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Duper’s Delight or Draper’s Diddle?

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Still don’t think Pizzagate is real?

1,300 words

Thursday’s long awaited testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok[1] [2] — usually referred to as “disgraced FBI agent” on the Right and as “heroic FBI agent” on the Left[2] [3] — certainly lived up to the anticipation; but not for the anticipated reasons.

Instead, while Strzok’s smugness, contempt, and at times obvious anger were unusual in a Congressional witness, it was Strzok’s bizarre body language and facial tics that provoked the most extreme fascination. 

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Several videos went viral [5]; for example:

https://twitter.com/Hollybowie/status/1017572639777476608 [6]

While the FBI has, over the years, carefully crafted an image of itself as Efrem Zimbalist, Jr [7]. (The FBI [8]) or the Hannibal-hunting Will Graham (Manhunter [9]) and Clarice Starling (The Silence of the Lambs) or even nutty Dr. Fox Mulder (The X-Files), it appears that after eight years of Obama, the agency is being led by Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Evil Sheldon Cooper.

The poster on Twitter [10] had to affirm that it was “completely real.”

I personally recorded it from my tv. I was so shocked when I saw it and played it back. I only cut the first part of the arguing. This is the full recording I captured. I couldn’t believe it.

Donald Trump, Jr. (of course) weighed in [11]:

This guy has to be the creepiest person in America. OMG

Along with Hollywood Trumper James Woods [12]:

This face says it all: “F- Congress, F- America, F- the President, and F-you!” #Strzok #DemocratsAreDangerous

Speculation was rife (this is the internet, of course) as to what his deal was. Was he demonic, or merely possessed? Was this the final proof of the idea that reptilian shape-shifters [13] infest our highest institutions? Were Alex Jones and David Icke [14] right all along?

The (right-wing by default because business oriented) news accumulator site ZeroHedge hosted much speculation from commenters [5], some comical:

Whoa Dammit: That weird smirky wiggle he did in the video is what my cat does when she gets a dingleberry on her ass and scrubs it on the carpet. I’ve never seen a human do a move like that. The guy is seriously deranged.

Some sober:

El Vaquero: He’s a cornered animal. If he’d shown shock and anger throughout the whole thing, I would have been less disgusted. That would have been honesty. Instead, he had that damned smirk with anger slipping through the mask from time to time. I can understand anger at being attacked, even if it’s well deserved, but that goddamned smirk. The deep state is moving us to a point where their natural inclination to hide their motives and emotions is going to evoke a visceral reaction.

Some conspiratorial:

NoDebt: Guy reminded me of Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli. Same psychopathic “you can’t do shit to me!” look about him. And they both have names where the spelling and the pronunciation don’t line up. Maybe there actually is something to this reptilian overlord conspiracy.

Some rather existentially theological:

Pollygotacracker: Evil is all around us. I often comment on Satan, the Devil, whatever handle he goes by on a spiritual plane. He does exist. He is subtle, but sometimes not so subtle. … Trust me. You do NOT want to go to hell when you die. Imagine spending eternity with this evil hobgoblin. Horrible.

NukeChinaNow: Actually, if I may Polly, being in the company of this type and worse creatures isn’t where the true horror lies. It lies in the fact of knowing that you are forever separated from God. Hence the weeping and the strzoking of the teeth. But hey, what do I know?

But it was a line in the main article [5], though, that set off a few bells in my own head:

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight [15]“ — a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Cazart [16]! as the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was wont to exclaim. Or, as Will Graham would say [17], “You’ve seen these films, haven’t you, my man?”

For indeed, the con-man’s characteristic rictus was the subject of my final essay on the subject of Mad Men [18] — indeed, on the finale itself — “Don Draper’s Last Diddle,”[3] [19] where I traced the odd smirk on Don Draper’s face in the closing close-up:

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. . . to a long tradition of good old American flim-flam, from Poe through Melville through Barnum and now, I suppose, through advertising and, it would seem, “all the way to the F . . . B . . . I . . .”[4] [21]

In the same essay, I also noted there the ga-ga Trump-hater Robert DeNiro’s grin [22] at the end of Once Upon a Time in America (Leone, 1984) which just happens to also star . . . James Woods, who plays a gangster who, hiding under an assumed identity, becomes a cabinet secretary (Meyer Lanksy Goes to Washington?), and meets his violent end before being compelled to testify before Congress.

Come to think of it, Trent Gowdy is kind of a backwoods Roger Sterling, too.

In the locus classicus, Poe’s “Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences,” Poe defines diddling: “Minuteness, interest, perseverance, ingenuity, audacity, nonchalance, originality, impertinence, and grin.” And what does Poe mean by “grin?”

Grin: — Your true diddler winds up all with a grin. But this nobody sees but himself. He grins when his daily work is done — when his allotted labors are accomplished — at night in his own closet, and altogether for his own private entertainment. He goes home. He locks his door. He divests himself of his clothes. He puts out his candle. He gets into bed. He places his head upon the pillow. All this done, and your diddler grins.

I suppose it’s too much to ask that Strzok have read my book before testifying,[5] [23] but to be ignorant of Poe! He would have been much better prepared for his first, and presumably, last, moment in the public eye. Never let them see the mask slip![6] [24] Keep that for your adulterous playmate [25] . . . [shudder].

Notes

[1] [26] “Peter Strzok is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.” Wikipedia [27]

[2] [28] “Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., told embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok Thursday that he deserved a Purple Heart for sitting through a public hearing that frequently veered off track and degenerated into shouting matches more than once.” Fox News, here [29].

[3] [30] Now collected in The End of an Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015).

[4] [31] Hannibal Lecter: “You’re so ambitious, aren’t you? You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube, with a little taste. Good nutrition has given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed? Pure West Virginia. What’d your daddy do, was he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? Oh and how quickly the boys found you … all those sticky, tedious fumblings in the back seats of cars … while you could only dream of getting out … getting anywhere … getting all the way to the FBI.” The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991).

[5] [32] Patton [33]: [referring to Rommel’s book, ‘Infantry Attacks’ or ‘Infanterie greift an’] Rommel… you magnificent bastard, *I read your book [34]*! (Patton, Franklin J. Schaffner [35], 1970). “The term “Magnificent Bastard” was first used by General Patton in reference to Erwin Rommel [36] in the film Patton [37], upon realizing that he was facing a man who literally wrote the book on deceptive warfare.” (TVTropes, here [38]).

[6] [39] As frequently noted: “While attempting to defend himself from accusations his animus toward President Trump impacted how his handling of the FBI probes into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, embattled agent Peter Strzok let his mask slip, going on a rhetorical rampage against the president.” GrabieNews, here [40].