As a graduate (and a scholar) in International Relations and Middle East Studies, I've eyed my fair share State Department/intelligence jobs before realizing I didn't want to be another pawn in the enactment of American imperialism and hegemony. But before it dawned on me that I never want to have to remove my nose ring for a job, my main concern with applying for those jobs were the countless Life Decisions that could have ruined my chances of getting security clearance, like trying to sneak into pictures of "celebrity indie stars" whilst wearing a "cute" neon blue mumu dress and chain smoking at music festivals or dating a guy who was a little too into the Grateful Dead. The government isn't joking around when it comes to intelligence positions, and my friends who have worked in intelligence and security agencies have told me that the background checks they do before they hire you leave no stone unturned. I thought I had no hope.
But fret not, all you Occupy types with burlap backpacks and Che shirts! You may think you have ruined all potential for you to catch turrurists and be like Clare Danes in Homeland, but you, too, can enter the mysterious world of American espionage! Avril Haines, who was just named deputy director of the CIA, replacing Benghazi scape-goat Michael Morell, had a dark and doobie-ous past (I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself). Before reaching the height of political power as a lawyer in the White House Counsel's office, Haines opened and co-owned an indie bookstore in Baltimore called Adrian's Book Cafe. More notably, her bookstore held regular "Erotica Nights," which I can only assume were awesome gatherings of horny Baltimore grunge kids eating vegan lasagna and doing readings of "Carrie's Story."
A 1995 Baltimore Sun article about Adrian's Book Cafe's erotica nights describes them as "consciousness raisers for the libido. Strangers recite and discuss what polite company never would: trysts at the convenience store, husbands who don't satisfy and the curves of a voluptuous woman."
Haines is quoted in the article, too:
"Erotica has become more prevalent because people are trying to have sex without having sex. Others are trying to find new fantasies to make their monogamous relationships more satisfying… What erotic offers is spontaneity, twists and turns. And it effects everyone."
Haines read Anne Rice to frequenters of the Erotica Nights to get them in the mood, which prompted discussion of what kind of romantic prose tickled their fancy.
Her bookstore wasn't all about erotica, though that might be what everyone will get their panties in a bunch. It sounds like your regular indie book store, replete with publications from local authors and small publishing houses, and Haines probably had plenty of copies of Das Kapital on hand. But considering she's reported to be a stellar deputy assistant to President Obama and has had quite a career at the State Department already, I'm sure the CIA was willing to put those indie grunge days aside.
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