Satan Shows Up In A Three-Piece Suit

dan mcenroe on his new blog (apparently they hand them out to people like candy these days):

The sorry spectacle of the NYPD intelligence unit sending operatives undercover to infiltrate groups like Code Pink and the performance art troupe Billionaires for Bush (let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly Donnie Brasco duty) is made even more pathetic when you realize that Michael Bloomberg didn’t do it because he’s enthralled by George W. Bush’s vision for America, nor is he an authoritarian ideologue like his predecessor, Rudy “your freedom exists to the degree that you respect authority” Giuliani. Bloomberg wasn’t even a Republican until it was clear that he had no shot at the Democratic nomination to succeed Giuliani. You know why he did it? Because he’s a brand manager.

For those of you who have never worked in marketing, brand management is a discipline created by Proctor and Gamble that is designed to control what people think about a given product. Think about that – your job is to try and control what people think. If you want to go nuts in a hurry, work as a brand manager. It’s terrifying.

Bloomberg’s task was to show that New York could pull off a major event smoothly. Sadly, that major event meant a man despised by (at the time) nearly half the nation, accompanied by a hoard of underlings who owe their careers to denigrating New York City and everything it’s come to stand for were going to promenade up and down the avenues until they got to hold a ceremony proclaiming the despised guy God Emperor of what-the-fuck. In other words, Mike, you picked this fight.

Which plays into something I’ve been talking about with friends in relation to some 10-year-old meatspace drama that’s not worth recounting here. Namely, that it’s never the scummy, smelly, matted-haired guy on the corner talking to the pigeons who’s gonna turn out to be the Prince of Darkness. It’s going to be the sexy beast in the Armani ensemble with the fast car, it’s going to be the guy who says it’s nothing personal, really, it’s just business as he rapes your entire life. That’s the guy you have to worry about. That’s the one who’s going to get you. Fanatics and crazies are dangerous, but they don’t begin to compare to the dude who took a look at the possibility of behaving decently and said, “Eh. More money to be made frying souls for eternity, thanks.” It’s not so much the banality of evil as the calculations that go into propagating it.

To use an example. When I was reporting the priest sex abuse scandal, people were always shocked that it was the nice priest, the good priest, the cool priest, the one with the grandfatherly smile or the gentle way of hearing confessions or the fiery, transfixing sermons, who turned out to be the predator. “But he seemed so good!” they’d say. Well, of course he did. How else was he going to get you? The old alcoholic asshole priest who smells of garlic and doesn’t like people isn’t going to get anybody to follow him, trust him, let him in close enough.

It’s not an ironclad rule, of course: Some predators are as slimy on the surface as they are underneath and some people really are charismatic because they’re awesome. What I am saying is that if your vice depends on drawing people in like a spider, you usually have to know how to spin a web. You have to have an idea of how best to arrange things in order to accomplish your monstrous means, and it’s the idea of somebody calmly arranging the cabin for the camping trip that never fails to scare the shit out of me.

Which brings me back to Bloomberg and Dan’s point. When all this is over, and don’t get me wrong, it’s almost never going to be over, shit, we’re not over the last time we did this to ourselves, but when it’s over, there’s going to be some kind of attempt to count out who did what and why. There’s going to be an attempt to decipher who drank the Kool-Aid, who was honestly deluded, and who looked at the numbers, like Bloomberg, and told some flunky, “Look, do what you have to do to get this done.”

And I can honestly say I hope the worst of whatever punishment is handed down can be reserved for those in the last category.


4 thoughts on “Satan Shows Up In A Three-Piece Suit

  1. You know A,
    That scummy, smelly, matted-haired guy on the corner talking to the pigeons is probably our savior – you gotta listen to hear.

  2. What is especially frustrating to me is just how hard it is to nail them. Even when you have iton tape saying terrible things, they figure out some way to get out of it. “It’s old, out of context, it’s a metaphor, I apologized already… dodge, dodge, dodge.”
    And the people who aren’t as slick, they get nailed. At one time I wanted to be an SEC investigator and a friend convinced me it wouldn’t really be a lot of fun. I just liked the idea of making sure the people who made those monetary calculations that damaged millions of lives would feel the pain.
    And I wanted the money back too! The really smart ones get away with it. Justice on those people is what we want to see.
    I was thinking about Lee’s speech in court today and how we wanted to go after Baltar for all the wrong reasons. Baltar actually DID assist in the genocide of the humans, but he was NOT on trial for that! ‘Not enough evidence!’ So it is the same for the Bush Admin. Maybe we can’t get them for the stuff that they REALLY were guilty of, so we go after the stuff that is legally possible in the justice system.
    You want them to be caught and punished for their war crimes, but you might have to catch them and punish them for their US Attorney firings. It is possible to prove the “smaller” crime easier because they might not have been paying attention to that as much as the bigger crimes, but their pattern of criminal behavior means that they do it all the time and they are bound to slip up because crime isn’t just a some time thing for them, it is their default position.
    And we can’t ignore the power of the spinners to make what they are doing NOT a crime by just denying it out right in the face of the facts. “The WMDs WERE there, they were moved to Syria!”
    Even in the face of NO hard evidence they will still believe this. They have no problem lying because there are no consequences for lying. When the come out and say, Valerie was not covert right after it was proclaimed in a court of law, “She was covert”. It’s just “entertainment” for the masses. Sadly, the masses don’t always understand that this entertainment is responsible for the war that is costing us billions and billions and destroying our image around the world.

  3. As I’ve been saying for years, George W. and his band have been doing Satan’s work on Earth for years.

  4. Thanks for putting a fine point on my blunt object, A.
    The whole sorry business reminds me of that Mussolini quote:
    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”
    Hey, if comparing someone to Hitler on the Internet triggers Godwin’s Law, does comparing them to Mussolini trigger Godwin’s Strongly Worded Suggestion?

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