for 8 March 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run 03.1.01
Subject: I spy
It's buried in the last few graphs of the original, VERY long article in the New York Times, but there really isn't all that much of a mystery to Mr Hannsen's spying. It seems that the guy was a geek. Nice guy, really good with technology, fine father and husband, but with limited social skills, poorly dressed, slouched, lack of "presence." As I said, a geek.
The FIBBIES think of themselves as a paramilitary organization, and you get promoted by looking like a FIBBIE: strong command presence, clear voice, in charge, tally ho, all that. Dudley Do-Right. You know. Like everywhere else, only worse.
So we've got a guy who's demonstrably smarter than the folk around him (the FBI traditionally required a legal or accounting degree, which used to mean they took the lowest third of the law school grads), spending most of his time showing people how to do stuff that's obvious to him but nobody else can figure out...and he's being made fun of. He's got all these unpleasant nicknames. His career is stalled, permanently.
You, or I, or most sucksters would just bail out at this point. But he's got a family, he's got his pride, being FBI means something to him, it seems. He'd rather just SHOW THOSE ASSHOLES. So he does. He demonstrates to them how much smarter he is than they are. He laughs up his sleeve every time he gets passed over for promotion or slighted. It would be funny. Hell, it is funny. In times of peace, neither espionage nor counterespionage really changes much. Except, of course, for those Russians he got killed. So maybe it isn't all that funny at all.
I think you're selling old Hanssen short, Alan. We don't want to keep kissing our own asses, the way Ron Rosenbaum does, just because we read through the entire affidavit, but that document contains enough hints of his rare style to indicate he was no mere disgruntled employee. The fascination with procedure, the love of closed-loop systems, the pedantic convert's urge to lecture on protocol, the unique symbolic shorthand he worked out with the Russians (in which he would indicate a drop with a vertical piece of masking tape, which his handlers would then cross with a vertical tape to acknowledge receipt) these are not the habits of a man who's just pissed off at work. Add to that the mysteries of a shadow organization given to mortification of the flesh and you have a man who could not have been content with shooting up the office or peeing in the coffee, or any of the other normal outlets for bitter employees.
The Suck ad gracing the back of the new HATE ANNUAL is a great thing to behold.
But not as great as the art of Ramon Garcia Jr. If you're smart you'll somehow get in touch with that classy, rugged, financially strapped artist and pick one of those babies up while the gettin's good.
I'm serious. Although I harbor the suspicion that this UFO experience he had occurred while he was nodding off during a late-night showing of IT CONQUERED THE WORLD back when independent TV stations still broadcast movies like that at 2 a.m.
And I know you thought of and rejected! working pixyland.org/peterpan/ into the "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" HAR. I guess Rev. Randy just isn't felt up enough for Suck yet, eh?
Thanks, Stanley. You'll note that Rev. Randy is featured in today's Hit & Run. It wasn't a matter of being felt up enough, but of our conviction that Randy deserved better than a quick one-off. Sadly, Randy did not feel the same. Maybe we'll do better with Ramon Garcia.
Subject: better meta?
All your "All your base are belong to us" are belong to us.
J. Michael Hammond
Truly Borgesian, J. Michael. It's almost like we're watching TV, but what's on the TV is an image of us watching TV! Or something like that.
Is it really true the pothead squirrel writes that awesome column on Temptation Island? You're apartment must be like Gertrude Stein's pad in Paris, all the great minds of one generation gathered together, doing drugs and having sex. How completely fabulous!
She's not actually a pothead, but once Terry drew the squirrel it looked so good with a bong in its hands.
But yes, our lives are tremendously fabulous, sort of like the Surrealists or Dorothy Parker's gang. Oh, the drugs, the sex, the great minds, discussing big ideas, the great works...Just musing, really. Leisurely musing, sipping good wine, falling madly in love, destroying furniture it actually gets quite dull after a while.
How I envy you little people with your petty concerns and deadening pursuits...
I can't decide which is worse. How long I have been reading your column or how long you have been doing it. You certainly have a lot to be proud of. Few people make a successful career out of being a miserable person. At some point though, you are in danger of maturing. Or worse, becoming a bitter pathetic old person. Consider investing in a house next to a vacant lot. That way you can call the cops on kids that play there. (I believe this to be the favorite past time of bitter old people who never had kids.)
Anyway, how are the dogs?
Thank you for the charming, uplifting note. I'm not sure which is worse, becoming a bitter pathetic old person, or maturing. I guess I should hope for misery, since it's my one and only key to success.
Who said anything about dogs?
Now get out of my yard before I call the cops.
Does Veronica the squirrel REALLY write the Temptation Island summary for Salon? I can't always tell when you're just joking. If she does, I'm not too surprised, I read her column and yours both regularly, and they have a lot in common. I don't even bother to watch the show.
No matter who wrote it, that line about Mandy being like a dog in a field of turds was pure genius.
I can't always tell when I'm joking either, but yes, Veronica writes the Temptation Island summary on Salon. Her column and mine have a lot in common because she and I have a lot in common. I'm thinking about turning Polly into an angry little animal to make the synergy more complete. Plus, it'll put an end to all this absurd confusion between Polly the cartoon and Polly the real live evil human. The merchandising potential is certainly a lot better if I'm some kind of animal that way, I can be made into a squeaky toy for your dog to tear to shreds. I'm thinking about maybe an angry little rat or a warthog...What do you think?
I figure things will have to get much more interesting once people are sending proposals of marriage to a warthog.
Warthog in a field of turds,