Has anybody ever deconstructed/unpacked/contemplated the term “working stiff?”
On the surface, of course, it’s a way to say ordinary workers. It’s aimed more at blue collar folks than white collar folks, people who are struggling to get by more than the affluent.
But the term “stiff” also refers to a corpse. And this leads to several potential deeper implications. None of them pretty.
The possible meanings of the term “working stiff”:
#1) The act of working a blue collar job kills the worker; much like we’d call somebody a walking corpse if they were close to death.
#2) Somebody who has a blue collar/barely surviving existence is already dead. Much like we might say that watching too much TV is a zombie.
There are strikingly different idealogies hovering under each possibility above. If #1 is true, the whole labor system is inherently corrupt. It’s sort of a socialist-thing. #2, on the other hand, implies an elitism, a natural superiority of the cultural elite, the wealthy, the affluent.
Either way, it’s not a pretty picture.