Wednesday, May 16, 2007

somewhat shocking?

This isn't going to be a post about my thoughts on Jerry Falwell (he died yesterday). There's enough of that to be found on the internet that pretty well sums up the opinion I have of who he seemed to be.

What I am going to comment on is this: how many 30 year-olds didn't know who Jerry Falwell was until yesterday?

I have always been a little intrigued by televangelists. But weird interest in televangelists aside - Jerry Falwell has been a public figure of note for many years. A fascinating and polarizing character. Beyond his infamous comments on September 11 (there was a little more to it, but he basically said, "blame the homos") and various other outrageous one-liners, Falwell will be most noted in history for orchestrating a movement that turned a virtually voiceless group of conservative Christians into one of the most politically powerful groups in the United States, the "moral majority". I chose the picture above because it's a new picture - Falwell shown alongside John McCain, a current Presidential hopeful. My point: he's been in the news recently.

Yesterday, two women I work with - 29 and 30 years old - said they had never heard of Jerry Falwell. Never. There are plenty of news items out there right now that were I quizzed, I wouldn't know as much about as I should. But Jerry Falwell is a name kind of like Madonna - you might now know their life story or what their real importance has been in the world - but you certainly know who they are.

Am I being harsh? Are there lots of people out there in my age category who have never heard of him?

Friday, May 11, 2007

eco (un) friendly

I think we can all agree that the old adage "everything in moderation" is a universally good rule to live by. If I want to eat two pieces of cake, instead of just one...if I want to buy two pairs of shoes instead of one...if want one more beer to follow-up the first 4 I just had....I try to think to myself "everything in moderation". Of course, I usually ignore that and go overboard anyway, but the thought does cross my mind.
What brings this topic to mind for me today is a situation going on in my office. A woman, we'll call her Sarah, in an attempt to do something good has lost sight of the importance of moderation. And it's this absence of moderation that has sparked an office war of ridiculous, and pretty funny, proportions.
It started last week at a staff meeting. It's the one time in the month where our full museum staff gets together. People you never see come out of the woodwork and bring their various thoughts, opinions and issues to the table. Sarah always has something to share, and last week it was this:
"Our organization isn't really eco-friendly. Frankly, I'm pretty pissed about it."
I admire anyone with a passion and the willingness to stand up and do something about it, and Sarah was on fire. Listening to her I was immediately reminded of my time working at a Patagonia store while I was in grad school. The store and its staff created the most eco-friendly scene imaginable - toilet paper was a prized commodity and I felt shamed and guilty for sneaking my plastic yogurt tubs and packets of Equal in every day. Behind my corduroy pants, long hair and clogs, I was an eco-fraud.
Sarah continued on a fairly long diatribe about the "pure evil" that are styrophome coffee cups and the "disgusting display of wasted energy" that is an empty conference room with fluorescent lights left on. I heard what she was saying and took note - we should all be more mindful of our behavior. We should pack up a coffee mug from home and stop using the styrophome cups, and when we leave a room we should turn the lights off. Heck, I'll even rinse out my Diet Coke can and put it in the recycling bin like a respectable person. No complaints from me.
No complaints until now. For the past week, Sarah has been on an eco-crazy mission. The evil styrophome cups? They're no longer a problem because Sarah has done away with them - burrowed them away somewhere - and there is simply no other option but to use your own damn mug. Forgot to bring your mug from home? No coffee for you, you bum. And the problem of wasted energy? She has started going on "walk-throughs" of our building, several times a day, turning off the lights in any space that is without an occupant for more than a few minutes.
Including the bathroom. Our public bathrooms are now pitch black upon entry. And I don't know about you, but I like to see what's going on in the bathroom before I enter. And she sends out multiple emails to the entire staff reminding us to turn the bathroom lights off after we leave, to turn the hallway lights off, and my personal favorite: to limit our use of paper towels when drying our hands in the is enough. It's gone from a valid suggestion to be more mindful of these issues to a wacky obsession. I'm fully prepared for Sarah to snap one day soon and slash all of our tires, forcing us to ride our bikes to work, like her.
Of course, there are people that have acted in an equally childish manner in reponse to Sarah's eco-crusade. People so pissed that they're now going behind her and turning the lights back on and it has quickly turned into a real battle. Yesterday there was a sign posted on the bathroom door that read, "Please be considerate to guests who visit our office - leave the lights ON." This morning there was a new stack of styrophome cups standing defiantly on the office kitchen counter, placed there by a mystery eco-hater. Sounds like war to me.
As for me, I'm doing my best to stay out of the battle. I mean, I love the planet - and I love a well-lit bathroom. But I think I love moderation more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

fashion police, part II

Just to update anyone eagerly awaiting news of what's going on with the fashion police...

We haven't even met yet. And in fact, I'd almost forgotten about the whole embarrassing thing - until...

A girl came to my office this morning, wearing a sleeveless top. She said, "Snake, are we allowed to wear sleeveless?"

She's fairly new to our office. She then told me that the guy she shares a cube wall with told her when she asked him the same question : "Go ask Snake. She's in charge of the fashion squad or something."

I don't think I can handle this.