for the exclusive benefit for and relevance to your employer (you do as told)
- running the risk of being fired at a whim especially at later stages of the “career”, becoming of zero value economically in a system designed to create humans as obsolete - much like when a slave is “freed” by a master when he is of no use to him.
I’d take toiling all day in the farms if it meant it’s my farm and it’s my time, and my way of farming. And my kids are toiling with me too.
Yes, this is quite the Marxist way of thinking ... but this perspective needn’t require a Marxist eye - see it for what it is from a value-system that doesn’t dehumanize and disenfranchises the individual from his works.
I agree that it certainly doesn't require a Marxist eye, and I'm not sure that it is even specifically Marxist in it's analysis. It sounds closer to a Distributist model of thinking. As G.K. Chesterton said, "The problem with a capitalist society is not that there are too many capitalists, but too few". Too few who own their own means of production, too few who can rely on their own capital and community to weather the storms of life or prevent the encroachments of monopolists and the state alike.
This is doable, there are people living like that even in first world countries.
"They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn't they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good"
Could have been posted on Reddit IAmVerySmart or im14andthisisdeep for the style of writing. He genuinely believes that he is more clever and seeing something they cannot see? (Why does he think they are unhappy at all if they can't see that?). And is somehow working under the idea that he could have no income and a bar would still serve him alcohol, because if it's his role in life to be the more-intelligent-than-you outsider, of course the bar would fall in line with this vision (narcissism). And note that after seeing this truth which they were too dumb to see .. he didn't go and live on a park bench. It clearly was not "just as good" to him, he only wants to posture that it was as good so he looks better. So much for deep insight nobody else possessed, he was doing the exact same thing they were.
They know this. Everyone knows this. Everyone who has had a job they don't like for more than a month realises they have no way out. He even quotes several of them saying that exact thing he claims they can't see, in his letter.
I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing,
Oh fck right off, 66 at the time of writing and still singing his own praises like that? The USA and UK are raising state pension age to 67 as we speak, and that's for labouring jobs as well. Working at age 66, Writing at age 66, is no superior feat of endurance. Admiral Grace Hopper retired at age 60, was recalled to the Navy within a year, retired again four years later. Returned to active duty again, was promoted again, retired again at age 79, then went to be a senior consultant at DEC and stayed employed there until her death age 85. And she wasn't boasting about how great she was, she was talking about the younger people she was training and supporting.
Even Heinlein doesn't explicitly self-promote this hard, at least he tries to lecture the reader with "worldly wisdom" for the reader's own benefit, and you just get the superiority as a secondary effect from the way every wise character is Mary-Sue, and it's never done in a "plus you're a loser" way.
He is celebrating his freedom from bondage at age 65, from the tyranny of a boss wielding his fate at a whim
According to the article his income depended on him being a full-time author, and the whim of a wealthy patron. And his "freedom" was age 51.
from suffering the fate of “emptying out”
Jobs he somehow survived thirty years of, and didn't quit to be on a park bench, and didn't consider himself empty and broken and devoid of anything to write about. I guess that's just another way he's better than all those other shlubs, eh?
It's like shitting on Hamlet because it's just a "recycled Lion King".
the feeling of not being understood by anyone and that the person is alone in the world. When in reality about a million other people are feeling the same thing.
Whining about how much your life "sucks" even though you live in the richest nation in the world and are a pampered little while [white?] boy/girl. Usually teenagers desplay this quality of "No one loves me or understands me".
A feeling of despair, anxiety, and depression. It is usually applied to a deep and essentially philosophical anxiety about the world in general or personal freedom.
a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish that is commonly associated with the teenage years. And angsty teenager tends to wallow in these feeling melodramatically, wanting pity from others while also simultaneously wishing to remain tragically misunderstood, much to the annoyance of his friends.
So as far as I understand it, people are angsty because they feel afraid but they can't put their finger on the cause, so the only way to react is being angry at each and everybody.
From my point of view, people are using 'angsty' to distance themselves from a problem that they have chosen to ignore. E.g. there are some problems with global warming, but even now, you can ignore them by telling yourself that it's teenage angst that makes people care about it.