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Passive-aggressive note found in the wild: a job description for PERSON USING KITCHEN

Passive-aggressive note found in the wild: a job description for PERSON USING KITCHEN published on No Comments on Passive-aggressive note found in the wild: a job description for PERSON USING KITCHEN

I found this gem of passive aggression on the shared drive at my current workplace. Apparently the former receptionist disliked the messes people were leaving in the kitchen, so created a job description for PERSON USING KITCHEN, printed it out, and left it on the kitchen counter.

I have copied and pasted the job description barely disguised rant below, changing only the identifying details of the company. Punctuation, boldface, and formatting come straight from the original.





The person using the kitchen has primary responsibility for the day-to-day clean-up of the Acme Corporation’s Building A kitchen, with the goal of increasing both the cleanliness and the general appearance thereof.  The kitchen user also works closely with fellow staff to manage all aspects of the kitchen program, including the sink, surfaces, fridge and floors. The kitchen user reports to everyone else in Building A at the Acme Corporation.



60%        Wash your dishes.  Don’t leave them in the sink.  Put them in the dishwasher or wash them and put them in the rack to dry.  Even dry them yourself.  Put them away after they air-dry.  Don’t put away other people’s dishes. This just encourages them not to put away their own. Proactively load the dishwasher. All employees take equal ownership in a TEAM APPROACH to our COMMUNITY KITCHEN including loading, starting/running the dishwasher as well as unloading it. This is no single person with this responsibility – we should all do this freely. If you do not know how to turn it, on please ask a co-worker!

25%        Partner with your colleagues to keep the fridge pretty clean.  Friday is a good day to give it a once-over.  It’s actually kind of fun to find what other life forms have found fuel in neglected lunches.  Finding someone else’s ancient salad will let you feel superior for a few minutes, too.  On the other hand, don’t take someone else’s food, even if it is just a few tablespoons of salad dressing.

10%        Play an active, effective, team-oriented role in developing and implementing your own strategy for cleaning up after yourself.  You know what to do.

5%          Other duties as assigned.


Specific standards of performance will be captured as metrics in an annual kitchen plan.



  • Team-oriented style combined with the ability and desire to achieve a high level of cleanliness.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience in exercising discretion in a potentially germ-infested environment.
  • Ability to motivate and manage our team to do the same.
  • Evening and weekend work is required to fulfill job responsibilities, except you don’t have to clean the kitchen on the weekend. Do that at your own house.



  • Higher standards.
  • Experience living closely with other people.
  • A demonstrated ability to clean up after yourself.
  • Comfort with dishrags, kitchen towels, scrub brush and ice maker.
  • Ability to run a dish washer.
  • Willingness to ask if you do not know what the proper community kitchen etiquette is.


This masterpiece contains so many grace notes [?!] that it’s impossible to call them all out, but let me highlight a few favorites.

“Wash your dishes. …Even dry them yourself.” You can just hear the writer muttering, “Novel concept, huh?”

“All employees take equal ownership, in a TEAM APPROACH, etc., etc., etc.” Boldface and caps lock = srs bzns. So basically this entire document could be boiled down to “Use the goddamn dishwasher!!!!!”

“Finding someone else’s ancient salad will let you feel superior for a few minutes, too.” Author invites readers to share sneering contempt.

“5% Other duties as assigned.” I shudder to think.

“…experience in exercising discretion in a potentially germ-infested environment.” Some of these parody lines are actually kinda funny.

“Preferred Skills and Abilities: Higher standards.” Oh burn!

The Corset Question: real controversy or pornographic wish fulfillment?

The Corset Question: real controversy or pornographic wish fulfillment? published on No Comments on The Corset Question: real controversy or pornographic wish fulfillment?

I was reading Wikipedia the other day and I came across an exhaustive article on The Corset Controversy. I read all the testimonials, arguing pro- and anti-, in various 19th-century periodicals, and I was like, “Is this for real? It sounds like something out of Penthouse letters.” My question occasioned an entire essay on the subject, cast in the form of a dialogue between me and Jareth. I’m just excerpting it here because I don’t feel like rewriting it univocally.

Me: Maybe you can help me.

Jareth: Certainly! Shall we parse the intricacies of Georgette Heyer’s complex portrayals of her female characters? ^_^

Me: No, but it’s tangentially related, insofar as I was reading about the Regency period on Wikipedia. Then I moved on to fashion in general, which, of course, got me into corsetry, which ended me up at an article called The Corset Controversy.

Jareth: Is this like The Woman Question?

Me: I dunno. What are you defining as The Woman Question?

Jareth: Oh, all that piss going back and forth in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th about women’s rationality, educability, legal rights, suffrage, etc., etc., etc.

Me: Not directly, although the two overlap chronologically. The Corset Question was a debate that ran on from about the 1790s to the 1890s. It was, of course, a disagreement over whether women should wear corsets, which was also referred to as tight-lacing or figure training. Detractors said that corsetry caused pain, squished the wearers’ bodies, reduced their lung capacity, muscle strength, and stamina, and ruined their health. Proponents said that, if practiced correctly, wearing corsetry was physically enjoyable, harmless to health, strength, and posture, and also fashionable/sexy.

Jareth: Are you sure that debate is over? –Because I don’t think it is. Whenever the subject of corsetry comes up online, usually in the context of costuming, Ren faires, and/or kinky clothing, there are always people who sound off on how disgustingly restrictive, painfully disfiguring, and generally evil corsets are. Then there are always people who are into corsetry who counter with something about it being perfectly fine if you do it right. Boy, is it tedious…

There are certain subjects, I think, that people have learned are bad through received wisdom. Like you should never put metal in a microwave because it will cause a nuclear detonation and wipe out your house. Or you should never trust a stranger who asks you for directions or offers you a ride because they’re clearly a child-molesting pervert who’s going to kidnap you, rape you, and leave you in a ditch. And you should never do any illegal drugs ever because they will either kill you the first time or damn you to a hell of escalating addiction and misery.

…I’d put people’s unreasoning objections to corsetry in the same category as stranger danger and the War on Drugs. People have worked themselves up into such a froth about the putative damage caused by corsets that they won’t stand to hear any actual information on the subject. Of course, the received wisdom is also so pervasive that it’s very hard to figure out what is true about corsetry.

Me: See – that’s kind of my problem.

…Reading selections of letters in the Wikipedia article makes me suspicious – specifically, all the pro-corsetry ones. Seriously, they all sound the same, especially when they insist over and over again that it was painful at first, but they quickly got used to it, and now they enjoy the “snug,” “tight” fit.

For example, there was a whole protracted argument in the Toronto Daily Mail about corsets, especially for girls and teenagers. It was in a weekly section called Woman’s Kingdom, and it started off on April 7th, 1883, with some mother asking if tight-lacing could be done without damage. There were the usual pro- and anti- sound-offs, and then there was a sidetrack about preventing girls from cutting the laces of their corsets overnight.

Here’s where I get suspicious. This is directly from the May 19th, 1883 Toronto Daily Mail in the Woman’s Kingdom section, page 5:


“Mother” asks how to prevent her daughters taking off their stays during the night. I must confess I am a disciple of the old school, and believe in the efficacy of corporal punishment. The “severe punishments” …were whipping, which I administered. They were severe, but they served their purpose. Two applications prevented any further interference with the staylaces. I would recommend “Mother” to try the rod with her daughters. –STAYLACE.


I have a very simple plan to prevent my children cutting their laces when they are first put into tight stays, to obtain a temporary relief from the pain which is undoubtedly severe at first. When one of my girls disobeys me by removing her stays, I adopt this plan: After retiring, I fasten her wrists together with a silk handkerchief. This keeps her hands out of mischief, and she soon gets accustomed to the stays. –A.B., KINGSTON.

And here’s some more on the subject from the next week, May 26th, same paper, same section, same page:


I can entirely endorse what “A.B., Kingston” says, that the best way of punishing children cutting the laces of their stays is by confining their hands. Instead of a silk handkerchief I use a small leather strap, with which I fasten the wrists together at night to keep the hands away from mischief, and as a punishment I fasten the hands behind the back for the greater portion of a day. I find that a week’s restriction, which means a good wholesome position for the hands, induces a respect for the laces for all time to come. –A.R.


I positively smiled at the plans suggested to prevent girls under training removing their stays, such as whipping them or tying up their hands. Mothers, listen to my plan. I get a small chain and a little padlock. When the stays are laced, I put the chain round the waist and fasten it with the lock, and put the key in my pocket, and there the stays have to remain till I remove the chain. Is that not simple? –COMMON SENSE.

Jareth: O_O Are you fucking kidding me?

Me: No! I’m legitimately getting this from pdfs of scanned Toronto Daily News microfiche that are freely available on Google News. Here’s a link to the head of the Woman’s Kingdom section for the May 19th quotes; go read it for yourself:




Jareth: *clicking, reading*

Holy shit, you weren’t kidding. Wow, that makes me so sad.

Me: Yeah, but do you think that’s true?

Jareth: Are you seriously doubting the existence of corporal punishment?!

Me: I’m doubting the existence of bunches of people practicing what sounds weirdly like kinky bondage fantasies, combined with corsetry fetishes, on their kids.

…To me it sounds suspiciously like people getting a thrill from airing their fetishes in public through the medium of fictional letters.

Jareth: Oh… I was looking at it from a child abuse viewpoint. I can believe that it’s true because people visit all kinds of of horrible, degrading, painful treatment upon their kids.

I can also believe it’s true because of the simple fact that people wore corsets regularly  at that time. That includes kids! I’ve seen the ads for kids’ corsets, so it’s not like it was a rare phenomenon. Also there was a whole spectrum of attitudes toward corsetry for children, so naturally there would be people toward the extreme end who would lock their kids into stays at nighttime.

…I’m sure that some of the pro- letters were just elaborate whack-off hoaxes, but you say that this Corset Question went on for over a century, with pretty much the same arguments back and forth. I don’t think a 120-year-long whack-off hoax campaign over multiple countries, through multiple media outlets, is really likely. I think it’s much more probable that people were just coughing up the same pro- and anti- arguments at each other. Some of the pro- testimonials, I bet, were distortions and outright lies, and some were accurate reflections of how the writer perceived their experience. But I’m inclined to judge it a real controversy with real beliefs, real people, real stories, and real experiences behind it, even if it sounds pornographic.

By the way – I think you’re imposing your own modern judgment on this whole subject.

…Nowadays, pretty much no one wears corsets; they’ve gone from ubiquitous articles of clothing to costume-like things associated with extreme sexualization and kinky sex. You’re probably reading kinky sex back into the Corset Question because that’s what corsetry signifies to you, the modern reader.

Me: Mmmm, true. That makes sense. At the same time, though, I also see the Corset Question as intimately related to the Woman Question. If the Corset Question is about women’s physical freedom, then the Woman Question is about women’s legal and political freedom. The social body thus literally becomes a site for conflict as various people try to control it via the Corset Question, thus expressing their answer to the Woman Question.

Jareth: …So the Corset Question really is the Woman Question. Interesting.

Hey, can we talk about Georgette Heyer now?

Me: How ‘bout later? Writing an essay on the Corset Question just tired out my brain.

Jareth: Okay! I’ll hold you to that! ^_^


“Is that a lady?!” or, Further Tales from the Gender Blender

“Is that a lady?!” or, Further Tales from the Gender Blender published on No Comments on “Is that a lady?!” or, Further Tales from the Gender Blender

Last night’s bus driver was extremely hung up on policing my gender, presumably to determine if I was performing female impersonation to avoid a $1.25 bus fare. The whole conversation was incredibly odd, especially since I told the driver three times that I was the transfer in question and also because the driver directed all questions about my gender to the woman who ended up apologizing to me. [Later conversation with the passenger indicated that she clearly identified as a woman with feminine pronouns, so I feel confident in gendering her as such.] Apparently I was both dubiously gendered and invisible.

It’s bad enough that people clock me as female and/or a woman, but I have a special loathing for being addressed as a lady. As the counterpart to lord, lady connotes high status, nobility, and superiority. Thus it carries with it the worshipful objectification that women have suffered for centuries from the perspective of men who could not see them as fully human and equal beings. To be called a lady is to be objectified and dehumanized against my will, an experience of which I am really not a fan. That is why I hate the term.


Continue reading “Is that a lady?!” or, Further Tales from the Gender Blender

Revenge of the gross ice cream: the sequel

Revenge of the gross ice cream: the sequel published on No Comments on Revenge of the gross ice cream: the sequel

Following Jareth’s encounter with Mr. Ding-A-Ling in Ill-Advised Nomenclature and his and Jennifer’s run-in with Mr. Ding-A-Ling’s icky cousin in Artisanal Cones, it’s now time for a whole flotilla of ice cream vans, a milkshake of dubious name, and some close reading of an innocent [?] 1950s pop hit.

Side note: Through no fault of their own, the ice cream eating kids took a huge amount of time and labor. Everything went smoothly until I looked for a digital model for their headscarves. To be accurate to the style that many people around here wear, the digital model had to fit closely around the face and neck, with edges thrown back over the shoulders, covering all the hair [of course]. There are plenty of neck scarves, hoods, and head kerchiefs, but approximately zero headscarves of the type I was looking for. [I considered Oskarsson’s Gen1 Modern Muslim Girl and G2F Modern Muslim Woman, but both have little room to accommodate hair underneath them.] I ended up using Lyrra Madrill’s V4 Draped Hood, which I worked over tediously with D-Formers to make it follow the lines of the face closely.


Side note 2: Speaking of clothes, it entertains me greatly that Jareth almost always looks like he has just walked out from some other genre of story. This time it’s some Star Trek-like TV show, obviously. :p Jennifer, on the other hand, has a more mainstream style, but it’s still kinda weird.

Continue reading Revenge of the gross ice cream: the sequel

Rocky Horror contrafactuals: Mick Jagger as Frank

Rocky Horror contrafactuals: Mick Jagger as Frank published on No Comments on Rocky Horror contrafactuals: Mick Jagger as Frank

Apparently Mick Jagger expressed interest in the lead role of Frank in the movie version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Tim Curry got it instead.


My first thought on learning of this was, Well, if that had happened, we wouldn’t have been able to understand the lyrics. Seriously, I think Mick has a little contest with himself to see how unintelligible he can make his words every time he sings them. In a musical where the songs form an integral part of the plot, characters, and story, I shudder to think what he’d do to…oh, pretty much any of the words.


My second thought was a question. Why would the head of the [arguable, self-billed] World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band be interesting in taking time out from his busy schedule of writing songs, subsequently mangling the lyrics in concert, wielding his pelvic in a manner specifically calculated to freak out the straights, and rolling in dough to star in a cheap pastiche of B movie horror?


I’ve found two related answers. First, Mick has a side interest in acting, the same way David Bowie did. The role of Frank, with its hammy lasciviousness, fits in with Mick’s performing persona, so it’s a good match there too.

Second, I guess the Rolling Stones’ popularity waned in the early and mid 1970s. Though they remained popular with listeners, they didn’t sell as well as they had in the later 1960s. The rock establishment tended to regard them as irrelevant sell-outs.


In this context, Mick’s interest in Rocky Horror makes a little more sense. Contrary to my assumption, I guess he wasn’t busy being a superstar — or at least he had more free time around 1974 than he did about ten years earlier, when I Can’t Get No Satisfaction came out. The Stones’ comparative lull of the mid 1970s  gave Mick time in which to entertain alternatives, including cut-rate, campy movies based on successful stage shows.

Zombieville Chapter 12.6: Peter Paxton in the Flesh

Zombieville Chapter 12.6: Peter Paxton in the Flesh published on No Comments on Zombieville Chapter 12.6: Peter Paxton in the Flesh

Isabel and the person in Rumpy Pumpy discuss the power of cult movies. They also, much to their embarrassment, eventually recognize each other.

Continue reading Zombieville Chapter 12.6: Peter Paxton in the Flesh

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