Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spare the Rod and ...

… spoil the worker.

Okay, today's post is a cynical jab at a common event I've watched repeat over and over in various business environments. Watching this drama unfold is like hearing a record album skip back a few grooves when it encounters a scratch, resulting in an endless loop. The scenario occurs in far too many companies and the sad, yet typical reaction from above is a slap in the face to anyone who carries out their duties in a professional manner.

Memo Subject: Mistakes

To: All employees

Our illustrious company, Rumpelstiltskin Incorporated, struggles against a plague. For days, management has carried out the ceremonial stamping around in circles and yelling like our namesake. As of today, management has had it up to our executive issue gold-plated epaulets from dealing with said unacceptable incompetence. In a flash of brilliance, it has been determined the problem rests solely upon the shoulders of the... ahem, workers. Let it be known, a prior directive to employees demanding an end to making mistakes has been a fruitless effort. It is clear that punishment is the only tool for keeping workers in check. A new directive from corporate hereby mandates suitable punishments for the crimes any worker is convicted of.

To correct the problem of employees committing any mistake, a public humiliation policy is now in full effect. After facing a kangaroo-court trial, the worker will be found guilty. For the first offense, workers convicted of said mistake will receive no less than five lashes from a cat of nine-tails. Should the employee commit a second infraction, a stockade has been placed at the entry of the building in which the guilty party will be imprisoned. Rotten vegetables have been stocked in convenient handicapped-accessible baskets to allow those entering the building to pelt the transgressor. For any worker foolish enough to be convicted of a third strike, a suitable punishment awaits. Perillos of Athens has been resurrected and forced to reconstruct a brazen bull. Convicted criminal employees will be roasted alive within the Sicilian bull. Many an employee will know what it is to roast in the depths of the bull!

Let it be known, management shall not be burdened with locating and resolving the core reasons why problems occur. Clearly, the employees are at the heart of the problem. Management has no responsibility in resolving problems logically and in a manner that reflects professionalism. In the end, no problem exists such that a wall of shame, corporal punishment, or any other form of public humiliation can't resolve using schoolyard style politics. Remember - never solve the root problem, always inflict punishment as it instills fear and subservience.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Devil's in the Details

Ever notice how people have agendas to nearly everything we do? And would-be movie critics are no exception. For some, their personal goals influence their view in such a profound way that they fail to see anything beyond what they intend to see. My case in point revolves around a Seattle minister who made the local news by going medieval on the movie Avatar with his comments about the film's intent. The minister dished out harsh negative commentary about the movie promoting worship of things versus worship of what 'he' believes is the creator. I won't go into the whole intolerance discussion about “There can only be one... one religion that is!”, but I suspect he simply looked at imagery and passed a quick judgment to fit his agenda.

If one focuses people upon specific aspects while ignoring the sum of the parts, it becomes apparent there is intent to manipulate others into believing paganism or satanic issues are key concepts involved. The impact of hearing statements about subversive intent for anyone who hasn't seen the movie could easily bias their judgment. I don't know about you, but when I think someone has intentionally left out details about the overall picture, I view it as misleading the audience.

For example, take a look at this photo of a famous building in Barcelona designed by Gaudi. I could claim the design emanates a demonic aura. But would my statement be true or a blatant factoid? Considering this is a church, I wonder what the vocal Seattle-based minister might say? Would it be more of the same propaganda he offered about Avatar. Allow me to quote a statement he made while discussing the underlying problem, not only in relation to Avatar but targeting what society suffers from en masse: "Well, the visuals are amazing because Satan wants you to emotionally connect with a lie." I wonder, when architects design churches with such grandiose scale, does it promote worship of the wrong ideals?  Should people worship from churches akin to generic cardboard boxes instead to avoid the flashy temptations of Satan? 

If you ask me, the local minister is attempting to bolster his public presence by playing spin-doctor through proclamations of films like Avatar serving as tools for Satan. What of the minister's local congregation and followers? I suspect some will accept his word at face value and either avoid or condemn the film which is unfortunate because I simply don't believe James Cameron intended to send such a message.

The media PR makes the public become more aware of the vocal extremist due to his inflammatory statements about a movie many people have enjoyed. It's a win-win situation for the minister. Paraphrasing P.T. Barnum - no publicity is bad publicity, at least in this context. One might think the minister ultimately has a goal to his further his own publicity seeking, but has he done Cameron justice by delving into what the director truly intended to communicate?  I'd say the minister failed miserably, not only at understanding the film, but by showing intolerance religion has been accused of time and time again.

Simply put, I suspect the local minister used misrepresentation to achieve his personal goal. A sad state indeed considering what Cameron's core message of the movie appears to be. With Cameron attempting to promote basic awareness about human tendencies, its unfortunate to see his work represented out of context. Especially by someone who fundamentally appears to be doing what Cameron is decrying - using greed and the lust for power to overshadow all else. And when it comes to message in the movie, is it promoting evil as this local minister says or is it seeking to raise cultural awareness? If it is striving to raise cultural understanding and acceptance, can Cameron's movie be considered a tool of evil? To me, the controversy such as this are created by extremists who attempt to leverage the situation for their own goals. People will warp things to suit their own goals. Sigh!  When it comes down to it, we need to use own mind to determine if something is morally offensive.