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Things We Saw Today: Our Dystopian Capitalist Hellfire Summed Up in Two Videos

Ten people in matching blue t-shirts crawl on hands and knees, grabbing at a pile of dollar bills.

A video of a halftime event at a junior hockey game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota went viral over the weekend. In the clip, ten teachers compete to shovel as much money as they can into their shirts, pockets, and anywhere else after $5,000 in $1 bills is dumped on the ground in front of them.

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That’s one of the most crystal-clear distillations of our American hyper-capitalist dystopia that I’ve seen in a long time. The Washington Post writes:

Critics said the image of teachers on their hands and knees, scrambling for low-denomination bills, was “dehumanizing” and even “dystopian,” especially as teachers are paid relatively small salaries in South Dakota and nationwide. Some compared the spectacle to the popular Netflix series “Squid Game,” in which the show’s characters compete in deadly games to win a giant piggy bank full of cash.

The winner of the event was Barry Longden, who said he’ll be using the $616 he grabbed to help fund an esports program he runs for students. “Other teachers said they’d use their winnings on flexible seating, standing desks and document cameras to upload lessons online,” writes the Post.

As one state senator from South Dakota—which ranks second to last nationally in spending on education—told the paper, “Teachers should never have to go through something like this to be able to get the resources they need to meet the basic educational needs of our students — whether it’s here in Sioux Falls or anywhere in the United States.”

This wasn’t the only totally dystopian video to go viral this weekend. Twitter user @___inCANdescent posted a video from the TikTok account “Dumpster Diving Freegan,” which documents their experience dumpster diving in order to shine a light on extreme waste.

The video shows the haul taken in from one trip to a Whole Foods dumpster. The amount of food thrown out before its best-by date is staggering:

There are a lot more videos like that in the thread and on DDF’s TikTok. Everything about the video is infuriating (and this practice is by no means unique to this company) but probably the worst part is all the replies from people who work or have worked at Whole Foods, who are noting that the company used to donate or discount these kinds of items, but after Amazon bought the store, their policy changed and now they’re forced to throw them out.

Way to go, Jeff Bezos.

What else happened out there today?

  • Congratulations to Megan Thee Stallion on her graduation from college! (via HuffPost)
  • Shang-Chi star Meng’er Zhang was surprised by her own post-credits scene. (via ScreenRant)
  • This is the only TIME cover we’re acknowledging today:

  • USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee will pay $380 million to hundreds of gymnasts who were sexually abused by former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. (via NPR)
  • Author, journalist, cultural critic, musician, activist, and professor Greg Tate, known as “the godfather of hip-hop journalism,” has passed away at 64. (via Publishers Weekly)
  • Vulture asked a cardiologist if [redacted for spoilers] should have called 911 in And Just Like That. The answer: “He didn’t need to die. This is a goddamn travesty.” (via Vulture)
  • Science says it’s fine to call your pets your babies. (via Slate)

What did you all see out there today?

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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