Friday, November 20, 2009

"This Could Get Messy"

CD in Play: The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds.

I don't like to blog about things centered around work, it us usually an unwise thing to do. So being as unspecific as I can be I would like to get something off of my chest. I applied for a position at work that I am more than qualified to do. I trained for the job successfully and have worked it on a casual basis. It isn't easy work and it pays less than what most people would expect - however, it is interesting and I actually feel satisfied on the job when I do it. I have only had that feeling on a couple of jobs and they paid significantly less. (bouncer and record store employee)
The posting was up for a week and they are looking over applications. One of the people who trained me was telling me today that there are two people with seniority in the queue ahead of me. He and the other people who trained me also want me to get the job. They like me, I am more than competent, they don't have to spend the next three months training someone new and I am always eager to take their call on evenings they want off. What my former trainer heard from management is that there are two people ahead of me and, "this could get messy."
How could this get messy? There are two reasons we can think of. One reason would be they are planning to hire me anyway, ignoring seniority and getting into a fight with the union over this. The second reason could be because of another applicant.
The position I am applying for was posted six months ago. At that time there were around seven or eight people ahead of me in seniority. The top four dropped out because they didn't realise the pay wasn't what they imagined it to be or they saw what they would be doing and decided it wasn't as cool or "romantic" as they had been led to be by television. The fifth applicant, whom I shall refer to as "Pokey" took the job. It is what he has dreamed of doing and he may have told me that he was born to do this. He is a nice enough guy, but still quite young and not responsible enough for the job. He is also quite slow, hence why I call him "Pokey". (and yes I have witnessed his laggardly manner for myself) It takes him a long time to do most tasks and most complaints stated that he worked far to slowly.
The training is three months. When my three months were up they were quite satisfied with me. When "Pokey's" three months were up he was given another three months. When those three months were up "Pokey" was told that he had not passed his probation and that there were reasons for it - which "Pokey" is told me about himself. I did try to encourage "Pokey" and help him out as best as I could, but I can see why he didn't pass. He refuses to see it and has placed a grieance with the union.
Did "Pokey" apply again? Are the union going to force management to accept him into the position? Or do I have the job and am facing a fight? For my part I think that experience and ability do need to be taken into consideration and weighed against seniority. I understand the necessity of seniority and would say that someone who was as qualified as I am should be hired ahead of me, but not someone from a completely different department even if they meet the same education requirements that I do.
Anyhow, just had to get this off my chest. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Defense of a Modern "Prisoner"

CD's in Play: The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds. The Flaming Lips, Embryonic.

I am a big fan of Patrick McGoohan's 1967 cult classic, The Prisoner. In fact, next year it will have been 20 year since I first saw the iconic show on CBC right here in Saskatchewan. (though I was living in the southern part of the province) When the final episode was played I was the only one at the school I was attending watching it and I recall trying to explain what had happened. (I started off as the only one at episode one and the crowds picked up as it progressed until the final episode) Trent and I began quoting it to one another. When I came home to British Columbia I was trying to explain to my friends about this odd, surreal, enigmatic show that had something to say but was less than forthcoming with the message.
It was in 1992 that I introduced the show to my friend Geo and my other friends followed. The Prisoner is the sort of show you can direct anti-television people to and show them that television is capable of producing artistically, socially and culturally worthwhile contributions to society. It remains relevant today, despite the Cold War backdrop. The Prisoner is one of those shows a person would think shouldn't be remade: and yet it has been. Sort of.
When I first heard that a Prisoner mini-series starring Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, The Thin Red Line and The Count of Monte Cristo) and Ian McKellen was being made, I had my reservations. However, I decided to reserve judgement asidefrom asserting that it was really not a show that needed to be remade. Unlike a show such as Battlestar Galactica, I couldn't see how someone could "re-imagine" The Prisoner. The original Battlestar was a bad show so remaking it, or "re-imagining" it actually made for a better series in terms of concept, writing, casting, acting and even the music.
Remaking or "re-imagining" The Prisoner is a trickier proposition. First, you are dealing with a how that is considered a classic of the medium, of science fiction and even spy fiction. The Prisoner wasn't a slapped together program to run between adveristments, it was apersonal work with one direction and one agenda. Regardles of how receive the message of the series, it has one and it tries to force to the viewer to think about it. People discuss it, hash it out, puzzle over it with one another. The original Battlestar Galactica was what it was and that was extremely straight forward. In this respect, writer Brian Gallagher and director Nick Hurran should be commended for tackling a much more ambitious and challenging project.
2009's The Prisoner will not have the staying power of the original, it will be a footnote, a sidebar in the history of the original but that doesn't make it entirely unworthy. It doesn't attempt to readdress the theme of the original the way the original did - to reassert the same conclusion - but seems (to me) to look at what the nature of freedom and imprisonment is under certain circumstances. This new Prisoner is much more concerned with madness itself, rather than madness as a by product of imprisonment, or as a tool to keep ones imprisonment. I won't say much more, you should see it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Not that it isn't expected, but the reviews of the new Prisoner neglect to see if it stands on its own merits. I believe it does.