Bureucratic Tunnel Vision
In line with this, I extend an ironic line of reasoning: the critique of bureaucracy commonly argued by conservatives. And one of the many problems is what I call "tunnel vision", or more precisely an effectiveness-efficiency mismatch: The adoption of normalized standards and practices that end up being counterproductive to the broader goal of the institution. A perfect satirical example is the episode of South Park where the detectives do not arrest a man with severed human hands on his wall because the serial murderer they are looking for does not cut off that side of hand.
Today I experienced another such example, from my midterm:
"Answer the following questions in a clearly written essay of 5-6 pages in length (typed, single sided, double spaced, with normal font and margins). Your essay is due on February 14. Please e-mail the essay directly..."
Notice a problem? I'll let you all read a second.
For those you haven't figured it out:
If I'm e-mailing it to you, what does it matter if it is set to be single-sided or double-sided?
This is a prestigious university with a well-respected lecturer making this mistake.
It's funny. And on another level, completely disturbing.