Soap Gets In Your Eyes

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Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
Lesson Nine: Pain Is Temporary


Is this leadership? Only if it works out just as well this way. You're bound in management to allocate to each according to their ability: the "actor" role is for the useless. It's a Markus job, in that somebody's gotta do it, but it's the last thing on the list. First comes producer stuff, then director stuff, then the workhorse stuff, THEN the talent. That's how this comes together. So put capable, smart, dogged Muna on producer stuff, Kristine's the director because she's perceptive and creative, and Angela's a strong, silent killer who doesn't mind shouldering burdens. Now, they have to stay in pairs because of the vagaries of filming, which means half of them have to go off-site to get things done. That's Angela, and who? I'd say Muna, except you need two actors to begin with. Muna's hard to understand and Angela would be hard to believe, so Kristine has to be the other actor, but you can direct and act at the same time no problem. Send Muna and Angela to do the backup while you're filming, and then -- like Arrow -- the whole team edits it together. That's the only way this could have worked out. But since Muna's being her usual chip-chip-chipping self, Kristine makes the call. I don't think she's thinking about the final product -- and once you see the final product you know that this is above her skill level, no matter what anybody else is doing -- but as far as treating this task like any other task, sometimes you fall on the Muna grenade because it's your best option. Kristine failed here, big-time, but this wasn't her worst decision by a longshot. They hand the script over to Muna, and immediately she starts questioning the actual words of the script, as though they're set in stone: deductive reasoning. "I can't say the Lord's name in vain," she says, in such a tone that you could almost believe she's trying to be like this on purpose. Instead of telling Muna to say whatever the fuck she wants, as long as it sounds like English, Kristine gets bitchy. "God said that I could use it in vain, though."


And so now I guess we have to talk about that. In brief: don't be a dick. However, the episode makes it pretty clear, reading between the lines, that Muna has been making her relationship with God everybody else's problem for a while now, and we're only just seeing it. I don't think anybody -- and Kristine's pretty likeable, like she's not a bad person -- would go from 0-60 like that otherwise. I myself got my hackles up a little bit last week when Muna told Surya she'd pray for him, because that's my honest response, even though he himself didn't take offense and frankly he needs all the prayers we can give him. But God is, like sex and money and politics, something that requires excellent room-reading skills, in that almost everybody has religious issues of one kind or another. So while your relationship with God is beautiful, it does not, in and of itself, make you special, and that's how it's going to look after a certain number of mentions. I don't know if Tarek ever mentioned his Mensa status -- or frankly the importance of religion in his life -- but I do know that's all we know about him, and it's de facto a bad impression, if that's all there is to you. Christians among Christians can talk about it all day long, but you don't live in a Christian world, and religion itself carries a bunch of signifiers and connotations that, while they may or may not be true, are still going to get attached to you. If you act in accordance with the negative connotations, as Muna does, then you're stereotyping yourself, and at that point it stops being about both you and God, and starts being about the thing that you can't drop. I don't know if I'd be as dickish about it as Kristine, no matter Muna's extremity (which again, I'm positing) but I do know that I would be doing everything in my power to try and subtly communicate that she was creating problems for herself. It's back to the Mean Girl thing: we're not trying to make you hate yourself, we're trying to make you feel just bad enough about yourself that you cut out the behavior that is bringing you down. Maybe after a certain number of "weeks" with no sleep, I'd get this rude about it, but that's only at the point that you make it clear -- as again, I honestly believe Muna has done at some point -- that you're doing it on purpose.

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