Sunday, November 14, 2004

Big Fat Obnoxious Boss

I have just watched the second episode of this bonzo series and fallen off the couch laughing. I had a lot of problems with the previous series, "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" because it messed with family relations and people's lives; but somehow it doesn't bother me to see a group of greedy suits getting conned.

The series is a hilarious take off of the Apprentice. The actor portraying the billionaire mentor dispenses completely random and ridiculous advice and assigns completely pointless tasks to the competing teams. The series cuts right to the heart of what is wrong with Trump's series...his sexism, his lack of ethics, his pretentious business advice that represents all that is wrong with rapacious American capitalism. Above all, watching these supposedly top candidates perform like a group of monkeys that any of my undergrads could have out performed. All of these elements are crucified in this satire.

In the opening episode, for example, the group of apprentices is taken to an impressive venue and given what appears to be a banquet fit for the billionaires they aspire to become, but the food in fact is cheap crap -- the paté is baloney ground in a blender, the champaign is the cheapest rubbish they could buy, but of course they are told it is $100 an ounce and $1000 a bottle, and they of course totally bought it. Every working class stiff watching who believes that the rich really have no taste and that upper class food is about pretention not food, has their beliefs confirmed by this series. Watching these apprentices buying into the patent nonsense spouted by the actors playing the bosses is abosultely hilarious, and a shot at Trump and the entire upper class. Having the actors gloating off camera how they managed to get these supposedly top business people not only believe that the game is real, but manipulate them into ridiculous behaviours without ever questionning whatis going on... it is absolutely priceless.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

Yesterday was take your child to work day in Alberta. Strictly speaking, it is supposed to be for Grade 9 students, because the Grade 9 curriculum deals with career choice, but we dislike such careerism... Tigana had been asking about what we actually do at work, so we wanted to afford her the opportunity to observe Mary lecturing. This quickly evolved, however, to her providing a 'guest lecture'. Mary is doing her dissertation on work-family balance, and has often told Tigana that Tigana has taught her everything she knows about the importance of family. Consequently, Tigana volunteered to teach Mary's class on Social Responsibility about "why kids are more important than work."

Photo of Kasia in bathroom cabinet

Tigana spent several evenings writing her report, which she read out to Mary's class:

Why Kids Are More Important Than Work

by Tigana Runté

  1. When your kids are sick, stay home and help them feel better.

  2. When someone is mean to your kids, help them learn what to say and stand up for themselves.

  3. We would rather have you spend time with us than have lots of money for toys.

This report was well recieved by Mary's two classes; Mary and I were extremely proud of how Tigana was able to overcome her nervousness and read out her report to a room full of adult strangers. I'd have to say that her presentation was as clear and coherent as about half of those by my student teachers.