Google Announces Firing of 48 Serial Harassers…Good for Them?

“In 2018 America, utter disregard for women, their stories and their bodies starts at the top. This week, we learned that one of our country’s most powerful and influential global companies has taken steps to eradicate workplace harassment, with a clear if unspoken demand that we pat leadership on the back for its forward thinking.

On Thursday, reports emerged that Google fired 48 employees over a two-year period for sexual misconduct. Great news, right? The company sure seems to think so. Note the overt self-congratulation in an internal email sent to global staff:

‘In recent years, we’ve made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority.’

As a woman, a corporate worker and a thinking person, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this news, though Google would clearly appreciate my gender giving thanks for its wokeness.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

America: You Must be This Tall to Ride?

Recently, we saw the introduction of some truly terrifying measures from the current White House administration. They include a bill that would halve the annual number of immigrants allowed into the United States. We’re also seeing Affirmative Action challenges in higher education: indicators of increasingly vocal levels of xenophobia. And over the weekend, the private sector joined the “fun” with a published manifesto from a Google employee advocating for less diversity, based upon debunked notions of gender inequality.

All of this points to an undeniable and disturbing trend. The administration – and more than a small number of (male) business leaders – want to directly control who has the ability to succeed. They’re also challenging what it means to be an American. Authoritarianism and “othering” were behind proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act, which were recently rejected. Similar shades of over-reach have been witnessed in continued attacks on women’s health. The fear and subjugation of the “other” is also found in an onslaught against trans civilians and individuals in the armed forces.

The rules for “who belongs” in America, set by predominantly white men is beyond unacceptable. While CNN’s Jim Acosta could have made his point without throwing shade at other country’s English-speaking capabilities, his larger argument was solid. By limiting who can enter, and further reducing the definition of free citizenry, we stray from the empowering words of “The New Colossus” engraved at the base of Lady Liberty.

Fortunately, while blinding, dominant, white male ideology is working to limit the diversity that actually makes America great, individual movements are mobilizing to combat the ignorance.

For our trans brothers and sisters, Bandcamp hosted a fundraiser this past weekend to benefit the Transgender Law Center. This comes on the heels of Lambda Legal preparing recourse should the tweet storm come to actual military disenfranchisement. Perhaps even more significantly, even if we’d prefer to raise attention another way, the Kardashian Clan’s outrage toward Caitlyn Jenner’s “Make America Great Again” cap is creating conversation on social media.

As far as immigration, the statistics prove that increasing or reducing the number of entrants to the country has little to no impact on jobs available to U.S. citizens. In fact in industries staffed with majority immigrant labor, the economy is bolstered rather than injured. This verifiable truth highlights the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Trump administration.

If we’ve reached a place where we’ll stop efforts at educational equity, accept immigrants on a points system, restrict basic healthcare, and deny rights based on selfish and irrational interpretations of gender, it’s time to tear down the Statue and mail her back to France in boxes.

Nobody likes packing. Let’s leave the Lady, and American diversity, standing stronger, rather than torn apart in pieces.

Obama: Education Key to Economic Success (September 28, 2010)

With all due respect to our Commander in Chief, this claim carries the weight of the past – the presence of a tried and true American economic meritocracy. Though this “self made” mythology served us well for several generations, it is the refusal to acknowledge that times have changed that instills such a frustration with the political classes – of all stripes.

It’s 2010 Mr. President and I beg to differ. Can I see a show of hands of those who have an undergraduate degree, even a Master’s or PhD, yet count themselves amongst the unemployed or underemployed?

[Boop also raises hand.]

That’s what I thought.

Bring up your web browser and Google the phrase “young graduates can’t find work.” The very first story I clicked on discussed the increased spate of suicides amongst recent college grads: children raised to believe that if they worked hard enough, and wanted “it” bad enough (whatever form “it” may take), there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. Flash forward a decade and most of these young people are saddled with $100k in student loans while considering themselves “lucky” to find the randomly open retail or restaurant position. The struggle to make ends meet is no longer the exclusive domain of the uneducated.

My intuition tells me that if I took a poll within my own circle of friends and family (a group that is admittedly, rather learned), I would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been faced with unenviable choices. Do I go for my annual checkup, which will require me to pay a couple hundred toward my health insurance deductible, or do I pay for my child’s school fees? Do I pay the electric bill in full or should I start putting a little something aside for Christmas (Eid, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.)?

While there is no doubt that our educational system, with its astronomical costs and rampant inefficiencies, is in need of some serious rehab, it is disingenuous to foist this Jedi mind trick argument upon us: all that’s missing from our ability to remain internationally competitive is a few college degrees. Horse puckey.

Case in point: I have a very good friend who took a job as a batboy with the Chicago Cubs when he was an undergrad. In the course of six months, said friend netted himself a cool 80 grand – a veritable fortune for a person not yet of legal drinking age. The problem was that the job was way too demanding on his time and energy. When he found himself in danger of failing most of his classes, he politely declined to return to the team next season. The ball club, largely full of uneducated athletes, showed my buddy mad respect for his wizened decision.

Seven years later, with a cum laude degree from DePaul University, my friend is still chasing that earning power he enjoyed at the age of 19. After enjoying a respectable career at a large non-profit, he is presently up for a groovy promotion that will earn him the right to make 60% of what he did as a batboy.

Hmmm….athletes and entertainers. I wonder where our kids got the idea that 15 minutes of YouTube limelight is the only path to financial freedom? Maybe because in 2010, that is looking more logical than ridiculous. As they watch their educated, hard working parents come home each night, tired, unhappy and yet still struggling with the mortgage payments, these offspring declare “not I,” and spend more time working on their jump shot than math homework.

And the vicious cycle continues.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love college. I love life as a student. If I had my druthers, I would just collect degree after degree, insulating myself from reality in the comfortable, navel gazing world of academia as long as humanly possible. The Master’s degree I earned in English Literature has opened up a world of culture, critical thinking and personal enjoyment that would never have been available to me otherwise.

But I am about to be an unemployed administrative assistant. I feel like a failure for losing a job that was always just “good enough.” Most Americans are nothing if not pragmatic. Instead, if I lived in the USA of Obama’s stumping, I’d be big, high rolling pimp of a wordsmith, instead of struggling to pay off student loans on a 35k income – that I am about to do without.

If I am wondering where the return on my educational investment is, I am certain I’m not alone.

In the 21st Century, You Know You’re on the Right Track When… (December 9, 2009)


I know it’s really small, but look! My name autocompletes on Google!

This caused me a considerable degree of excitement last night, because, as recently as a month ago, this was not the case. This development in my writing name recognition is purely the result of my work for the Edge, as a theater and book critic. Not only do I get “hits” for my reviews posted on the site, but my writings are in turn repackaged and requoted on other websites such as Beacon Press, Theater in Chicago, the Drury Lane and the Auditorium Theater.

Though I have recently been nominated for two awards by the Illinois Women’s Press Association in their “Features” category for my work for StreetWise on the topic of urban agriculture, StreetWise does not have an online edition. Though my reporting for the publication certainly boosts my chops and credentials, this does not raise my profile digitally. The awards will not be handed out until May, 2010, but I will be sure to post the outcome when the time comes (like you could stop me anyway).

I have had a lot to be dour about this year, and I have certainly struggled to feel “accomplished” at many intervals. The New York Times has not come a’knockin’ yet, but I left the corporate world just seven months ago to try and make a name for myself as a writer. According to the folks at Google, I am on my way.