The Surley Skies & Other Civil Slights

Arlie Russell Hochschild: the Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling; University of California Press; Berkeley. F. G. Bailey: The Tactical Uses of Passion: An Essay on Power, Reason, and Reality; Cornell University Press; Ithaca, NY.

What kinds of behavior does our culture encourage? The question is ever in style, and usually a pat and misleading answer is on the tongue of every commentator. Greed, bellicosity, phoniness, racism, sexism, and speciesism come immediately to their minds. However, the question inevitably is worthy of a more meaningful analysis. Our culture has accomplished much, and the system it both fosters and benefits from continues to grind on. These books focus on the how and why.

The Managed Heart, an attempt to show that the upwardly mobile stewardess is just as oppressed as an eight-year­old factory worker of the last century is so unfocused and poorly developed that some of the valid points become lost. Close contact with the public, always difficult, is worse when one's behavior is relentlessly scrutinized by superiors, and can be virtually impossible now that standards of deportment have all but vanished. Though never approaching the ideal, public behavior began to disintegrate markedly when the liberal establishment adopted the radical view that codes of conduct based on good taste and consideration for others were repressive and hypocritical. As a result, many employees in service industries squeezed by intense competition must respond to all manner of abuse with fraudulent good humor and indulgence—or lose their jobs. That female flight attendants suffer more than most from this handiwork...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here