Thursday, February 09, 2012


Friday Fragments

This Marketplace report brought me up short. 

It’s about Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, endorsing gay marriage in New York.  The report notes that CEO’s of major banks aren’t generally known for taking positions on potentially divisive social issues.  

What caught my ear was the pair of lines toward the end.  One interviewee notes that the kind of people who would object to gay marriage aren’t the kind of people who have enough money for him to worry about.  The second line, by the reporter, noted with a smirk that Blankfein doesn’t have to worry about how his views will “play in Peoria.”

I don’t have an issue with the substance of the report, exactly.  It’s true that we don’t usually expect to hear CEO’s take positions like that, and as it happens, I agree with the position he took.  But the smug and un-self-conscious classism in which the report was couched was bracing and, frankly, disturbing.  It plays into the stereotype of limousine liberalism, and it suggests that people who don’t matter -- the folks Lloyd Blankfein doesn’t have to worry about  -- amount to punchlines.


The Boy and The Wife sometimes watch The Middle, a sitcom about a family in the Midwest.  This week’s episode featured, among other things, a brief discussion of French kissing, along with a definition.

TB recoiled, as if from a bad smell, and asked TW “is that real?”

Sometimes you forget what the world looks like when you’re ten.


Like many, my college uses Google sites to post documents for internal campus use.  (Examples would include meeting agendas, minutes, motions, etc.)  

Having done that for over a year now, I’m starting to think that posting a document to Google sites is sort of like putting a vegetable in the crisper.  In theory, it makes perfect sense.  But in practice, it’s where things go to be forgotten.


Of course, Google docs can sometimes be relatively public.  The New Faculty Majority is crowdsourcing a compilation of profiles of adjunct pay and working conditions using a Google doc -- the link is here.  A quick glance showed that a college I know has its rate for a 3 credit course understated by about 40 percent, so I strongly encourage the NFM to do some serious fact-checking.  

With the caveat that some of what’s there is unreliable, though, I like the idea.  If nothing else, it may dissuade potential graduate students from throwing themselves into the sausage grinder.  That would be a genuine public service.

Re Blankfein:
In his business, if it is good for his top employees, it is good for business. I was more struck by mention of Home Depot's support in that article. That might not play so well with its NASCAR fan base at Daytona!

Have your college lawyers looked at how the new Google privacy rules might affect your use of those resources? Just asking, since my college has everything in Microsoft's cloud and it seems like everyone accepts its security as a matter of faith.
Re: The Google "Vegetable Crisper"

I occasionally refer to "write-only documents," those documents you have to write, but are never actually read by anyone else. Project Management types seem to love them.
Re: npr and Blankfein:
I didn't hear the report, so I'm going by your description, but the classism I'm getting is reverse; Blankfein can take that position because he's insulated from the opinions of "real" America. I.e., the stereotypes are limousine liberal vs. blue-collar conservatives, but Blankfein is the one portrayed as out of touch. Meanwhile, I think lots of people in business and politics - Blankfein, O'Malley, Cuomo, Home Depot - do see the way the wind is blowing and are placing their bets accordingly.
Microsoft came out a week or two ago with an official statement saying that they (or at least their top managers) endorse gay marriage. Their official reason was that not having gay marriage prevents them from attracting/retaining top talent. If you think about it, it's true; If I'm a gay man who wants to be with my partner, and who's an exceptionally talented developer/manager/etc, am I going to live somewhere that discriminates against me, or somewhere that welcomes my life choices? For creative industries, this choice is a no-brainer.

I'm sure that large banks have the same feeling. There's not too much politicking here, it's just better business.
In addition, Andy Sullivan's dream, that gay men be welcomed into the halls of privilege, is pretty much coming true. The best part is, Sully won't have to share space with all those dirty and lazy POCs he and Charles Murray dislike so much.
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