Why You Hate Work – NYTimes.com

Does this sound familiar?

Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway.

This terrific article not only will explain Why You Hate Work, but it provides practical suggestions to improve work. Here’s the key learning:

Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.

Hitchcock’s Marnie…

I watched Marnie last night for the first time. I thought it was a good movie, although probably not destined to become one of my favorites. The acting was impeccable, Sean Connery was incredibly easy on the eyes, and I enjoyed the self-conscious artificiality of the world Hitchcock created, especially his use of color.

Marnie

Does this look like a nice guy to you?

I have read that this film “proves” Hitchcock’s misogyny, but I couldn’t see it. Men come off worse than women in Marnie. Marnie is damaged, but Connery’s character Mark is perverse in his obsession with her and his desire to “fix” her that doesn’t seem to arise out of any pure intentions, but rather out of a need to possess and control her. Rather than proving Hitchcock’s hatred of women, Marnie is another dark, twisted view of humankind that characterizes all of his movies and is the primary reason why I am drawn to them.

Whatever Hitchcock’s feelings about women were in real life, I don’t want to know about them. I am sure they were more complex than a simple hatred of women. What I care about is his work. If misogyny did come through clearly in his films, that would turn me off of them. Hitchcock does not shy away from female characters who are immoral, self-serving, or shallow; certainly there are women who are like this. I think he is interested in male obsession with women, though, as can be seen in Marnie, Vertigo, and possibly Notorious (which I need to rewatch soon). In all of those movies, though, I don’t see the man as a hero, as a portrayal of what Hitchcock thinks all men should be, no more than I see the woman as an indictment of what all women are. I see them as stories about people, stories that challenge our own exalted views of ourselves. This is why Hitchcock’s films continue to be so compelling.

The myth of the American dream…

An infographic on Vox illustrates that it takes a lot more than hard work to achieve the American dream. It also helps to be born into the right socioeconomic class and have the right skin color.

When are we going to stop blaming the poor for being poor?

Apparently, wealth makes you less compassionate toward others. Another bleeding obvious observation confirmed by science.

Junot Diaz on people of color in MFA programs

Read Junot Diaz’s piece in The New Yorker about his experiences in the Cornell MFA program.

I was in an English literature/creative writing program in the early 1990s, and I can remember only one assignment of a book-length work by a person of color, which was Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston. I cannot recall being assigned anything written by a person who was not born in the UK, US, or Western Europe. Granted, that may be a function of the classes I chose to take, but the core canon definitely excluded non-white, non-Western points of view.

I don’t know if things have changed. Judging from the comments on Diaz’s piece, I’d say not very much. 

From the piece:

“In my workshop there was an almost lunatical belief that race was no longer a major social force (it’s class!). In my workshop we never explored our racial identities or how they impacted our writing—at all. Never got any kind of instruction in that area—at all. Shit, in my workshop we never talked about race except on the rare occasion someone wanted to argue that “race discussions” were exactly the discussion a serious writer should not be having.”

Does discussion of race matter when teaching literature and writing? Should it?

Mansplaining, “not all men,” “yes all women”…

Language, memes, all the ways we attempt to tell our own stories–these things fascinate me. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about feminism and social justice issues, and engaging in discussions about them. The language that is used is often a heated aspect of the discussion. Here is some reading I’ve been doing on memes like “mansplaining,” “not all men,” and the corollary, in the wake of the misogyny-fueled shooting rampage last week, “yes all women.”

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Geek Feminism Wiki on ‘splaining (The Geek Feminism Wiki is overall a tremendously useful resource.)

What is splaining? And why should I care?

You may be a mansplainer if…

Here’s why women have turned the “not all men” objection into a meme.

Not all men: A brief history of every dude’s favorite argument.

Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism.

Not all men.

Normal violence in a murder spree.

Why the web needs #yesallwomen in a counterpoint to #notallmen.