It is widely-known and entirely uncontested that the CIA is in fact a tiny kernel of criminal organization operating a business producing heroin and cocaine abroad for purchase and consumption in the captive Home Markets, wrapped in the colorful candy coating of Patriotism and International Skulduggery. It is less well-known that they maintain a flickr account. The CIA's flickr account1 is a glorious testament to how easily Americans are bamboozled in general, and specifically how easily they were bamboozled into believing the CIA to be an upstanding arm of the Once-Great, populated by Normie Christian Cucks Who Have Never Done Drugs or Anything Else Bad in Their Lives. Their collection of "web pages"2 is riddled with bad art, amusingly ham-handed propaganda, thick lols, badass hardware, and great stories. I'll open with some Presidential Content.
The first thing one notices about the Presidential Content is its complete self-dissimilarity. This stands in stark contrast to CIA Director Material's unflinchingly bland homogeneity: typically a photo of The Director in his office, a photo of The Director at the Vietnam Memorial (not the Bay of Pigs memorial, that'd be awkward and not at all a poignant gesture of humility and self-awareness), aside photos of The Director shaking hands in very clean and white offices with various dignitaries. Presidential Content obviously captures and crystallizes our Fair Leaders' political zeitgeists, but the Content that the flickr profile operators specifically pick out speaks to us about the Leaders as The Agency sees them. I'll do them chronologically.
Truman's searchable legacy in the CIA's flickr account is...sparse. Even his face is nowhere to be found, the space instead held by his signature of the original crest, ca. 1950:
Fittingly mysterious for a sixty-year old amalgamation of previous intelligence outfits. In that there's absolutely nothing mysterious about it, and the attempt to make it so reeks of both sloth and cheap sleight-of-hand.
Eisenhower benefits from marginally less sloth-and-cheap-theatrics, with a startlingly cheery photo of a photo of his face3:
There is also a model of the U2, because Eisenhower thumbs-upped the construction of. This is worthy of note in that here we have the opportunity to see the wild bureaucracy attach its actual achievements to an individual's tenure, an event so stunningly rare that it's never before been caught on film. The photo, however, is an entirely mundane photo of a model, and I'm limiting myself to one photo per president. "I may be cruel", as Popescu once said, "but I'm not mean" (at least to people I like).
Photo count begins to inch up in the Kennedy regime, as production has only begun to ramp, quality too has only begun to decline. Gaze upon this magnificent black-and-white of Kennedy and Khruschev:
Oh, how I pine for the days of quality photography and black-and-white Presidents...
Interestingly, there is approximately zero photography of President Johnson during his term, but some true beauts from his vice-presidency, such as this shot of a beautiful car I'm having the most damnable difficulty identifying:
Just kidding, I wouldn't even know where to begin trying to place a car from that era and geography.
Perhaps Pete or one of the Aged and Cured Europeans who deign to read my ramblings will chime in. If they make it this far. Intel says it's a Karmann Ghia.
Which brings us to Nixon. Ah, sweet Nixon. Gaze upon The Crook; regard his yet-nascent jowls; revel in the Glory of the Brylcreem:
Alas, I must move on; the stench of manhood through the years is yet so powerful I fear my woman might finally wake up to the inferiority of modern American men and run screaming into the night.
LOOK AT THE WHITE MEN POINTING IMPORTANTLY AT STUFF. Gerald Ford is notionally somewhere in the photo but really who gives a shit about Ford? All he did was "word firmly" about things the "intelligence community" might or might not do when unsupervised. Bush is in there too, during his stint as DCI.
Jimmy Carter on the other hand, now he was the kind of President a man could like, if a man were the President-likin' kind of man: skinny, always with the simpering smile, solar-powered, lily-livered; at least the man had the courtesy to wear belts when he tucked his shirt in. His entry in the CIA's Annals of Presidents boils down to this photo:
I guess we're all white now or then or something. It boggles, the mind.
Reagan shows up barely at all in the archives beyond this awful color photo:
MORE WHITE MEN POINTING.
George Herbert Walker Bush. This is the kind of menacing aura that a president should exude:
He was but a veep at the time of that photo, but, he'd served as the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence), which might explain some amount of the fawning photo selection.
This is my favorite photo of Bill Clinton, hands down, ever, no second questions, no takebacks, forever and ever. Billy C is the President of my childhood and I will always love him first and foremost for getting blowjobs in the Oval Office and secondarily for establishing the Tough On Crime policies that rendered so many potential African Americans convicts and unable to vote for the Democratic Party.
Take a long hard look. Longer. Harder.
D'you see Billy's Willy yet? Also, how hilarious is it that they're getting into a C17 named The Spirit of Bob Hope?
George Bush the Junior. Can you really blame them for wanting to sweep GBtJ under the rug? I hope you enjoy this photo of the haggard dunce and Condi; it's about the only relevant photo of the man.
So we learn that as far as the CIA's outwardly-projected image is concerned, the President has been one long slide through mediocrity and into outright shame since Nixon, and possibly since the Founder Harry Truman Himself, and His Righteous Successor the Properly Military Dwight D. Eisenhower. Chucklefucks, the rest of 'em, I tell yas.
While you might infer from the trajectory of Presidental Portrayals that the CIA doesn't think much of current Leaders of the Free World, consider instead the Portrayals in service of the image of an Agency slowly but perpetually ossifying into uselessness, a tool wasted and withered at the hands of successive dipshits. This is a useful narrative, and no doubt contains a germ of truth. But! You and I both know that it only serves to provide another few years of cover for the vermin blackmailing impoverished farmers (who but for the inane war on drugs might have made a regular farmer's wage, subject only to the vicissitudes of local politics, the market, and weather, and without the burden of funding American armed forces' bariatric orthodontia) and flying heroin around the world on the US taxpayer's dime.
Blue collar schmucks eat the Decline narrative up: it fits ever so perfectly into the narrative of a nation of strong men doing good work continually hamstrung by overregulation and bureacracy. Normie Christian Cucks don't need sophisticated wool pulled over their eyes: they're happy to go straight from high school into college and then rejoice at +their luck+ the Lord's Blessing Manifest at finding a job at Langely, and need zero addtional nudging to form a good impression of The Agency. It is trivially apparent, however, that The Agency's Social Media Apparatus is direly afeared of what Good Progressives think about it. It makes sense, right? Only highschoolers, and the unfortunate adults who never mature out of a deep insecurity about what other people think of them give two shits about "social media"4.
The photos in the Hamhanded Identity Politics Album are so blisteringly inane (no faces in any of the photos, for example) that I outright refuse to republish any of them. Instead, I shall simply quote:
The CIA’s Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Allies (ANGLE)5 – one of the CIA’s many Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)6 – spearheaded a series of events last month to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. These events included a photography exhibit titled, “HEART: Sharing Our LGBT Families with Our Agency Family.”7
“As parents we want our children to be happy; interestingly enough, it seems like that's what they want for us too.”8
“If you treat everyone with respect, it doesn’t matter their religion, sexuality, or race.”9
“Being closeted at work is like being under double cover your whole life, and it takes a toll.”10
“I probably have the most accepting mom on the planet, and I knew that, but I still felt afraid to come out.”11
It would be one thing if the identity politics me-too-ing were eloquent or moving or gosh if they were well-written I might have to reconsider the entire thrust of this piece but it's so unmitigatedly bad that one cannot but pour another truckload of concrete into the foundation-cum-sarcophagous and reiterate that the CIA is in fact a criminal organization with social media accounts whose sole purpose is to convince Americans of its ineptitude and bureaucratic sclerosis.
Would you mind terrifically if I took a break from the heavy for a bit? Would you come with me for a brief tour of some lighter fare? I'll start with some iffily-contextualized-but-mildly-cool crap, segue into a few sort-of cool stories, wander through the Gallery of Bad Art for a while before picking the heavy back up again with some ultra-thick lolz, and then wrap with an astonishingly random photo for a government agency to put on its Yahoo Homepage. Have I lost everyone who was going to check out already, and the rest of you are just grinding through the piece out of a misplaced sense of Republican duty?
Good. I thought so. Now for the fun stuff.
This Air America hat is the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. I hate things, plan to move my family into an caravan of SUVs, camper trailers, and pickup trucks out of sheer disgust with the manufactured American consensus reality, and I still want this fucking hat:
I am so hard right now for this hat. Look at the brim embroidery! The brow patch! The fabric buckling in a fashion indicating it was stitched together from actual fabric by people who understood how fabric worked and not plastic-impregnated plastic! The vent holes! Be still my heart.
Tanks are metal. That is all.
Old trucks on a floating bridge. Tight.
Old photo of an old plane.
Tintin rockets on a trailer. Human for scale.
A photo of film reels dropped from orbit sitting on the ocean floor some 3 miles down, back when we did amazing things like loft cameras into orbit and they de-orbited their own physical information packets. This particular set of reels reentry vehicle's chute failed, and in the entertainingly-understated words of Denise Chow, writing for Space.com, "...it was determined that the Hexagon's Recovery Vehicle broke apart as it crashed into the water." Obviously, the nation's security depended on that film, This Would Not Stand, and a sub was dispatched to retrieve the film.
Deep-sea pressures crushed Styrofoam's mechanical structure:
"Operational capabilities" were refined, good (albeit tense, as the sub was to exceed its previous depth records by a significant margin) times were had by the dive crew, and the tapes retrieved. Uber alles.
In a bit of darkly amusing bit of foreshadowing, The Agency concluded that "The on-board computer has never worked. Much more attention is required to the use of high reliability parts and extensive subsystem testing to assure confidence in any given operation." Apparently CIA experimental submarines apparently were not built to quite the same standards of quality as the satellites.
So the social media property in question is not entirely devoid of interesting subject matter. If it were actually barren of such it would be almost more curious: "but all of this cool stuff happened in The Agency's history that's been unclassified! Surely you could say something cool, show us some good shots from Berlin or something?" The sloth would be almost comically convincing had they eschewed all interesting content.
All of which very nearly clears out the Cool Stuff and Stories queue, with the exception of An Air Combat First, which will segue rather nicely into Bad Art. The original caption stands on its own, no retelling is necessary:
Known as "Site 85" the US radar facility perched atop a 5,800-foot mountain in northeast Laos was providing critical and otherwise unavailable all-weather guidance to American F-105 fighter-bombers flying strike missions against Communist facilities in North Vietnam. CIA proprietary Air America, of the aforementioned hat, provided air support to the isolated site. Recognizing the threat posed by this facility, the People’s Army of Vietnam vowed to destroy it. On January 12, 1968, North Vietnamese AN-2 Colt biplanes—modified to drop "bombs" improvised from 122-mm mortars and 57-mm rockets—attacked the site. Coincidentally, Air America pilot Ted Moore was flying an ammunition-supply run to the site in his unarmed UH-1D “Huey” helicopter and took chase. Flight mechanic Glenn Woods pulled out his AK-47 rifle and began firing. The Colts suffered severe bullet damage and crashed as they attempted to escape. The painting captures one Colt fleeing and the other being pursued by the Air America Huey. This daring action—shooting down an enemy fixed-wing aircraft from a helicopter—represents a singular aerial victory in the entire history of the Vietnam War.
Homeboy shot two planes down from a helicopter with an AK-47! A flight mechanic! This are the stories of which God Bless America and #MAGA are built; alas unless I spend more time out at the redneck airfield (which I won't, because skydiving is one of the more time-efficient hundie-burners with which I have firsthand experience) or start work on my glider rating (which I won't because flugen-vehicles while very cool are also another exceptionally time-consuming learning project with marginal benefits and absurd risks and I already have plenty of pilots in my networks thank you very much), I shan't be hearing them or meeting their stars.
I intended to segue into Bad Art, so let's talk about how miserably Bad this Art is. Some hallmarks of Bad CIA Art Featured on Their flickr Account: it is earnest, without a hint of self-awareness or irony; and painfully realistic (frequently verging verily upon photorealism, that direly uncanny valley) without a scrap of artistic inspiration. It is, in a word, bureaucratic. "Look. I painted the thing that happened. It goes on the fridge now, right?"
The Airman's Bond is another outstanding entry in the Hall of Very Literal, Earnest and Bad Paintings:
A downed plane, a crippled crewman, everyone peering out of the kellywhopter at the men crawling slowly and painfully to the helicopter, dogfights transpiring overhead and yet the thing is somehow downright bucolic. I had no idea one could botch war art so thoroughly, but there it is.
The tail rotor is even blurred for fuck's sake. Of course! How is one to paint it? If your problems are "how do I paint a blurred tail rotor in a very happy war scene about a downed airman in this otherwise quite literal style"...perhaps examine the priors that got you into this mess in the first place.
I have more bad paintings on tap in this vein, but we've all suffered enough here. There are two more entries that really drive home the "CIA is composed of ordinary schmucks like the rest of America!" narrative that I will subject you to before we wrap completely.
Unsurprisingly, in that systems adhering to the star topology (centralized government and its organs, in this case) pervert and subordinate everything they can in order to build allegiance to themselves and prevent humans from building allegiances between themselves, the final entries in Bad Art are both...Dog Art.
The first, representative of nearly all employee-submitted photos of all living things:
Eyes: strobe-lit. Head: tastelessly ornamented with sort-of-secular holiday accoutrements. The background: some employee shed, with shadows from the horns splayed against the wall. The animal: tongue lolling, praying to be rehomed, or failing that, an unwinding of its coil. In short, no worse and no better than any other employee photo in the weekly bulletin.
About the Breeds, though, takes the cake.
It is a montage of several other photos. There is the ubiquitous someone-mom-showed-photoshop-and-left-to-her-own-devices-without-tasteful-supervision vignette. Somewhere in the background is an utterly inexplicable and generic "Police" badge, as if the author could not be arsed to dig up an actual Agency emblem. The original image is 300x233.
You understand now that the art is very bad, but you do not actually understand how bad until you've seen Windwalker.
Up close, well, a forgiving man might forgive people. What, though, does the whole thing look like?
Oh, gracious. I struggle to imagine the circumstances that would conspire to put the bird in such a state. Could it have seen itself in the mirror? Why are we to regard its underbelly thusly? Could it have been made perhaps less...ungainly in flight? As befits an eagle?
I'll quote its description:
Our national symbol, the eagle, represents vigilance, alertness, strength, courage and freedom. This dramatic 48-inch bronze eagle by sculptor Kitty Cantrell embodies all these qualities. Windwalker was added to the sculpture collection on April 1, 2002. Named for Cherokee medicine woman Five Feathered Windwalker, the sculpture belonged to the late Richard and Eleonore Morgner; their children gifted it to the Agency.
Yes, the rest of Kitty's work is as bad as this. Crystals and dolphins and glorious tchotchkes the likes of which...adorn the lobby of the CIA.
I can almost imagine the Morgner children walking into their parents' garage during the postmortem unwinding-of-estate. They'd fall silent, awestruck at the bad taste on display. Stunned, stand there, 'till at last the joker in the family proposes, "Could we...give it to the CIA?" Then of course upon receipt of the affront to aesthetics in question someone at The Agency sees it and says without hesitation "Oh that is going in the lobby". Which naturally raises deep and important questions about the competence of a group of people who put a really bad 4-foot painted bronze eagle in their lobby.
I kid, no deep and important questions are raised by this statue. It's just another entry in The Agency's ongoing psychological operations to hide the fact that its entire raison d'etre is to provide cover for the bastards within who shuttle the heroin from Afghanistan to America to fuck us up.
Continuing down Top Kek Hall, we'll find the crown jewel in The Agency's collection of accidentally hilarious bad art. Not hilariously bad, but accidentally hilarious and incidentally bad. This piece is called First Sting.
First Sting depicts the turning point in the Afghan war with the first of many shoot-downs of Soviet helicopter gunships by Mujahedin fighters armed with Stinger missiles.
The title of the piece refers to the piece of military hardware with which we outfitted plucky Whereverthefuckistanis so that they might turn the tide against International Socialism by shooting down Commie Copters (Stinger missiles? "First Sting"? Isn't that clever? ISN'T IT?!). The selfsame Whereverthefuckistanis whose...sons don't just trade their own daughters, but move to Britain and enslave British girls. Whose other sons get off on flying planes into our buildings. Whose daughters' pleas to be imported to civilized countries have gone unaddressed for generations, despite countless planes that fly in full of crisp freshly-minted benjies, and fly out loaded to the brim with heroin.
So fuck you if you voted for Hillary. Fuck you if you voted for Trump. Fuck you if you lend this rotten charade of government a single scrap of credibility in conversation to anyone. These assholes put us through the same circus every four years, stoke the identity politics tire fire, ruin families abroad by bombing weddings and ruin families at home by hooking parents on "totally not addictive very slightly modified morphine" and pumping amphetamines into our boys to cure them of being boys.
Things aren't going to get better. The pillage has been going on since before I was born, and no self-styled swamp drainer could possibly slow it down, much less stop or reverse it. Either scratch in the dirt or pretend that life in a world of plastic imitations is worth living.
I got nothin.
- By Someone's Niece, studying Political Science at Georgetown, on a Social Media Management Internship which was procured via the obvious nepotistic channels. [↩]
- If you don't find the photos of photos hilarious, you are missing the morbid sense of humor required to survive the next thirty years and may as well stick your head in the oven now before you have that "oh shit my life is ruined and I never saw it coming" moment. [↩]
- Strictly speaking: any web site that holds user data hostage, embargoing its publication to other users of the site on selfsame users' behalf, such an insult to the thinking and publishing individual that I cannot fathom what goes on in the minds of people who willfully consign their "work", such as it is, to the database rows of unmentionable attention traps. The embargoed works are also ~140 characters or whatever a Facebook status update length is constrained to these days, so there's also that against the "people" "writing" there. Oh and on Instagram nobody reads below the image anyways. Somehow I know all this without having to spend a moment on said social media though, which is either cool or a symptom of deep radiation damage. [↩]
- Sick acronym, bro. [↩]
- "Whatever your minority group affiliation or self-identification, the CIA is large enough to be diverse enough to help you find people like yourself so that you can talk about the discomfort of working with people who are not like you and might not even like you." [↩]
- Observe the statal institution suborning the holy union. Death upon it and all its works. There is no "agency family", there is but the shambling mass of homo sapien flesh driving to work to pay off the cars they drive to work. [↩]
- More concretely, sad people make for shitty parents. [↩]
- If you instead operate from the assumption that 80% of everyone you encounter is shockingly stupid, 19% possibly intelligent and /even hard working/ but uneducated to the point of outright illiteracy ("What was France doing in North America, anyways?"), and the remaining 1% possibly worth spending time with you'll probably never have miscalibrated expectations about your colleagues and counterparties.
You can also do this without regard to creed or color; queers are just as statistically stupid as white dudes. [↩]
- Living a lie is emotionally and intellectually taxing. Don't do it? [↩]
- With internalized fear like this, who even needs a panopticon? [↩]