2020 is a prime time to think about how the media affects us all.
There's fake news on social media, internet silos and hive minds, disinformation everywhere you look, and, speaking more generally, just a higher volume of information flying in our faces than ever before.
To contextualize the current chaos, historical examples may be helpful. And when media and propaganda are the focus of our curiosity, the Cold War immediately comes to mind.
Lucky for us, Reddit boasts plenty of users of all ages, Cold War babies included. A recent post asked those who were there to share just what the propaganda felt like during the global conflict.
Alpha_Scatterrer asked, "People who lived during the cold war, how was the propaganda like?"
Even in the Songs
"So much media was about dying in nuclear war."
"The Smiths and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD) and Alphaville were popular alternative bands in the 80's and they sung about nuclear annihilation ALL THE TIME."
"Convincing. You thought that every Soviet was out to kill and destroy you. Wasn't until I was in the navy and we had a Russian carrier pull alongside us for a photo op."
"It was then I realized how insignificant I was In the grand scheme of things. It was then I could see myself as a sailor on that ship."
"It was then that I flushed nationalism down the toilet and recognized humanity as my true countrymen and women. The propaganda still lives on today - most just don't see it."
"My dad (boomer born 1953) recently watched one of my 5 year old daughters favourite cartoons, Masha and The Bear."
"He was fascinated by the fact he found it funny. He was in awe that Russian people could produce a cartoon that was warm and lighthearted."
"He genuinely said to me that when he grew up he was told that Russian children were not allowed to watch anything like that, and that cartoons were either propaganda or extremely dated and poor quality."
"In the UK there were lots of ads promoting Trident (a very expensive Nuclear Weapons System)."
"Meanwhile the infrastructure decayed as we trudged to our school chock full of abusive 3rd rate teachers and unemployment was the norm."
"Think 1984. Dreary poverty."
Not Fear, But Pity
"We had the idea that everyone behind the Iron Curtain was living a miserable and drab life. Standing in line for hours to get poor quality goods, living in grey concrete buildings. Never smiling, living in fear or reprisals should they speak up."
"We didn't hate the people living in communist countries but we hated their system and felt kind of sorry for them."
"Meanwhile we were scared that they would attack at any moment and try to subjugate the rest of us."
"We thought the Russians drank tank fuel when they ran out of vodka. And also that Russian women were 10 feet tall and had beards." -- UncleGIJoe
"Russians, as described by JRR Tolkien" -- all_doges_go_to_heck
"I'm too young, but the anti-American propaganda was enormous in socialist Czechoslovakia."
"For example, American music was banned as well as Coca-Cola, which is why we created our version called Kofola (which is much better in my opinion)."
"We also laugh at the Soviet lie that the USA brought potato bugs to central and east Europe so that they would destroy our potatoes."
"If you want to get your head around just how successful the propaganda machine in the US was, just look at politics today. Socialism is a dirty word among many who were adults in the 80's, even when discussing democratic socialism."
"Back then, socialist and communist were basically the same word and would be frequently swapped when discussing the USSR. My parents think Bernie Sanders and AOC are leaders of an underground communist movement looking to secretly overthrow the republic."
"Us good, them bad. Watch Rocky IV. It's the ultimate Cold War propaganda movie." -- 93195
"5'11" Sylvester Stallone outboxed 6"4" Dolph Lundgren and then the Russian crowd cheered."
"I don't know what was more implausible- the plot, or that people bought it, to the tune of $300m. That's how much the US believed it's own bullsh!t in the 80s."
"That's what 'making America great again' means." -- sugarfoot00
Get Em While Their Young
"American here. They really wanted us to love our government, no matter what they were doing. When I was a kid in the early 80s, I had a book called 'Kid's Letters to President Reagan'..."
"and it was full of cute questions like 'What's your favorite pet?' so we could humanize the people who run the country."
"At the same time, once in a while they snuck in one meant to dehumanize the Soviets, like 'Do Russians go to heaven when they die?'"
"I still remember that page from the book because it had a picture of Nikita Khrushchev with a halo and angel wings banging his shoe on a podium."
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Everyone has wild stories from their workplace.
But the stories that tend to instantly grab people's attention are those about instances which led people to quit.
Be it low pay, unsafe working conditions, or abusive bosses or managers, hearing what finally led someone to leave a job is always fascinating.
But how about moments where not one person, but multiple people, if not the entire staff, all banded together and left?
Far-fetched as it may seem, there have indeed been occasions where an entire workforce was so over their conditions, that they all gave their notice in unison.
Redditor RealSlicy was curious to hear some of these stories, resulting in their taking to Reddit to ask:
"What happened at work that made everyone quit at once?"
"I worked at a bread manufacturing plant."
"This happened in the bagging area."
"A worker tripped and somehow the way he landed his hand slipped underneath the machine guard and into a chain."
"Cut off his arm just below the elbow."
"The supervisor insisted we just wipe off the machine with a towel and continue running the rest of the already baked product."
"Twelve out of sixteen including myself quit."
"I found out later the manager fired that supervisor that day."- Bignona
"Three of us, the engineers, quit the same week and without any discussion between ourselves."
"Man in charge was an insufferable, insulting tw*t."
"This led to the head office losing faith and the whole subsidiary being sold off."- PicardTangoAlpha
Placing Blame on the Wrong People
"Company did a survey of employee happiness."
"It had super limited answers."
"We filled it out and tried to explain that, internally, our team was doing well and we were happy but just about everyone had problems with two other employees outside the team who were bullies in important positions."
"The company asked us instead what 'we' could do better so the bullies don't bully."
"Over half the team quit within a month which is unheard of at that company and our team was/is a corner stone of the entire business."- Butterbubblebutt
"Manager kept pitching Amway to us on breaks and then cut hours of those that didn't sign up under him."
"We worked in retail at the mall."- rayrayrayray
Total lack of sympathy
"Worked in a call centre offering free public transport brochures to people living in a city."
"The place was poorly managed, it was contracted out by the local government and only cared about numbers."
"Early during one shift a spate of bombings on public transport killed a load of people around the city."
"After a few calls of getting abuse from people aghast we were trying to get their details to send them bus/train timetables etc, we collectively stopped making calls."
"We assumed management would pause the project for that week at least, maybe longer, out of respect for what had happened.
"Our manager put her foot down and told us we must continue calling that morning, and as we were only on temporary contracts anyone who refused may face being replaced, then she stormed off."
"The entire team quit on the spot, we just got up and left without speaking to her again."
"We called up the work agency to let them know and they did not blame us."
"We were all replaced but the local government office heard what had happened and pulled the plug on the contract with that call centre within a month."- Husper
No or late payment.
"Not my work, but close friends."
"Restaurant owner wasn't paying his staff and checks kept bouncing."
"So one night, they all said 'f*ck this', closed up shop together and left."
"Owner got ran out of town after Social Media and reg media took over."
"He closed down both of his places, the second also had a staff walk out the week prior to the first and sold the buildings."
Since people keep asking, this was in MD."
"And the 'second place' was his second restaurant, Indian place, that had kitchen staff walk out a week prior, but the walk out didn't close the restaurant."
"He closed it and sold it after his first restaurant was shuttered."
"Good riddance." - Reddit
"One of my first jobs was as a dishwasher at a local steakhouse which was always really busy as it overlooked the waterfalls of the the local river."
"My 3rd or 4th day working the whole kitchen staff just didn't show up."
"Except for me."
"Boss grabbed me and taught me how to cook as we went."
"Not only had I never cooked before, this was a Friday night and I was missing a concert, so I was kind of angry about that."
"Probably not the culinary experience some of the customers expected that night, but I tried my best."
"Then, after we closed I had to stick around for another 4 hours to wash dishes.'
"Turns out everybody went to the concert."
"This was almost 40 years ago.'
"Still mad."- MadonnaBinLaden
Sometimes, when at a loss of how to handle things, the best thing to do is just get up and leave.
Though, one does hope those that chose to skip work for a concert weren't planning on going back to work the next day.
There's little more exciting than an American's first visit to Europe.
There is so much to take in between the famous sights, the delicious food, and the vastly different cultures and ways of life.
Most American tourists have no problem jumping into some popular customs and activities, such as afternoon tea in England, or a soothing sauna in Finland.
Other customs and behaviors, however, some Americans usually choose to leave to the locals.
Redditor Mark-Zuckerberg- was curious to hear which European habits or ways of life were truly bizarre to Americans, leading them to ask:
"Americans, what do you think is the weirdest thing about Europe?"
Where's the kitchen?
"Rental apartments in Germany often come without a furnished kitchen."
"Sink, refrigerator, stove and cabinets."
"Because these are almost always provided in rental apartments in the US, it was shocking to me as an American looking at rentals in Germany that I would have to buy and install those things."
"Having read so many interesting comments about kitchen expectations in different parts of the world, let me ask this question."
"Do any of you know of places where rentals don't come with bathroom equipment either, and it's expected the tenant will purchase and install their own toilet and sink?"- AmbitiousPeanut
Differing levels of intimacy
"Depends which countries."
"I’ve always found it weird that a lot of them think hugging is more intimate than kissing someone on the cheek."
"I know it isn’t actually 'kissing' someone on the cheek most of the time."
"I’m referring to how someone touches your face with their face that is extremely intimate."- LadyValenciaLA
"The way people drive."
"The laws don’t seem to matter at all in Italy, only a little in France."
"Then the Germans are a completely different story."- jesusmansuperpowers
"OMG the toilets."
"In the US every toilet I've ever come across has a flush lever on the left of the tank or, in public restrooms, a sensor or a button on the top."
"In Europe every single toilet has a different flush mechanism."
"Every. Single. One."
"It's like an escape room challenge."
"Foot pedals. Cranks. Pull knobs."
"Things attached to the sink."
"I was once stuck in a bathroom for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to flush the toilet, it turned out to be a pulley on the other side of the room."- Yellowbug2001
Not for Night Owls
"The oddest thing I found in Copenhagen was that when we tried to go get food around 9pm, nearly everywhere was closed."
"We were in a busy part of the city but it took us so incredibly long to find a place open late."
"I don't live in a huge city but I can throw a rock from my house and it will bounce off half a dozen places open until midnight or later."
"This is not a complaint, just an observation."
"I loved Denmark."- Ginger_Chick
Just how old are we talking?
"Can't wrap my brain around that."
"I live in a farm house built in the 1920s and that is considered old."- Necessary_Sir_5079
"The sheer grasp of language I've seen from some Europeans is wild."
"Back in the early days of minecraft I used to play on a server with an English kid and a German Kid."
"The English kid would randomly speak Welsh and the German could jump between German, French, and English all the time and I was there like 'Guys, I can barely English, can we dumb it down for the yankee'."- CYNIC_Torgon
"We've been working on the railroad..."
"Trains go to every major city."- CoolIceCreamCone
Balmy summer nights
"Our hotels had ac but it was just room temp air."
"That heatwave must have been brutal I hate sleeping when it’s hot."- Slowmexicano
Some things that might seem strange at first might just take some getting used to.
Though power to any American brave enough to drive through Europe.
Particularly on the wrong side of the road in the U.K.!
When a job hunt leads to work that sounds promising, it's easy for those who are unemployed and eager to earn a paycheck to throw themselves into the prospect, blindly.
However, it's important to note that those who are interviewing them for the job should also be asked questions to make sure they actually want to work there.
Curious to hear of the warning signs to be cognizant of, Redditor SwagYoloThiccChilFam asked:
"What's an immediate red flag to hear from HR during a job interview?"
These Redditors took issue with companies and misleading salary details.
Undervaluing A Potential Employee
"'What would be the lowest salary you would work for? Absolute minimum that you can tolerate?' What a nice way to make a possible new employee feel appreciated."
"On two occasions I got a job offer but the official salary was different than what was in the job listing. Each time I was told it was because 'listing a higher salary attracts more qualified candidates.'”
"Declined both offers right there on the spot."
Boasting About Having Integrity
"In the same breath they’ll talk about how honesty and integrity are core values they expect of every employee (below a certain pay grade)"
"If you don't give me a salary range I'm out."
"If you offer compensation that falls outside of the salary range you gave in the ad or in talking to me, I'm out."
"I mean unless it's more than the range you're offering me. I'll probably take more."
The demands of working for a a start-up were mentioned here.
Since They Asked
"I interviewed for a job recently with a small start-up and they asked me if I had any questions. I told them work-life balance is important to me and asked what a typical work day looks like for their employees. They told me that was a risky thing to say in an interview and most start-ups would consider that question a red flag. I said I didn't need to work for that kind of company."
"Work Hard Play Hard (Translation) Prepare to be worked so hard that your only options will be to quit or become a high functioning alcoholic."
"We're no longer a startup, but still have the startup culture. This really means 80 hour weeks and low pay even if the company is doing well."
So Much For Company Loyalty
"Recently happened to my Dad. Was one of the original employees, they have grown significantly but refused to pay him fairly when newer employees (younger guys 25-30)were starting at a higher wage than him (25yrs experience in the field). They had switched him to salary a couple years back and just got more hours for less raises."
"The whole 'startup' tag is suspect. I did a job reference for a friend who was applying at an 11 year startup. If you are still hunting for investors after 11 years you have to wonder about your business model."
"It seems to be a buzzword for cool, cutting edge, and a culture of overwork."
The demands were already too much from the outset.
"You need to buy X to start training."
Beware Of The Alternative
"Or sign a contract that will charge you for training if you do not work there for so many years and a non-compete clause to force you into a different line of work if you leave. I believe some of these have been outlawed in some places now."
"'You'll wear a lot of hats.' We're going to make you do the work of three people but only pay you for one. 'We have a hard time keeping people in this role.' People realize this job sucks and bail out quick."
Many of the examples above demonstrated that your self-worth will always be a priority.
It also served as a reminder that sometimes, the biggest indicator that something is off with a job prospect is what your gut is trying to tell you.
Listen to your instincts.
It could save you a lot of time.
The United States Supreme Court has held that tax exemption for churches is constitutional under the Establishment Clause. Moreover, the Court has found that churches and religious organizations may be subject to a general sales and use tax; however, the Court has not addressed whether government may enact a specific "church tax."
The constitution of a number of countries such as the United States could be and have been interpreted as both supporting and prohibiting the levying of taxes unto churches; prohibiting church tax could separate church and state fiscally, but it could also be favorable treatment by the government.
When you consider that many churches have made unsavory headlines for engaging in political activity anyway, it's no wonder why the separation of church and state—and whether or not churches should be stripped of their tax-exempt status—remains such a hot topic.
To that end, the idea that churches are threatened by government overreach is also a hot topic, particularly on the more conservative side of the aisle. For example, in October 2021, Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn made the odd claim that President Joe Biden aimed to "close the churches" as soon as Democrats could pass a much-scrutinized infrastructure bill.
Blackburn's assertion that churches would be closed down as soon as the bill is approved appears to have materialized out of thin air. In fact, where the infrastructure bill does mention churches is quite positive. The bill, which the Senate ultimately passed, provides $50 million in grants to nonprofits, including religious congregations, so they can upgrade their buildings with new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
We did tell you this is a hot-button issue. People were all too eager to share their thoughts with us after one Redditor asked the online community,
"Would you support taxing churches? Why or why not?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints..."
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) had over $130 billion in the stock market many years back. Yet they are tax exempt."
And did you know that news outlets reported in 2019 that the Mormon Church amassed a fund worth more than $100 billion so its members could prepare for the "Second Coming of Christ"?
Yeah, that was a thing.
"If churches were nothing more..."
"If churches were nothing more than local parishes who served the community, collected donations to keep the lights on, and the priests were working class folks who took the job as a "calling" rather than a business opportunity?"
"I'd be more than happy to let them slide. It would be like taxing a soup kitchen, and who wants to do that?"
"But if the local 'pastor' has a Gulfstream? Tax the sh** out of him. And if they even bring up politics from the pulpit? Tax the ever-loving sh** out of them."
Religious doctrine will always have political implications. Makes sense, right?
"I'm a Christian..."
"I'm a Christian and have served in church leadership, I'm in favor of taxing churches. Churches exist in society and should contribute to it. I do have some caveats."
"One: I think governments should use taxes for the betterment of communities. That includes physical infrastructure, but also caring for the poor, sick, elderly, etc. All of that is a part of the church's overall mission. I see no reason why the church shouldn't be in favor of the government doing those things, and paying taxes in support of that."
"Two: I think churches should be able to write off any charitable giving. That would obviously have to be well defined; however, I think it would incentivize churches actually helping people, rather than misusing funds (which tons of churches do. There are good churches out there that care a lot for their communities, but there are many that don't)."
The ability to write off charitable giving is the devil in the details. No matter how you word it. It will be worked around. There are tons of lawyers whose only job is to know the tax code and give rich people/corporations tax breaks.
Still, this is surely an improvement over a default charitable status that is only reviewed under an occasional audit.
"Churches that provide..."
"Churches that provide community social services should be tax exempt. Churches that have large holdings, or church leaders with lavish homes or engage in political activities should not."
It would be soooo easy for a rich pastor to claim he's compliant with the tax free requirements.
If a church is doing enough social service to actually qualify as a non-profit, then they can file as one. There is no reason to give them any special rules or exceptions.
"I do believe..."
"I do believe in separation of church and state. I feel if a church is donating more to the people than the church then no taxes. I'd rather have the money go to the people than the government."
As I recall, this is the original idea. Churches are not supposed to have influence on the political process and thus would be exempt from taxes because of that. But the church has not been keeping their end of the bargain.
"My aunt runs a church."
"My aunt runs a church. Over 90% of donations actually go towards charity work, such as healthcare and food for the homeless, clothes and school supplies for children. In many impoverished communities, churches are the only institutions truly keeping people housed and fed."
"Churches should be audited, as should any nonprofit. Saying they’re all bad is ignorant. Taxing them all would be robbing the poor."
If only things were this simple. Alas.
"Send your videos..."
"Well you can certainly get them in trouble by recording their sermon telling you who to vote for. It’s against the law for these religious institutions to influence anyone to vote for or against any political candidate."
"Send your videos and complaints to the IRS."
This was a big deal in Kansas over the last few weeks, particularly ahead of a crucial campaign that secured a win for reproductive rights activists after citizens voted to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution, the result of an effort to ensure the state—typically Republican and conservative—remains a safe haven for abortion in the Midwest.
"Yes, primarily because I think if churches or religions in general want to be playing a larger role in the politics of the world, as the various Christian denominations seem to desire in the U.S., then they should have to provide revenue and contribute to the nation or they should shut up."
Straight and to the point, I see!
"Churches should have to go by..."
"Churches should have to go by the same rules as any other non-religious tax-exempt charity. File taxes proving where your money came from and where it went to prove you're using it for charitable purposes."
"Preaching is not, in and of itself, a charitable activity IMHO, so church buildings/expenditures used solely for church services don't deserve tax exempt status. Want to have something not taxed? It had better be actually helping someone."
Now if only we could fund the IRS appropriately...
"I think any business..."
"I think any business that makes a profit should be taxed. If you truly are being charitable then you shouldn't be making profit, all that excess income should be going back into growing the business and helping more people with whatever service you provide. Religious affiliation should be irrelevant."
Reforms would be pretty simple, provided there is bipartisan support in Congress. Enforcing them, however? Another matter entirely, and that's why it's important to stay on top of this issue.
This is a complex issue that is not likely to be resolved soon, and the impact of religious lobbying in Congress is certainly felt more than ever.
Would stripping churches of their tax-exempt status solve quite a few problems—namely the polarization and shoddy campaign finance laws—that have metastisized in American politics?
Answering that is not so easy.
Have some opinions of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!