Feb 22, 2013

   "You could say that, Matty — you could very well come to that conclusion — but I couldn't say that."
   The eerie refrain of Francis Urquart (pronouced 'Irkit'), with his signature smile, the infamous FU, Ian Richardson's right wing, great white shark, ever on his way up, and less for the sake of power, as compelling as that is, his wife always reminds him. No, he's in it more for  the game, being an addict of mischief, the way some small boys take the finest pleasure in burning up small animals.
   But what better portrait of evil incarnate.  And how precise his strokes, from bemused to infuriated in an instant, from wise to churlish in an instant, as though his character has no foundation, which of course it doesn't.    
   He accompanies his evil; he doesn't lead or follow it.  They are a brace and they look at each other with that knowing ironic look.  And so the asides to the camera, because of course we are the accompanying evil.
   "You might very well think that, Matty, but you know I couldn't say that."
   It is also the powerbroker's cliched way through the thicket of non-denial denials, and the euphemism of 'on background only.'
   I mention this by way of contrast to the less refined FUs 20 years later, in America, one of the Texas GOP delegates, perhaps, one of those who last July voted on an educational platform to deny the teaching of critical thinking skills.  That you could say is Urquartish, but without his cleverness. He would have disguised the whole thing.  Or Florida Gov. Scott, reversing himself on Medicaid.  Or John McCain with some of his reversals.
   There are countless examples these days on the eve of sequestration — which sounds so much like a word that means, "the next to be castrated." But who is FU's equal these days in America? No one. We don't have a character so sophisticated, or interesting.  Ah, but what about Ted Cruz? He has that look and pedigree.  William F. Buckley was a kind of FU, although more pompous than cruel.  The real FU would have done him in, found some adultery or addiction and forced him to cower.
   Maybe Nixon would be the equivalent.
   Now we have only the likes of the Limbot, Boehner-boner, and the Koch heads.   No match and yet just as calculating, just as evil. Which is not to indict solely conservatives.  After all, there was LBJ, and you could argue that Bill Clinton  in office was the most Urquartish of all.

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