Cynicism is the new Action?

We find it mysterious and telling that they have given us unfettered access to their online development sandbox. Suddenly we’re privy to inter-office memos and minutes from meetings we weren’t allowed to attend. Was this intentional or accidental? Bureaucratic snafu or just part of the master plan? Either way we now know things they either don’t care that we know or want us desperately to know but are afraid or unwilling to tell us. It’s a strange position and one that complicates our rhetorical standpoint as readers.

From a quick scan of the material we learn certain things about ourselves — we “have concerns,” we “seek clarification,” we “are coming up with our own plan,” and so on. This is the stuff of vague paternalism. Their minutes report on our actions like Pavlov recording his dogs’ daily drool. In scouring the universe for obstacles they have spotted the biggest one of all in us. We get in the way of their plan, although some among us are starting to wonder if “plan” is really too strong a word. They have momentum, clearly, but it’s obvious they really don’t know what they’re doing, which makes way (on brighter days) for opportunity.

Meanwhile and anyway, we now have a window into their world, and what we see when we dig through their sandbox (besides dismissive comments about us) is not too surprising — a rabid push for efficiencies, a drive to compress all time and content, a deep fixation on predictive data analytics as the new alchemical elixir by which all things base and bumbling (the people we are, the people we serve) turn magically, upon implementation and application, into gold.

We’ve decided to take all this with a grain of salt. S_ argues that we ignore it — this is all background noise, and we don’t have to listen. We can and should push forward, defining our own social and occupational realities, our own peda/androgogies, our own priorities rooted in guiding principles informed by research, experience, awareness, compassion and a baseline commitment to do our jobs well.

But some of us wonder if we’re just wasting our time. Yes, we should move forward, but with that insatiable monster fuming in the cave, is our own organizational momentum itself a risky move?

H_ says we need a design push. D_ wants to form some kind of coalition of no and storm the meetings to which we’re not invited armed with everything we know they don’t know we know about them. In short, we’re at a standstill, swallowing our own inertia.

Meanwhile the SPIDER CHARTS posted to their share-space look sick and scary.

The Dawn of Design

They have made their first move. Shadowy forms (strangers to this hub) shuffle about with the awkward grace of the undead. We have questions about demographics, timing, justification, communication protocols and larger forces (of nature and beyond). They have questions about favorite snacks and preferred morning beverages. There’s a meeting on Monday whose first agenda item is to write an agenda for Friday’s meeting. For us it’s all about protecting what we love. For them it’s about subverting a despised status quo. The temperature outside is a lean zero jazzed by an occasional arctic blast.

The big concern shared by most everyone is how to wrap our heads around a circle with no center. I for one know I was born into a different world, and I can’t say I recognize the one now forming around me. Somewhere west-by-southwest of the Pleiades, Comet Lovejoy darts across the night sky at a predictable comet’s pace, but there’s been serious cloud cover for the last three nights so, once again: opportunities obscured.

With all probability we’re in for some big change mitigated by the trundling ineptitude of those pretending to be in charge. Such is the path a moribund star might follow. We want to imagine good results coming in the end. We baste our reticence, as it were, in a clarifying optimism. We’re content specialists, after all, so it’s hard not to get excited when the bosses approach with yet another solution to a problem no one knew ever existed. (An old conundrum.)

So only the most bludgeoned among us are too sore and bruised after repeated attacks to take any of this too seriously. The rest proceed with caution: Perhaps there’s something to this idea? If we own it… if we make it our own…?