Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Does being in some minority pressure people out their profession? In an office of whites, would lone Hispanic gentlemen feel out of place? Popular opinion would affirm that he would. Given my work environment, however, I feel as if I should have the similar reaction, even though I don’t.
Nearly every other active photographer in our office is a little different than I, although to say that is a little backwards — I’m the newcomer, here. To be sure, I’m a little different than most of the active photographers in our office.
Simply put, I’m a dude. Most everyone else isn’t.
Though my company is an equal opportunity employer, and ignoring for a moment that the office staff is pretty evenly split, the bulk of our field photogs are female. Of about 25 photographers, there were six guys when I started. Four of us were hired just this year, and one of us had the initiative to get himself fired before training ended.
Although there was nothing improper about his firing — he didn’t think twice about calling in sick whenever he didn’t feel like showing up, and this during training — I liked him well enough, chronic absence and all. Had he showed up, he might have been an ideal employee. Probably not, though.
Among the photographers, now, there are five guys. On one of our so-far rare reprieves, I asked why there were so many more gals driving to schools every day. Basically, she said:
Guys just don’t tend to last that long. Maybe they just say, “I have enough girl problems, already.”
After a pause and a bit of a chuckle, she noted:
Those guys who do stick usually don’t have girl problems.
Even as an adult heterosexual white male, I’m perfectly comfortable with the mostly female staff I see every day — my year or two in a sorority steels my nerves in that regard — and I can’t help but be amused.
In America, adult heterosexual white males are supposed to crowd out everyone else in from the adult heterosexual while male professions in construction, politics, journalism, high finance and the military. After a year in education and the beginning of what may be many years in school photography, I’ve managed to choose two fields where adult heterosexual white males are in the minority.
I’m either open minded or I really want to seem that way.
Why does humanity at large continue to plod along the same, old track? When we’re pubescent, we rebel against authority, though have the choice to acquiesce. When we’re middle aged, we have crises, though we are perfectly capable of avoiding the Mercedes dealership.
One Past Fallbrook will discuss immaturity, growing up and death, with particular interest in the idiosyncrasies of children, teenagers and adults. As a school photographer, I’m in a more-or-less unique position to deal with nearly every one of these age groups in every day of my work, and all of my friends need just as much maturing as I do.
There will be no dearth of material.
On the Tenure Track had a marvelous run, but as I turned away from education, my focus did as well. No doubt that by now readers had noticed a marked decline in on-topic blogging, if there are any readers left. Maybe I’ll return my focus to education, someday, when I’ve developed a thick skin for politics, unions and cattiness, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Then again, anything is possible, and it’s a long way to retirement.
Politics is universal, and a sham. So much of what we see is theatre put on for our benefit, as demonstrated by a British series from the 1980s called Yes, Minister.
Yes, Minister — and, eventually, Yes, Prime Minister — is a show about the internal workings of the British Department of Administrative Affairs, analogous to our Department of the Interior. As a satiric sitcom, this television show has to be a thousand times more realistic than the bunk you see on The West Wing.
Although Great Britain’s constitutional monarchy is an odd beast, and although its parliament is just different enough to warrant brushing up on comparative government before watching an episode or two, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of deja vu as I breeze through the 38 or so episodes. I’ve seen all this intrigue somewhere before.
One of the great tropes of the series is when one of the characters gets into a monologue about how government really works, patiently explaining that the job of the civil service is to prevent the elected officials from messing up the government. The best official, the civil service frequently says, is a puppet. Later that episode, when main character and career puppet Jim Hacker is coerced into making an ultimately successful mid-term campaign for Prime Minister, his advisers tell him exactly what he has to do.
If asked if he wants to be Prime Minister, the generally acceptable answer for a politician is that while he does not seek the office, he has pledged himself to the service of his country, and that should his colleagues persuade him that that is the best way he can serve, he might reluctantly have to accept the responsibility, whatever his personal wishes might be.
Hacker does this.
Hacker: The next Prime Minister would have to be someone you could trust. An old friend.
Duncan: Do you mean you?
Hacker: I have absolutely no ambition in that direction.
Duncan: You do mean you.
Eric: So Duncan would get No. 10. My God.
Hacker: Not if I can help it. [takes a drink] Cheers.
Eric: You don’t mean you?
Hacker: Me? My children are at the age where my wife and I would like to spend much more time with each other.
Eric: You do mean you.
I don’t know about you, but I saw more than a little bit of Fred Thompson, whose campaign peaked just before he announced his candidacy. Before that, he had no ambition. He wanted to spend time with his family.
He wanted to be the head of government, no doubt about it.
The eeriest scene involved what turns out to be Jim Hacker’s campaign speech. It’s full of melodrama, patriotism, triviality and overdone pomp. In other words, though him crying out against repressed British sausage will sound foreign to our ears, his rhetoric will remain very, very familiar.
Why is it that British shows always seem so American?