Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stuart Smalley Meets the Phantom of the Stepford Cheerleader Camp

"It reads right here how to be good enough and smart enough so, gosh darn it, patrons like you."
"Then why do you still wear that mask, Gene."
"We all wear them, hired gun."
"That's not the mask I mean, Gene."

'tis amazing just how much the language of capital pervades virtually every sector of society & though I don't foresee an outcome as comically disturbing as this bit lifted out of a bad screenplay, there's only so much salesmanship & selling/growing the brand jargon one can take -- I do still work in a library, yes? -- before my corporate gobbledygook-addled brain drifts off to the land of Wikileaked bunga-bunga soirees.


Bros before hos.

Hold a gun to management's temple & they'll admit their preference for Colgate smile incompetence over mumbly grumbly quality because that's what we've all been conditioned to accept as the interactive default, the miraculous salve for feelings hurt from some uncomfortable truth. Of course, such pain only matters to the institution as concerns the public facade of said institution. Don't even get me started on the 'folded arms offend Shiny Happy People & promotes an unhealthy reliance on stark, clear language' bit. George Carlin is rolling over in his grave, vomiting profusely so his corpse doesn't choke & die a second death.

If I'm wrong or fuck up, I want to be called out on it. It really is okay to be wrong &/or fuck up & be called out on it, amply demonstrating that we're not a copy of the Cheneybot.

Speaking of things that make me mumbly & grumbly because I fucked up & am calling myself out on it, look, I get that the Cadavaliers reside in the lower reaches of the buxom East, but after their 52nd consecutive double double-digit loss, I hardly think it's coincidence that our arguably most effective player is nicknamed Boobie.


Jack Crow said...

At least the Browns have Peyton Hillis.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


Hey, at least Cleveland has teams.

I'm thinking of moving back to D.C., where I was raised.

How about those Redskins? I mean, um, ugh. How about those Wizards? Doh. What's our baseball team called again?

Randal Graves said...

jack, I wish we would also have those (at least) two games we pissed away.

if, you've got the Caps who are always good for a late spring meltdown.

sunshine said...

I know it's not basketball but .. at least you don't have Don Cherry


Ethan said...

I think you and the Baronette (my cohabitant and occasional co-blogger) would have a lot to talk about--she's been continually frustrated by the same thing in her own library job, and is slowly feeling out what she can do to counter it.

thebaronette said...

It's tough going in that realm right now, no doubt. What with the inescapable specter of "THE RECESSION" haunting all walks of life, it seems like everyone's knee-jerk reaction is to transform typically non-corporatist institutions into crass promotional firms. Similar to that, it just astonishes me whenever people feel like libraries need to follow the golden rule of "no personal politics in the office". It's such a clear tactic of capitalist expansion. Better to be seen as respectable than to fight for the decommodification of information!

As Ethan said, I'm kind of constantly battling against it. I serve kind of a unique position within my library. I've got a design background, I'm fairly quick with technology, and I'm really interested in the political and conceptual aspects of education. Of course, my views on all of that sometimes differ with the library administration - and almost entirely with the college's administration. So, a lot of times my efforts get compromised, because we have to "go where the money is!" (Lockheed Martin contracts!)

I think I'll keep the stories to myself for now but I feel your pain there, Randal. The good thing is there are people out there who are receptive to the argument against all this nonsense. My supervisor and I have talked openly about politics in the past, so he knows roughly where I stand. (He's a big proponent of open access and freedom to information - so, very sympathetic to the more tame parts of my radicalism.) Recently, he said to me, "This might seem like a challenge, but I really mean it: how can foster solidarity at a private institution like this? I want you to think about it and do it. Where I can, I'd like to help." It's tough to find people like that, but I have hope that it's possible anywhere.

thatgirl said...

Dude, cool your jets. Your call is very important to us. Thank you.

Randal Graves said...

sunshine, Don Cherry is so closeted.

ethan, has she considered leaving robots in public spaces?

baronette, thanks for stopping by! I 'understand' the need for such marketing, but that only underlines just how fucked up the system is, that educating the populace is treated like a zero-sum game, a competition for the 'best' students, and then funneling those students into what are essentially free training programs for corporations.

Here, we've got a new prez who got a *substantial* raise over the last one (who wasn't all that bad, as university pretzeldents go), plus they house him, then on top of that gave him a housing voucher and he in turn gave himself a big bonus for his first year. Sure, a drop in the bucket compared to the typical budget of a college like the Wall Street bonuses, but it's a microcosm of the macro problem: but when you keep on plugging admin holes with more and more MBA types, this is what you get.

As annoying as the students get - that's just me being a curmudgeon, though dammit, how can they be so plugged in yet be afraid of doing a simple book search? - most of them are simply hoping they'll land a job when they know a degree guarantees shit save fighting with other BAs and BSs for the scraps.

This is such a complex issue, we all could go on forever but I'll stop before I start to digress into the twilight zone.

thatgirl, whoa, don't make me throw loaded questions at you.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

I'm slow, but I eventually catch the bus: are they really trying to give you charm school to keep the kiddies happy?

Don't those Ivory Tower Fucks know who they are dealing with in the, um, Ivory Towers?



thatgirl said...


Tom Harper said...

re: your first link -- it makes perfect sense that credit card companies have cut off WikiLeaks, but you can still use your credit card to donate to the KKK. Come on, hippies -- the KKK are patriotic Godfearing Americans, and WikiLeaks hates America.

susan said...

To quote the man:
When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.

Liberality said...

A book! Hell, our university library has some books of course but most of what I need to do research can now be found only electronically. I like books better though. I can take a book with me and read it whenever instead of being tied to a piece of electronic equipment and/or paying for printing it out.

Most kids are certainly plugged in. It's like a giant pacifier don't you think. Keeps them busy and out of the way. :)

Randal Graves said...

tengrain, that's it. I'm quitting the bibliothèque and opening up my own charm school.

thatgirl, what was your childhood like, Tokyo Rose?

tom, leak power! Leak power! Hmm, doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

susan, sure, we're all going to be nuked, melted, diseased, starved, slaughtered, bled, but man, it's gonna be entertaining.

liberality, the techsters would say Kindle (shudder) but out of the way, sure, until they come to the desk and forget to unplug as we ask them questions. :)

Dr. Zaius said...

I always let my Colgate smile be my umbrella! It doesn't work very well, though.