Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12/6/11: Horrible Bosses & Cheese, Authors & Cats, Gays & Bachmann

Cheese on a market in Basel, Switzerland
Image via Wikipedia
One morning, years ago, my former employer of fifteen years held a brief Monday morning office meeting in which he declared a new company policy. "From now on," he stated, "'I don't know' is not an acceptable answer for any question. Understood?"

I still remember wondering to myself which management self-help book he had pulled that little nugget of inspirational go-getter wisdom from over the weekend. You could always spot them buried under invoices on his desk or stuck between business-to-business directories on the single bookshelf in his office, pseudo-informative guides like The Art of War, or Seven Steps Towards Effective Management. I guess I should be thankful that this was back before Who Moved My Cheese? became the popular corporate handbook on motivating workers through mindless platitudes.

Looking back, I guess I'm thankful that he read those books for as long as he did before finally listening to the advice of his small business owners buddies. Handling the occasional pointless procedural directive was much more preferable to him laying off all of his full time employees and staffing the entire company with part-timers, interns, and freelance contractors when he suddenly discovered that he had no funds saved up to the run the company in the off chance there was a sharp economic downturn that would effectively cripple the industry as a whole.

I guess when the question was "What are you going to do if business suddenly slows down for an extended period of time," "I don't know" was an acceptable answer.


Why do certain authors feel compelled to include the names of their cats in the bios? Is it because of that T.S. Eliot poem? Whenever I read an author bio that ends with "...lives in a cabin in Wyoming with her Siamese cats Lucinda and Paprika," I have a sudden and overwhelming urge to actively avoid their entire body of work. I'm not saying it is a rational impulse, I'm just expressing my overall dissatisfaction with authors who identify themselves with their pets instead of their achievements.

The only thing that bothers me more than cats in author bios? Book cover author pictures taken with their dogs. I'm just saying.



You've got to love it when mindless bigotry and prejudice is stopped dead in its tracks by the simplest of acts. Imaginary Republican Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann found herself on the receiving end of a face-full of rationality at a South Carolina book signing. The well-armed activist? An eight-year-old boy.

Now, let's get the obvious out of the way. Yes, the child was undoubtedly coached to say this to Bachmann by his mother. That goes without saying. But unlike many Bachmann supporters will likely claim, this reality does nothing to lessen the importance of this confrontation. Because what it all comes down to is that Elijah undoubtedly feels this way about his mother.

When Bachmann, one of the odious politicians running on the Anti-Gay Parents platform, actively campaigning against allowing gay couples to adopt and raise children of their own, is shamed into silence by one of the no-longer-hypothetical children that she supposedly wants to save from the evils of gay parental influence, there is a lesson to be learned. You can speak out against gay parents and propose legislation to prevent gay couples from adopting in order to drum up support from your homophobic far-right followers all you want, they're an easy audience to win over with false science and moral posturing. But none of that works with the child you are openly accusing of being damaged because Mommy, whom that child loves and adores with all his heart, just happens to be gay as well.

It isn't about morality, it isn't about politics, and it isn't even about gays. It's about Elijah. And he just slapped you down, big-time.
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