A silly discussion of what Rosen said!

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012

The return of a famous old cult: A famous old cult has sprung back to life—The Cult of the Offhand Comment.

In this case, the offhand comment in question was made by Hilary Rosen. The New York Times is so worked up, the story is on the front page.

As a news event, this is basically silly. Yes, Rosen did make an inartful remark. And yes, her comment does have a bit of a history. And yes, in part, it actually is a history of liberal condescension.

(As Joan Walsh noted on last evening’s Hardball: “I mean, look, feminists learned about twenty years ago that this is a dumb argument. Every mother is a working mother. Let`s just say that, OK? Michael, we know that. Being a mom, whether you stay at home or whether you work, is very hard.”)

Rosen is a perfectly decent person. That said, she did make a fairly inartful remark–but everyone makes such remarks at some point. And at this point, Rosen is just a CNN contributor. She doesn’t speak for Barack Obama, or for Dems in general.

For all these reasons, this comment is hardly worth discussing. But our “press corps” has long belonged to a powerful cult—The Cult of the Offhand Comment. They simply love this sort of distraction. And by the way:

Our side has been deeply involved in this stupid cult too!

Yesterday, we saw a lot of liberals complaining about how stupid this discussion is. We agree—but we liberals have been pimping disputes about all kinds of pointless offhand comments in recent years.

Your lizard brain will say that’s not true. Though we’re out the door, sorry:

It is.


  1. IMHO:

    1. The New York Times (and many other outlets) protected the Obama campaign by not telling their readers what Hilary Rosen said in context. According to the Times, she merely said that Mrs. Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

    According to Hilary Rosen, herself , I said that I thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women's economic struggles when she "had never worked a day in her life."

    In the Times version, Rosen simply made a factual statement. In the real version, Rosen's comment was a put-down of every non-working wife. Furthermore, this comment reinforces the popular image that liberal feminists have contempt for women who choose traditional marriage roles.

    2. Rosen wasn't making some offhand comment. There's a political battle for women's votes raging. Dems point to Reps' critcism of free birth control for employees of church-related entities. Reps point to the disproportionate female job loss during Obama's term. The attack on Ann Romney was a part of this battle.

    3. Conservatives have pounced on this comment. Even if one disagrees with its intrinsic importance, it has already become a major campaign issue, so the Times should give it substantial coverage.

    1. I don't know why I'm wading in comments here, but...

      1. The Times wasn't protecting the Obama campaign. Rosen does not work for the Obama campaign.

      2. Rosen's comment wasn't a put-down of anyone. She was just responding to a dumb statement from Romney, when he said that what he knows about struggling working women comes from his multi-millionaire wife. It was a laughable statement that Rosen responded to badly, but she's not the one running for president.

      3. Where's the proof that there's a "popular image" that liberal feminists have contempt for women who don't have jobs? Oh, right, you believe that, which means that 51% of Americans must.

      4. Reps don't "point to" job losses - they just cherry-picked a statistic last week to play the "I know you are but what am I" game and they'll drop it some time next week. It's not an argument the GOP ever cared about other than to score political points, and it's not an intellectually honest argument to anyone with a passing familiarity with how the economy works (hint: the president doesn't draw up a list of people to be fired the day he enters office and gets them kicked out of their jobs in the first two months).

      5. No. Newspaper coverage should not be determined by what conservatives say is important. Romney isn't the editor-in-chief of every newspaper in America.

  2. Where to begin?

    So I take it when some people say something on cable TV, no matter how dumb, it is merely an "Offhand Comment."

    But yet when others say something on cable TV, no matter how dumb, it is a mortal sin against the american discourse and a threat to the republic.

    So what is the difference here? "Rosen is a perfectly decent person."

    Spin, spin, spin, Bob. It still doesn't make what Hilary Rosen said any less intelligent.

    And as far as it being a "news event," it didn't become one until the Romney campaign pounced on it.

    And I would have to say that the Obama campaign, including the president himself, handled it brilliantly.

    And you know what? So did Rosen. You will note that she didn't apologize "if" she offended anyone. She apologized directly to Ann Romney and to anyone else "who was offended."

    In other words, unlike Bob Somerby who tried to minimize what she said as a mere "inartful remark," Rosen had the guts to take full responsibility for what she said.

    1. Rosen's apology wasn't bad as political apologies go, but it wasn't perfect. Here's the full text:

      Let’s put the faux “war against stay at home moms” to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his lack of a record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.

      A more sincere apology would not have included criticism of her critics for their "faux war". Nor would it have included further justification of her comment.

      Also, amusingly, Rosen called her apology “fulsome”. That word means

      1. offensive to good taste, especially as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor

      Some critics are agreeing the this apology was indeed fulsome.

    2. No, she did not call her apology "fulsome."

      "Here is my more fulsome view of the issues."

      Do you even bother to read what you copy and paste?

    3. She called the last half of her full apology "fulsome". In particular, she applied that adjective to the part where she said, "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended."

    4. By the way, David, you apparently missed these definitions of "fulsome."

      "encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America."

      "abundant or copious."

    5. David, she said what she said. Deny it all you want, and try to stretch it beyond recognition, but it's still right there, in plain English.

    6. What she said was "here's my more fulsome view of the the issues...."

      Anyone who doubts "more fulsome" means "more complete" in this context doesn't understand the english language or is willing to pervert it to score political points.

      Stupid or devious.

      You decide.

    7. Stupid or devious? Can't it be both?

    8. "Stupid or devious? Can't it be both?"

      Sure, Sean Hannity is a perfect example.

      Every comments section needs one, right?

  3. To David in Cal:

    "Guess what?" Rosen said. "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing."

    This the quote from the Anderson Cooper 360 show on CNN. It seems to me that Rosen was implying that Mrs. Romney had a choice whether to stay at home or to work. This is not a choice for many women who need to work out of economic neccesity.

    Nice try, though.

  4. Yes, TRA. The 5th definition of "fulsome" is "more complete", and that's undoubtedly what Rosen meant. However, I think the fact that the the main definition is precisely how her critics might characterize the apology is funny. YMMV.

    The President of NOW has kept this pot simmering. On Ed Schultz's show she said that Ann Romney, along with Mitt, lacks "life experience" and "imagination" needed to understand most Americans. What ever happened to the idea that attacks on spouses were off limits?

    Also, in the same segment Dem congresswoman Maxine Waters called the Republican candidate for president Mitt "Rot-ney."

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2012/04/12/now-prez-ann-romney-lacks-life-experience-and-imagination#ixzz1rwAJXGcO

    1. Fair enough, Rose. But, I think Rosen's comment also implied that Ms. Romney was not competent to understand economic issues or to advise her husband on these issues, because she hadn't had a career. IMHO this implication insults all non-working spouses.

      Incidentally, I think this is a silly issue for the Dems. Sure, it's nice if a President and First Lady can empathize with poor people. But, it's much more important that the President understand the kind of major economic issues that he must decide. On this score, Romney has a particularly impressive background.

    2. Here's a clue for you, David. Ann Romney's career choice is a non-issue for Democrats. An absolute, total non-issue.

      Hilary Rosen is a spokesperson for no one but Hilary Rosen.

    3. "What ever happened to the idea that attacks on spouses were off limits?"

      If that's the standard you now want to apply, I'll make you a deal, David.

      I'll defend Ann Romney against any attacks from the left, you defend Michelle Obama from any attacks on the right, wherever we find them.


    4. "Yes, TRA. The 5th definition of "fulsome" is "more complete", and that's undoubtedly what Rosen meant."

      So you are admitting that you completely wrong when you said she was calling her apology "fulsome"?

      That's big of you.

    5. David in Cal,
      Here's two more words for you to look up.

  5. At least the comment was not taken out of context and an outright lie presented, like Romney's alleged "I'm not worried about the poor."

  6. "But, I think Rosen's comment also implied that Ms. Romney was not competent to understand economic issues or to advise her husband on these issues, because she hadn't had a career."

    "Think" and "implied" say it all. No honest intelligent reading of those comments in toto support such an implication

  7. Rosen's comment had nothing to do with careers. It was a slam at the Romney family's wealth. Here's the chain. Democrats say that Republicans' actions on issues like contraception and abortion amount to a "war on women." Republicans say that women care less about those issues than they do about the economy. Mitt Romney invokes Ann Romney to support this premise, saying that she talks to women and that's what they tell her. Asked to comment on the Romney strategy for reaching out to women, Rosen says that Ann Romney has a skewed view of what women worry about, because "she's never worked a day in her life," and Rosen goes on to spell out the kinds of things Ann Romney has never had to worry about taking care of financially. Rosen's point wasn't that Ann Romney has never worked because she's a mom, it was that she has never worked because she's filthy rich.

    1. Yes, flipyrwig, that's surely at least part of what Rosen meant. But, is it true that Ann Romney has never had to worry about taking care of things financially?

      Mitt and Ann Romney are filthy rich now. However, they got married and started a family before he was out of school. He came from a well-to-do family, so I imagine he wasn't poor at that time. But, he didn't earn his fortune until years later.

    2. Well, if conservatives and other Republicans want to fight about how what Rosen said was unfair to the Romneys because they haven't always been privileged, they can have at it. But that was the substance of the slam, and the idea that moms don't count as "working" only had anything to do with it by the logic of political gaffes.

    3. Oh, David. I think it's fairly safe to say that both Mitt and Ann were born on third base.

  8. What flyprwhig said. As for Ann and Mitt Romney's pre-hyper wealthy years. Well, I have read that she comes from a very comfortable background herself, as did Mitt himself, of course. Nothing wrong with that -- and I mean that sincerely -- but people who have never had to worry about affording the rent or about their children or themselves going without health insurance, for instance, need to show that they can still imagine those kinds of problems and sympathize with them. No sign at all from Ann or Mitt that they do. Not that they are therefore evil people. Just not models for us to emulate or likely sources of much wisdom.

    Btw, most women who do not "work outside the home," instead staying at home to raise a family and run a household, DID work at least for a while after high school or college. As I understand it, Ann Romney never even did that. Okay, that was the trajectory of her life. She was certainly busy and doing important things, raising her children and supporting her husband's career, and she's had her own serious difficulties (MS, breast cancer). But the test of a person is what they do with their experiences, if only to recognize that what they cannot comprehend. From the evidence thus far, Ann as a source of Mitt's understanding of women's issues is not promising.

    1. Very well said. And no, there is nothing wrong with being born to a life of comfort. So were all the Kennedys.

      I find Mitt's career as a "vulture capitalist" (was it Newt that coined that phrase?) far more troubling, as well as his call to let both GM and Chrysler simply go bust -- at the cost of hundreds of thousands of jobs, not only in those two industries, but scores of supporting supplier industries.

      Not a word from him against bailing out all those financial institutions that were "too big to fail" was there?

  9. However GM went bankrupt anyway, despited the taxpayer bailout. If GM had gone bankrupt without a bailout, the bankruptcy judge could have re-written union contracts so as to reduce the cost of pensions and health care for retired employees. GM would have been a stronger company going forward.

    However, because of the Obama Administation's favoritism toward labor unions, this didn't happen. As a result, GM will be saddled with higher costs than its foreign competitors for decades to come. IIRC the difference in retiree costs amounts to something like $2,000/vehicle. That's a heck of burden for GM.

    1. Hey, you want to reduce those health care costs for corporations like GM and put them on an even keel with foreigh competitors? How about a national, single-payer health insurance plan, Dave?

    2. There's no particular reason to believe that a single payer system will save money.

      We already have a national single payer health insurance plan for people over 65 -- namely Medicare. It's as expensive as the Devil. I read somewhere that the US has the 2nd or 3rd highest spending per capita by government on health care, even though our system is substantially private.

      There ought to be ways to reduce the cost of health care in this country, but just switching to a single payer system is no panacea.

    3. "There's no particular reason to believe that a single payer system will save money."

      Except for the inconvenient little fact that every single industrialized nation that has one spends about half per capita on health care than the United States, with better outcomes.

      "I read somewhere . . ." Well then, it must be true!

    4. Oh, and a single-payer government health insurance system would certainly reduce General Motors' costs of providing that for its employees and retirees, would it not?

      Or are you conceding that point and trying to change the subject?

    5. Um, David, the reason why "the US has the 2nd or 3rd highest spending per capita by government on health care" is because the people whose health care costs the government pays are the oldest, sickest part of the populace. If the government paid for the costs incurred by younger, healthier people, the per capita number would go way down, because those people's costs are minimal and stay that way for a long, long time. See how that works? It's called "risk pooling." It's kind of crucial to the whole concept of insurance.

    6. And doesn't the health insurance industry in the U.S. have a sweet deal? They've had the most expensive (to them) segment of the population off the books for decades, and now they got a mandate, first cooked up by the Heritage Foundation, requiring everybody to buy their product.

      Of course, there were compromises. They agreed to eliminate lifetime caps and annual caps on coverages (a really big deal which caused an expected short-term rise in premiums before the mandate kicked in), extended coverage for offspring under their parent's plan to age 26 (not hard to do since this is the least expensive segment of the population to cover), and I have yet to hear a health insurance CEO -- Catholic or otherwise -- squawk about the birth control mandate.

  10. And reducing the costs of pensions and health care for retired employees demonstrates that you are in touch with the common man exactly how, David?

    You do realize that autoworkers don't have huge pots of money squirreled away in Switzerland and the Caymans, don't you? Like, say, certain presidential candidates.

    1. It would be a wonderful world if GM could prosper and still pay generous amounts to all its past employees as well as its current employees. That actually was the case for many years, when a small handful of American companies had a near monopoly on cars sold in the US.

      However, in today's world, there's lots of foreign competition, including some very well built cars from Japan and Korea. In order to survive and prosper, GM has to build vehicles that beat the competition in terms of quality and price. They can't do that if their cost starts $2,000 per vehicle higher than Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc.

      Note also that GM is screwed if it shrinks. The obligation to retirees is a fixed dollar amount each year. If GM sells fewer vehicles, the retiree cost per vehicle will be that much higher. That's why GM stock is selling at such a low price/eanings ratio of 5.19.

    2. And GM recorded a $7.6 billion profit for 2011, it's largest ever.

  11. Hilary Rosen's remarks were offensive. I raised eight children and worked outside the home. No easy feat. What many of the people commenting and Mr. Somerby fail to realize is that Rosen's remarks fall into a pattern of "housewives aren't smart enough to understand." Women weren't smart enough to vote, supposedly, women weren't smart enough for that. Rosen is stating that Ann Romney isn't qualified to be an adviser to her husband on economics because she's never worked "a day in her life." Ann Romney's a home maker. Because she's that, she's not qualified on the economy? It is sexist and offensive.
    Those making excuses for her not only misunderstand the context of her remarks but also refuse to grasp that after Hillary Clinton's 1992 remarks, all women know how to word their response. Rosen is a public speaker, a lobbyist for the RIAA previously. She knows the value of words. Her mistake is appalling and she is not needed or helpful.
    It's interesting that Bob Somerby is all about Joan Walsh's false statements until today when he ignores what she wrote and, of course, it's left to a woman to do the heavy lifting. As always the real press criticism comes from C.I. who called out Walsh's nonsense last night. It's a shame Mr. Somerby's own limitations prevent him from grasping that women's issues are real issues.
    Then again, maybe Bob's preparing another post to inform us that Larry Summers isn't a sexist? Or maybe he wants to go after Valerie Plame again? I don't know what he wants but he's really got no authority on women's issues and should probably keep writing his catty remarks about Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins and pretend like that's feminism and that readers haven't long ago noticed that a man gets chided by Bob while a woman gets crucified and that all of his reference points are male.

    1. Bob never said they weren't offensive. There's also a category of comment that "X never worked in the real world, therefore X has no authority on the economy." Probably, that's what Rosen was getting at. Should she have realized the context you point out and not said it? Sure. But people sometimes say stupid things.

      The rest of your post is nothing more than you exploiting Rosen's dumb statement as a means to attack on Bob personally.

      Because in the end, the point stands: Rosen doesn't speak for the Obama administration, or even Dems in general, and one dumb statement isn't real meaningful in the grand scheme.

    2. Chris Matthews gets crucified here quite often as do many other "journalists" who waste their valuable positions with fatuous nonsense instead of delivering real information If Rosen made a stupid comment why can't we all agree instead of getting enraged & sidetracked? Deflect & redirect--divide & conquer-nothing ever changes

    3. I think pretty much everyone agrees that it was a stupid comment, including Rosen. And it's a one-day story, considering that the presumptive nominee of the GOP tried to turn it into a campaign issue, and the president of the United States has seen fit to comment on it.

      But that's all it is. "One and done."

      My issue on this blog is with the author's hypocrisy.

      When a person he favors -- "Rosen is a perfectly decent person" -- says something dumb, it's merely an "offhand comment" and a "fairly inartful remark."

      But when one of his favorite whipping boys or girls says something dumb, like "Zimmerman weighs 250", it's a crime against journalism and democracy, if not humanity. And he'll blog about it for weeks, if not years.

    4. "Zimmerman weighs 250" isn't dumb- As it turns out, it was inaccurate The problem then became part of a favored narrative-"He outweighed him by 100 pounds!" It then escalates from there Like the game telephone-the truth is garbled & impossible to know. Bob may be beating a dead horse-but it's always the same horse-fiction reported as fact. We shouldn't rely on our journalists to report the facts? We should learn to think for ourselves? How are we supposed to do that? I wasn't there How will I know what's happening outside my neighborhood? We're through the looking glass

    5. "We should learn to think for ourselves? How are we supposed to do that?"

      By using your brain and sorting out the important from the trivial. And I apparently hold a higher opinion of the ability of people to do that than either you or Somerby.

    6. Regardless of what we might think of Rosen's comments, she utter them for one reason -- to advance the narrative that the Romneys have lived such privileged and pampered lives that they are hopelessly out of touch with the concerns of "real" working class America.

      Somerby has been railing about these narratives since they were used against Al Gore in 2000. In fact, this is much the same narrative against Gore -- grew up in a posh hotel, attended exclusive, private schools -- in contrast to "real guy" George Bush, the guy you really wanted to have a beer with.

      I find it interesting that when a person whom Somerby judges to be a "perfectly decent person" does it, it's merely "off-hand" and "fairly inartful" instead of "throwing sweet hay to the cattle" and "telling pleasing stories to the tribe."

    7. Sorting out important from trivial is not the same as sorting out truth from fiction especially when you have no way of knowing which is which

    8. I can understand how you might have trouble with that and need Somberby's careful guidance so that you don't go astray, all baffled and confused in a world full of nuance where little is ever black or white.

      But I have no basis for concluding that most people have the same trouble.

    9. @Trina: Except that Rosen's remarks weren't about housewives, they were about rich people pretending to have insight into economic struggles. Ann Romney hasn't had to work for pay _because she's stinking rich_. The Romney campaign has been saying that women care more about the bad economy than about reproductive rights issues. Rosen's point was that Ann Romney knows bupkes about women struggling in a bad economy.

      There was nothing in there about "housewives" except that there's a preexisting faux pas about suggesting that "work" only means "work for pay." That's what Rosen accidentally stepped in. But her point was something else entirely, to wit, that Mitt Romney should stop the sham of pretending that Ann Romney has insight into the economic difficulties of women in 2012.

    10. Well, flipyrwhig, I do reject the notion that rich people can't have insight or empathy for the struggles of the middle class and poor just because they are rich. History is filled with wonderful examples of the philanthropy, insight and empathy of the rich, not the least of which are/were the Kennedys.

      There are many, many more substantial ways to show that the Romneys are "out of touch," than by saying Ann Romney never worked a day in her life.

      Let's hear what Mitt's newly appointed chief advisor on women's issues has to say, then we can see if women identify with that.

    11. Flipyrwhig, I do have a somewhat rhetorical question.

      Suppose Rachel Maddow had said, "Ann Romney hasn't worked a day in her life."

      What would be Somerby's reaction? An "offhand comment"? A "fairly inartful remark"? Or feeding "sweet hay" and "pleasing tales" to the "tribe"?

    12. Oh, absolutely, there could still be a big fracas about how insulting it was to suggest that rich people (women in particular) couldn't care about the working class. But that wouldn't have been nearly as fierce or connected with as many people as the Mommy Wars stuff does.

      And I think Bob S. probably might rip into the remark as ham- handed class warfare from a well-compensated elite pundit, had Maddow been the one to say it.

    13. Certainly does appear Bob has his own "tribe." Rosen is in it, and Maddow is not.

    14. You prove Bob's point with just about every word you write-Your lizard brains don't allow you to see Maddow as anything but an innocent target for that meanie who writes this blog Oh and don't forget that he's an anti gay racist misogynist too.

  12. Does Rosen speak for the Obama Administration? I think she does to a considerable degree. There's every evidence that she is and has been working on behalf of Mr. Obama.

    According to White House logs, she has visited the White House dozens of times. Her public relations firm provided pro bono support to Sandra Fluke in that contrived "scandal" that supposed demonstrated a Republican "War on Women." Her partner in that firm, Anita Dunn, worked for President Obama at the White House before teaming up with Rosen.

    In short, Rosen was essentially acting as a foot soldier in the Democratic effort to paint the Republicans as anti-woman. If Rosen's comment had succeeded in delegitimizing Ann Romney, the White House would have been grateful. After her comment boomeranged, it's appropriate that the White House be embarrassed.

    1. Hilary Rosen doesn't speak for the Obama administration. She's a talking head for CNN. If things she says count against Obama, then every Republican talking head on every network counts against Romney. So anything offensive Erick Erickson might say from here on out will trigger half a week of Sturm und Drang against Mitt Romney, because, by your standard, all partisan strategists and talking heads are in league with one another coordinating every aspect of every message. Deal?

    2. gee guy, no one has to "paint" the republicans as anti-women, the do a spectacular job of wielding that brush all by their lonesomes, no help required.

      "In short, Rosen was essentially acting as a foot soldier in the Democratic effort to paint the Republicans as anti-woman."

      geez bob, you really need to attract a better class of republican troll to this site, the ones you have now are pretty pathetic. an embarrassment to republican trolls everywhere else.

    3. Classic case of shooting yourself in the foot:

      Darrell Issa calls for a congressional committee investigation of the birth control mandate, and specifically turns down the Democrats' request to call Sandra Fluke as a witness.

      Then the first panel he calls is all-male.

      So the Democrats find a way to give Fluke her forum, Rush goes completely off the rails, and the only person whose testimony virtually anyone remembers is Sandra Fluke.

      And of course, this was all a carefully calculated plot by the Democrats to make the Republicans look anti-woman.

  13. "Does Rosen speak for the Obama Administration?"

    Short answer: No. Longer answer: In no capacity whatsoever, despite your feeble "guilt by association" attempts.

    As far as the "contrived" Sandra Fluke "scandal," who in the Democratic Party forced Rush Limbaugh to say what he said? You are either saying that Limbaugh is beyond stupid (with which I would agree) or that he is a secret operative all these years for the Democrats.

    The White House has nothing to be "embarrassed" about in Rosen's remarks, just as Mitt Romney and the GOP have nothing to be "embarrased" about in the stupid comments you just made.

    1. Anon, following your logic, but with a more apt parallel, that last paragraph could hav e been:
      The White House has nothing to be "embarrassed" about in Rosen's remarks, just as Mitt Romney and the GOP have nothing to be "embarrased" about in the comments Rush Limbaugh made.

      Would you buy into this version, Anon? Or, do you have different standards for comments made by Limbaugh vs comments made by Rosen?

    2. Absolutely, I buy into it. I don't hold the GOP responsible for Rush Limbaugh, although, as George Will noted, they are scared to death of him.

  14. Rosen said all women from the beginning of time to 1950 were worthless.

    1. So . . . "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life" = "All women from the beginning of time to 1950 were worthless."

      Interesting thought process.

  15. *******

    We should call upon Mrs. Romney to prove that she has worked a day in her life.




  16. The meaning here of "working" clearly is to have an employer. who dictates your wage, your hours, and your continued employment. Not self employment, where you can yourself hire an assistant (like a "servant") thus becoming an employer yourself. Where you can work or take days off, "pay" yourself with your own money or your family's.