Writing

Software, technology, sysadmin war stories, and more. Feed
Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stressing out certain groups on purpose

Here's some text I found describing the inside of a company. I've replaced two words with (thing1) and (thing2) to get your imagination going.

We like (thing1)s, but we're a (thing2) company, so as a general rule we feel (thing1)s visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.

Let's play mad libs with this. Here are some pairings I thought of.

One pair might be "ice cubes" and "fire". Okay, that's silly.

Another might be "whole wheat sandwiches" and "gluten-sensitive people". That's no good.

How about "cats" and "dogs"? Now that sounds plausible.

It's an interesting way to say that (thing2) pretty much rules the roost, even though there isn't a rule saying that (thing1) can't attend. This can be used for subtle forms of discrimination. Just stack the deck so that certain groups aren't made to feel welcome somehow and "the problem will take care of itself".

Hmmm. "Women" and "brogrammers"?

It's a good thing no companies resemble that, isn't it? They'd never have things so that a group would get stressed out and self-select out of the picture. They're too honorable to ever try that sort of thing.

What can I say? This occurred to me only recently while pondering those words in their original context while knowing what I know now. I realized that while it explicitly is talking about pets, it also acts as a metaphor for so much more... inside the same company, even.