Sunday, May 31, 2015

In which we watch "House of Cards" and Primo is horrified because it portrays politicians as Bad People

Now that the election is over and Primo does not have a job, something I still am not crazy about, although at least I come home to a house with the laundry done and clean dishes - we are working on Principles of Clean Bathrooms and The Proper Way to Clean a Kitchen Floor, he finally has time to watch TV.

He could have had time before, but he would rather spend his free time arguing about politics than watching Last Tango in Halifax or Orphan Black. I do not understand the man.

So now he is willing to watch TV. I had watched both seasons of the US version of House of Cards and the entire British series, so I know how it ends.

I won't spoil it for you guys.

Unless you want me to.

Just give me the word.

Oh wait. By the time this is published, season 3 will already have shown. Unless they make huge plot changes, then...

I better stop.

So Primo is crushed that politicians are evil and venal and do not work for the Good of the People but instead work for the Good of Themselves, like any other human being.

Of course, that is one of the big challenges in management. How do you align the interests of the employee with the interests of the organization? It's called agency theory. Basically, it says that people do what they are paid to do.

If you pay someone ten dollars an hour to answer the phones, that person will answer the phones. If you pay someone ten dollars an hour to solve customer problems, that person will solve customer problems.

You have to look at it like this: That customer service rep you just hired (for the outrageously low wage of ten dollars an hour - sheesh - up your wages some, you cheapskate). Do you want her to answer phones? Or do you want her to solve problems? It's harder to manage when you have actual objectives and when you have to determine whether someone is meeting those objectives, but that is how it is done.

How does all this apply to politics, you ask?

What are we really paying politicians to do?

Or, rather, what has to happen for a politician to be paid?

He has to be elected. And then he has to be re-elected.

How does a politician get re-elected?

By advancing the interests of the people and groups who can help him get re-elected.

Those people/groups are not necessarily the ordinary voter.

But hey - I am sure I am preaching to the choir here.

And really, Frank Underwood isn't even about getting re-elected. He is all about power, which, actually, is also a pretty big part of the human condition.

But Primo is idealistic. He thinks politicians are Good, at least politicians on his side.

But then we got caught up in a more mundane aspect of the show. Someone - I don't remember who - probably Zoe and Frank - get busy on the kitchen counter.

Me: We could do that.

Primo: No we couldn't.

Me: Well. Maybe not. We've been together long enough that a lot of the thrill is gone.

Primo: It's because we don't have enough counter space.

1 comment:

  1. We have the counter space, in theory, but our counters are at a terrible height for that kind of thing. Just another perspective.
    I am fascinated to hear more of Primo's reactions to House of Cards. Part of the reason people love the show - I think - is that it shows them they are right to believe they know how politicians are under all the baby-kissing and slogans.