Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Keepers of Unkept Secrets

"Its harder to guess ahead of time how you will be recieved by those in charge of government documents than to guess what you will find in them. Ahead of time, I had guessed I would be sized up as a suspicious character up to no good: I was alone and peeking into government files and into Mann Gulch itself, which long since had been put out of sight and was better that way. Although Forest Service employees, I figured, would always be watching me with a fishy eye when I was around and even more so when I wasn't, there were not nearly as many spies as I had expected. They were mostly old-timers, and some of them had worked in the office long enough to know that some funny PR business had gone on at the time of the mann Gulch fire. Most of the Forest Service employees who had a corner of an eye on me belonged to that element in most PR offices who are never important enough to be trusted with any of the organization's real secrets - they just know genetically that big organizations have shady secrets (that's why they are big). Also genetically they like shady secrets but have none of their own. I gather that government organizations nearly always have unorganized minority of Keepers of Unkept Secrets, and one of these, I was told, went so far as to write a letter to be read at a meeting of the staff of the regional forester reporting that I was making suspicious visits to Mann Gulch and suspiciously arranging to bring back with me to Mann Gulch the two survivors of the fire. According to my source of information, after the letter was read the regional forester went right on with the business at hand as if nothing had interrupted him. And as far as I know, nothing had."

Norman Maclean

'Young Men And  Fire'

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