Obscene Financial Intimacy

Quote

The bank issued rent checks for the apartment’s use, as they paid all the bills for food, pressing, laundry, and liquor. These the local merchants sent directly to Raymond’s very own bank officer, a Mr. Jack Rothenberg, a formidably bankerish sort of a man excepting for the somewhat disturbing habit of wearing leather tassels on his shoes. Raymond believed that the exchange of money was one of the few surviving methods people had for communicating with each other, and he wanted no part of it. The act of loving, not so much of the people themselves but of the cherishment contained in the warm money passed from hand to hand was, to Raymond, intimate to the point of being obscene so that as much as possible he insisted that the bank take over that function, for which he paid them well.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Dangerous Ambition

Quote

Her ambition was an extremely distressing condition. She sought power the way a superstitious man might look for a four-leaf clover. She didn’t care where she found it. It would make no difference if it were growing out of a manure pile.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Life After War

Quote

The war was over in Korea. That camera which caught every movement of everyone’s life was adjusted to run backward so that they were all returned to the point from which they had started out to war. Not all. Some, like Mavole and Lembeck, remained where they had been dropped. The other members of Marco’s I&R patrol whose minds believed in so many things that had never happened, although in that instance they were hardly unique, returned to their homes, left them, found jobs and left them until, at last, they achieved an understanding of their essential desperation and made peace with it, to settle down into making and acknowledging the need for the automatic motions that were called living.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Controlled Killers

Quote

Berezovo had been life-trained in security work, particularly that having to do with Soviet security problems in North America, where this killer would operate. If a normally conditioned Anglo-Saxon could be taught to kill and kill, then to have no memory of having killed, or even of having had the thought of killing, he could feel no guilt. If he could feel no guilt he could not fall into the trap of betraying fear of being caught. If he could not feel guilt or the fear of being caught he would remain an outwardly normal, productive, sober, and respectful member of his community so that, as Berezovo saw it, this killer was very close to being police-proof and the method by which he was created must be very, very carefully controlled in its application to other men within the Soviet Union. Specifically, within Moscow. More specifically within the Kremlin.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Nervous System Loyalty

Quote

Yen Lo approached human behavior in terms of fundamental components instead of metaphysical labels. His meaningful goal was to implant in the subject’s mind the predominant motive, which was that of submitting to the operator’s commands; to construct behavior which would at all times strive to put the operator’s exact intentions into execution as if the subject were playing a game or acting a part; and to cause a redirection of his movements by remote control through second parties, or third or fiftieth parties, twelve thousand miles removed from the original commands if necessary. The first thing a human being is loyal to, Yen Lo observed, is his own conditioned nervous system.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Prophetic Fiction

Quote

Nonetheless, her Johnny had become the only American in the country’s history of political villains, studding folk song and story, to inspire concomitant fear and hatred in foreigners, resident in their native countries. He blew his nose in the Constitution, he thumbed his nose at the party system or any other version of governmental chain of command. He personally charted the zigs and zags of American foreign policy at a time when the American policy was a monstrously heavy weight upon world history. To the people of Iceland, Peru, France, and Pitcairn Island the label of Iselinism stood for anything and everything that was dirty, backward, ignorant, repressive, offensive, anti-progressive, or rotten, and all of those adjectives must ultimately be seen as sincere tributes to any demagogue of any country on any planet.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Bitter Necessary Lies

Quote

“I can tell you that it was a very clear action for a night action, Mrs. Mavole,” Raymond said. Mr. Mavole sat on the other side of the bed and stared at the floor, his eyes feverish captives in black circles, his lower lip caught between his teeth, his hands clasped in prayer as he hoped he would not begin to cry again and start her crying. “You see, Captain Marco had sent up some low flares because we had to know where the enemy was. They knew where we were. Eddie, well—”

He paused, only infinitesimally, to try not to weep at the thought of how bitter, bitter, bitter it was to have to lie at a time like this, but she had sold the boy to the recruiters for this moment, so he would have to throw the truth away and pay her off. They never told The Folks Back Home about the filthy deaths—the grotesque, debasing deaths which were almost all the deaths in war.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Importance of Guilt

Quote

What is the consciousness of guilt but the arena floor rushing up to meet the falling trapeze artist? Without it, a bullet becomes a tourist flying without responsibility through the air. The consciousness of guilt gives a scent to humanity, a threat of putrefaction, the ultimate cosmetic. Without the consciousness of guilt, existence had become so bland in Paradise that Eve welcomed the pungency of Original Sin.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Holes in Heaven’s Floor

Quote

“Mr. Mavole,” Raymond said rapidly, “I thought that if it was O.K. with you maybe I could stop over in St. Louis on my way to Washington, you know? I thought, I mean it occurred to me that you and Mrs. Mavole might get some kind of peace out of it, some kind of relief, if we talked a little bit. About Eddie. You know? I mean I thought that was the least I could do.” There was a silence. Then Mr. Mavole began to make a lot of slobbering sounds so Raymond said roughly that he would wire when he knew what flight he would be on and he hung up the phone and felt like an idiot. Like an angry man with a cane who pokes a hole through the floor of heaven and is scalded by the joy that pours down upon him, Raymond had a capacity for using satisfactions against himself.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Parenting Opportunity

Quote

A car returned, it seemed to him almost at once, and Jocie had fetched her father along because it would give him such a good feeling to know that all of those warnings about the snakes in those woods had been just. A man has few enough opportunities like that when he assists in the raising of children, who must be hoisted on the pulley of one’s experience every morning to the top of the pole for a view of life as extensive as that day’s emotional climate would bear, then lowered again at sundown to be folded up and made to rest, and carried into their dreams with reverence.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon