One of the things that makes white-collar life, whether in academics or in business, less fulfilling than it might otherwise be is the fact that you can’t really have a good meltdown now and again. Instead, you have to be judicious, calm, and civil; you repress it. You take it home and eat it as your midnight snack.
That’s all fine and good as far as civility and society goes, but workers on the trucks (as I once was) have the latitude to let loose every now and again about their frustrations and prejudices—to use a few four-letter words and to hit the wall (or the side of the truck) a few times with their fists in frustration.
White-collar workers are amongst the most repressed individuals on the planet, and while that’s good for business, it’s not so good in many ways for them.
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Of course, in the halls of management and the deans’ and provosts’ offices out there, there’s a kind of ideology of perfection that taints the air. It’s not that anger and “injudicious” behavior are repressed, it’s that all of these people are just far too evolved to ever have any emotion; they are intrinsically calm, analytical, and diplomatic. They are Spock and the Dalai Lama and Ward Cleaver all rolled into one, with overtones of Bill Gates.
Of course it’s all bullshit, but everyone in the white-collar world goes on pretending that it’s so, and we regulate to this effect, and tend to apply it only in the white-collar world, so that’s that.
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The problem isn’t so much that racism and sexism get eliminated. That’s a pretty great thing.
The problem is also that personality and individual preference get eliminated. Everybody likes the same shirts as the CFO, everybody likes the same restaurant as their senior manager, and everybody is okay with pizza for the team party.
Nobody ever says that the CFO’s shirts are the same ones a corpse might wear or that the senior manager apparently can’t tell a good steak from a radiator cap, or that no, no, no, pizza is for teenagers and losers and the teenager-loser quotient on the team is precisely why they missed target, so let’s make a fresh start and turn things toward the better by agreeing never, ever to have pizza again.
(For the record, I love pizza, far too much. This is about the point, not about the food items.)
I’d just like it if there were more people in the world and fewer drones, and if I hadn’t felt over the course of my entire life that dronehood was a kind of infection that I was always trying to catch and to intensify so as to be able to make more money and advance.
— § —
Moving on, but only slightly, I am driven absolutely fucking nuts by SJs. Yes, I’m talking about the Myers-Briggs/Jungian personality typing system, and if you hate it or think it’s unempirical or whatever, stop reading now and go climb the stairs of your ivory tower and read some nice demographic data tables from the census. Don’t stop until you can recite the entire database from memory, because that’s the only way to be REALLY FUCKING NUMBERS DRIVEN AND EMPIRICAL, BOO-YAH BOO-YAH, and ensure that you are as superior to the huge variety of people in the world of business that use MBTI typing to good effect as you think you are.
But I digress.
Yes, SJs. As an NP, let me outline the problems with SJs succinctly:
– They know that the world is so very obviously flat
– They know that history doesn’t exist and new things can’t happen
– They understand that their own personal senses are the only reality
– They know that ketchup vs. mayo is a morally implicated debate
– And that surrogacy and artificial intelligence are not
– And that no philosophical tradition has ever said anything useful
– And that no mistake has ever come from the most wild sort of haste
Oh, and they tend to be insufferable narcissists that discount everyone else’s preferences, thoughts, opinions, personhoods, and so on, then project this behavior onto that very same everyone else any time there is a slight deviation from their (continuous) prescriptions.
And yet, my entire life seems to have been shot through with SJs. I draw them like flies. I appear to be drawn to them in the same way, at least long enough to begin to get scoldings for the deeply antisocial ways in which I wear my socks and the moral failings associated with my toothpaste choices.
— § —
This is good. I haven’t felt like this as I posted in a very, very long time. As in, the better part of a decade.
And I’m looking around me and realizing several things:
– The iPad is the best writing tool ever
– The backed UI/UX of a blog really, really, really matter
– I need to empty out my space, bigtime
– I haven’t been outside nearly enough in recent months
– I am getting old
— § —
Well that’s about enough for now. If this doesn’t damage my career prospects, nothing will.
But dammit, I am a human being, not a human resource.
The drones will just have to condemn me.
(I have no doubt that they will.)