Monday, January 30, 2006

I was talking to a friend of mine and she was telling me how much she hates her job especially her workmates.So I thought that she worked with men who were hassling her, alas I was wrong.She works in an office that is predominantly female when it comes to the gender of the workforce.So as I was trollling the net I came across this interesting article:

Secrets of the single sex workplace

By Darren Blacksmith

Go into a British bank, library, shop, hospital department or office these days and you may find yourself playing a game called ‘spot the male’. Vast swathes of working environments are now practically all female, and they can be pretty hostile for a man to enter.

I’ve worked in places where I was the only man, and I’ve worked in places where there were no women. The male-only workplaces were far more productive and pleasant.

I worked in an office where I was the only male. I found it a very revealing experience because as I sat quietly at my desk working away I sometimes just blended into the environment and the women often forgot I was there. So I got the chance to observe an all female environment. Kind of like the fantasy of putting on an invisibility suit and hanging out in the women’s changing rooms, only a lot less fun.

The first thing that hit me about the all-female office was the sheer amount of time it took them to get anything done. Their productivity was awful. At the time I was self-employed. Sometimes I worked at home in my study and sometimes I worked in offices. A little job that took me an hour to do at home in my study turned into a major project that would take a day or more for one of these women. The main reason for this was talking. The group of women talked nonstop, and less than half of it was about work. Mostly it was vicious and petty gossiping.

But more surprising than the talking was the way they would routinely leave the office to do a little bit of shopping, buying a new dress or even to entertain a friend who stopped by the office to see them. And if they weren’t talking to one another, shopping or enjoying a visit from a friend then they were talking on the phone. And talking. And talking.

Of course, women would claim this is the fabled ‘multitasking’ which they allegedly excel at. The argument goes that it takes a woman to do more than one thing at once. Of course, this begs the question that if a woman is occupied doing several things at once is she doing them to a standard and quality as good as if she’d focused on each one at a time. Also, the type of tasks that these women were doing in the office were not rocket science, so doing several things at once was hardly the achievement of the Century.

Not only did I find them shockingly unproductive, I also found them incredibly sexist. In the office there were several soft-porn postcards and a calendar of naked and near-naked men. And often there would be a sign up with some man-bashing comment or joke. The women would also make anti-male jokes and pepper their conversations with pronouncements on the inadequacies of their menfolk. Men would never get away with this in an office these days, but for women it seems its fine. After all, whose going to challenge them?

Ten or twenty years ago all-male workplaces where women rarely ventured (such as workshops and garages) often had a female ‘glamor’ calendar on the wall featuring topless or bikini clad women. Today you never see this in these all-male workplaces, but you do see calendars and postcards of naked men in offices and workplaces where both men and women work. Presumably its okay to make a man feel uncomfortable at work, but not a woman. God, there was even a postcard of a naked man up in the barbers where I have my hair cut! Now, there were two women working there and two men, but all the customers are men. Do we really want to see this? Most men don’t.

What makes the men-bashing of the female office so hypocritical is that while they put down men, belittled them, gossiped about them and judged them behind their backs, they were utterly and pathetically dependent on men for emotional and technical support throughout their working week.

They would frequently let their moods, periods, or other minor incidents upset them and that would require them to talk to their boyfriends or husbands on the phone to put them back on track.

Computers and technical equipment presented numerous problems for them that continually required either my assistance, or a phone call to summon a tech-support man. Of course, men in offices also sometimes need help with technical problems - although not as often I suspect as women do - but the difference is that we don’t gossip and bitch about the tech-support man’s shoes and hairstyle five minutes after he’s left.

To witness a woman flirting with a male delivery man to get what she wants, then making bitchy comments about him just after he’s gone is to understand how much crueler and duplicitous women can be than men.

The constant phone-calls, bitching, emotional upsets, sexism and un-productiveness were, thankfully, not present in the all-male working environment. The all-male workplace I worked at was a building site. A range of professional tradesmen - bricklayers, plasters, painters, carpenters, electricians and plumbers - collaborating to build 24 new houses. Counter to what you might think about a building site, or how building sites are portrayed on TV and films, not once did a poster or calendar of a babe appear anywhere, and not once did any worker whistle at any passing woman. I never heard any vicious sexist jokes or comments and on the rare occasion a woman came on site, she was treated with good manners and often shown special treatment. Girlfriends and wives when mentioned were talked about fondly, and if they were the butt of any humour it was more kind than callous.

It’s hard to explain how refreshing the all-male environment is in comparison to the all-female one. It is the combination of professionally getting on with the job, the lack of bitching and histrionics, and the fact that if you need to ask for something or talk to someone you can do so in a straightforward, logical way and not have them take everything you say as a personal affront to them.

If you ever get the choice, I recommend working in the all male workplace. You’ll probably have a longer working day, less breaks and chatting, but the pride in a productive working week and the sense of self-respect in treating others and being treated in a fair, respectful, non-bitching way will more than make up for it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

I rarely get to watch movies because most movies made nowadays are crap and I just don't have the time to do so.What I do most of the time is read reviews and If what I read resonates with me I get hold of the dvd.Anyway people have been bubbling about 'brokeback mountain' so I got hold of a review.I do intend to read other reviews but this is what this review said about the movie.

Review by David Laza
Jan 4, 2006

Love story or tragedy, heart-rending or stomach-turning, Ang Lee’s gay cowboy epic Brokeback Mountain could do for Prozac prescriptions what Titanic did for life preservers.

As cinema, it showcases Lee’s trademark gusto for fine performances, dazzling cinematography, and intriguing, often weighty storylines.

As social commentary, however, it does less to advance the ball in the alternative lifestyle debate than advocates and media elites would like to believe.

Because at its root, Brokeback Mountain is a film less about the courage acolytes ascribe to it than about choices. And those choices are almost uniformly squandered throughout by central figures Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger).

The resulting melancholy with which many moviegoers will exit may have less to do with the plight of those chief characters than with the scrap heap of broken lives each leaves behind.

Beautifully shot, with the same eye for setting and mood as the clinically cold 1970s New England he depicted in Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm, Lee’s take on Anne Proulx’s short story captures both the breathtaking majesty and desolate loneliness of Wyoming’s Tetons.

And like the swinging, me-generation postmodernism of The Ice Storm, Brokeback takes on moral ambiguity, selfishness and infidelity in matter-of-fact, you-be-the-judge fashion. This is reality. It is what it is. And it’s up to the audience to decide whether it’s right or wrong.

Brokeback tells the story of Jack and Ennis, two presumably straight Marlboro Man types who fall in love during the summer of 1963 while tending sheep on the movie’s eponymous mass of rock – a love quickly consummated in a holster-your-popcorn, Rolaids-inducing sequence played out one cold night in a pup tent.

When the summer ends, and the job is over, the two must make a choice: try to make a go of it together and continue their relationship (which Jack wants), or bow to the inhospitable climate of that era and try to lead straight lives. They choose the latter, and to paraphrase Robert Frost, that makes all the difference.

Each marries and starts a family – Jack in Texas, Ennis in Wyoming. But their longing for one another can’t be abated and so begins a 20-plus-year affair, punctuated by long “fishing trips” on Brokeback during which (amazingly) no fish are actually caught. There’s little doubt these two men love each other. The way the pair ravenously attack one another in the parking lot of Ennis’s apartment complex after a four-year cool-down – while long-suffering wife Alma (Michelle Williams) helplessly watches through a window – conveys nothing less.

The fallout, of course, is calamitous. Ennis’s marriage ends in divorce, his kids are left fatherless, and he becomes an alcoholic, hopping from job to job and passing his days in a dilapidated single-wide trailer. Jack, meanwhile, takes on his demons by hiring male prostitutes and carrying on affairs with other men when he can’t see Ennis. His marriage somehow stays intact, but his life takes a similarly southbound spiral.

Depending on one’s outlook going in, Brokeback Mountain viewers are likely to leave with different impressions.

Those who laud it, like the Human Rights Campaign, which will give Lee its annual Equality Award next February, are calling it an eye-opener, with the power to change hearts and minds about the tenderness, and often pain, of the gay experience.

“Through his moving directorial work, Ang Lee proves the old adage, ‘Love is love is love,’” the gay rights group’s president Joe Solmonese said recently.

But is this the kind of love that should be celebrated? The kind of love that spawns infidelity, breaks up families, and creates almost suicidal depression?

Three years ago, gay filmmaker Todd Haynes took on a similar theme in his 1950s era Douglas Sirk send-up, Far From Heaven. In that film, long-closeted Dennis Quaid succumbs to his urges and leaves long-suffering wife Julianne Moore for another man. Advocates were almost nowhere to be found when that film was released, perhaps because Quaid’s character was implicitly shamed as a louse. Not for being gay, but for being dishonest from the outset and for ruining lives, for starting a family and ultimately sacrificing it for physical desire.

Man is inherently flawed. All of us have yearnings, demons, and temptations we struggle with each day. But our choices have consequences. It’s one’s ability to be honest with himself and others, how he chooses to act on those weaknesses and his ability to reason and control impulses, that helps define his character.

The challenges homosexuals face each day about coming out, creating lives for themselves, coming to terms, and fighting intolerance and escalating suicide rates are too important to be ignored or swept under a rug.

But Jack and Ennis are not heroes, nor are they courageous. They’re selfish. And at a time when Americans remain uneasy about issues of acceptance and gay marriage, Brokeback Mountain does not advance discussion the way films like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and Gentleman’s Agreement did two and three generations ago, when it came to the shame of racism and anti-Semitism.

Instead, it risks trivializing and leaves questions. Questions about whether these two men would have led the kind of lives they did had they never met; about whether much of the hurt they caused could have been avoided had they chosen the other path.

And about whether viewers will be moved to sympathize, or to hit their nearest pharmacy.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Anyone who knows me knows that despite all the flack and demonisation of everyday straight men that goes on I refuse to be swayed and remain very proud to be a man and will never apologise for the sins of other men past or present.But that does not mean that in my eyes there is no wrong that men can do, au contraire I think that men once occupied a priviledged place in society and even though that position has been eroded with time and social change they should still act like it is.
One thing that gets to me is that lack of personal responsibility and accountability by many men today.Not to say that in the past that all men were bastions of virtue but men in those days were raised to be accountable and be accountable for the results of their indiscretions.One reason way back there were few single mothers as compared to now with all the sex education that people have is that when a man made a girl pregnant he had to do the right thing (can you say shotgun wedding?).Nowadays that is no longer the case.I know a case where a Kenyan guy here in the states made his room-mate pregnant (what happened to the good old saying? - "don't shit where you eat").After she gives birth the pal somehow brainswashes the girl into telling curious people that the dad has gone back to Kenya.Seeing as which she is a pretty homely girl and has a very small circle of friends people knew that a yearn was being spun.It was after some intense pressure from my aunt that she told him who the father was.Despite the fact that they live in the same house this guy gives minimal support both physically and financially.He once told the girl to take the kid to social services and tells her to have the kid sent to her parents in Kenya.This same guy goes to the extent of when a gal pal of the mum comes over, of telling her how much the kid looks like the mother's ex boyfriend who is the current boyfriend of this girl who is visiting.I mean talk about shitting on someone's representation.I hear that when the other guy heard that he was not very amused.I would have gone one better and given him an ass whupping.I don't suffer people who drag other people's reputation in the mud lightly.
I am a simple man who lives a simple life, so if you're going to have some hanky panky for fuck's sake use a condom.I mean this dude was in his own house so he has no excuses.This is States and I have no intention of being put into indentured servitude for 18 years for a few minutes of fun.Life, love and sex are a war, and a soldier who intends to live another day always enters the battlefield with an exit strategy that has the lowest body count.
All in all if you are going to do something be ready to face the consequences and remember that the same people that you stamped on as you climbed the mountain of fun are the same people you will face on the way down.All that being said I am 110% proud to be an African man and yes there are some despicable men out there but that does not mean all of us are evil,also I will not apologise or be shamed for their actions; I will keep on stating this all day!If you dont believe me you can go live in a gay or lesbian commune because I cant fix what doesnt want to be fixed and men will always be here!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Welcome to my blog.The main reason for this blog is to comment about social issues.I am not p.c and will say alot of things that people know but don't want to hear.If you don't like what you hear browse to a site more appropriate to you like this.