Monday, March 5, 2012

The Human Factor by Graham Greene

The Human Factor

Watson had tried once to be a barrister and failed. His obvious integrity perhaps offended judges; a moral tone, most judges seemed to feel, should be reserved for the Bench and not employed by junior counsel. 

"I suppose you are afraid of being bugged at the Reform." 
"Why not? Surrounded by a bunch of one man one vote fanatics. If they were capable of giving the vote to a bunch of cannibals..." 
"You mustn't run down cannibals," Hargreaves said, "some of my best friends have been cannibals, and now that Browne with an e is out of earshot..." 

"Then we'd have to act quickly. Have you decided on how we should act?" 
"I'm working on rather a cute little notion, John. Peanuts." 
"Those little salted things you eat with cocktails." 
"Of course I know what peanuts are, Emmanuel. Don't forget I was a Commissioner in West Africa." 

How many agents of his, he wondered, were incriminated? His own relative safety made him feel shame. In a genuine war and officer can always die with his men and so keep his self-respect.

He thought of what his Communist friend Carson had so often said to him -- "Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and the simple, however cruel, our worst enemies are the intelligent and the corrupt."

An enemy had to remain a caricature if he was to be kept at a safe distance: an enemy should never come alive.  The generals were right -- no Christmas cheer ought to be exchanged between the trenches.

"What exactly did you mean by Q.E.D.?" Sir John Hargreavs asked when they managed to get outside.
"It seemed a more suitable response to what the Vicar was saying than Amen."

"You'd find a rather different Moscow to Chekhov's."

"Why, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't  give you the Order of Lenin or put  you on a postage stamp like Sorge."
"Sorge was a communist."

"I don't even have any work. I'm a man on the dole. Is that your bloody socialism?"

Could a child be forced into a hospital as he could be forced into a school?

 Graham Greene at Wikipedia.

Film review

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