Citizen Pain

Yesterday, I was gifted with not one but three powerpoint presentations in a row. Here is a summary of the wisdom they blessed me with:

(1) "Why Learning Is Important"

* "Learning takes effort."

* "Your brain is not a sponge."

* You've got to "Future proof yourself."

* "Have a go - what have you got to lose?"

(2) "The Importance of Teamwork."

* A business is a bit like a football team.

* We don't talk about bosses, middle managers and workers anymore. Instead we have:

Activators (who do what the bosses used to do - decide on a course of action and order everyone else to follow it)
Communicators (who do what middle managers used to do - keep everyone in line), and
Problem Solvers (who do what the workers used to do - the actual work).

* You've got to believe in the project.

* "There is no I in Team."

(3) "Personal Motivation" (or How not to get Depressed When Things are Shit)

* "Motivation is an emotion."

* "Negativity is an emotion."

* One reason to lose motivation is when "financial incentive is withdrawn".

* "Motivation comes from within."

* Some people are born with an "innately high level of motivation" - you have to become one of them.

* If you get depressed, it's your fault for not telling yourself enough comforting lies.

There was one high point though. When the presenter, speaking in a dull self hating monotone, said in a voice without a trace of humour "You've got to have a sense of humour, or you'll end up killing someone."

And today...another two powerpoint presentations! One on Heath and Safety, and one on Discrimination and Diversity.

To summarise the first: If you fall out a window marked "Do Not Open", it's your fault.

And the second: Don't talk about anything except work at the workplace, and keep at least two feet away from everyone.

The trouble with trying to regulate the offence given over issues like race is, there's no way to know how much offence will be taken in advance. Oh, and it's also impossible to define race.

The trouble with outlawing harassment is, you don't know what forms of contact will be interpreted as harassment by which people in what circumstances until after it's happened. Oh, and claiming harassment can be used to harass.

The trouble with embracing diversity while preaching equality can't. You end up telling people they can be as diverse as they like, so long as they don't show it, and they're all equally valid because they're all equally anodyne.

I think the real issue though, is that the public are being threatened with fines and prison sentences to make them behave like any decent human being. As though they were children and the sin could be beaten out of them.

The government is trying to define what it means for people to get along with each other, as though getting along could be codified in an algorithm applicable to all occasions. The fact that the algorithm is unusably vague is inevitable, and that it's self contradictory shows why the whole project is misguided,

There's also the small issue that hate crimes are highly punished by a system which encourages them every day on television, but that's a different irony.

For what it's worth:

I won't make friends with you just because you're jewish, but I'll argue with anyone who bullys you for it, and with you if you bully someone else.

If you tell me an off-colour joke, I might respond with an even worse one.

And if you're happily heterosexual man I might flirt with you, and expect you to be grown up enough to understand how it's meant.

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