Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Other Victims

Another of AVI’s truths for living, learned from decades in a bureaucracy: Anyone who controls a precious resource is likely to become a son-of-a-bitch. In my field, these are often placement beds for treatment or rehab. Where they are few, those who control them ask for more testing and evaluations, a slowly graduated series of interviews and visits, and they find small difficulties to be “troubling,” and “something we’re going to have to discuss as a team... next Tuesday.”  The incentive to take easier and less complicated patients is always there.  While we are shepherding a patient through this process we are aware how unfair and uncomfortable this can seem to them.  “She wants me to kiss her ass,” they complain. And they are often right. Note: this is for patients who are currently occupying the most expensive mental health beds in the state at over $2K/day, for which there are the longest waiting lists, of poor souls sitting in hospital ER beds with little treatment and less freedom. But they don't need to hurry.  They control a precious resource, and they can do as they please.

But the greater victim is somewhat invisible – the person who would also benefit from that placement who is instantly rejected or not even referred because we know they do not meet some criteria set up by the receiving agency.

I think of this with the Hollywood scandals.  The invisible victims are the talented actors and actresses who don’t sleep with casting directors, producers, or whoever to get a role. Perhaps they get by working crowd scenes or bit roles.  Or if they are magically talented or lucky they can get good roles even without sexual favors. But most of the rest give up and go home, I think. Those who would have slept with someone to get a part but were never given the chance are harder to categorise.  Yes, they have been treated unfairly in some way.  Yet it is hard to define them as oppressed or victims.
The situation is reversed with the college basketball scandal. It is the player who holds the cards, and can demand favors in the form of money, and perhaps sex as well. The victim in that case is the college that recruits by the rules, and which gets less talented players thereby.

Acting and coaching basketball have become dirty professions, but they don’t have to be, and they aren’t dirty for everyone. It is a shame that those with principles have the harder road – or no road at all.

Or perhaps not.  I am reminded of an interview years ago with Michael Caine, on people who told him they wanted to be an actor. He assured them that they could be – there are plenty of opportunities to act, all over England. But what they meant of course was that they wanted to be famous, or rich. I think something similar applies with coaching basketball. There are plenty of ways to do that. But if what you really want is to be a famous basketball coach, that may not be quite so respectable a profession. CS Lewis noted that there is nothing wrong with the ambition to be a general in the army, if your goal is to do your people some good and you really believe you are the best person for it. But in that case, you would be just as happy if someone were preferred over you because they actually were better at the job.

I enjoy writing out my ideas to the great unknown, and I do wish, at least a little bit, that more people red me!me!me! and gave me the credit I deserve. But if I don't need it that badly. In places where I think the good information is getting out I don't feel the need to jump in.  Thirty years ago I should have written several books about CS Lewis, but I thought one needed either an academic credential or a fantasy/sci-fi one to get published (probably true) so I didn't.  I had much to say then than no one else was saying, and I should have pressed on.  Even ten years ago the general knowledge had gaps, and I tried to fill those in the early days here.  Today, not so much. I do put in my oar from time to time when I think important points are being overlooked.  But mostly, no.  Other people have that covered.

I just try to put something into one balance pan or the other when I think things are going unfairly badly for my side, now.  More exactly, I try to remove counterfeit coins from the other side's balance pan.


As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Well, I've posted two of your observations, with links, of Facebook today. Anyone who can tie hospital bureaucracy, the Hollywood scandals, basketball, and CS Lewis together will get my attention!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you. I don't know how valuable a skill mine is, but I find it entertaining. It's rather stock-in-trade here.