An experiment for all our fair readers, though not one to be conducted at work: turn off all the ‘Safe Search’ options on your browser and do an image search for ‘Job’. At least on Google, this yields a fascinating slice of the mainstream culture – at least that part of it that is online – in the English-speaking world. I’ve done this a few times after stumbling upon it looking for a painting by Marc Chagall last year and the results, though always shifting, are always about the same.
Well over half the images involve employment or ‘jobs’ in some way:
The other half are split more or less equally between illustrations from the Hebrew Bible book of Job and various pornographic categories – ‘hand job’, ‘foot job’, ‘boob job’, ‘blow job’, and the like (in the interests of propriety – I am an American citizen, and America owes a good deal to Puritan morality even today when so many other element of Puritan culture has passed into the mists of memory – I will leave the illustration of this final category to your imagination, which is filthier than anything I could find anyway, I reckon):
There is something about this juxtaposition of the religious, the economic, and the pornographic that seems to perfectly capture our present cultural moment and its inherent contradictions.
It will be fascinating to do this on occasions over the coming months and even years to see if shifts in the larger culture alter the mix I found this morning (these two were taken from the first two pages of a Google image search results), or alter the proportions in which these three things appear.