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Analysis of Comments on a New York Times Article Essay

The article, “Forced From Executive Pay to Hourly Wage,” which was written by Michael Luo and was published in the New York Times last February 28, 2009, basically told the story of people who used to earn five or six-figure amounts per year, are now being paid hourly minimum wages. One example in the article was the case of Mark Cooper, who used to earn $70,000 as a security manager for Fortune 500 Company in the United States and who oversees a budget of $1. 2 million.

Nine months ago, he lost his job and now he is earning $12 an hour in his job at his friend’s janitorial services company. Although the article itself is appealing enough, it is also interesting to note the readers’ comments about it. As of now, there are 300 comments about the article and upon reviewing most of them, it can be surmised that each reader who commented had significantly different viewpoints and opinions about the story told in the New York Times article.

Evidently, these readers adhere to different moral codes which are seen through their responses. In general, the readers who commented on the article can be divided into two groups: one group lauded the brave act of Mark Cooper while the other criticized the style of writing and the subtle message that New York Times writer used in the article. One of the reader’s who praised the article story admired the courage of Mr.

Cooper as he was able to lower his pride and found ways to provide for his family even if it means that he has to scrub toilets and have his salary dramatically reduced from five figures to an hourly wage without any benefits. In a sense, this group highly regarded the value of hard work and starting all over again in a dignified way. Most of their comments basically indicated that Mr. Cooper is not alone and that there are hundreds of Americans who have similar “riches to rags” stories.

These readers, based on their comments, also believed that there is no shame being poor as long as one has a dignified and lawful job. On other hand, the other group of readers who commented on the article criticized the New York Times for insinuating that those who work blue-collar jobs are lower forms of human beings than those who work white-collar ones. They see the article as discriminating to Americans who have been living their lives below the poverty line for a long time even before the current economic crisis.

For example, one reader lamented that article more or less showed that a $12-an-hour job is an indecent way of living, which is not true. In addition, one reader did not feel sorry for Mr. Cooper and commented that he had a lot to be thankful for because he lives in an above average house and was able to live a rich life. To this reader, the economic crisis makes everyone in America equal because they are struggling to make ends meet. However, what’s common in all the readers’ responses is that they could all relate to the difficulties experienced by the people depicted in the article.

In fact some of the readers, who are evidently from different walks of life, shared their own stories in their comments. In other words, the single factor that binds all the readers who commented is the hardship brought about by the financial crisis in America. In a way, the article’s comments show two things: one is that there are a lot of Americans who are so used to a good life that they are seemingly caught off-guard when a devastating financial crisis like this hits them and the other is that due to the crisis, most Americans would be willing to take on any job just to survive.

But the comments also indicated that Americans are more unified in achieving a common goal which is to recover from the devastating effects of the crisis and rebuild their lives. Works Cited Luo, Mark. “Forced From Executive Pay to Hourly Wage. ” 28 February 2009. New York Times. 4 March 2009 < http://www. nytimes. com/2009/03/01/us/01survival. html? pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=executive%20janitor&st=cse&scp=1>.


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