Lately I'm reading Sin and the Second City, a book about prostitution and its enemies in Chicago around the turn of the last century. What's interesting is that the most sympathetic characters–indeed, the most contemporary ones–are Minna and Ada Everleigh, owners of the most notorious brothel of the era. What's to like about these sisters: They know their own minds, they're not hypocrites, they have a fixed idea of what quality is in their business and, unlike the legal beagles and religious reformers who dog them, they have a sense of humor.
In response to a government inquiry into how her conscience allowed her to be a madam, Minna laughed. "I am writing," she said, "what I will call The Biography of A Lost Soul."
As for those dead, failed reformers, I'm reminded of them as I sit in a hospital in Ohio accompanying my dad as he takes some medical tests. I'm on the computer in his room, playing games with the silly minds of the hospital's IT programmers, who let me read news, but don't let me read sports, let me read endless "opinion columns" about pigs and lipstick but not a "lifestyle" essay by a friend whose wife is dying of Alzheimer's.
I realize I'm playing the Internet hide-and-seek game corporate employees andexecutives play all day long with IT programs designed to limit Internet access in the name of "productivity."
What a universal humiliation. How silly this will all look someday.
Joan H. says
I absolutely agree, David. I got so frustrated at my last job, where I was told that the IT security staff needed to know whether there was “a business reason” why I needed access to a blocked website. I replied that if my manager had approved the access (which he had), then it was not the role of IT security to further determine whether there was a “business reason”. That was a management decision; their role should be to see whether the site posed a security threat, and that was all. After being thwarted, argued with, and dealing with an amazingly smug attitude, entrenched in the power to indeed block this regardless, I was so steamed up that I went back to my cubicle blustering about the fucking internet Nazis and their overblown egos, and the audacity of a 20 year old to question my integrity, and wound up with a disciplinary action–against me–which I undoubtedly deserved, but really. Good grief. If you don’t trust your staff to use the internet appropriately–just as we use the telephone appropriately, and the copier appropriately–then just FIRE them and hire someone you do trust.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, David. I’m glad you’re there with your dad.