Motivation

I think it’s one of those deals where if you hear about it, you wanna learn more about it and sort of go into town crier mode. I was driving around the country, rounding up people to interview for GIG: Americans Talk About Their Jobs (the book is composed of 126 interviews, from Heidi Klum, the supermodel, to Ford assembly plant workers, smokehouse chefs, waitresses, buffalo ranchers, etc.).

In North Carolina, I met a labor activist who mentioned a labor group in Florida called the Coalition for Immokalee Workers that had stumbled onto a case of slavery in the orange groves. I had known conditions were bad for migrant workers in this country, but I didn’t know they were that bad.

Originally, I thought that I’d simply write a magazine article about the case. But it was just too huge of a subject, and the bad treatment of was so carefully, demoniacally systematized, I was fascinated to see the mechanics of it all. I began to realize this wasn’t just something bad happening to poor foreigners; it was something global and important happening to my country and my world, and therefore, to me.

I had this epiphany that the widening income inequality around the world that we’re seeing is actually very similar to global warming, sort of like this impending potential Armageddon, and it freaked me out. It still does.

I guess Nobodies is much more “serious” than other stuff I’ve done in the past, but it still comes from a general interest in writing about so-called “regular people,” rather than about celebrities or experts, which I’m not so into. The regular people in Nobodies just happen to be foreign instead of American, as they are in Gig.

From an interview with Jeremy Elton Jacquot for Tree Hugger.

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