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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

Currently reading

Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling - Arlie Russell Hochschild Well, first things first: After reading this book, you will not be able to see "View from the Top" the same way again. Hollywood sugar-coating stuff. Who knew? When I was little, I noticed a strange thing. My parents seemed to really hate it when I raised my voice, but let my brother do his thing without a second thought. When I was little, I thought it was unfair, but since raising my voice only got me discredited, I learned to argue without letting my temper get the better of me.It wasn't until I grew up and started reading that I realized what this was. "Girls should be seen, not heard." And while this book isn't a strictly feminist study, it does point out how "managing your emotions" affects women nowadays.Does any of this sound familiar to you:"Given the circumstances, I should not be upset.""They're getting married! Isn't this wonderful?"" Why do you say such things?"The sentence constructs aren't out of the ordinary. In fact, they're very cliched phrases. But they also imply that the person they are addressed to has not reacted to a situation the way they are supposed to. The heart of Hochschild's thesis lies in that there is a gap between what we feel, what is socially acceptable to feel and what part of our emotions we show. That gap is navigated with the help of "emotional management", or the art of presenting a certain image of oneself and one's emotions.All is well and good, however, until we start using "emotional management" for profit. The author studied flight attendants because of the huge role emotional management plays into their jobs - they not only have practical tasks to fulfill, such as a safety instruction and pushing a cart around, but they also represent the company. They are the company representatives people have the most contact with, and they're under an enormous pressure to appear serene and unruffled, even when people take extreme liberties with them. The results, as Hochschild shows, are harrowing for the attendants.I found the theories expressed as very solid and well researched. Hochschild does a good job at heading for the heart of the issue - that emotional management is a part of life and we perpetuate that, whether we mean to or not. That, combined with the latest GR drama, made a very powerful impression.In fact, this whole book reminds me of this post by Ilona Andrews in which she describes her experience with a reader. She talks about how the Internet and Facebook blur the lines between person to person interactions, and person to enterprise interactions. However, those lines are already blurred - think about how many times you've seen someone take out their frustration on a flight attendant, even though the woman has nothing to do with the flight being late. Or how many times someone has yelled at a sales clerk because some good was not properly packed.In any business interaction, we view the company representative not as a person, but as an extension of an enterprise, or a community. We feel like we're a single person against one huge corporation. Readers feel it when authors stalk their reviews. Authors feel it when readers turn on them. Flight attendants feel it when people spit on them and throw tea at them (yes, such instances are described in the book), and passengers feel it when their flight is late.Where does this go? Well, as soon as you apply it to your everyday life, you'll think that it is a huge problem. Hochschild is a little vague on that point. But then again, aren't we all?