“I got to confront, and had to deal with, the stereotypes I’ve held.
A big one for me was the notion that our current national status of
having the world’s highest incarceration rate was the doing of
Republicans, the doing of conservatives. In analyzing, investigating,
and pulling back the layers, you start to see that there’s been
political maneuvering that’s crossed party lines in very disturbing
ways,” she says.
Mike Davis was an artist, and the irate company-wide memorandum was his canvas. Few in the history of humankind have recognized the savage beauty in this lowliest of media. But Davis—the erstwhile head of Tiger Oil Company, now dead at eighty-five—shattered the limits of the form with routine ease, showing us just how big an asshole one man could be. Consider his memos a spin-off of the Theater of Cruelty: “ ‘There will be no more birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity or celebrations of any kind within the office,’ the boss wrote on Feb. 8, 1978. ‘This is a business office. If you have to celebrate, do it after office hours on your own time.’ … ‘Do not speak to me when you see me,’ the man had ordered in a memo the month before. ‘If I want to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you.’ ”