"Raymond 'Red' Reddington:The concept of a Last Stand sounds so heroically romantic, doesn't it, Donald? But there is a good reason why we didn't see what happened to Butch and Sundance - being riddled by bullets and left to rot under the scorching Columbian sun. It's not a sequel maker, and if you surmise nothing about me by now, know this: I am going be around for the sequel.
Agent Donald Ressler: You really going to do a field transfusion?
Reddington: Oh, come now, Donald! Just think how much smarter you'll be afterwards.
Ressler:Why the hell are you doing this? It's pretty obvious I hate your guts. I can't imagine you hold a lot of love for me... why save me?
Reddington: Because that's what you do when someone is dying in front of you. Allies today, enemies tomorrow - the world is a complex place, further complicated by men's fickle nature...
...Donald! Donald!! Feeling any wittier yet? Any strange cravings for beluga caviar or Marcel Proust?
Ressler: I know you don't think much of me, but you don't get to be assigned to the case like yours unless you pass muster...
...We are not going to live through this.
Reddington: I think we will.
Reddington:Have you ever sailed accross an ocean, Donald?
Reddington: On a sailboat, surrounded by sea with no land in sight, without even a possibility of sighting land for days to come. To stand at the helm of your destiny - I want that one more time. I want to be in Piazza del Campo in Siena and feel the surge as ten race horses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris... I want another bottle of wine, and then another. I want the warmth of a woman in a cool set of sheets; one more night of jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on summits and smoke cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can. Walk on the Wall again, climb the Tower, ride the River, stare at the frescos. I want to seat in the garden and read one more good book... That's why I won't allow that punk out there to get the best of me, let alone the last of me."
"One of these types of executives is represented by people who rendered certain services in the past... These are the people who do not consider it their duty to fulfill the decisions of the Party and of the Government, and who thus destroy the foundations of Party and state discipline... They Presume that the Soviet Government will not have the courage to touch them, because of their past services. These over-conceited aristocrats think that they are irreplaceable... What is to be done with executives of this kind? They must unhesitatingly be removed from their leading posts, irrespective of past services."
Joseph Stalin (January 1934)
The Frustrated CFO's commentary:
Usually all my posts are accompanied by pictures, but not this one - I don't put up photos of mass murderers. Yet, I think that this quote tragically confirms my observation that entities, organizations, and systems can survive even after the most valuable, irreplaceable individuals are removed. In this speech, delivered during the 17th Congress of the Bolsheviks Party, Stalin has laid the grounds for the Great Purge that was about to exterminate millions of the best and the brightest Russian citizens - political, economic, scientific, military, industrial, and cultural elite. In fact, the eliminations started with the members of the said Congress, nicknamed by historians the Congress of the Condemned because two thirds of the people present during the oration were executed within the next three years. Without them and without the continuously murdered and imprisoned in camps workers, agrarians, engineers, doctors, scientists, poets, writers, musicians, etc. the country was getting darker, poorer, more corrupt, and less educated. But it's still there, on the map. Even after the break up of the Soviet Union it's still the largest damn country in the world.
"Televisions are idiot boxes. DVRs are idiots' helpers. We are the idiots. We're quite willingly giving them a part of ourselves: we teach them our tastes, our preferences, just so that they would know which program to record; never once stopping to consider the fact that our selections can be used to profile us."
Synopsis of James O. Incandenza's short (16 min) film Wave Bye-Bye to the Bureaucrat, Latrodectus Mactans Productions, Year of the Whopper:
"A bureaucrat in some kind of sterile fluorescent-lit office complex is a fantastically efficient worker when awake , but he has this terrible problem waking up in the A.M., and is consistently late to work, which in a bureaucracy is idiosyncratic and disorderly and wholly unacceptable, and we see this bureaucrat getting called in to his supervisor’s pebbled-glass cubicle, and the supervisor, who wears a severely dated leisure suit with his shirt-collar flaring out on either side of its rust-colored lapels, tells the bureaucrat that he’s a good worker and a fine man, but that this chronic tardiness in the A.M. is simply not going to fly, and if it happens one more time the bureaucrat is going to have to find another fluorescent-lit office complex to work in . It’s no accident that in a bureaucracy getting fired is called ‘termination,’ as in ontological erasure, and the bureaucrat leaves his supervisor’s cubicle duly shaken. That night he and his wife go through their Bauhaus condominium collecting every alarm clock they own, each one of which is electric and digital and extremely precise, and they festoon their bedroom with them, so there are like a dozen timepieces with their digital alarms all set for 0615h. But that night there’s a power failure, and all the clocks lose an hour or just sit there blinking 0000h. over and over, and the bureaucrat still oversleeps the next A.M. He wakes late, lies there for a moment staring at a blinking 0000. He shrieks, clutches his head, throws on wrinkled clothes, ties his shoes in the elevator, shaves in the car, blasting through red lights on the way to the commuter rail. The 0816 train to the City pulls in to the station’s lower level just as the crazed bureaucrat’s car screeches into the station’s parking lot, and the bureaucrat can see the top of the train sitting there idling from across the open lot. This is the very last temporally feasible train: if the bureaucrat misses this train he’ll be late again, and terminated. He hauls into a Handicapped spot and leaves the car there at a crazy angle, vaults the turnstile, and takes the stairs down to the platform seven at a time, sweaty and bug-eyed. People scream and dive out of his way. As he careers down the long stairway he keeps his crazed eyes on the open doors of the 0816 train, willing them to stay open just a little longer. Finally, filmed in a glacial slo-mo, the bureaucrat leaps from the seventh-to-the-bottom step and lunges toward the train’s open doors, and right in mid-lunge smashes headlong into an earnest-faced little kid with thick glasses and a bow-tie and those nerdy little schoolboy-shorts who’s tottering along the platform under a tall armful of carefully wrapped packages. Kerwham, they collide. Bureaucrat and kid both stagger back from the impact. The kid’s packages go flying all over the place. The kid recovers his balance and stands there stunned, glasses and bow-tie askew. The bureaucrat looks frantically from the kid to the litter of packages to the kid to the train’s doors, which are still open. The train thrums. Its interior is fluorescent-lit and filled with employed, ontologically secure bureaucrats. You can hear the station’s PA announcer saying something tinny and garbled about departure. The stream of platform foot-traffic opens around the bureaucrat and the stunned boy and the litter of packages... The film’s bureaucrat’s buggy eyes keep going back and forth between the train’s open doors and the little kid, who’s looking steadily up at him, almost studious, his eyes big and liquid behind the lenses... The bureaucrat’s leaning away, inclined way over toward the train doors, as if his very cells were being pulled that way. But he keeps looking at the kid, the gifts, struggling with himself... The bureaucrat’s eyes suddenly recede back into their normal places in his sockets. He turns from the fluorescent doors and bends to the kid and asks if he’s OK and says it’ll all be OK. He cleans the kid’s spectacles with his pocket handkerchief, picks the kid’s packages up. About halfway through the packages the PA issues something final and the train’s doors close with a pressurized hiss. The bureaucrat gently loads the kid back up with packages, neatens them. The train pulls out. The bureaucrat watches the train pull out, expressionless. It’s anybody’s guess what he’s thinking. He straightens the kid’s bow-tie , kneeling down the way adults do when they’re ministering to a child, and tells him he’s sorry about the impact and that it’s OK. He turns to go. The platform’s mostly empty now. Now the strange moment. The kid cranes his neck around the packages and looks up at the guy as he starts to walk away: ‘Mister?’ the kid says. ‘Are you Jesus?’ ‘Don’t I wish,’ the ex-bureaucrat says over his shoulder, walking away, as the kid shifts the packages and frees one little hand to wave Bye at the guy’s topcoat’s back as the camera, revealed now as mounted on the 0816’ s rear, recedes from the platform and picks up speed."
David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest, pp. 687-689, Little, Brown and Company
(For those who are wandering whether I'm reading Infinite Jest right now: Yes, I'm reading Infinite Jest right now.)
I wasn't planning on dignifying this new chapter in the government's bullshit with any words at all, but yesterday, during my news-reading self-torture, I came across the short bit cited below. I don't always agree with this journalist's points of view. However, in this instance she appears to channel my own libertarian position on several key issues. I couldn't say it better myself, so here you go:
"This week was dominated by the shutdown.
It's as much a shutdown of the executive functions of the brain as it
is of the government. A monument to monumental stupidity, it's also a shutdown of possibility, and of whatever residual trust the public still has in the American political system. Even those doing the right thing by fighting it were reduced
by the sheer absurdity of the situation. All to try to reinstate a
sequester-level budget that is itself horrifically self-destructive
(note to media: the Affordable Care Act and sequester are the compromises,
and bad ones, at that). That's right -- we've now sunk to a level in
which the merely horribly self-destructive is a goal that seems out of
reach. So our leaders play games instead of even attempting to address
the real problems, like the roughly 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans. That's for August. The September numbers weren't released on Friday -- because of the shutdown."
"A grunting, crunching ballet of repressed homoeroticism, football... The exaggerated breadth of the shoulders, the masked eradication of facial personality, the emphasis on contact-vs.-avoidance-of-contact. The gains in terms of penetration and resistance. The tight pants that accentuate the gluteals and hamstrings and what look for all the world like codpieces. The gradual slow shift of venue to 'artificial surface,' 'artificial turf...' And have a look at these men whacking each other's asses after a play... Football is pure homophobically repressed nancy-ism..."