The Impossible Interviews: John Steinbeck
TRS: Alright Johnny boy, let's get straight to the point. You wrote a lot about the working class, but did you really give a damn about those people, or were you just trying to make a buck off their misery?
John Steinbeck: Listen here, you little weasel. I lived and breathed the working class. They were my people, and I saw firsthand the injustices they faced. I didn't write about them for profit, I did it because it was the right thing to do.
TRS: Fair enough, but some critics say that you painted a romanticized version of the working class. You know, the noble and virtuous farmer, the hardworking and honest factory worker. What do you say to that?
John Steinbeck: Critics can kiss my ass. I wrote what I saw, and I saw a lot of good people working their asses off just to make ends meet. Were they all perfect? Of course not. But they had a dignity and resilience that I think is often overlooked.
TRS: Alright, so what do you think needs to be done to improve the working conditions of these people?
John Steinbeck: That's a big question. First off, we need to stop treating them like expendable cogs in a machine. These are human beings, with families and hopes and dreams. We need to pay them a fair wage, provide safe working conditions, and give them some goddamn respect.
TRS: But isn't it just the nature of capitalism? The workers will always be at the mercy of the bosses, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
John Steinbeck: Bullshit. That's just a convenient excuse for the wealthy to exploit the poor. We need to demand better, to organize and fight for our rights. The workers have power, but they need to realize it and use it.
TRS: Alright, last question. You wrote a lot about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, two events that were devastating to the working class. Do you think we're headed for another one of those situations? Are we on the brink of another economic disaster?
John Steinbeck: It's hard to say. I'm no prophet, but I do know that history has a tendency to repeat itself. If we don't learn from our mistakes, we're doomed to repeat them. But I have faith in the working class. They've been through hell before, and they can do it again if they have to. But let's hope it doesn't come to that.