Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

Oct 5 - Oct 19, 2005
Issue #85

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
Bursting the Bennett Bubble
Count me out on this one
Allan Uthman

Post-Katrina, Pre-kaboom?
The Nukes are Loose
Russ Wellen

Tenet & the Bare Necessities
Touch the CIA Director
A Monkey
Fristing America
In Search of the Senator's Rolex
Ian Murphy
Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Gasoline
Kit Smith
Bush Declares War on Hurricanes
"It's time to fight back"
Luke Allein
Ask a Janjaweed Militiaman
Genocidal social advice
How to Wipe Your Ass With Buffalo Current
New paper finds its niche

Visitor's Gude to  Buffalo--Cheektowaga
Tom Maccio

Buffalo in Briefs
Wide Right
Bills Football
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
[sic] - Letters
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Last Issue: (84)

Tenet and the Bare Necessities

“I like to be near the person I want to be near.”
— Nicole Kidman

I’m starting with famous monkeys that all of you monkeys have heard of before, specifically powerful American monkeys. The monkey in this episode is one named George Tenet, who ran the CIA until 2004. And the place and time are the cozy little neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. in late October, 2002. It was a classic mid-Atlantic fall morning, and this privileged monkey was taking a walk in his nice rich neighborhood, I think to get some coffee.

Georgetown is loaded with aging and decrepit monkeys who have had long and successful careers in government. When a Georgetown monkey dies, there’s a funeral at one of the fancy churches, and all the monkeys who worked with the dead monkey show up, and sometimes members of the dead monkey’s extended clan do too. On that morning, there was a private funeral at Christ Episcopal Church. The funeral, I later found out, was held for a monkey named Eloise Randolph Page, who died at age 82.

Eloise was no ordinary female monkey for her time. She was a spy for the CIA starting from its founding in 1947. And she was the CIA’s first female monkey station chief, assigned to the Athens desk in 1978. She retired in 1987, and after did some typical old rich white Christian monkey lady things. A Washington Post obituary from her death reported that she was known as “a perfect southern [female monkey] with a core of steel” by one of her colleagues. She also apparently insisted on being addressed as “Miss Page,” not “Ms. Page.” Knowing what I know now, I would have delighted in calling her on the fact that she was “just another fucking monkey,” but anyway, Tenet.

When I walked by the church I saw all the signs of funeral; men in black suits, nice black cars, one black hearse. Though I didn’t know that it was a monkey who crossed the grief-barrier of way old age that died, I immediately registered that it was clearly a “happy” funeral, where it was OK to smile and talk about other things, because, well that was the mood of the event. Outside the church entrance a group of men stood in a circle, swaying back and forth in the typical manner of the monkey men. Some of them were smoking. I also recognized one of the monkey’s faces. It was George Tenet, and from across the street he looked just like an Arab.

Now this is the part I care about. I’d say there were six nameless unknown monkeys standing around Tenet. They were all chattering about some nonsense, but what was really going on between them was that it was clearly one of those rare moments where it was OK to touch Him without repercussions, and they took full advantage. They circled him. They slapped his back, tapped his shoulder, brushed against him. But really it was anything to touch him. It was obsessive, and it was disgusting. And it was all intentional. Tenet handled it well, absorbing each desperate touch with aplomb. But I was appalled, and later, I felt great, great pity for him.

Here’s why. Can you imagine being handed the preposterous title of director of Central Intelligence Agency after years of vicious backstabbing, find out the truth if you haven’t figured it out already that when you get a “briefing” on the phone it’s just another monkey on the other line, or that even the most secret reports are still written by monkeys, who, if you pressed them with a few sharp questions would get that scared monkey look on their faces, and who will confess under little pressure that deep down they don’t have a clue what’s really going on?

That might be OK to deal with, but then on top of it, after the long hours cramped in rooms full of stinking monkeys, there’s an “event” or “retreat” of some kind where it wasn’t enough for those monkeys to be near you all day, but now the purpose of the whole social exercise is to find an excuse to touch you.

Power or success at that level is of course inexplicable and ridiculous; the rubber doesn’t hit the road. In the presence of it, there’s nothing a monkey can do to deal with its abstract form than with a simple lunge for it, a grope.

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with was this: it’s what the bureaucratic striving is all about — to be the monkey everyone wants to put a hand on; not a passionate belief in American exceptionalism or even USAID slush fund payoffs, as they might tell you in intimate asides. Just to be longed for by monkey hands. It amounts to the same thing ultimately.

Tenet clearly liked it, and I guess he doesn’t need a monkey like me to feel sorry for him.

If I had to deal with monstrous power, I’d adopt what the brilliant monkeys of the Heian courts in Japan did to deal with their control of the other monkeys.

They separated themselves from the court pages, lesser members of the extended family, and even pretty good friends with beautiful painted screens. It must have been a relief to everyone. The rulers can relax — even deign not to say anything, just write it down for a scribe to read out loud — in the knowledge that they won’t be touched or looked at. They will certainly make wiser choices.

The would-be touchers have a material and metaphorical barrier with beautiful rules; if they tear it down, they’ll be killed. There’s going to be no touching of the Royalty at all, or really even seeing them. Which makes the ruling monkeys all the more fascinating and redirects all that pent-up desire to Touch the Monkey into serving him.

© Copyright 2002-2005, The Beast. All rights reserved.