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Month: November 2017

Zero Tolerance Reaches The Workplace

Zero Tolerance Reaches The Workplace

In Turnings theory, one characteristic of the era we are currently experiencing is that the young adult generation benefits from a renewed focus on improving the workplace. This continues the pattern from their childhood of being protected and nurtured more intensively than the generation that came before them. The Millennial generation in childhood was the benefactor of “Zero Tolerance” policies to keep drugs and violence out of schools. The recent uproar over sexual harassment in the workplace can be thought of as this same spirit of zero tolerance following the Millennials, as they age, into a new sphere of life.

We could think of each generation’s experience with sexual harassment when they were young adults entering the workforce as tracking the changes in the social era. For the Silent generation, sexual harassment was out in the open and normalized (think Mad Men). For Boomers, there was a push back in a new age of feminism and women’s rights. When Generation X was young, sexual harassment went underground, but was tolerated for the sake of career advancement.

Now, in the Millennial young adult era, the harassment of the past twenty or thirty years is being exposed, to the ruination of the careers of many powerful older men. There will be no more tolerance of it during the rise of the new young generation, in which our society has invested so much.

Today’s Workout Album – Born This Way

Today’s Workout Album – Born This Way

Thanksgiving week has come and gone and now it’s time to work off some of those calories. I’ve been listening to a lot of electronica in my workouts lately, but for today it was Born This Way by Lady Gaga, which I suppose is only straying from electronic music and not abandoning the genre altogether. Discogs calls the album synth-pop, but if sounds like rock and roll to me, especially my favorite track,┬áYou and I, which could have stepped out of a smoke-filled bar in 1979.

Lady Gaga is famous for her extravagant and absurd performance art, which you can get a taste of in the music video linked above, a postmodern train wreck of bizarre costumes and choreography that only barely connects to the meaning of the song. But if you close your eyes and just listen, you will hear a tightly composed, absolutely blistering rock anthem. I just think she is a very talented songwriter and singer.

Finally, here is some evidence that I am actually working out when I listen to these albums, and not making “fake posts” ­čÖé Took the picture in the car so as not to violate fitness center etiquette.

Today’s Workout Album – Puppy

Today’s Workout Album – Puppy

For┬átoday’s workout, more electronic music, from a relatively obscure 90s band, Fluke. This older stuff is a staple for a Gen-Xer like me. Their 2003 album Puppy has a lot of driving, churning beats to keep me spinning that cycle. And it’s nice and long, too; I almost listened to it in its entirety during my routine.

If you listen to the album, you might recognize one track. That’s because you heard it before here:

Thoughts on Living and Working in America

Thoughts on Living and Working in America

The latest audio book I have for driving in the car is the provocatively titled White Trash by Nancy Isenberg. It is very well written with knowledgeable and intelligent historical analysis. Basically it is about class structure in America and how the United States was never intended to be an egalitarian society. The founders were creating their own class-based society applying principles of Enlightenment philosophy, but certainly not abandoning the idea that some men were inherently better than others.

So over the centuries, different understandings of the nature of the underclass were prevalent. And different derogatory terms were used to denote them, from the phrase that title’s the book (originating in the nineteenth century) to today’s “deplorables” who elected the current President. Interestingly, an earlier President, Andrew Jackson, was also seen as a champion of the underprivileged who were despised by elite political society. His time’s equivalent of “deplorable” was “cracker.”

Another interesting fact of history is that in colonial times America was, for England, a dumping ground for undesirables. “Transportation” was an official policy to purge the homeland of criminals and debtors by sending them across the Atlantic. As the American colonies grew, each one took on its own unique character. The one where I currently reside, North Carolina, was considered an utter backwater, sandwiched between the more prosperous plantation colonies of Virginia and South Carolina. It was thought of as a “Lubberland” filled with worthless and indigent people.

At some point during the discussion of this time period, the book quotes a source declaring that, in contrast, the poor of Pennsylvania were hard working. As someone whose life currently straddles North Carolina and Pennsylvania (specifically the Philadelphia area, which was really all Pennsylvania was in the colonial era), it certainly feels like life up North is busier, more industrious than the South, though not necessarily to its benefit. I have lived in the South my entire adult life and enjoyed its laid back feel, not to mention affordable cost of living. And sometimes I have felt a bit like a “lubber.” Hey, what’s wrong with Plenty and a Warm Sun?

I recall once, way back in the 1990s, I flew to California for a job interview. Yes, I came this close (holds thumb and forefinger together) to moving to the Silicon Valley area. The hiring manager who interviewed me was middle-aged, with long, graying hair (think old hippie) and told me that he had moved from out East after his children were grown. He thought of the East Coast as having a quieter pace of living than the West Coast – it was ideal for raising a family, whereas out West was where you went to make money.

Just some thoughts on the long reach of the past and the different reputations that parts of the United States have. The South has not had a great reputation, but I have certainly enjoyed living here, and have found the Southern people to be decent and respectful as much as anywhere else. Honestly, everywhere you go people are the same, and there is always a vast underprivileged class.

Looking forward to finishing this book during my next long drive.

Today’s Workout Album – Robot O Chan

Today’s Workout Album – Robot O Chan

An old-timey “mp3 player” from the pre-smartphone era.

My usual choice of music for a cardio workout is some EDM, or Electronic Dance Music – what we old-schoolers call Electronica. It’s kind of monotonous and repetitive, to match the very nature of cardio, but with gradual changes to keep you interested. The tempo changes from fast to slow and back so you can have bursts of intense activity followed by cooling down periods. I have my entire collection on a small device, which I can bring to the fitness center and keep tucked in a pocket while I work out.

Today’s choice for an album was Robot O Chan by Prometheus, which, if you follow the link, you will see is an alias for a solo artist. So, a general rule is that an EDM recording act is just a guy from England, or maybe two guys from England, or sometimes a guy from Finland. The music is all synthesized, so you don’t need a band or anything, though some EDM artists will record guest musicians playing a normal instrument and mix it in.

This is my favorite track from the album, one of my favorite EDM tracks of all time: