Friday, December 07, 2007

Capitalism Orders You to Have Fun.

Today is dress-down Friday. Don't forget the funny tie or the outlandish hat. Don't forget the ribtickling Kermit the Frog shirt. Friday is funday. These employers really take the fucking piss, don't they? Not content with sucking the lifeblood out of you for the working day and tacitly getting free overtime out of you (they call it 'flexibility', almost as if your free labour was a fact about your personality, something you willingly and charitably part with because you aren't one of those inflexible assholes), they have the nerve to try and structure your fun. Office drinks with people you fucking hate, at which you can expect flirting from middle managers who would ordinarily be pushing you around, and fun-filled news items about other departments in the company that you didn't ask for and you don't need. Days out, where you are invited to humiliate yourself in some sporting event like bowling or baseball while getting slowly drunk. Team games, the weekly cake whip-round, the birthday cards. Your fun. Your affections. Often your time. On their orders. Apparently, this sort of thing boosts productivity and team cohesion, but it seems more likely that it reinforces an ideological norm of cheerful willingness to be fucked around, to participate in official lies, to tolerate hypocritical wall-to-wall grins and bonhomie with people who will tomorrow be undermining you or overworking you by any means possible. Hey - you don't want to be a bad sport do you?

In one of my previous jobs, shortly before a wave of redundancies that caught yours truly, the manager thought it was a good idea for an Easter fun stunt to travel round the country in a bunny outfit with a dull power-point presentation filled with apalling attempts at humour. He called it the 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' (there was cake and various beverages). I mean it. He really did that shit. If I'd had time to prepare for this absurdity, I'd have been waiting with a shotgun behind the door: "Hewwo wabbit!" As it is, the worst that happened to him was a ubiquitous blank non-committal stare that the British seem to have honed to perfection, and which disarms bogus humorists in seconds. I believe I did my part. Why do we put up with this? Why don't we reassert our right to be miserable bastards? Be a bad sport. Be uncooperative. Be inflexible. Be prepared to poop a party in an instant. Hey, if you want some real fun, unionise the place, strike and drive them out of business. It's the best years of your life they're sucking out of you, dammit.