Reacting for Business
In an unparalleled jaunt of investigative journalism, The Natrat went undercover to sit in on the new Reacting for Business class. It is the sequal to Tepper's very real course, Acting for Business.
“The goal of this class,” explained Professor Bye Stander, “is to unlearn your instinct to intervene. You are a corporate fly on the wall. Dump the ethics down the disposal and tap into your truest, bravest, most beautiful capitalist self.”
Two students looked uncomfortable. One tentatively raised her hand and asked where she could find the Peace Studies class she was scheduled for. “Not in this building,” Stander responded, uncapping his Big Pharma pen to take attendance.
The first three units listed in the syllabus are Unlearning Empathy, Trusting the Patriarchy, and Taking the ‘Co-op’ Out of Cooperation. One of the most popular units of the course is titled Just Say No. Stander says he was inspired by the incredible efficacy of Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign and is adapting her framework to an economic context. The module byline reads: “If it doesn’t turn a profit, Just Say No.”
Stander pulled no punches in his class introduction, going as far as to express his opinions on banned books. “The Giving Tree can burn in hell. Trees are resources. Givers are pliable,” he said, bulldozing sympathy for the tree that fell prey to capitalism. Stander embellished his rant against the “eco-sympathizer Lorax” with a thneed he ordered on Amazon. “This,” he said to the class, draping the sartorial appendage around his neck, “is the best scarf I’ve ever worn.” One student asked if the professor had ever worn a scarf and was asked to leave the class.
Stander is particularly fond of a role play activity that challenges students to imagine themselves in real-world situations. He wants his students to be prepared for anything, so virtually any conflict is on the table.
“You, girl,” Sanders said, pointing to the student who was at this point desperately wishing she had found the Peace Studies class. “You’re in an interview with Meta and they make a joke about your value as a woman. What do you do?”
The student, later identified as Mary, was unsure how to respond. Sanders latched on to her hesitation. The professor jumped onto a desk and shouted, “Rule number one in this class: when I ask what you do, you respond immediately. This is a reaction class, not Being Sedentary in Your Windowless Cubicle for Business.”
Mary looked like she would much prefer that class. Sanders, however, refused to give her an inch, and repeated the scenario. After a futile sweep of the room, Mary saw that no one was going to come to her defense. Everyone else was manspreading so expansively that each person occupied between three to seven chairs. All masks were confidently suspended between nose and chin.
Acknowledging that it was only the first day of class, Sanders conceded to give her the answer. “In this class, there is one right answer. Always. And it’s to not say or do anything. The central dogma of this class is: don’t react.”