Monday, February 24, 2014

Communication Breakdown

With the advancement of technology, I feel there still needs to be an advancement of etiquette in communication. As example, writers, particularly those of the freelance variety, have an inherent immediate anxiety for an expectant response from a publisher/editor; for publishers/editors, there is no such immediacy apparent within the industry. Even today, with email, text messaging and social media, writers can wait to hear back anywhere from mere weeks to several months. Perhaps even longer if postal mail is still the preferred submission/response process, which nowadays I tend to avoid altogether.

This is ridiculous.

As such, I have decided, as I feel others should embrace as well, to give one week for a reply from a query sent to a potential interested party. Maybe two, but no more. That way, no one's time, especially mine, is wasted away in anxiety over a response. Would you wait even a day to hear back from anyone else in this 24/7 world? No, you typically would not. We, as a technologically connected society, expect immediate responses within a reasonable timeframe, and, frankly, should not continue being patient with or give credence to those who fail to grasp the idea. Entire revolutions – from the Arab Spring to the Ukraine uprisings – have benefited greatly from modern technology and connectivity. To say it another way:  nations have been transformed and governments overthrown faster than writers waiting for a simple yes/no from a publisher/editor in response to a query letter or submission!

Furthermore, as a general rule, I tend to avoid querying those who insist upon spelling out their email, i.e. “name{at}email{dot}com.” If people cannot figure out the proper format of an email address, it is highly probable they have no clue how to compose and/or send one in the first place.

We may not have flying cars or interstellar travel, but it is 2014…get with the program already!

©2014 Steve Sagarra

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Qu'ils Mangent de la Brioche

There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual, the other is temporary and changeable. A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.
-Abraham Lincoln

Let’s face it, government at all levels – federal, state, local – has become weighed down in overbearing bureaucracy, outrageous laws and nonsense regulations. In a perfect world, we could scrap it all down to the basics to start over fresh and anew, much like cleaning out a cluttered computer system and rebooting with updates. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Yes, government is a necessity – especially representative government such as ours, with the U.S. Constitution the almighty law of the land now and forever – and should be held intact as necessary. Consequently, to sweep away the bad one must typically take away the good as well; yet, who decides the bad laws and regulations from the good ones? The U.S. Supreme Court, by all measure, is tasked with holding primacy in such matters, but even they have been very, very wrong in the past in both their dogmatic activism and lack of impartiality.

Of course, many individuals part of the system are, at the very least, a hindrance if not the problem. Mostly, unelected persons overseeing – either through favor or appointment, or both – the broken and the corruptible system that perpetuates it. Mainly appointed by the broken and the corrupted elected officials who refuse to do what is necessary to change that system. And why should they? Public and civil servants who ostensibly hold no obligation to the citizens they are there to serve, because their accountability belongs only to the bureaucracy that put them there. Or because they are on yet another vacation at taxpayer expense, playing yet another round of golf on an exclusive golf course rubbing elbows with their moneyed and celebrity cronies – instead of demonstrating real leadership foregoing such luxuries while hard-working and destitute Americans continue to suffer under the bureaucratic weight implemented by them.

“Let them eat cake!”

To take a hard look at the state of affairs, all one has to do is stare into the dour faces and sunken eyes of average American citizens. At the grocery store, at sporting events, at the mall – the same sullen look of desperation, uncertainty and insecurity, delicately hidden by a veneer of positive fortitude. Unrelenting underemployment/unemployment, progressively higher priced commodities/services and unyielding fees/taxes imposed on everything under the sun – and a seemingly uninspired, out-of-touch and unsympathetic government offering inadequate measures purportedly meant to ease that only further burden. As if a shadow from another generation that faced similar, albeit harsher, conditions, Americans once again – in year six of a spuriously pledged era of “hope and change” – are genuinely concerned not only of their present situation but also for what the future holds as well.

In accordance, I propose a vital measure for our critical state:  the Federal Unmitigated Bureaucracy Augmentation and Reorganization Act, henceforth to be known colloquially as “The F.U.B.A.R. Act.” Otherwise, we might as well enact a Federal Unmitigated Croaked, Kicked and Ended Declaration – otherwise known as “The F.U.C.K.E.D. Act.”

©2014 Steve Sagarra