The Slippery Slope of the Sum of All Fears

by John Holbo on March 13, 2018

Before March 18, 2018: No collusion!

March 18, 2018: “But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take these series of inadvertent contacts with each other, meetings, whatever, and weave that into some sort of a fiction and turn it into a page-turner, spy thriller.”

Six months from now: Yeah, but it’s like one of those late Tom Clancy ones. The ones written after Clancy was dead, or retired, or counting his money? Maybe it’s just a video game.

12 months from now: OK, it’s definitely as good as early Tom Clancy. The really good stuff. But some of the characters are unbelievable, in a way that pushes the reader out of the story. Like the Mooch. True, Clancy wrote flat, one-dimensional, omni-competent heroes. This is like – the opposite? The thing has reality show pacing, not ‘proper’ thriller structure. Clancy would not have made that mistake.

18 months from now: Wow! I could not put this one down! It was unbelievably thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering whether this was it. And the big reveal! You realize everything up to that point was just the tip of the iceberg. Hunt For Red October Surprise! But we still have to completely ignore all these revelations because: no zombies.

24 months from now: Zombies!

[NOTE: this post is intended as a joke, although I think there is a point to the joke. There was some confusion concerning an earlier post, due to confusion as to whether it was a joke: it was. This one is a joke. I don’t expect zombies.)



John Holbo 03.13.18 at 6:57 am

Alternative joke: the Republican intelligence committee members hate fiction with unreliable narrators. Give me a Tom Clancy novel, none of this post-modern shit! But any report they themselves produced would have had an unreliable narrator. So shut that down.


Mario 03.13.18 at 10:57 am

The story of how America and Britain, thanks to twitter, finally found the courage to rise from under the yoke of Russian oppression deserves a somewhat more properly epic setting, I think… Would that be a Ken Follet novel?


Doug T 03.13.18 at 12:08 pm

It’s a reverse Krauthammer period. Every five months, instead of still having found nothing, we’ve found out details of 3 or 4 more incredibly damning actions and connections.

In common, however, no amount (or absence) of evidence causes any Republican to change their conclusions. They just change their standards, with whatever red line they had previously stated would be too far being redrawn a bit past the current state of play.


Jim Harrison 03.13.18 at 4:11 pm

I woke up, looked at my email, and the first thing I saw was one of those can-you-answer- this questions from Quora about the Tillerson firing which, of course, I didn’t know about because it had happened within the hour. Tillerson, I understand, was blindsided; but I can’t say they news was more than a blip to me. And that’s the reason I mention it. The nothing-to-see-here-folks language coming out of the Congressional Republicans works because WTF as become SOP. Once and a while us frogs wonder why there’s a bouquet garni floating beside us in the bathtub, but the facts aren’t getting more alarming. They’re getting more routine.


soru 03.13.18 at 5:30 pm

Zombies are actually fairly plausible; much of the same science that gives you nerve agents also gets you synthetic psychoactives like ‘Flakka’. Saving money on a bioweapon delivery system by getting your targets to pay you money to take it is only good business sense.


Gary Kennedy 03.13.18 at 6:21 pm

So you’re telling us what’s going to happen next Sunday?


Los Angeles 03.13.18 at 7:08 pm

26.5 months from now: The Zombies Party is running for election with their push for gender equity. Quora is gong to “flame” this week as well as all the rest of our favorite social mediocrity outlets. I think I want to make this an official request for a good three-week pause, so I can wrap my head around what is going on in my life first, thank you very much.

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