Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Being a Rubber Stamp Is Serious Business

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OK, everyone, thank you – we’re done with that agenda item. Let’s move on to the last one. Ivan, could you call in Ms. Yazova, who’s been waiting outside? Hello, Ms. Yazova. Sorry to keep you waiting – I hope you weren’t out there very long. Oh, good. Would you like some tea? As you wish. Please, sit down.

Now, Ms. Yazova, we on the Rubber Stamp Committee take our job very seriously. I want to caution you against assuming that just because you happen to be the daughter of a cabinet minister, your application for the position will sail through the process like magic. It doesn’t quite work that way: there’s a good bit of paperwork to process before things are official. I trust you understand what I am getting at, Ms. Yazova?

Good. Just to make sure we lay everything on the table here, then. In reviewing your application, we found some glaring omissions. Now, just because your father has threatened all of us with bloody retribution if we fail to approve you for the position does not mean we simply ignore whatever qualifications you happen to possess or lack. I, for one, am pleased to see that you take things seriously enough to have filled out at least three of the twelve required forms, and that you made sure to affix a photo to all the right ones. We shall return later to the little detail of whose photos those are.

But this is where we get tough, Ms. Yazova. Your father might be a man with considerable political clout, not to mention a private army and the requisite outsize ego, but we simply cannot process this application unless you complete at least forms five through nine. This committee may lack the teeth to object to anyone’s candidacy on substantive grounds, but by thunder, we will stand on principle when it comes to bureaucracy. As I told the minister himself when he asked me which I preferred to do for the rest of my life, push paper here or keep track of passing Siberian winters by the number of extremities lost to frostbite: I live for paperwork. And I meant it.

It all comes down to proper procedure. Without proper procedure, the system breaks down, and then even the most brutal thug is at the mercy of the administrative chaos. I’m sure even the minister himself appreciates the importance of what we do; otherwise, why would he maneuver to get obsolescent loyal party hacks appointed to this committee? Spineless we might be, but we do insist on having the proper forms to copy, distribute, stamp and file so we know exactly where to find them when the order comes down from on high to start shredding compromising evidence. Are we clear on the importance of having these papers in order, Ms. Yazova? Good, good; are you sure about that tea? The samovar is still hot.

Now, about those photos. The committee appreciates the challenges of gaining access to a good portrait photographer these days, what with the patriotic fervor that our secret service so effectively shepherds along – we can’t have just anyone printing potentially treasonous photos, can we? – but we did expect a woman with your, er, background to have some access to pictures, and not to feel compelled to resort to random clippings from back issues of Patriotic Motherland Youth.

Oh. Really? I didn’t realize that, Ms. Yazova. We had naturally assumed that all those different pictures were of different people, since they were clipped from many different articles we all were required to read in advance of party meetings. Hmm. Sergei, would you pass me the dossier? Oh, my. How embarrassing. We’re truly sorry, Ms. Yazova. Well, forget about that little bureaucratic detail, then.

The last thing that the committee considers worthy of comment in your application is the number of copies of each form. We very explicitly requested each form to be submitted in triplicate. Now, again, we understand that many people have difficulty finding a working photocopying machine, and not only for appreciable security reasons; toner and spare parts, not to mention competent technicians, seem to be in short supply theses days outside certain political circles. But since you, Ms. Yazov, might have entrée to those circles, perhaps you can ease our workload and have the forms resubmitted to us in triplicate.

It was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Yazova. As soon as you get the paperwork in order, this Rubber Stamp Committee can fulfill its crucial function. We take that very seriously indeed.


Written by Thag

November 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

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