When I see a bankster shilling on the teevee for his crime boss overlords’ right to break laws, I think about Robert Penn Warren’s image of the clammy, sad little fetus that cowers inside industrialists:
It was like the second when you come home late at night and see the yellow envelope of the telegram sticking out from under your door and you lean to pick it up, but don’t open it yet, not for a second. While you stand there in the hall, with the envelope in your hand, you feel there’s an eye on you, a great big eye looking straight at you and dark and through walls and houses and through your coat and vest and hide and sees you huddled up way inside, in the dark which is you, inside yourself, like a clammy, sad little foetus you carry around inside yourself. The eye knows what’s in the envelope, and it is watching you to see you when you open it and know, too. But the clammy little foetus which is you way down in the dark which is you too lifts up its sad little face and its eyes are blind, and it shivers cold inside you for it doesn’t want to know what is in that envelope. It wants to lie in the dark and not know, and be warm in its not-knowing. The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can’t know. He can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can’t know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he got or because of the knowledge which he hasn’t got and which if he had it, would save him. There’s the cold in your stomach, but you open the envelope, you have to open the envelope, for the end of man is to know.
I imagine the voice behind that sad little face muttering: “I don’t wanna know. I don’t wanna know. I don’t wanna know.”
ps. Thank you Robert Penn Warren, for writing “All the King’s Men.”