Why is ‘flipping burgers’ an insult to someone’s intelligence?

As a response to my review of Janet Jackson’s janet. album someone named Narmar wrote

” “Chuck D from Run DMC”…lol… Chuck D is from the group Pubic Enemy. “The Body That Loves You” – The only song that comes close to a dud”? You not only do not know your artists, you clearly don’t have an ear for good music. Stick to flipping burgers and leave the critiquing to actual musicians.”

Firstly – Mr or Ms Narmar is right – Chuck D is from Public Enemy – mea culpa. And apparently the poster doesn’t agree with me on my assessment of Jackson’s record – unfortunately, he doesn’t go into why he/she disagrees with me, just simply says “Stick to flipping burgers and leave the critiquing to actual musicians.”

What I found interesting about Narmar’s terse response – and by the way, who would’ve thought I’d elicit such a pissy response to my silly little post – what I found interesting is his dismissive and condescending quip “Stick to flipping burgers.”

When did flipping burgers become a slam against someone’s intelligence?

So I did what any post-millenial researcher would do, I went to google.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms “flipping burgers” means “to do work that does not pay well, esp. at a cheap restaurant Instead of playing baseball, the boys might be flipping burgers and earning a little cash.”

Another article I read had the term linked with the word McJob – another offensive and condescending term that denigrates the almost 2 million people that work for the fastfood chain.

The implication is that if you flip burgers, you’re working in a low-pay, menial position, and are therefore unqualified to do anything else.

There’s a lot of things wrong with this thinking and this turn of phrase – firstly – as long as it’s legal, all work has worth and value. There’s a dignity in any kind of work that one does and it’s unfair to take someone’s job and turn it into shorthand for stupidity or incompetence.

Secondly, there’s a huge leap made when one assumes that because one works at a McJob, then said employee is stupid. People work at low-wage jobs for many reasons – and it’s not up to others to judge either the circumstances or choices that compel people to take jobs at fast food chains.

Thirdly, and this is related to my first point – I’ve been to a lot of burger joints, and trust me – not everyone can flip a burger – there’s skill involved.

So, while Narmar may be justified in criticizing my review, he or she would do better than to slam a group of people in the process.




Filed under commentary

2 responses to “Why is ‘flipping burgers’ an insult to someone’s intelligence?

  1. Omaliko's Thoughts

    Whoever your detractor is, he/she is clearly not in tune with what is going on in the present global economy. Countries the world over, developed, developing and under-developed are experiencing a dire drought of jobs. So its not surprising anymore to find that an Economics degree holder might end up driving a cab, not because they are stupid and don’t have the skills for an office job, but simply because no one is willing to hire.

    That said, I don’t think that there is any job that is exclusively classified for “stupid”, I believe that every job requires some degree of know-how. For instance, I work in Investment Banking, but I will never attempt to fix my car engine because I would totally suck at it. Instead I would go to someone (usually in the “flipping burger” category) who knows more about the workings of a combustion engine than I do. I and the Mechanic both play important roles in the economy, but for some reason people like Narmar think that the Mechanic is less than an Investment banker based entirely on earning potential.

    Its really sad.

  2. Pingback: Job Growth, 97% Are Part Time | Wis UP North

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