Understanding Workplace Politics in America

You know, most executives don’t think much about labor until there’s a strike or a walkout. They don’t even have enough respect for us to look us in the eyes when they talk to us. If a suit has a problem with one of us, he or she usually tells a subordinate to hash it out with us, lest they lower their royal selves by talking to us common dogs.

In those rarest of times that they will actually converse with one of us, it is usually just to humiliate or degrade us, getting their jollies if one of us cowers before them with our tail between our legs. If one of us bites back, or even barks, we are punished with written reprimands, unpleasant duties, demotions, or even termination, and then used as an example by holding our bloody, severed heads up before the other dogs to frighten them into submission, should they ever even think of standing up for themselves.

They swing the power of their position around like some huge cock, intimidating every employee who will let them get away with it. Most of them are sad, pathetic little people with insecurity issues and feelings of inadequacy. Brutalizing the dogs for some sick, bizarre reason makes them feel powerful, just like the bullies that they are. Hell, the truth is that these suits are just pussies that wouldn’t have the guts to walk into a barroom, or anywhere outside of the corporate microcosm, and treat us like that.

You see it every day in the office, at the jobsite, and on the shop floor. They never return a “hello” or “good morning” except with a sneer or that twisted half-smile eye-roll that lets you know you aren’t worthy to speak to them unless they speak first. And …

The Politics of Morocco – Lunch with the King

The very best food of North Africa is some of the best in the Arab world. Moroccan food means spices of modest power with the healthiness that Middle Eastern food is known for. The Arab world is in a frenzy right now as governments throw off monarchy and dictatorships for free elections. But food (oddly enough) will also be affected. In Morocco, every restaurant has a dish named after or influenced by the King’s likes or dislikes. When I visited Morocco, I enjoyed eating the very best food that local restaurants had to offer and the “King’s Dish” was almost always the best food in the restaurant. At “Sim’s Restaurant” it was a dish featuring camel meat and spices. At each restaurant it seemed to be different. I surmised the dish was probably the restaurant owner’s favorite and had nothing to do with the king at all. I gathered it was similar to the way Americans view the president’s favorite food, but with one important difference. Unlike the United States which has a much larger population, the subjects of the Moroccan king seemed to have at least attended some function he was present at. They used the term “met the king” but I understood they had been in his presence. I found this odd. So it seemed they had a relatively positive image of him regardless of their level on the social ladder.

In America, we couldn’t imagine serving a ruler given his position by genetics. That seems morally reprehensible to us. But Morocco is very different than the United States. Sitting and talking to the people of Morocco, it seemed they loved their king; he came to the mosque and worshiped with them, so some people locally felt they knew their ruler. Although he had more than 10 palaces, …

Life Is Elsewhere – Book Review: A Novel by Czech Writer Milan Kundera

A budding poet and his mother are the central character’s of this brilliant book by Milan Kundera. It gives an incredibly candid account of the neurosis that many will have gone through in their adolescence and eventually in their adulthood. Kundera’s insight is both sad and funny but is always gripping.

Plot Summary: Life Is Elsewhere

Set in the author’s home country of the Czech Republic, this book follows the life of a poet from his accidental conception to his sudden death. The poet soon becomes the centre of his mother’s life as her marriage falls apart. No sooner can Jaromil write, than has his mother declares him a poet. As he grows up he tries to live up to the expectations of greatness his mother has bestowed upon him, before trying to rebel against her overbearing love.

Despite his best efforts to forge himself a life free from his mother’s ever watchful eye he can never escape her influence. He becomes a fervent follower of the communist party as a way of carving his own identity. His attempts prove futile as his mother retains her hold on all areas of his life, from his work to the clothes he wears and even the women he loves.

Themes in Life Is Elsewhere

Like many of Milan Kundera’s books, Life is Elsewhere, written in 1973, has several typically existentialist themes. He examines an individual’s search for meaning in their life amid the absurdity, alienation, boredom and angst it often brings. While Kundera deals with issues most people grapple with at some point in their lives, he does so with a refreshing and candid originality.

The book’s narrative begins before the second world war and ends as the Czech’s communist revolution gathers pace. The rise of socialism soon becomes central …

Book Review – The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Pulitzer Prize Novel by Junot Diaz

With exceptional praise for his Pulitzer Prize novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, it goes to show Junot Diaz doesn’t play around when it comes to writing great fiction. As a Dominican-American writer and professor at MIT, Diaz tends to work with the duality of the immigrant experience, and in this novel he undergoes the grandiose task of recording the saga of an immigrant family.

Introducing Oscar

Meet Oscar, a dungeons and dragons geek who is constantly falling in love. He’s an overweight ghetto nerd, kind and sweet but without any game. With his love for role playing games and his sci-fi antics, life is worse than pathetic. Two things are on Oscar’s mind: writing that Tolkien masterpiece and falling in love. But love isn’t a game and with his fear of dying a virgin clawing him inwardly, Oscar’s wooing gets over the top. He attacks girls with his no-end, no charm, and no-game approach, and eventually his overwhelming tactics scares off the ladies.

But what can you say. Oscar’s not the kind of guy to give up, but when things never work out for you, what kind of tragedy is that? Blame the fuku—a curse that has been haunting Oscar’s family for generations. And this curse doesn’t play around. It’s been around for generations, following Oscar’s family from the Dominican Republic and to the United States. Like Oscar, this curse just won’t give up.

Meet Yunior

Told in the point of view of Yunior, a creative writing student, who had to tough it out one semester as Oscar’s college roommate. Completely infatuated with Lola, Oscar’s over-the-top sister, Yunior missed his one chance with the love of his life and is trying to make up for the lost time.

Yet when he finds out how deeply nerdy …