Being Unprofessional

As in exhibiting ‘unprofessional behaviour’ or wearing ‘unprofessional attire’. As in something ‘not good’. As in ’cause for dismissal’. Given that extreme consequence, we’d better define ‘unprofessional’. Easier said than done.

The word ‘professional’ means, literally, ‘pertaining to the profession’. Not helpful. Let’s assume that the profession’s standards are being referred to, standards which, presumably, identify a certain minimum regarding quality of performance. For example, good counselling depends on trust; specifically, for example, the counsellee trusts the counsellor not to tell others what has been discussed during the session. Therefore, a counsellor who fails to maintain confidentiality is being unprofessional. To mention another example, it is incontestable that certain professions are best carried out when their practitioners do not accept bribes. So if a police officer or a lawyer did accept a bribe, s/he would be guilty of unprofessional behaviour. So far, so good. Continue reading

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Whose Violence?

I read the other day that “Violence in our society continues to be a problem.” One, duh. Two, no wonder. I mean, we haven’t even got it named right yet.

‘Violence in our society.’ It sounds so—inclusive. So gender-inclusive. But about 85% of all the violent crime is committed by men. The gangs are made up of men, the bar brawls are fought by men, the corner stores are held up by men, the rapists are men, the muggers are men, the drive-by shooters are men. This is sex-specific. The problem is male violence.

So it does no good to look at ‘society’, to look at our schools, our workplaces, our televisions. We need to look at our boys. We need to look at how we raise them—to become men. Because our girls don’t grow up to commit assault and homicide on a regular basis.

For starters, let’s admit that Continue reading

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I’m not a feminist. Feminism is so over. We live in a post-feminist world.

It used to be that men pressured women to have sexual intercourse with them. And despite the fact that it meant risking years of unhappiness for us (unwanted pregnancy, unwanted children), for ten seconds of bliss or relief for them, we’d do it. How stupid was that?

Of course, without the weight of the patriarchy, fewer of us wouldn’t’ve done it, but still. (And by ‘the weight of patriarchy,’ I include the social bit of being raised to yield to men and the economic bit of having to marry one in order to have children.)

But now? Nothing’s changed. Damn right you’re not feminists, as all you young things proclaim with revulsion. Because you’re still servicing men. Only now it’s with blow jobs. You’re still trading your pleasure for theirs. (Your clitoris isn’t in your throat.)

When a boy makes a girl come and keeps his own pants on, when a boy becomes popular (or a professional) because he knows what to do with his hands and his tongue, then you can say it’s so over.

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The Freedom to Fail, the Right to Succeed

Call it what you will, ‘bell curving’ or ‘marks inflation’ or ‘social passing’, or even ‘maintaining a certain flexibility with regard to evaluation’, an A is not necessarily an A.

 

True, the more students fail, the more apt they are to drop out, and the fewer students a school has, the less money it gets. But to lie to students about the quality of their work in order to get more money is to use them. Furthermore, if the students who fail did quit (and perhaps they should—institutionalized education, academic education, is not the be-all and end-all for everyone, and those who say it is are probably just trying to save their jobs), well, the institution may not need the money. So what’s the problem? A ‘money for the sake of money’ mentality is the problem. (Unless of course that money would benefit other students, those who don’t quit; but then it’s X’s benefit gained at Y’s expense.)

 

And true, the greater the number of failures, the worse the teacher or the school looks. But, well, looks can be deceiving.

 

Continue reading

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Let’s Talk About Sex

Disc jockeys generally come in two sexes: male and female. So what, you may think; sex doesn’t matter. Oh but it does, so sad to say.

On any given night, one or two of several things might happen. And until recently, I never gave them much thought. But when all of these things happened during a single night, it suddenly seemed clear to me that all those hitherto separate things were, in fact, related. They were all related to my sex.

On the night in question, I had agreed to fill in for a friend, to do his regular gig at a basement bar. When I arrived early for a show-and-tell with his system, I was immediately struck by – size. Mike and I started out as deejays at the same time: we went through training together, we apprenticed with the same outfit, and then we each bought out our identical systems and started our own businesses. I have pretty much kept the same system – a couple cassette players, a search deck, a mixer, an amp, and a pair of 12″ X 16″ speakers on tripods, with a microprocessor. Mike, I now saw, had added. And he’d added big: he now had two pairs of speakers, each 3′ by 2′, a second amp of course, and a couple CD players.

What is it with men? Continue reading

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The Olympians

Insofar as competition is the measure of oneself against another, it entails the view that the other is more important than oneself. Otherwise, it would be sufficient to measure oneself against oneself (a past self, a hoped-for future self) or against some absolute standard not necessarily related to any self. Such an other-regarding view usually indicates low self-esteem.

It does no good to claim that one competes, rather, to better one’s own best: it must be asked why one needs to perform alongside another in order to better oneself – a stopwatch or tape measure or videotape should suffice. That such competing against oneself is insufficient to bring out one’s best suggests, again, that what matters is what the other does, thinks, etc.

This seems odd, though: most world class athletes have such self-discipline and have achieved such a level of excellence that for their self-esteem to remain low, they’d have to be quite out of touch with reality. Bingo.

The hierarchal nature of competitive sport is such that Continue reading

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Figure Skating: A Very Gendered Thing

Many call figure skating a sissy sport, a feminine thing. To the contrary, and to my unrelenting irritation, it is a very gender-inclusive sport, a sport of both sexes, a sport where men must be men and women must be, well, girls.

Consider the costumes. The men usually wear ordinary long pants and a more or less ordinary shirt. The women, on the other hand, with such consistency I suspect an actual rule, show their legs–their whole legs–and almost as much of their upper body as they can get away with. And they always wear that cutesy short little girl skirt. What is it with that? Or they wear a negligée. (Ah. It’s the standard bipolar turn-on for sick men: sexy – child.) (Why is child sexy to men? Because child guarantees power over. And that’s what sex is to men–power, not pleasure. Or rather, the power is the pleasure. Probably because they don’t recognize the responsibility of power.) (So even in a sport without frequent legs-wide-apart positions, the woman’s costume would be questionable. But I believe it’s actually a rule–the female skaters must show leg. Like most rules women are expected to follow, this one surely was made by men, for men. As if women exist for men’s viewing pleasure.) Continue reading

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Canterbury’s Law, The Good Wife, etc, etc, etc…

When the pilot episode of Canterbury’s Law aired, I was really annoyed. The main character was an intelligent, powerful woman (a lawyer). Good. Who is shown obsessing over her appearance, albeit grudgingly, wondering whether the color of her suit brings out her eyes. Within the first hour, we also see her going to her husband for comfort and mourning a lost child.

The main character, a man, in Law and Order? I didn’t see the pilot episode, but I’ll bet it didn’t open with him fretting over his tie, and I’ll bet he’s never shown seeking, let alone getting, comfort from his wife, and being a father is not a defining aspect of his character. He’s just a damned good lawyer. Why can’t women just be damned good lawyers?

(Because the men who write the scripts and/or the directors who direct them and/or the producers who fund them are insecure – they can’t be men unless women are women. And being a woman means being a(n aspiring) beauty queen, a wife, and a mother.

Case in point. The Good Wife, The Trophy Wife, The First Wives Club… Why in the 21st century are women still so frequently identified as wives? That is, identified in relation to men?

We don’t see a similar proliferation of tv shows and movies with “husband” in the title. The word is emasculating. It would be especially so if it were in the context of “The Perfect Husband” or “Julia’s Husband” or some such.

Why don’t people see that “wife” is just as bad, just as subordinating?

(They do. That’s why the male writers, directors, and producers use it so often.)

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In Praise of AIDS

These days I’m kinda rootin’ for AIDS, you know?

First, I mean, if we need a ‘die off’, if we need a major decrease in the human population, in order for the planet (the human species included) to survive, well then AIDS gets my vote.

War would do it. But, whether biochemical or nuclear, it would also destroy a lot of the environment. Which kind of defeats the purpose. Furthermore, a lot of innocent people tend to die in wars.

And that’s the problem with major environmental catastrophe, another contender. Sure, a lot more earthquakes or droughts would do it–droughts are especially effective because they can cause mega-famines–but again, lots of innocent people would die.

There are other diseases which, in epidemic proportions, would do the trick. Continue reading

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Garbage

I was walking down the lane the other day and I noticed this piece of litter, looked like the melted bottom of a plastic bottle. I fumed for a bit, angry at whoever had just tossed it there, and planned to pick it up on my way back. To carry it all the way home, where I’d throw it in the garbage, and three weeks later take to the dump. And it suddenly occurred to me: why go to all that trouble just so it could be buried in some arbitrary place six miles away from here, when I could just as easily bury it here?

But it’s not so arbitrary, is it. It’s ‘away from here’, it’s not on the lane I walk on every day, it’s not in my backyard. And I realized then that when city planners started including dumps in their blueprints, we took a seriously wrong turn: with such a word, such a concept, we legitimized NIMBY. So too with words like ‘litter’ and ‘garbage’. What is that but stuff that doesn’t belong here, stuff we don’t want here, here in our back yard. We ‘throw it away’.

And where is ‘away’? Continue reading

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