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“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – The Antiscribe Appraisal

By Jonathan Morris, Antiscribe.com

“A plague on both your houses!
‘Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death!
A braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of
arithmetic!
Why the devil came you between us?”
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 3,  Scene 1

It’s fair to say, I think, that we’ve all been trained by popular culture to think that there’s something thrilling, even sexy, about being a spy.  Foreign intrigues, exotic locales, elegant luxuries, strength of purpose, national pride, and beautiful women and/or men who represent the exemplars of their countries’ breeding; all these noble elements are what many of us of would think of when we hear the word “spy.”  But these things are not the trappings of a real spy, but a secret agent.  Secret agents are works of fictional fun and fantasy; engines of pleasure that assuage us with the notion that the conflicts of nations are just a game played out in the landscapes of someone’s imagination.  Spies, though, have always been a sordid, painful reality of the international sphere, and there’s very little that’s sexy about being a spy.  Real spies live in a world of pressure and paranoia that can be ugly, dark, and merciless, yet also technocratic, bureaucratic, and banal.  A spy who is especially good, especially lucky, or most often, especially ineffectual, might easily make it through their career with their life. It’s unlikely, though, that that life could ever be a happy one. Read the rest of this entry

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