background preloader

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”
My neighbor introduced me to The Office back in 2005. Since then, I’ve watched every episode of both the British and American versions. I’ve watched the show obsessively because I’ve been unable to figure out what makes it so devastatingly effective, and elevates it so far above the likes of Dilbert and Office Space. Until now, that is. Now, after four years, I’ve finally figured the show out. The Office is not a random series of cynical gags aimed at momentarily alleviating the existential despair of low-level grunts. I’ll need to lay just a little bit of groundwork (lest you think this whole post is a riff based on cartoons) before I can get to the principle and my interpretation of The Office. From The Whyte School to The Gervais Principle Hugh MacLeod’s cartoon is a pitch-perfect symbol of an unorthodox school of management based on the axiom that organizations don’t suffer pathologies; they are intrinsically pathological constructs. Back then, Whyte was extremely pessimistic. Related:  thinking zone

Power Camp Out on the edge of the continent, on the site of a former evangelical retreat, there's a camp where businesspeople confront issues of power and authority inside organizations — issues fundamental to the world of work. Upon arrival, participants forfeit their corporate identities. Upon departure, they lose sleep, crash cars, leave jobs. Here the rules of engagement are different, the mental and physical demands extreme. Act One: Arrivals It's Saturday afternoon. the rain is crazy. and for the 50th time in 25 years, New Hope has virtually no chance of living up to its name. New Hope is a strange place: people enter society in preassigned castes — elites, middles, and immigrants — and the community pops up, Brigadoon-style, at Cape Cod's Craigville Conference Center. "Welcome to New Hope," the counselor says. With that, he excuses himself and the four elites launch into a six-hour whiskey-lubricated discussion of the kind of society they wish to create at New Hope. Act Two: Awakenings

Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald I am a long way from Australia at present. I am based in Amsterdam, and have been travellin in Lithuania and a quick trip to Karlsruhe. But I was asked to write something about Australian democracy, which I found difficult to be frank. I am not a political scientist nor an Australian historian, but here are some thoughts dating back to August: On 16 August 2011, there was a public meeting at St Peter’s Town Hall in Sydney’s inner west. Their fears resonated with concerns of farmers and communities across the Liverpool Plains. On 14 August 2011, the words ‘Dalian’ and ‘PX’ were disabled (or rather scanned for removal) on Sina Weibo, the extraordinary Chinese microblog network. In August 2011, Dalian had become a city seething with anger over petrochemical pollution. Taken together, one can see that defiance, demonstration, and a sense of the greater good are not confined to one type of regime. Several false starts later, here we are.

BetterExplained Eddard Stark’s Ethics of Honor ~by Kyle Cupp “Have you no shred of honor?” Ned Stark asks this question to the ever-plotting Lord Petyr Baelish toward the end of A Game of Thrones. The question exposes the Lord of Winterfell’s two biggest failings: 1) he fails time and again to realize that those around him (deceitful schemers he inexplicably trusts) have less care for honor than the Wall has warmth, and 2) his guiding ethical philosophy, so to speak, is as morally insufficient as it is simplistic. No one can say that Eddard Stark isn’t principled and doesn’t endeavor (most of the time) to stay true to his principles. King Robert lies wounded, near death, and has entrusted the kingdom to Ned, having named him Protector of the Realm. “So it would seem,” Baelish says to Ned’s assessment of the situation, “unless…” Baelish concedes the right, but suggests that Ned take the power himself, make peace with the Lannisters, and arrange a few marriages that will further unite the kingdom. For Ned, the matter is simple.

THIRD TIER REALITY Private Language and Marketing-Speak Marketing is, to a large extent, about communication. Consumer desire needs to be translated into a product and, in turn, the consumer has to understand how the product will make his life better in some way. A good marketer is a communication professional. Many marketers often use their own private language, marketing-speak, to communicate among their own tribe and with others. They shouldn’t. The marketing process is complex already and there’s no point in confusing everybody with opaque terminology that nobody understands. Moreover, the often indecipherable babble obscures meaning to such an extent that often marketing professionals don’t understand it themselves. The Beetle in the Box Ludwig von Wittgenstein made the point in his essay, Private Language and Private Experience. He made the analogy of a beetle in a box. The word “beetle,” wouldn’t describe anything in particular. At first, the idea seems suspect. The Difference between Knowledge and Reference Using Our Brains vs. Huh?

Truth About International Baccalaureate “The Hunger Games” Versus “Battle Royale” – A Critical Analysis of Two Similar Works: Act Two – Why “Hunger Games” is the Dumb American Version of “Battle Royale” Pages This Blog Linked From Here Wednesday, March 21, 2012 “The Hunger Games” Versus “Battle Royale” – A Critical Analysis of Two Similar Works: Act Two – Why “Hunger Games” is the Dumb American Version of “Battle Royale” This Friday, the first big tent-pole release of 2012 hits theatres: “The Hunger Games,” an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ 2008 smash-hit novel. Today, we’re focusing on what I consider to be an important cultural question: if “Battle Royale” and “Hunger Games” are indeed so similar, then why is one so wildly controversial and the other widely accepted? So without further ado, enjoy Act Two of “The Hunger Games” Vs. Jonathan Lack at the Movies Presents “The Hunger Games” Versus “Battle Royale” A Critical Analysis of Two Similar Works Act Two: What Do You Think a Grown-Up Should Say to a Kid Now? Why “The Hunger Games” is the dumb American version of “Battle Royale” I find it disturbing that “The Hunger Games” film adaptation is coming to theatres without any notable controversy.

Death threats from offended Buddhists | Buddhism for Vampires The picture above is an illustration from a chapter of my Buddhist novel, titled “Lord Buddha.” Apparently, some people who think they are Buddhists want to find it offensive. In fact, some have explained in detail how they will torture, rape, mutilate, and murder me if I don’t take it down. This is quite interesting. The comment thread on that page is somewhat hostile and abusive. American Buddhists may find this surprising, because they think non-violence and benevolence are central principles of Buddhism. That is a bit naive, though. So it might seem that the people threatening to kill me are on solid ground, in terms of historical tradition. However, as far as I know, there is no tradition within Buddhism that condemns “offensive” depictions of the Buddha. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot, for my Meaningness site, about fundamentalism , about the contemporary atomization of meaning, and about how these two interact. Fundamentalist Buddhism, based on Islamism The atomization of politics

Related: