The NSA in the Public Imagination

Mon Mar 26, 2007

A fun example from this highly entertaining Jeffrey Goldberg article:

Before opening the door, she instructed me not to write down anything I saw—the third time that this particular directive had been issued. In some ways, the home office is not unlike the headquarters of the National Security Agency—both contain a large number of windowless rooms and both are staffed by people who are preoccupied by the movement of strangers in their midst. The N.S.A.’s headquarters, though, seemed to me more aesthetically appealing; the Wal-Mart home office resembles a poorly funded elementary school.

I’m tolerant of the syncretic aspects of much—especially Marxist—theory because of the clearly uncanny, irreal nature of contemporary capitalism. Before graduate school, I worked for an industrial manufacturing concern in a temporary capacity where I got to meet, very briefly, the eldritch chief executive—perhaps last in a line of hemophiliac warlocks who still commanded untold spirits at the country club. I wondered then if the teratogens and carcinogens this facility leached into the surrounding community (poor and largely African-American, therefore insignificant from a regulatory perspective—though I’d heard rumors of nominal fines) might have been the true, necromantic work—the static cackle of that sweater, those dead glassed eyes.