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411: if ya don't know...
why "the operative network?"
"... at this level of security, you didn't even call them people anymore. And they were probably doing stuff that only operatives would do. When they went home to their families in the evening they became people again, and when their little children looked up to them with their sweet shining eyes and said, 'Daddy, what did you do all day today?' they just said, 'I performed my duties as an operative,' and left it at that."
-- Mostly Harmless, by Douglas Adams
Allen Gordon, former editor-in-chief at Rap Pages magazine, called me up one day and asked if I would write a column for Rap Pages. A few months before I'd been segued out of the managing editor position by a vapid woman who Allen later replaced as EIC. I never knew whether he was just mending fences or what, but he told me I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I kicked butt and took names. Rap Pages had a long history of infamous columnists, from A&B to the Empress (I know who all those people are, I've been around so long, but I'm sworn to secrecy). So I named the column Damage Control, at his behest, and adopted the moniker "the operative" as kind of an in-joke and tribute to those who went before me.
I'd been a part of an ill-fated design firm called Madness Media, started up by a couple of my college cronies, that suffered the fate of all companies without dedicated "suits" -- no sales, no business, eventual oblivion. That showed me it could be done, and I'd often shied away from leadership roles, remembering the adage "good help is hard to find." At that point in my life, I'd become so self-sufficient I didn't need any help with anything, so I figured I was supposed to help others, and enforce their will. An operative, as the case may be. Everything tied together nicely, a cool way to integrate my roles as pen-for-hire, pixel-for-hire and so on. Besides, "hannibal.com" is taken by some irritating squatter.
When I started, I had grand schemes of a literal network of operatives, people who were skillful and talented, people I knew, and could make anything happen. I hit a wall, since I was okay at hustling work for myself, but less so for other people. So I streamlined, and now The Operative Network is like The History Channel or The Spice Network -- it broadcasts all Hannibal all the time.
Long answer, perhaps, but I've always had much more interest in being the finger that pulls the trigger than the voice that issues the order. Leaders tend to be targets, and have people gunning for them -- all the people after "soldiers" address their bullets "to whom it may concern." I like the background, I like to stay out of the limelight, and I really hate it when people know what I look like, so I nod my head, keep my eyes hidden, and try to blend in a lot. Except, of course, when I'm shouting and ranting from the mountaintops. Right.