“I Would Prefer Not To” — The Origins of the White Collar Worker

Always one of my favorite Melville stories.
Once upon a time, I accidentally stumbled across a screen adaptation with Crispin Glover as Bartleby. Run don’t walk


Nikil Saval | Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace | Doubleday | April 2014 | 31 minutes (8,529 words)

Below is an excerpt from the book Cubed, by Nikil Saval, as recommended by Longreads contributor Dana Snitzky.

* * *

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils…

—Theodore Roethke, “Dolor”

The torn coat sleeve to the table. The steel pen to the ink. Write! Write! Be it truth or fable. Words! Words! Clerks never think.

—Benjamin Browne Foster, Down East Diary (1849)

They labored in poorly lit, smoky single rooms, attached to merchants and lawyers, to insurance concerns and banks. They had sharp penmanship and bad eyes, extravagant clothes but shrunken, unused bodies, backs cramped from poor posture, fingers callused by constant writing. When they were not thin, angular, and sallow, they were ruddy and soft; their paunches sagged onto their thighs.

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Swell Merchants

Friends don’t let friends hit the local hip-hop what put you to sleep!

Saw these guys at the Urban Lounge in SLC last night. Some seriously talented people hiding under unturned stones here.

SO HAPPY to find inspiration in that immediacy of self expression adrenaline in places I wasn’t even looking for it.

I hope these guys blow up. Seems inevitable to me. Love when SLC puts out something fresh when a lot of out of towners ask if Utah has electricity yet…