Happy Labor Day, from your ever-so-vigilant press
The mainstream press (and it's not even the usual suspects this time) sure has a way of acting the role of the jerk.
Exhibit A: Its job-shaming of actor Geoffrey Owens, who once starred in the 1990s television sitcom, The Huxtables.
Here’s what the Daily Mail has up on its website:
The actor who played Elvin in The Cosby Show is now working as a cashier at Trader Joe's, photos reveal.
A shopper spotted Geoffrey Owens, 57, behind a till at the store in Clifton, New Jersey, where staff earn around $11 an hour.
Wearing an ID badge bearing his name, the former star wore a Trader Joe's t-shirt with stain marks on the front as he weighed a bag of potatoes.
The Daily Mail's story, which might have since been toned down, drew a humongous Twitter outcry based on this tweet):
Dirty work uniform? Shaggy gray beard? Those things aren’t even true – based on the pictures, it looks like he got a bit of water on his t-shirt from work, and his beard is just gray, not shaggy.
Was someone trying to paint him as a bum? Obviously, he's not. But even if he did look unkempt, what kind of sensationalist puke is this, is this what passes for 'news'? Worse still, Fox News reported it, too.
The only purpose of such “news” was to shame Owens as a failure, a working man who’s never said an offensive thing to any of us, and who has sought no publicity for his day job, either. Shame, shame, how far they have fallen, is that the idea?
Because why is there any shame these days in working a Trader Joe’s gig, particularly for someone whose profession is theatre? Does money from TV gigs on shows that are no longer running last forever? Is he supposed take cash from the state instead? Is he supposed to sniff up his nose at earning an honest living? Is there something wrong with working at Trader Joe’s, which is a wonderful retailer that will hire people over 50 and pay above-average wages and benefits? The whole thing speaks well for Owens and he sure as heck didn’t deserve to be job-shamed in the press for taking it.
What's amazing is that this isn’t a violation of decency from the usual press suspects at CNN and the coastal print bigs, it’s disgustingness from a part of the press that we usually like and it was a low blow.
The man is making a decent living, not living off welfare, and possibly working the job for the health benefits. A LOT of us know what that is like, and certainly a lot of Millennials do, because the post-Obama economy has been very hard on the career paths of the past. That is why the public outcry was so strong. Work these days is rarely is a nonstop climb upward, and can often involve ups and downs. It's the way things are now, and most people recognize it, even if the Daily Mail and Fox News don't. Member of the press, by the way, are hardly exempt from it. So the whole thing makes you wonder what planet these watchful spotters of trends actually live on.
The Daily Mail seems to have toned down its coverage, and now seems to be featuring some acting gigs that Owens has taken as he makes his way in what may be an updated version, so as to not paint him as a total loser, but the punch was already thrown.
Happy Labor Day, everyone, from your friends in the mainstream press.