McJob
Posted: 25 May 2007 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Here we go again.

A campaign to have the word “McJob” taken out of dictionaries arrives in Norwich today.

“The ‘McJob’ definition is out of date, out of touch with reality and most importantly insulting to the hard-working, committed and talented people who serve the public every day.”

Meanwhile, the campaign has received backing from Labour MP Clive Betts who has tabled a parliamentary motion branding the word “derogatory” and condemning it as prejudiced against those who work in the burger bars.

Extracts from this article.

Wicked dictionary-makers, inventing such calumnious words! Off with their heads!

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Posted: 25 May 2007 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ah, sweet Dictionaria, fickle is thy middle name. When first so startled and impressed with the baubles presented thee by each new love, hast thou now (brown cow?) cast old suitors aside and asunder in the name of every new paramour ringing your doorbell and yanking your chain?

[ Edited: 25 May 2007 10:10 PM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 25 May 2007 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The name’s Tuck - Jacques Tuck - and I’m a French friar.  (^_^)

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Posted: 08 June 2007 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Do we hear the litigous voice of a certain well-known burger chain at work behind the scenes here? The word was never intended to relate to the employees - rather the abysmally unfair zero-hours contracts they worked under.

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Posted: 09 June 2007 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I agree with dropping this word, but because the only way I can see of doing it is to close all the relevant “restuarants”.

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Posted: 10 June 2007 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I wonder if we Americans have a different sense of “McJob”.

We use the “Mc” label to designate things that are characterized by sameness in design or experience, lacking any special charactertistic.  In upscale but manufactured homes we have “McMansions.” We call the ubiquitous martial arts studios that don’t really train martial artists “McDojos”.  I’ve heard people refer to the proliferation of cookie cutter Yoga studios as “McYogas”.

To call something a McJob is shorthand for describing a certain of experience - whether retail, food industry, office/clerical, etc. - a job that has no assembly line, but the experience is like one, and unlike unionized assembly line workers, the pay rarely rises above entry level.  The worker is fungible.

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Posted: 11 June 2007 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I can’t see much daylight between US and UK usage here, rebbe, although the Mc prefix is certainly more prevalent in the US.

Here’s OED (note the cite from The Guardian).

Mc-, comb. form

2. Chiefly somewhat depreciative.  a. Prefixed chiefly to nouns to form nouns with the sense ‘something that is of mass appeal, a standardized or bland variety of or alternative to ’. Cf. also MCJOB n.

1982 N.Y. Times (Nexis) 17 Oct. I. 63 Some dismiss the newspaper [sc. USA Today], with its flood of short articles, as journalistic junk food, or ‘McPaper’. 1985 Washington Post 13 Apr. 12 ‘Surgicenters’ and ‘quick care centers’ that have sprung up in business districts and shopping centers. There are 2,500 such miniclinics - sometimes dubbed ‘McDoctors’ - today. 1994 Guardian 5 Aug. II. 7/5 When you want a real policeman..a McPoliceman just won’t fill the gap. McPolicemen without full powers..are the latest in a long line of McPolicies with which we are already swamped.

They have a separate subentry for McMansion.

b. McMansion n. U.S. colloq., a modern house built on a large and imposing scale, but regarded as ostentatious and lacking architectural integrity.

There’s an interesting earlier usage of the Mc prefix which I wasn’t aware of:

1. Prefixed to nouns to denote a person who (or occas. thing that) is considered an examplar or personification of the specified class, interest, association, etc.

1948 San Francisco Call-Bulletin 21 Dec. 20/1 Dear McSanta: All I want is a few extra college credits. 1949 San Francisco Call-Bulletin 29 June 22 McTeller the bank clerk was the best shot the revolver club ever had. 1949 P. MARTIN Hollywood without Make-up (preceding title-page), In movie lingo a McGoof is a no-good cad who mooches on women, then gives them a brutal brush-off. 1958 W. WINCHELL in San Francisco Call-Bulletin 22 July 16 Marian McPartland’s Mcmagic at The Composer.

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Posted: 11 June 2007 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Reb Wlm --- How about adding “McKabaahlah” to that list?

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Posted: 11 June 2007 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Of course, to be fair, if one is going to remove “Mcjob” (OED definition)

An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.

from the dictionaries, one should also remove “McDonalds”

allusively. Any service, organization, etc., likened to the McDonald’s chain in some respect, esp. in operating in a highly efficient, standardized manner.

and “McDonaldize”

trans. To make (something) resemble the McDonald’s restaurant chain or its food; (in extended use) to organize in a way suggestive of features associated with McDonald’s, esp. with reference to the type of efficient, standardized, corporate business or culture regarded as epitomized by McDonald’s. Also intr.

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Posted: 12 June 2007 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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In the Dutch town of Spijkenisse, a coffeeshop will be opened near to the local McDonalds. As you know Dutch coffeeshops often sell not just coffee. They will be working according to the McDrive principle and it is already dubbed: McBlow

FTR: I do this just to illustrate the issue.

[ Edited: 12 June 2007 04:00 AM by Dutchtoo ]
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Posted: 12 June 2007 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I have to agree with you, Reb, for the most part, except for the non-assembly line reference. If working at a McDonald’s is not assembly line work, I don’t know what is. Have you ever watched them assemble a burger? It may be only one person assembling that burger, but it is the same burger over and over again. And they don’t add the fries or the super-sized drink. That takes two more people to fill that order. So it is both an individual assembly task as well as real assembly line tasks that get that order to the counter or out the window.

I think “McJob” defines the perfect combination of hum-drum work and low pay. It must have started as teenage slang for, “Get a life!”. Now, it degrades those who must work those types of jobs because they can’t do better at the moment. I doubt the word will disappear in the near future. It represents something very basic in American life today.

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Posted: 20 June 2007 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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lionello - 11 June 2007 03:48 AM

Reb Wlm --- How about adding “McKabaahlah” to that list?

McKabbalah does not quite roll off the tongue, but its a great point.  I assume you are referring to Kabbalah Centers that dot the landscape, where New Age solipsism (e.g., “The Secret") masquerades as Kabbalah.

Like the Mc’s, they use an august tradition to sell an inferior product.  IN this case, they are serving up spiritual trans-fats, in my opinion, but marketing it as rare, vintage wine.  The workers are typically well intended but naive. I really don’t know what to make of the proprietors.  Do they believe what they teaching?

An anecdote:  one of their missionaries came to my home to sell me a set of the Zohar. I had been in the yard working, so I looked more like biker sans cycle than a rabbi, so I stayed in cognito. I told him I would think about buying the set but he should come back tomorrow.

When he returned I told that someone called the Holy Ari from Safed appeared to me in a dream and told me not buy the Zohar from this man. I asked him if he had ever heard of anyone called the Holy Ari from Safed.  He stammered something and left rather pale.

I repented for it on Yom Kippur, but only a little.

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Posted: 21 June 2007 01:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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For those of you who may, like me, have little contact with or knowledge of Jewish customs and the Hebrew faith:

The Zohar (Hebrew: זהר “Splendor, radiance") is widely considered the most important work of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. It is a mystical commentary on the Torah (the five books of Moses), written in medieval Aramaic and medieval Hebrew. It contains a mystical discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, sin, redemption, good and evil, and related topics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zohar

Nissan 29 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of the famed Kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Vital (1542?-1620), author of the mystical work Eitz Chaim. Rabbi Chaim was the leading disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria (the “Holy Ari,” 1534-1572) and the transcriber of his teachings, which form the “Lurianic” Kabbalah.

link
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Posted: 21 June 2007 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thanks for that, Eliza.

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