Saturday, September 13, 2008

a pile of things:

So, Bridge Troll was fired by Cardone Industries UK Ltd for making a blog post that mentioned the company's religious workplace policies, and his atheistic response to same. He's put the whole story on Lj for the world to see, along with some thoughts about increasingly controlling relationships between employers and employees.

Ben Goldacre is no longer being sued by Matthias Rath, an HIV denialist in the vitamin pill industry. Goldacre's article covers the weakness of evidence used to make claims in the supplements industry as compared with other medical research, and the readiness of people in that industry to shut down debate by means of lawsuit. The Grauniad has more details about Rath's activities in South Africa, where he took out newspaper advertisements claiming that people with HIV do not need ARVs.

Kyrias is investigating Landmark Education, an organisation some describe as a psychotherapy cult. (I believe that much of psychotherapy is more of the occult than the scientific - and I value the occult highly, you know? - but these guys sound truly special).

Aishwarya is all in favour of book burning. The blonde one thinks there's nothing 'ironic' about loving knitting and baking. And Kiya is on the warpath, with love.


Daisy said...

The Cardone thread wasn't too hospitable for Christians, so I'll post my comment here.

Does he get it? That people don't want to be insulted? That was a CLIENT who complained. That's why I never name my workplace on my blog either.

abandon fairy tales in order to embrace reason and humanism

Does he understand what he did (name his corporation and expect not to be fired when he insults them) doesn't have anything in common with "reason"? You can REASONABLY assume you will get fired for something like that.

And HUMANISM...well, how about he doesn't put down the personal mythologies of others? Calling people ableist insults like "mental" for daring to believe in a higher power? Is that supposed to be qualitatively different from calling atheists "amoral"? If so, I missed the memo.

And yeah, I just emerged from something similar, being raked over the coals as STONE COLD EVIL for offering to do "penance"...which you know, marked me as "mental" I guess.

In short, humanism isn't the word for it.

If he didn't want to be fired, he simply had to blog about "Corporate XYZ" like the rest of us do.

thene said...

Eh. It is manifestly true that Cardone's religious approach is more or less unknown in the UK, so I read bridge_troll as saying that they'd crossed a British social line. So he says 'no biggie' about it. And then he gets fired due to their hyper-vigilance about 'bad press' from employees? I agree with you that he should've expected trouble and blogged about 'Corporate XYZ' (or taken other steps to protect his privacy), but the mere fact that we do expect that is a sign of that controlling relationship he wrote about.

Is that supposed to be qualitatively different from calling atheists "amoral"? If so, I missed the memo.

I think that we tend to accept individuals who are secure in their views - whether religious or anti-religious - to brush off that sort of talk when they see it coming from a stranger on the internet. That a corporation failed to turn the other cheek is...well, like he said, you wonder why they get bad press.

I need to send you an email of GREAT JUSTICE. Will try to have it to you asap.

Daisy said...

Oh yeah, agreed. I work for a hippie-dippie corporation that endorses all sorts of stuff I don't necessarily believe in either, is my point.

Back in the 80s, every US corp decided they needed a "mission statement"--not sure who is responsible for that nonsense. (Peter Drucker or Stephen Covey, probably.) Some hack(s) would come in and have a meeting (think Bob and Bob in "Office Space"!) and they would decide on the "statement" after some interminable meeting: WHAT WE BELIEVE, etc. (We have one, too. Everyone does.)

And the Christian corporations (Chick-fil-A is probably the most successful) took this as THEIR opportunity to write it out, what they wanted the corporation to be/stand for. But before the 80s, these things were not spelled out. I see what the Cardone guy describes as pretty basic stuff, but that is interesting that you see it as crossing a social line in the UK.

Here, the "crossing the line" would be NOT spelling it out, very plainly.

Interesting differences!

thene said...

Yes they are! (My one atheist housemate has been known to say nice things about Chick FilA, how it's good that they don't make people work on Sundays. Few businesses in the UK work Sundays, and large shops aren't allowed to open for more than 6 hours on a Sunday even if they want to).

Here, the "crossing the line" would be NOT spelling it out, very plainly.

Do you mean not spelling out a religious POV, or not spelling out any mission statement? I don't think mission statements are unknown in the UK - but we do expect to make fun of them, hence Pseud's Corner (the first example there is, guh, what Lisa said, but you get the idea - Pseud's Corner is a graveyard for crappy mission statements and other meaningless twaddle). Religion, by contrast, is usually held private by the English in particular, and when British folks do get to discussing it they don't tend to show deference to Christianity in the same way USians do. My hunch is that most UKers would see Cardone as crossing a line, though I'm sure a sizeable minority would welcome that mission statement - I think it'd still be unusual even to those who supported it.

The odd thing is, I'm still convinced (the way the whole Palin trainwreck is playing out has supported this) that USians simply do not like openly discussing the religious and political difference between them. Like, actively trying to avoid it seems to be one of the goals of their social activities. Deference to Christianity seems wrapped up in this behaviour. I am writing a post about that that should be up later today.