Saturday, February 11, 2012

Insensitivity Training

The social trend of sensitivity training has crept into the Great Heartland of America as part of corporate life. Each year many corporations, universities, and government agencies require their workers to participate in programs that are designed to make them more sensitive to women and minorities, more judicious in speech, more aware of other customs, and particularly to deflect possible lawsuits for peccadillios such as sexual harassment or just simply saying the wrong thing in a public forum. (Remember John Rocker commenting negatively on those well-mannered New Yorkers?)

Does this training truly make people more sensitive? One wonders. It surely gives gainful employment for sensitivity trainers, who otherwise seem to be devoid of either skills or personality. But, hey, they're sincere and sensitive. That should count for something in a feel-good, self-esteem-oriented society. However, I have found an agency that gave a new twist on things: it provides Insensitivity Training for employees as part of the workplace introduction for occupations that see it as a useful tool in the employee's endowment. The sessions are conducted in a barroom. All participants, whether male or female, are encouraged to scratch and put their feet on the tables. Bowls of peanuts are also on the table, and the moderater invites everyone to eat as many peanuts as possible, and dispose of the shells by tossing them on the floor, tossing them across the room, or even flicking individual shells down each other's shirts or blouses.

There is a 15-minute movie entitled "Dare to Belch." This is followed by a brief panel discussion and then participants are grouped into mixed-gender groups of six. The less inhibited are to train and encourage the others in creative belching techniques. This leads to the development of teamwork and mutual tolerance. After all, who cannot get along with someone who belches so becomingly? Then, the more daring are drawn into a discussion of flatulence skills by Professor Bubba, with special prizes for the most entertaining.

Eye contact is to be avoided; especially with opposite-sex members. It is preferable to cast gazes somewhat below that level. After all, they don't speak. That might be a mercy in itself. Also, all are taught how to manicure their toenails in public, to pick their noses, and to braid their hair while someone is talking.

The uses of that all-purpose expression, "Whatever," will be discussed at length. Especially useful is to inform participants that calling senior citizens "Dude" makes them really feel at home.

There is an extended lunch of hot dogs and beans, with a keynote address by a moderator formerly with The Man Show. This is an occasion to practice various gross eating-related behaviors that were taught in the pre-lunch session. Trainees are expected to become proficient in slouching, slurping, eating with their fingers, wind-breaking, tossing biscuits (in both senses), and other fine accompaniments.

Insult Delivery Training is part of the course. It's really a shame, but the quality of insult in American discourse has declined. This session is designed to rectify that. It's taught by a hostile alcoholic P.M.S.-suffering English teacher who lives for the art of the insult. A French waiter serves as her assistant in this important area.

At the end of the Insensitivity Training course, members are presented with certificates attesting to their prowess and are offered jobs as telemarketers.


7 comments:

Mike said...

I've had all this training. I need to practice more.

Duckbutt said...

Presumably, those Insensitivity Trainers would be accredited.

Bilbo said...

Mike and I need to sign up for the refresher. Is there an optional seminar for politicians, DMV workers, and people who ride the DC Metro?

vw: tastrap - what you use to tie down your ta.

Full Cup Balcony said...

I need to take this right now. I have creeping good manners.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Greast satire and commentary, Angelique!

Grand Crapaud said...

Apparently it is a course requirement in some places.

Banana Oil said...

I disagree. Insult delivery is alive and well in Chicago.