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November 2, 2007

sure, interesting issues are raised -- but only one of them is "pwned"

A little shout out, in the form of a little prescriptive behavior involving both all these new media we're swimming in as intersected by your great-uncle's favorite newspaper:

Thou shalt not fuck with the New York Times.

Or, at least the Culture department thereof.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:58 AM

November 1, 2007

unfortunately, my dayjob cannot be unionized

So, in the course of checking up on the status of the possible WGA strike, which would affect my dayjob in ways significant enough that I'm keeping my eye on it, I noticed a turn of phrase that needs to be stopped, now, before it becomes truthified by repetition.

The phrase turned appeared in a letter from the honchos at Warner Bros. to their workforce advising what might happen during a strike, as reprinted by Defamer.  It's a sweeping generalization, the kinds that CEOs are really good at in addressing actual people:

Our industry is facing sweeping changes, and we must find a balance between fairly compensating employees and efficiently running our businesses.

That may not read as scary on the face of it, but give it a second's thought.  No question that employees should be compensated and that businesses should run efficiently.  But, wait a minnit.  What does "fair" have to do with it?  And what is the corresponding qualifier on the other side of the equation?  Isn't the fairness of compensation something that should be inviolate?  Or is Warners trying to impute that unfair compensation is a natural state of a free market economy?

In fact, shouldn't the balance in question be between excessively compensating the employees and cold-bloodedly running their business?  Just so there is some middle ground that can be reached?

As usual, I gotta disclaim that I'm a five star dummy when it comes to issues of economics, but a corporation's assertion that fairness is a quality of employee compensation that needs to be, in some way, conceded is one that I do not want to see repeated as common sense, because it makes no sense at all other than as a strategic devaluation of the importance of the employee to the general venture.

The may be a truthful recitation of the intent of business in general, but it is not the way things should be in a nation in which you would want to live.

But as long as we're filling the air with semiotic chaff, I think that maybe we should find a balance between executive and shareholder compensation and the efficiency of their businesses.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:57 AM

October 31, 2007

halloween for the faithful

In light of the impending WGA labor action and seemingly recursive computer failures, I just want to sneak in and wish everyone a Happy Halloween.  I hope you've all spent your fair share of disposable (or otherwise) income on Halloween merchandising, as our economy and nation are counting on you.  Besides, what better way to show your patriotism than a giant electric inflatable family of ghosts on your lawn?

And in the spirit of this, the most hallo'd of weens, let me share with you the story of the best costume that never was.  Back x number of years ago, there was this fella -- we'll call him "Sunny", as, well, we called him "Sunny" then too -- who was involved in a fair share of the sketch comedy groups that we compulsive started/disbanded back in the day.  He was of Indian descent, prematurely balding and an all-around helluva guy.  A couple of occasions, in our cups, as it were, he threatened a costume consisting of a shaved head, green body paint and a sarong.

He was going to go as "Mahatma O'Ghandi".

Now, he may or may not have actually done that, as I was not around Sunny at all times.  Maybe he pulled it off one St. Patrick's Day when I was doing something else.  But I never saw him, all green and Ben Kingsley, so, to me, it is the best costume that never happened.

And!  In case you are the faithful sort, concerned that this holiday may be a little anti-Christy for you, then I suggest brief retcon -- instead of Halloween being some commercialized pagan harvest festival, tell your little bible school kids that Halloween was the one time a year when Jesus would put a mask on, hide behind things and jump out and scare the hoo ha out of the apostles.  And, oh, what a laugh they all had then, with the son of God!

OK, then.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:07 AM

October 30, 2007

thank you for coming to my reading

I'd like to belatedly thank everyone who came to my and Virgil's reading last Saturday afternoon.  You are nice people, who obviously need more important things to do with your time.

Also, I'd like to correct a misconception I caused in "reading" -- I am not anti-old ladies.  I am merely anti-certain "old" ladies that live in my apartment building.  I was admonished by someone's relation-by-marriage on this one, as she defended old ladies in general.  I am with her, and am very glad that I did not read my anti-mothers-in-law piece.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:10 AM

October 29, 2007

nytimes laughingstocks argentina

Let's kick the week off right, with a trivial bit of "Show Me The Context".  From the NYTimes webite this morning, under the hed "Argentine First Lady Claims Victory", comes this teaser:
First lady Cristina Fernandez and President Nestor Kirchner are poised to switch jobs in December.

I'm sure that Mr. Kirchner will make a fine, fine first lady for our friends in Argentina.

Now please join me in some delicious coffee.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:35 AM