May. 11th, 2006

fredsmith: (Default)
Another BAD art class yesterday. Last week I spent most of the class being berated for missing the first three classes.

This week again, very much with the 'ai ai ai' from the highly excitable teacher for me for still being unprepared and useless and behind everyone else.

And I WAS unprepared, I admit it, I came with no idea of what I wanted to paint.

But since she didn't explain what the assignment meant until this week, I'm not sure how I could have prepared for it. All she said LAST week was that we are going to do an 'abstract painting based on the human form'. So spent all week trying to imagine how I could depict the human form without drawing a human form. And ok, I didn't come up with anything. (Well. Actually I came up with just slathering paint on two canvases before getting on the streetcar on the way to class and letting all the rush hour commuters get crushed into them, making interesting designs and a daring statement about the body as the locus of contact with the external world and each other. Plus, incidentally, making a statement about my bitterness that those of us without cars are still not allowed to leave any canvasses at the art school.) But it turns out I was really being a little over-zen about the whole thing and she really just meant that we'd be painting human forms but sort of Picasso/de Koening style. Globby stick figures with loud backgrounds basically.

In fairness to me, I HAD actually remembered her other instruction from last week, which was to bring 'pictures of the human' form to discuss and work with. I mean, I only remembered it about five minutes before class at the magazine stand at the subway station on the way, but I did remember.

But there too I misunderstood the instruction. She did not mean naked people. I did not need to rush that poor man who was hogging the stand, and buy the porn magazine. After seeing the cute balerina picture that was going to be the inspiration of the girl next to me and the three fashion model picture the other girl was using I decided not to own up to even having brought anything at all and so got 'ai ai ai'ed again by the teacher for being totally useless and not even remembering the simplest things.

Eventually I just painted one of my canvasses all red and the other one blue. On the basis that I've never really gotten to use my really bright/unnatural paint colours before. And then the whole class had to come and look because, apparently, I am the class idiot who can never think of anything and needs to be bucked up.

I was told they was lovely. I feel patronized.
fredsmith: (Default)
I was bored and reading friends'-friends pages and found an old post with a debate over Starbucks and tongue piercings.

I don't really know the people and it was a while a go, so a bit off to comment directly.

But one comment bugged me.

The topic was Starbuck's apparent policy of refusing to hire anyone with a tongue piercing and firing any current employee who has one.

Someone commented to the effect that it's the employer's right to define their uniform and appearance standards.

I dunno how I feel about this. No, scratch that, I do know exaclty how I feel about this, I hear that sort of thing a lot and I think it's a bit silly.

Is there not a difference between 'Within their power' and 'their right'?

In a non-unionized workplace, sure, there are no laws forbidding employers from firing you for any reason short of a human rights violation. Or retaliation I guess, for various things. That's it. And since they can always, usually, find other people to hire you after letting you go, they can pretty much do what they want. They can, in theory, make up any non-racist/sexist etc rule they like and impose it, business justification be damned, cos what the hell are you going to do about it?

And sure, whatever, but that's well different from having a 'right'. Just cos you have the economic clout to impose your idiocy on others doesn't make it a 'right'. Cos really, a person has every 'right' to have their tongue pierced too, legally. It's just there's no way to enforce it if you also want a job.

I can see a better argument for an employer having a 'right' to require employees not to act in a way contrary to their business interests, actually, that actually is a common law thing. I can see the sense in the ER having generally the veto power in determining what IS in their business interests. But we already limit even those rights for all sorts of public policy reasons, so it's not exactly sacrosanct.

In a situation where the labour market was more employee favoured, say after a plague wipes out all but a handful of coffee-capable people, a person could negotiate a term of employment where say, maybe they could stick a clause in saying that the ER will exercise its management rights reasonably and/or in as least intrusive a way as possible.

This comes up in unionized places with beards sometimes. Not just in workplaces where there might be a legitimate reason for banning beards either, i.e. interferes with face masks. But ER's will assert that 'customer's prefer clean shaven staff' or some such thing, on just zero sociological evidence. And that's a rule that effects not just your work appearance but after work too. Silly rule.

And a dangerous attitude anyway, cos there's plenty of funky looking people out there who don't fall under human rights legislation protection who can be screwed by employers for no good reason.

Anyway, the actual content is sort of beside the point. My real thing is that not everything is about rights. Much much much of it is power. Stupid over-legalized society.

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