Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Spy Who Came in from the Covfefe

Update: Welcome Crooks & Liars! And the people who love them. Thanks, Batocchio, for the shoutout.

Poster for the 1928 film, via Google itself.

There's been a great discussion in the comments comparing Richard Condon thrillers like The Manchurian Candidate and more literary spy fiction with particular reference to John Le Carré, who I too am convinced is a kind of great writer of literature, not just a genre writer, and how he would handle the Trumpery as a subject, which I know Jordan for one has been dreaming about for months, and Professor Fate imagines the scene where somebody like George Smiley interrogates the psychopath-in-chief, a scene I'd kind of like to write myself, to tell the truth:
I think his questioning of Trump would shatter Trump to pieces. George would regret doing this, but he would see the need and do it, despite the cost to himself because that is who he is.
But as the Prof notes, Trump himself isn't a good Le Carré character; Le Carré doesn't like to give the high and mighty that much attention, because they don't deserve it, and I don't think he'd put Trump onstage any more than Khrushchev or Ulbricht or Harold Macmillan. Even less, because he's too cartoonish for Le Carré to find interesting to write. He'd be very interested in people like Sater and Epshteyn, and certainly Comey and Bannon and Nunes and Chaffetz with Adam Schiff and maybe Al Franken and Jeff Sessions (who we just learned are actually friends in a weird kind of Senate way).

And you know who else? John O. Brennan for me has long been a true Le Carré hero in the Smiley family, ready to be despised by everybody for the sake of working to take something evil and make it 10 or 15% less evil.

He could also do a wonderful number on Jared and Ivanka, if he wanted to write about them, worming inside their mysterious vacancy and figuring out how they work (best writer for them might be Raymond Chandler, because I expect the best answer to that question is extremely dark and personal). But I think his best option for him would be to focus on the people that never interact with Trump at all, toiling in the shadows and coping with the crazy orders that emanate from the White House miles above them, and their enemies at the same level.

And really the best writer overall could be Graham Greene in his manic phase (Our Man in Havana or Travels with My Aunt) because the funny isn't just relief, it's an essential element.

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