Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
The one hundred ninth award for the Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) goes to Andrew Breitbart, who has been offered a forum for presenting his side of the story by — surprise! — GQ of all places (hat tip to blogger friend Rob Bariton). As the subject turns to Hollywood, he lets fly this piece of bumper sticker goodness worthy of an embiggened font:
Hollywood has traded in the casting couch for the political fundraiser.
The interview continues:
The first thing that a young lady who gets off the Greyhound Bus learns is to see and be seen at liberal-based fundraisers.
You really think that’s the first thing they learn?
One hundred percent.
How are you going after Planned Parenthood? In what way?
They’re a corrupt organization!
These people are the best service industry professionals in the history of the world. They have a dark soul. But let me just say something about Planned Parenthood: I’m pro-life, but it’s because I’m selfish and adopted. It’s not because of some grand theological overview. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing an abortion van driving along at a conservative convention showing aborted fetuses. I think that’s the wrong aesthetic. Randall Terry shoving fetuses in people’s faces is wrong.
Do you think Planned Parenthood is going to be your next ACORN?
It’s not my ACORN. But yeah, I do.
Why do liberals have such boring radio shows?
I wish I could give you a more clever answer, but it’s because they exist in an environment in which they don’t have to ever argue their points. Conservatives know what liberals think because we have to swim in their waters.
Pretty interesting stuff. On the thing about Hollywood driving some crusade for ideological purity, it’s hard to deny it when you watch the Oscars. And it becomes even harder when you take note of that last part, about liberals never having to argue their points…and then you look at what gets pumped out. Follow the plot, follow the moral of the story at the end, closely inspect what the film is trying to say. Freakin’ boring.
I identify with what he’s jotting down here because I once made the mistake of entering management, and I co-mingled with some folks who had this attitude; “let’s make the entire world just like us, starting right here.” I’d seen this before, many years further in the past…previously it was bible-thumpers, this time it was Kerry/Obama-worshiping lefties. Should’ve seen it coming, but in fairness to myself, my role in this was passive rather than active. I didn’t choose to co-mingle. I got co-mingled. I’m guessing that’s how it works. Anyway, it started out promising…and stayed that way…as long as getting things accomplished was more important than showing my team-player-ish-ness, “no mavericks here.” Somewhere along the way, the job came to be about everyone on the team looking at the world exactly the same way to show what a great team we were, and not about getting anything done. No, really: If there was a deliverable and it was missed, but all characteristics that made us unique were completely undetectable, that was a success. On the other hand, if the deadlines got met with everyone tackling their own workload in their own unique way, that was a fail. I think that’s the definition — that’s when the trolley has come off the tracks. At that point, I got drummed out and I probably should’ve been. Now I’m an engineer again; I see it as a win, and a lesson. You want to see how management works, the same way you want to learn how sausage is made.
This is not a unique story in the technical professions, by any means. The paragraph above could have been jotted down by any one of, I dunno, maybe millions of people. Apart from whatever might be unique about my writing style, you’d never know who wrote it. It’s a fairly common story.
And the moral is that creativity is the first casualty when the managers-of-managers put some effort in to what I suppose is a natural, primitive desire, this crusade toward sameness. When they get it in their heads to say “Hey you know what would make our team really great? If everyone on it was exactly the same.” I guess we’re all a little bit like this. You see it in the way principals and teachers run elementary schools. It’s easier to manage a hundred ball bearings of equal size than a hundred objects of assorted shapes, sizes, textures, masses; gives you a lot more latitude to define the word “manage.” Lowers the effort. This, I think, is the root cause of reader Severian‘s rule (paraphrased): “All institutions not specifically chartered to lean right, end up leaning left.”
The casting couch for the political fund-raiser — that just captures it. If we were to napalm Hollywood out of existence completely, and start a new one, when all’s said & done it wouldn’t be appreciably different from what we have right now. That new one would also trade the casting couch for the political fund-raiser, and it would lean left. All institutions do this. They start out with an attitude of, let’s refine our capabilities so we can deal with whatever problem comes up. Which demands thinking like a righty: liberty; freedom; reward for hard work; try and try again, and all that stuff.
Then someone gets the thought going — this team will be greater than the sum of its parts, if we can get it working according to standards. It works, at first. And then there are more standards, then more, then more…then it becomes a clean-up operation when someone notices “I see if I give a job to this guy it will get done this way, but if I give it to that guy it will get done some other way.” Followed immediately by “there must be one best way to do any job, so let’s force everyone to do everything the same way after we figure out what the best way is.” That’s a problem.
You’re not going to see the good, rugged, quality thinking you’d expect, going in to figuring out what that best way is. You’d think the first realization would be “Wow, this will affect every little thing we do, we’d better be sure and get it really, really right.” You’d be reasonable to think so, but you’d be wrong. “How every job, big and small, is going to get done” is destined to be the most casual, breeziest, quickest decision your management team has ever made before, or will ever make again.
The method selected will generally be the method that offers the greatest sense of comfort — “awesome, that’s the way I was already doing it anyway!” — to the people who do the most talking. To the political-animals. Political, small-p, as in office-politics. The ones who can be counted on for very little, apart from getting the last word about every little thing. The people whose single favorite computer application is the e-mail client. At that point, you’re a bureaucracy. People don’t say it out loud because they like earning a paycheck, but deep down everybody knows it is true.
And your organization is no longer capable of doing what it could once do before. Ability comes from resourcefulness; resourcefulness relies on creativity; creativity cannot exist without individual autonomy and freedom. That is why the Oscars are lame, and that is why you aren’t watching as many movies from beginning to end anymore. Your attention span isn’t dwindling. The movies are more boring. Hollywood is practicing that “hey, let’s make the entire world exactly the same, starting right here” thing. They’re sacrificing ability & creativity for something else.
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