J. Alec West (alecwest@pacifier.com)
Mon, 16 Feb 1998 04:27:17 -0800 (PST) Kimberly,
One of the things Don mentioned in the interview was his association
with Al Nussbaum ... a convicted felon who eventually won his release
and went on to become a journalist/writer. Don said Al spoke of the
criminal mentality ... that, in order to commit a crime, a criminal has to
think of his victim as a "thing" ... that as soon as a criminal starts
thinking of his victim as a person, the criminal can't "do it" anymore.
Nowadays, we live in a corporate world ... and Don said no one ever
defined "corporation" better than Mark Twain, quote, "A corporation has
neither a brain to think with nor an ass to kick." He said corporations
treat people like "things" ... parts to be used and, when no longer
needed, discarded into the scrapheap. And, when people are treated that
way, they feel "victimized" no less than people who have been victimized
by a criminal. Since corporate (if you will) "crime" cannot be policed,
some people (like Burke Devore) feel they must take the law into their own
hands in order to find redress.
While reading _The Ax_, and for my own comfort <grin>, I imagined Burke
Devore to be like a man in the wilderness ... a wilderness with no
cavalry, no marshall, no sheriff ... confronted by the corporate crime of
depersonalization (a crime with no penalty to the corporation). And, to
survive in a lawless wilderness, people must make their _own_ laws. And,
in Devore's case, survival was the highest of those laws. Mr. Westlake is
a very astute sociologist <grin>. I not only think _The Ax_ should be
considered for a Pulitzer, I also think it should be made required reading
for anyone pursuing a degree in business administration (especially those
who plan on specializing in human resources management).

P.S. Note my last 3 words above <grin>. I remember a time when people
applied for jobs in the "personnel" department. Nowadays, "Personnel"
departments are called "Human Resources" departments. Corporations have
taken the "person" out of "personnel" ... and demoted its workforce to
consideration as a mere "resource." Though it didn't make the published
interview copy, Don and I discussed the Unibomber. True, the Unibomber
has serious psychological problems. But, if you read between the lines of
his psychosis (in his "manifesto"), a lot of sociological truth emerges.
I suggested that the Unibomber, if you will, is Burke Devore taken to the
extreme. Don liked the analogy <grin>. Later.

J. Alec West

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.vex.net/~buff/rara-avis/.