Skip to content

Semiotics Mailbag

Responses by Théophile, translated by Hypatia Sanders



Dear Théophile: I went to the trade show with one of each of Magnus Bredenbek’s 41 classic types of business leader: a Facilitor, a Blamer, a Denier, an Opportunist, a Passive-Prevaricator, an Aggressive-Prevaricator, a Terroristic-Truculent, a Terroristic Manipulator, an Anal-Aggressive, plus the 32 sub-types of Anal-Passive discussed by LeBlanc and accepted by Bredenbek.

So, Théophile: guess which guy pulled the best?

Hit me again, chump. That one was strictly from the mailroom. To sense the diagrammatic flow of Management in which we are all inscribed, you need to first know the true Forms of Management. In reality, there are eighty types of business leader, a fact known since Late Antiquity, and first referenced in the literature by the great Heresiologist and vicious Ecclesiastical-political infighter, St. Epiphanius of Salamis (an early activist in the “Teams” movement!). Of course, St. Epiphanius’s work needs to be updated for the modern Business Management Handbook market, a project which I am currently undertaking. Some of Epiphanius’ quaint notions have to bite the dust. Others simply need to be reinscribed on the body of Twentieth-Century Private Enterprise. Empower yourself with a 5-minute-management session; you will want to use the Greek text of K. Holl in the Griechische Christliche Schriftsteller (GCS) series, available at Waldenbooks or order by Fax. After wading through Epiphanius’s admittedly rather stream-of-consciousness syntax, you will note these 14 basic classic management types: Barbarism, Hellenism, Judaism, Scribalism, Samaritanism (good, bad, and indifferent), Platonism, Stoicism, Judaism, Hemerobaptism, Saturnalianism, Gnosticism—an offshoot of the “Teams” movement whose subscribers are also called Stratiotics or Phibionites (“Phibbers”), but by some are called Secundians, by others Scrotalists (the “balls” movement [gender-non-specific, natch]), by yet others Zaccheans, and by some people Coddians (see the Diet Books section).

All of this jargon can get a little confusing, but bear with me—it’ll pay off, a différance that’ll get you noticed! Your initial list also neglects to mention the following basic leadership types: an Ebionite, a Marionite, a Cistercian, a Dominican, a Stylite, an Anchorite (from Gk. ana + choreo “leave the country”), a Perezzite, a Hivite, a Heterosexual, a Jebusite, a Hittite, a Horite, a Wordy Midianite, an Amorite, an Aramean, a Canadian, and the 51 recently discovered sub-types of anal-passive discussed in the new GCS text of Epiphanius as re-edited by J. Dummer.

Including these in your original question: the “best-puller” would have to have been the Dominican. They have been known, ever since the High Middle Ages, for their industrious ways. Furthermore, as is clearly indicated in Le Haddock Illustre, as well as in the Holy Writ, at the time of the conference (I think I’ve got the site pretty well figured out—a rube like you, working out of the Great Flyover, probably couldn’t make it past St. Louis). “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” So you couldn’t have brought one of them. The fact that there was, indeed, a medieval form of Semiotics, already working at an advanced stage in the text of Rabelais’ Gargantua et Pantagruel (in English, although to translate is to betray, I feel that the tide can be glossed as “Gargantua and Pantagruel,” despite the obvious problems this raises as to the extent to which reality is linguistically determined) is less important than the fact that Rabelais himself, at an advanced stage in his professional career, converted from the Franciscan brotherhood to the Dominicans.

Take it from me, “the Skipper”: there’s no motivator like a medieval motivator.

Dear Théophile: I feel that I’m not communicating effectively with others. Lately three close associates failed to CC me on crucial topics, I was the victim of a serious parking-lot effrontery, and I was not invited to sit in the company box at the recent Dead Moon show in Madison Square Garden. How can I sharpen my interpersonal relationship techniques?

Communication, as Baudrillard has shown us, is ecstasy. It is also agony. Hence, “the Agony and the Ecstasy.” Yes. In this way it lends itself to being compared to the agon of the beautiful, naked Hellenic youth, whose flower is crushed as the life spurts out of his loins. Beauty is a commodity, as the Nig-Heist once sang, “because money is sex, and sex is life.” Most business executives employ the use of young hairless male prostitutes, not because they want something soft and effeminate, yet more compliant than their wives, but because, as successful men, they understand beauty. You need to make yourself as beautiful as possible. Spend all of your time outside of work at the Gym. Shave your body meticulously and immerse it in Oil of Olay. Like the executive woman who is wearing an alluring piece of lingerie under her somber grey suit, your sheer beauty will show underneath in your triumphant attitude. Without even touching them, you will be able to bring them off in business meetings. Humiliated by the prodigious dark stains down the front of their oh-so-unbreathable grey trousers, impossible to disguise with a jacket casually hung (hanged…?) from the arm, they will probably have to sit and talk to you after the meeting while their pants dry.