Here’s a bit of trivia that makes for a fitting follow-up to Richard Press’ column about George HW Bush.
In addition to being a Yale man, Bush also headed the CIA, and those two institutions are closely knit. Well, back in the 1950s, those Ivy-clad operatives learned special ways of tying the laces on their cordovan longwings. It looked something like this:
This image is from a 2009 book called “The Official CIA Manual Of Trickery And Deception,” by magician John Mullholland, who was hired by the CIA to teach field agents covert signaling and simple acts of legerdemain.
The Boston Globe has an excellent article on the book here, which includes the following observation that should appease those trads who abhor flamboyance of any kind:
Mulholland’s actual manual evokes a more understated, but eerier, figure – not a dashing hero with infinite James Bond-ian technology at his disposal, but a gray, anonymous person who “should be so normal in manner, and his actions so natural, that nothing about him excites suspicion.”
So all you gray, anonymous types rejoice: you could’ve saved the world from evil. Perhaps you still can. We could certainly use you. — CC