Burroughs On Work, Where Liars Prosper

I shudder to think that there might be anyone who genuinely disagrees with Burroughs on this one. I have always found it necessary to present a false version of myself at work, and the more I was able to dissemble, the more successful I was; sadly, or perhaps not, I don't seem to do it very well these days.

'I do not see a connection between lying and violation of the law. In fact, there is more lying in the course of a "regular job" most of which require a constant state of pretense and dissimulation. The necessity of a continual misrepresentation of one's personality is most urgent in such lines as radio, advertising, publicity, and, of course, television. [Care, hospital, office & warehouse work too - Bruce.] Personally I find pushing junk a great deal more restful and less compromising from an ethical standpoint.'

William Burroughs, letter to Allen Ginsberg, November 30th, 1948


Bruce Hodder said…
What's the smile on the face of the woman in the picture above really saying, I wonder? Doesn't it look rather strained? Is she thinking, "Oh my God he's right, I really can't add up?" Is she thinking, "If I get fired I won't be able to pay my mortgage and then my kids' education is ruined?" Or maybe she's thinking, "Why does this geek feel the need to get into my face and my personal space like this? If we weren't at work I'd kick his arse."

I have to say, I personally hope it is the latter. It always was with me in similar circumstances. But one thing is sure. It won't occur to HIM that she might be thinking that because the office is his domain; he's king; and he feels like the king in every sinew of his body. You can see that in his overbearing body language; in the pomposity of his posture. (Okay, I know the photo might be staged, but that sort of thing is repeated every day in workplaces all around the world.)