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Tuesday Hatred of Targets

If you’re not working in a big organization you might not know, but the rest of us are being managed by objectives. The people so managing us are convinced they are being SMART about it. The fact is that they are smarter than we are, as is clear from the fact that we have been stupid enough to put up with it for so long. They sell it to us like diet pills are sold to those addicted to sugar: as a replacement addiction. Suddenly we should feel liberated from micro-management when the only ones liberated are those managing us: liberated from caring about the actual human beings that do the actual day-by-day work.

If you are working in a big organization (and you’re a bit of an a***hole) you may find this amusing: the rest of them are being targeted as well. As politicians increasingly see themselves as entrepreneurs (mostly forgetting the adjective ‘failed’), they want in on the magic. This means they want all of the control and none of the taking-an-interest. They want to be liberal and eat our cake too. Above all they want us to feel different from the others who haven’t achieved independence. Divide …

Let me use my newly found independence to say something about managing for performance: it’s inhuman because it sets out to eliminate the specifically human uncertainties from the process. That is enough to stop doing it. More than enough to start questioning it. Forget about it not working. Forget about the appeal to intuition (diet pill ads appeal to your intuition as well). It is anti-human and we should not put up with it. Out of principle. Full stop.

I’m not the first to say this, see Geert Hofstede (1978):

Schermafbeelding 2014-08-18 om 20.14.55

In other words: the sole reason for reducing us to targets is Continue reading

August 19, 2014 Posted by | economics, innovative technologies that shape our lives, politics, Tuesday Hatred, waking up in a cold sweat | 2 Comments

Sunday Stories: Anti-political politicians

“I will not allow anybody to destroy the education that allowed me to become who I am.”, said a politician in response to the question whether it was possible for him to agree on reforming an education system reported to increase inequalities. A sentence which he knew to appeal mostly to the unfortunately many with unfortunate experiences with schools. As he knew whom the sentence “I am the living example that you can make it also if you’re born from working class parents.” would appeal to. Sentences hovering like drones above the heads of voters which believe there is only one bigger enemy than politics: statistics. Sentences that will fire their charge with surgical precision on any politician daring to rely on a statistical finding.

Some politicians like to focus on the ever increasing gap between politicians and their electorate. From another politician: “I earn only a modest income so I know what life is like for an average voter.” The anti-political politician is not monopolized by the right. Politics by hysteria replaces politics. Nobody even tries to explain what we know about the facts. If somebody tries she’s set aside as a naive nobody, the real politicians who hate politicians smile wearily and that’s that. I know who stands to gain from this type of politics although I don’t know whether it’s by design or by invisible hand that our politicians get converted into a selectorate of one-lining sons of bitches which glorify and praise science as long as it is not applied in the social sphere.

It matters: if it’s by design we can only fight it. If we fight it we need to use weapons even more powerful than theirs. Which means we will lose. If by invisible hand we can educate and apply some real politics to cancel out the bias and move on.

I’m naive but the question is: how naive are you?

Continue reading

May 18, 2014 Posted by | media, politics, Sunday Stories | , | Comments Off on Sunday Stories: Anti-political politicians

Periodic Confessional: Juror #1

Warning: Though I’ve tried to remove graphic details of the case, what follows is an account of my experience as a juror on a trial that included some degree of domestic violence. It’s my understanding reading these types of things can be very stressful to people who have suffered through these situations.

I confess I may have played a part in ruining a woman’s life. Some time in January, I got a jury summons. Some time last week, I called the number to see if I had to report. I did. When I reported, I was sent up to a courtroom as a prospective juror. As we filed in, we saw a woman sitting with a lawyer, and a man sitting with a lawyer. “Thank God,” I thought. “Civil.”

Wrong. The man with the lawyer was a detective. The judge read us the indictment and revealed this was a trial for felonious assault. The woman sitting with her back to us was accused of stabbing her boyfriend. Oh crap.

After the jury questionnaires had been filled out, the judge called the first name. It was mine. All the jokes about dodging having to serve evaporated immediately. This got very real, very quickly. The judge asked whether I was married or living with a partner. Being a former math major, I instinctively answered this “or” question with a yes. She chuckled. “May I ask which it is?”

“Oh, sorry. I’m married, yes.”

She went on to ask where I worked, how long I had been there. What did my wife do? How long had she been there? Did I have any kids, and if so, how old were they? Had I brought any reading material? I explained awkwardly that I was reading a book called “Sharp Objects”.

With those questions answered, a second juror was called. In all, 18 jurors were interviewed after me. With every one of them, she found a way to take one of their answers and ask a follow-up question about how this might have biased them against either the defense or the prosecution. When I realized this contrast with my own questions, I figured I could call my wife and my boss and let them know I’d be busy for the next few days. Continue reading

February 27, 2014 Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional, politics | 3 Comments

Tuesday Hatred of nature

My left nostril is the nostril that is on the side of the hand that when held up with thumb horizontal and forefinger vertical is forming an L. This is certain. Many such things are certain however much it is imaginable that hands and fingers could well be arranged in a way that the hand so forming an L would actually be the right hand. Nature is boring, chickens are chickens and the rest of us have knees protruding from our legs in the same direction as our face.

My point being that I hate points.

It will not be too long before somebody will say somewhere: “The Greek Tiger has risen from its ashes like a phoenix.” and not realize that it is the linguistic equivalent of:

Which brings me to a new pet hatred: cats on YouTube, or to be more precise: anything on YouTube. While parents think their children or making grammatical errors on FaceBook or Twitter, what they are really doing is typing in ‘cat slam into  glass door’ or ‘fall in hole dressed clown’ or … this is how it must feel to have your brain sucked out of your skull. I hate that the last sentence made me try ‘brain sucked out skull’. Don’t worry, I counterbalanced the bad karma by googling in ‘Santorum’.

Anyway, I have nothing against nature and I hope that the Greeks will Tiger themselves up soon (if only to show the right nutwings that they can go burn themselves to ashes after calling some of us lazy based on nothing else then our physical location and/or ethnic descent) but nature did create Santorum and that’s much worse even than spiders so it cannot be all good.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | politics, Tuesday Hatred | 2 Comments

Tuesday Hatred of Two, Thousand and Eleven

This was a despicable year. The rich were so busy putting their own problems first that they could now finally fully ignore what the poor were down to. Or:

The SuperWest acted as if a piece of Debtonite suddenly required us to be the center of all attention. That would have  been despicable enough but we went on to square despicable in Continue reading

December 27, 2011 Posted by | politics, Tuesday Hatred | 3 Comments

“Smile!’, says Tuesday Hatred, with a tear in her eye

First and foremost I hate that somebody changed the way this blog is displayed on my iPod. By displaying full length posts rather than excerpts, he or she seriously degraded my established having-a-quiet-shit routine. The only revenge I see open  to me is to force Continue reading

November 22, 2011 Posted by | politics, Tuesday Hatred | 8 Comments

Sunday Stories: she

She was somewhat of a number. Like many of her generation she longed for epic disaster as the only way out of her present predicament. Getting hit by a car, for instance, when crossing the road. Unfortunately for her longing, she crossed roads in a prudent manner not just respecting all applicable regulations but building in additional safety. This meant her chances of car injury were vanishingly slim. It was not a matter of avoiding being hit by a car, she was just unable to break rules that made sense to her. And it made a lot of sense to her not to burden an accidental driver by with the guilt of having hit anybody.

Hers is a familiar position to be in: confined without being physically restricted. She realized it and that’s how she  came to plan her escape from civilization. Continue reading

November 13, 2011 Posted by | politics, Sunday Stories | , | 3 Comments

Friday Afternoon Confessional: I am a Poseur

I confess that I have acquired new superpowers. I can now embed video and I can ‘Align Full’. As I like to flatter myself that I am somewhat suffering from OCD (what one clings on to to be special!) this will significantly increase my comfort as well as my self-esteem.

I can now confess that:

It would have been a more convincing show of talent and text control if I would have been able to have found something that were allowed to play in this window. I know this. It just goes to show how much of a poseur I really am. I try, obvious to everybody is that I just try. By the way, the video is as bad as the song is great so it is probably better to have it play in another window.

I confess that I am fed up with all of the drama of modern times. I sure wish that for those believing that things are going to the shit-hole nowadays we could organize a reversal of time such that they could live through history backwards. I would give them eternal life so they wouldn’t miss any of the fun of the times that were supposedly so much better than ours. I am a cultural optimist and I confess that I don’t even feel like this is something to confess to.

‘Get over it already!’ is a thought I confess to having most of the times when somebody gets all excited about this position of that individual or yonder group of idiotic morons. I know that there are morons out there that can bend the facts much faster than Magneto would be able to bend the tiniest of needles. I know that. I am not blind. But are they increasing  their  numbers? I confess I don’t think so. And that’s mostly because I am a poseur.

Not that things are as they should be. I am not a cultural stagnist. For those believing this is as good as it can get I confess that I would sure wish that this is as good as it would get, for them. Because in dying on the spot they would not experience all of the many good fun that is still out there, yet to come.

I confess to being jealous of Kotsko, Adam and of Wolfson, Ben and of Davies, Daniel all of which are amongst those who’re notorious on this corner of the internet in which I am posing as somebody who likes to make people stare. Hell, I confess to once even having posed as a girl. My facade is just a fake. I’m a laid back non-actvist who thinks things are on the up and up and who is quite content with being popular with The Wife and The Kids and notorious in this corner of the world with a couple of anonymous individuals who are my friends.

I confess that being an anonymous individual is not the worst aspiration to have, all in all.

June 3, 2011 Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional, politics | 61 Comments

A grim pattern

Has anyone noticed that whenever Obama is near the point of achieving a major legislative reform, a Democratic senator dies? Health care reform killed Ted Kennedy, while financial reform killed Robert Byrd.

My current theory is that the thought of actually achieving something after all these years was simply too much for their systems — and so I worry that any major push for cap and trade might actually take out two senators.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | politics | 4 Comments

Another Senate Reform Proposal

Over at AUFS, I posted a proposal to reform the Senate. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding corporate involvements in campaigns, I would like to give it another try. First of all, we would need to break the connection between senate seats and particular states, creating a pool of 100 at-large seats drawn from the entire country. Then, in order to save the cost and administrative overhead of a formal election, every two years the top 100 performers in the S&P 500 (by net average value for the period) would each appoint a senator. I had initially considered the idea of having the top 100 firms be chosen on the basis of market capitalization, but a share price-based metric seems more fair, as it would allow innovative, up-and-coming firms to have their say rather than having everything determined by sheer size.

The senators themselves would of course receive stock options in addition to a modest base salary paid by the appointing corporation, to ensure that their interests lined up with those of the shareholders. Each corporation would supply the requisite staff for their senator, and the Congressional Budget Office’s responsibilities would be contracted out to the ratings agencies on a rotating basis. Along with the money saved by not having a formal election, the savings on senatorial pay and staff could be put toward deficit reduction.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | economics, politics | 2 Comments