January 12, 2009

Gigga what? Gigga who?

20070612tina.jpg Recently, Dan Savage wrote that anti-gay bigots who claim they can't be anti-gay because they have gay friends should put up or shut up: "Reporters should stop taking this 'but I've got gay friends!' on faith. Anti-gay politicians, entertainers, and preachers shouldn't be allowed to take rhetorical cover behind gay friends if they're unable to produce any."

It's not precisely analogous, but I thought of this today while reading Tina Brown's Daily Beast article on The Gig Economy. According to Tina, "No one I know has a job anymore. They've got gigs... a bunch of free-floating projects, consultancies, and part-time bits and pieces they try and stitch together to make what they refer to wryly as 'the Nut.'" (Which is also how they refer to her, I suspect). In this "Gigocracy" (don't ask why it's capitalized) everyone does what "used to be called piecework" but is now allegedly called "Gigwork." Though you could have fooled Google.

What does this mean? Well, says Tina, "To people I know in the bottom income brackets, living paycheck to paycheck, the Gig Economy has been old news for years."

Put up or shut up. How many people does someone who's spending $28 million on a souped up blog really know in "the bottom income brackets"? And why doesn't she give some of that money to them instead?

Ah, but Tina backs her anecdotes with facts, in the form of a TDB poll that finds, "A full one-third of our respondents are now working either freelance or in two jobs."

OK, those are usually two very different things that entail very different lifestyles. So I checked the raw data, and found that only 22% of respondents answered yes to the question that essentially constitutes Tina's thesis: "Do you consider yourself to be a freelance worker, meaning you work from project to project?" 78% said no. Does Tina really not know a single person represented by that 78%?

And where does the one-third figure come from? Beats me. In addition to the 22% of freelancers, 23% of respondents say they have "more than one paying job," but there's no indication anywhere how much crossover there is between the two groups, so the numbers are essentially useless.

I did think about trying to crunch the data a bit to try to determine how new a phenomenon this is, and how accurate in general Tina's perception of it is, but that got tedious and, frankly, no one's paying me for this gig.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Your opening sentence baffled me until I decided it probably contained a typo:

"Recently, Dan Savage wrote that anti-gay bigots who claim they can't be gay because they have gay friends..."

Did you mean "claim they can't be anti-gay"?

Right. Typo. Not Freudian slip.

Well,the rich and the poor do have one thing in common: they're both not listed in the phone book.

Wait... There are people who have to work?

Wouldn't "Gigga, please!" have been a better post title?


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