Sunday, February 7, 2010


Cal Stephanides begins his story before his birth in a small Greek village when his grandparents (Lefty and Desdemona) fail to resist the incestuous desires and the story of Ottomans conquest of Europe during 1992. One thing to note is the English admiral looking from a distance at helpless refugees in the water trying to swim away from danger. His orders were not to help refugees, as it wasn’t in an interest to England to upset the Ottomans. It reminded me of war in Bosnia, 1992-1995. English lords looking at us as violent people observing from a distance while innocent people were being killed. When Bosnia asked for help they imposed embargo on Bosnia with an excuse that more weapons in Bosnia will only mean more killing. Funny thing is, one side had all the weapons needed for killing.

I found this particularly interesting since the Balkan peninsula was always and still is a cross between East and the West and history is constantly repeating itself, new helpless people, new waves of immigrants to Unites States, new politics, new regimes, new workforce etc.

Their immigration to the United States and Lefty’s work in Ford Motor Plant -Rouge greatly explains a history, politics and psychology during that period of time.
One paragraph of this book explains hard labor, speed, efficiency needed to work on a T model car. An assembly line and Ford’s discussion to only make one model car. Labor was defined as a factor of time rather then skill of thought and maximized by demanding production schedules dictated by floor managers. Charlie Chaplin in the 1936 film Modern Times satirized Fordism.

Note: Even nowadays, time is more important in factories then skill and thought.
Perhaps that’s why we have economic downfall, especially in the car industry in the United States. While Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Italians, English, shifted their focus on skill and thought Americans continued with Fordism philosophy. That is why American car industry is way behind these nations. Even Fiat is buying a Chrysler.

I will comment more as I continue through chapters on a superficial story of a hermaphrodite.


  1. some pics to accompany your reading. I like hearing about the parallels your finding in experiences of Greek and Bosnian migration.
    (beware: Ford promotional piece)
    (this one is interesting because it has a clock that is timing the speed of the workers on the assembly line)

  2. This goes back to the experiment conducted by Frederick W. Taylor 1880's aimed to increase productivity among workers. As described by author Robert Kanigel:

    There it was, The Faustian bargain in embryonic form: You do it my way, by my standards, at the speed I mandate, and in doing achieve a level of output I ordain, and I'll pay you handsomely for it, beyond anything you might have imagined. All you have to do is take order, give up your way of doing the job for mine.