Daily Archives: February 8, 2020

The Firing of Alexander Vindman & Gordon Sondland Should be the Last Straw

In my professional life, I’ve never aspired to a managerial position. But if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that a good manager does not want yes men or yes women. He or she at least listens and respects the opinions and suggestions of their team members. Whether or not they act on said opinions or suggestions is another story. But at least the employee is given the courtesy to being heard.

After the debacle that was the impeachment trial, you know whose victory dance went well beyond the usual petty and immature behavior. He fired Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland for telling the truth.

In any business, when a manager hires or fires based on whether or not an employee will yes them, that is something to be concerned about. But when a person in political office, especially in the office of President of the United States only wants yes people around them, that is disturbing. He or she must have different voices around them.

If nothing else, the firing of Ambassador Sondland and Lt. Vindman should set off alarm bells. The man whom we have unfortunately elected to lead this country is unwilling and unable to listen to anyone who does not agree with him. With the 2020 Presidential election less than a year away, this should be the last straw for the voting public.

But I have a feeling that for many, it won’t be. That is what scares me.

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Filed under National News, Politics

The Assistant Movie Review

The first job out of college is never what we think it will be.

In the new movie, The Assistant, Jane is a recent college grad. Living in New York City, she is working as an assistant to a well known and powerful Harvey Weinstein like movie executive. The lowest employee on the totem pole, she does the work of many low level assistants: she makes coffee, accepts the mail, answers the phone, etc.

But something is off about her boss. She sees a number of women come and go from his office. Her concerns lead to her to Wilcock (Matthew MacFadyen) in human resources. But HR is not exactly helpful. Can Jane continue to do her job or will her conscious get the best of her?

Written and directed by Kitty Green, the narrative is told in a real world, 24 hour narrative. The feeling of the film is very visceral. Lacking music until the very end, the sounds of an office fill up the space. Where music usually steps in to tell the story, the sounds of emails coming in, the phone ringing and typing takes the place of music.

If there was one thing that I noticed about the story is that the actions of the unseen but heard movie executive is not exactly a secret within the company. What is disturbing is that the employees either laugh it off or make side comments, but don’t do anything about it. Only Jane has the nerve to call out her the misbehavior of her boss.

This film is jarring, powerful and a seething indictment of sexism in the workplace.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Assistant is presently in theaters.

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

The Authenticity Project: A Novel Book Review

We are often told to be ourselves, in spite of the pressure to become what the world thinks we should be.

The Authenticity Project: A Novel, by Clare Pooley was published this week. Set in London, the book follows six strangers and how they are connected by one green covered notebook. The book starts when Julian Jessop, an artist whose heyday is long behind him, believes that most people are not their authentic selves. In a local cafe, he leaves a notebook with the title “The Authenticity Project” with a short entry written by himself. The owner of the cafe, Monica, picks up the notebook, adds her own entry. Soon, four more people write about themselves and become more than strangers.

The best word I can think of to describe how I feel about this book is underwhelmed. Though the book is well written, there are moments in which I nearly ready to give up on it. I wanted to root for these characters and I wanted to be shocked by the out of left field moment that appears towards the end of the book. Unfortunately, I was not able to.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Book Review, Books

Indebted Pilot Review

Family sitcoms have been part and parcel of the television landscape since the beginning. The question is, do these programs stand out from the pack or are they just a little too predictable?

Indebted premiered on Thursday. Linda (Fran Drescher) and Stew (Steven Weber) are a middle aged couple who, well, have not been the most responsible when it comes to their finances. When their debt becomes too much to bear, they move in with their son, Dave (Adam Pally) and daughter in law Rebecca (Abby Elliott). When generations collide, as they usually do, misunderstandings occur.

The thing about pilots is that they never reveal the nuances and the colors in both the characters and the narrative. That takes at least a season or two to develop. I was drawn to the show because it followed the standard premise of a family sitcom, but it felt like it belonged in 2020.

The problem with this show is that it trades on stereotypes and predictable character molds. I appreciate that the characters are Jewish, as there continues to be a dearth of positive Jewish representation on television. But I felt like the writers and the creative team leaned a little too far on the stereotypes instead of using them as a launching point for greater character and narrative exploration.

Do I recommend it? No.

Indebted airs on NBC on Thursday at 9:30 PM.

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Filed under Television, TV Review