“Our Father” knows best

[William] Barr’s path into the apparatus of the state is one on which he followed his father’s footsteps. Donald had worked at the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency. While William was still a student at Columbia, where his father had also enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher and administrator, he worked as a summer intern at the CIA and in 1973, took up his first full-time job there as an analyst.

That same year Donald Barr published an atrocious science fiction novel called Space Relations and dedicated it to his wife as a token of “thirty years’ love.” It is a probe launched from conservative, white, male America into the strange inner worlds of its own psyche in the Nixon years. As literature, it is excruciating. But it deals in a usefully unguarded way with themes that bear heavily on William Barr’s present position as Trump’s most formidable enabler: the legacy of slavery, Catholic sexual dogma, the proper response to revolt from below…

…Space Relations is really a thinly disguised plantation novel in which (Planet} Kossar serves as the Old South. Readers are being pointed in the direction of some allegory of American history…”

“The literary sins of the father—especially ones as grave as Space Relations—should not be visited on the son. There is, however, a very strong connection between Donald Barr’s hard-line Catholicism and William Barr’s present position as the main (perhaps the sole) intellectual buttress of Trump’s presidency. That connection lies in the idea of authority.”

And so it goes…

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