Spies and Nothingness

Communism is an idea, therefore, ideas have been canceled until further notice.

It has recently come to light that Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus were studied not just by young philosophers in despair (and love) but also by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Long-time readers of this blog won't know my stance on Hoover, so suffice it to say, I won't be dragging his bad name through further mud, no matter how much he deserves it.

What other authors, thinkers, and philosophers were studied by bewildered G-Men? Fortunately, some rich twit with lakeside housing on the Reservoir of Racism was enamored of the House Un-American Activities Committee (Ironically, they found that committee formation was an Un-American activity) and when he found out that these notes had nothing to do with that, he threw them in the lake, after which they found their way to my fetid shores.

So, here I present to you, more 20th century thinkers examined by American G-Men:

Samuel Beckett: Have been following for days. Nothing seems to be happening, but I will issue a further report when his anticipated guest (Codename: Godot?) arrives. Should be soon. Have put off eating, sleeping to make sure no movements go unobserved. - Agent P.

Franz Kafka: May need to investigate further. Command believes him to be in possession of weapon capable of transforming men into insects. Please advise. - Agent T.G.

James Joyce: Have no idea what he is up to. Writes messages exclusively in coded language, referring to events no doubt cataclysmic. Have sent analysis to top cryptologists. - Agent Q.

Bertrand Russel: May be in possession of invisible, or perhaps immaterial, teapot. Said teapot appears to be capable of spaceflight maneuvers currently impossible by all known craft. Forwarding reports to NACA. - Agent T.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Believed to be very dangerous with a fireplace poker. If he must be engaged, do so away from fireplaces. - Agent K.P.

Ernest Hemingway: Back off, Agents. We're already on to this one. I'm sure it'll end well. - Agent X.


Any comments or remarks over mistakes or misunderstandings regarding philosophical or literary in-jokes should be addressed to the faculty of Millsaps College, philosophy department. All mistakes are theirs, not my own.

Notes from U.S. Strategic Quinoa Reserve

The offending unit, possibly used in a tactical or strategic quinoa logistics capacity. Or for ice cream.

Notes from U.S. Strategic Quinoa Reserve:
Vicksburg, MS


    The U.S. Strategic Quinoa Reserve (SQR) was founded in 2007 when Goldman Sachs recommended that the US Government stockpile the commodity to stabilize trading prices. Under the auspices of the US PATRIOT Act, it is a highly defended military location.

    The SQR was built in Vicksburg, MS, due to an error by congressman Thad Cochran, who confused it with Amaranth, which grows wild in the area, and under the name “Pigweed,” is a scourge of local farmers.

    These transcribed notes were inexplicably found in a freezer dumped in a swamp South of the Waterworks Curve in Jackson, Mississippi. They detail a conversation between General Dirk Mannberg, military commander of the U.S. Strategic Quinoa Reserve, and Geraldo Fiorentini, a Goldman Sachs commodities trader who from 2009 to 2013 acted as Chief Quinoa Officer (CQO) at Goldman Sachs.


    Gen. Dirk Mannberg: "Goddamnit, Geraldo. I don't care what the spot-price or market-liquidity of this stuff is! It's a complete goddamn protein! You can't just slow down the transport of the stuff to jack up the price!"

Mr. Fiorentini: "Dirk, buddy, it's not a complete protein...."

Stammering, and a loud bang can be heard.

Gen. Mannberg: "It is if you mix it with corn! Corn, for Chrissakes, Geraldo! We've got enough corn in this country to wait out back to back nuclear winters, but we'll all be dead of kwashiorkor before the Reds because you had to make a buck the convoluted way! Don't you have enough money up there in New York, you unconscionable bastard? I've got eleven thousand men under my command, all tasked with defending this stuff, and you're telling me it's not important!?"

Mr. Fiorentini: "Dirk, listen, you're being irrational here. We're friends with the Russians now. Besides, while quinoa is rich in most essential amino acids, especially lysine, it's just a trendy food. It's not vital for the survival of the nation, or anything."

Gen. Mannberg: "Trendy! Vajazzling is trendy, Geraldo! Pink assault rifles are trendy! Quinoa is not trendy! Quinoa is a goddamn national craze! This is hot shit, Geraldo! I've got soccer moms out there trying to scale the fences! I'm up to my eyeballs in crazed yoga instructors all hyped up on smoothies and using so much maca powder that they're high as Doctor Timothy Leary on a hot air balloon ride! We haven't had to shoot this many Mississippians since Jackson State back in '70, you money-laundering dirtbag!

Mr. Fiorentini: "A lysine-rich staple grain is no cause to murder people, you monster! They weren't breaking into a military base, they were breaking into a quinoa warehouse we own! This isn't a nuclear plant! This is a building full of quinoa!"

Gen. Mannberg: "Did you just mention lysine again? Are you one of those bastards from Archer Midland Daniels that's been fixing the price of lysine!? Because I won't have that, Fiorentini! I saw that movie, Geraldo! Matt Damon wouldn't lie to me! Lysine is a valuable national amino acid!"

Mr. Fiorentini: "Oh god, no, Dirk! Put it down! Put it...."

(Several gunshots are fired, recording ends)