Problems with Authority, Part III

23. March 2012 here now 4
Measurement, and pay, of course, matter very much. I’m not arguing for free work or unmeasured pay… Dan Pink the behavioral economist knows that paying people crap makes them work crappily. The people who perform best at work seem to be those who feel safe and comfortable. But let’s stick with the psych test, the ...

Problems with Authority, Part II

23. March 2012 here now 1
To recap: Eskimo wisdom — “By gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.” Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Behavioral economists. This is what I’m thinking about, lately. In this talk, the behavioral economist Dan Pink, a behavioral economist, notes that people perform poorly when big money is at stake. Then, as behavioral economists ...

Oatmeal

30. January 2012 here now 16
This morning, I put H.’s breakfast bowl of oatmeal in the microwave, because she said she wanted it heated up. She proceeded to scream at me because I hadn’t let her push the buttons on the microwave. When I told her I hadn’t known that she wanted to push the buttons, she could push them ...

Occupy the University

13. November 2011 here now 0
One of my students showed up at office hours to talk about the protests. She wanted to tell me about the general assembly. She wanted to know: Why did thousands of people turn out at Cal, and only hundreds in Irvine? What should she say to her roommates who don’t understand why it’s important? They tell ...

From fieldwork: Observations on Occupy Wall Street

07. November 2011 here now 2
An excerpt from the best writing I’ve seen on the OWS movement so far, by Jedediah Purdy: Do it yourself – DIY – is an aesthetic and also an ethic, which the Occupiers are trying to take from the personal to the social scale. Our world is rich, convenient, and often efficient because we parcel ...

Occupy

07. November 2011 here now 4
H. played with the stacks of flyers printed up with “What to do if you’re arrested!”  and “Know your rights.” P. stood in front of a small crowd that grew as he spoke. He told them about how it’s illegal to carry a stick at a protest. Who you call to monitor protests, what to ...

Match point

24. October 2011 here now 0
Scotch after dinner vs. swimming laps at dawn. The moment the sky turns gray-pink like the underbelly of  a river dolphin and the fluorescent lights around the pool switch off vs. the moment the hot water hits my skin in the locker room shower. Someone else’s hair on the stall door vs. the sense that ...

Listen to me

07. October 2011 here now 0
No one listens. This is not just a problem plaguing talking heads and politicians. We filter so furiously, we interrupt, we get caught up in our own agendas. We look at our phones. We need a snack. Other people speak, and we hear only what gets through the internal static. I criticize myself equally in this. It ...

Upon Buying A Medicine Cabinet at IKEA

06. September 2011 here now 3
The Ikea problem comes to a head in the bathroom section, where I have what I can only describe as an existential crisis. Who am I? Has it come to this? What does this medicine cabinet mean? The crisis is not allayed by my awareness, as my friend J. likes to say, that this is ...

The N.A.C.C.O.P.A.

24. June 2011 here now 0
Nashville. I drink endless cups of coffee and read poetry and yes, listen to country. Earlier, H. was experimenting with an old Casio keyboard. Now, P. is downstairs learning songs to play on his guitar, at a wedding. The wedding is tomorrow. He learns fast. Harper is delighted by her grandparents’ undivided attention. They don’t ...