Welcome to the Circumlocution Office. Please fill out these ten pointless forms, so we can throw them in the trash and then set it on fire.
If you know your Dickens, the Circumlocution Office was a fictitious office in the novel, Little Dorrit. The CO is a bureaucracy, where nothing gets done and is in a state of endless confusion. It’s a ridiculous place, where forms need to be filled out in order to request more forms. Everything goes round and round in a circle, always ending with nothing getting done and the CO office commending themselves for what a great job they did. The office has no public accountability, uses no critical thinking and is run purely for the benefit of its incompetent and obstructive officials. It’s an office that seems likely to either destroy or cave in on itself in the end. The CO is primarily run by a family named Barnacle. No doubt a joke on Dickens’ part, because barnacles attach themselves to things like a leach and are very hard to remove.
The office is never, on any account to give a straight answer and they get indignant at being questioned. An example, is when the youngest Barnacle points out someone to his friend saying, “He walked in without an appointment and said he wanted to know, you know.” Knowledge can be so tiresome. The most important thing about the Circumlocution Office is their unofficial motto, something they take great pride in, and that is, the art of, “how not to do something.” Whatever it is, whatever needs to be done, you can bet the CO will not do it with great gusto.
Here in the United States, we have our own Circumlocution Office; it’s called the United States government and just like the CO has the Barnacle family, we have the Trump family. The head of our CO is Donald Trump, a guy who, had he not inherited money, would currently be outside your car window cleaning it with a squeegee. Another Barnacle is Jared Kushner, a German villain from a 1920’s silent film. He is literally in charge of everything. He is in charge of being in charge. By being in charge of so many things, he has just enough time to accomplish nothing at any of them. Where Jared is in charge of everything, his wife and counterpart is in charge of nothing, thereby completing the pointless circle. She does have security clearance, which is very important when you have no real interest in politics.
The spokesperson, who has to translate for our CO, making indiscernible words discernible, is Sarah Huckabee Sanders. A woman whose facial expression always says, “I’m mortified, but I’m getting paid a lot of money.” Her most recent conference, was defending Trump’s use of the phrase, “many sides,” like it was some kind of white supremacist origami. It’s all about defending the indefensible and drawing moral equivalencies, that should not be drawn. This is what protects the Circumlocution Office and keeps the crazy train running on time. When we want to know things, like what was in the initial top secret Republican healthcare bill, we were met with scorn and indignation. We needed to know what was in this bill that affects millions of people and is matter of life or death for some. In other words we wanted, “to know, you know.” As it stands, the bill wants to cut Medicaid, bring back preexisting conditions, get rid of the individual mandate and give a massive tax break to those less fortunate than us…the wealthiest one percent.
Like in pure CO fashion, it is constantly praising itself for doing nothing. After only seven months, Trump claims he has done more in his presidency that any other president, including FDR. Remember the president FDR, who only served 13 years? LOL! In reality, the only thing Trump has done so far, is play golf, tweet, fire 8 senior officials, including the head of the FBI, shared intelligence with Russia, played more golf, pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and blame Obama, Congress and the Loch Ness monster for everything wrong. He did however, bring back some coal mining jobs to the early 19th century. His babbling in front of the podium, can only be described, by what Dickens said about the CO. “One of two things always happened, namely, either that the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had something to say, of which someone blundered one half of it and forgot the other.”
One of the reoccurring themes at the CO office was the importance of filling out forms that ultimately had no meaning. At our CO office, we have similar forms, namely an SF-86. A form, that lets the rest of government know, that you will have no conflicts of interest at your new post and can get security clearance. Mike Flynn, former National Security Adviser, failed to report payments from foreign governments, and his consulting firms promoted US/Russia joint efforts, to build a nuclear power plant in the Middle East. All of this, made Flynn a potential target for Russian blackmail. Jared Kushner failed to disclose 12 meetings with foreign officials, one of which was with Russian ambassadors and had a meeting with a bank specifically sanctioned by the US, for its role, in propping up corrupt oligarchs. It’s the kind of thing we need to know, if your unofficial title is, ‘Errand Boy.’
The Circumlocution Office is alive and well in the United States, and it will ultimately, “shipwreck everyone” as one character put it in Little Dorrit, and like the Titanic, there won’t be enough lifeboats for everyone.
4 thoughts on “The Circumlocution Office”
I think SHS’s face looks perpetually pissed off like she can’t believe she has to answer such stupid questions, as though all should know the CO wasn’t serious. She’s the idiot savant’s interpreter. Thank you for the Dickens education. I did not know about the CO and LIttle Dorrit before this post.
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Her face is frozen in a state of permanent disbelief. Like she’s in a waking nightmare of her own choosing.
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Stranger than fiction, Marietta, and Dickens can be a pretty strange. The CO in the Whitehouse is funny, horrifying, and pathetic, all at the same time.
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In Little Doritt, it was more comical than anything. With this administration, it’s just scary. Dickens’ work really holds up.
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