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I Don’t Like Your Tone, Deputy Director Alvin D. Kersh!!!

June 21, 2010

Where are those expense reports, Scully?

Deputy Director Kirsch – whose real initials are in fact A.D. (Alvin D. Kirsch) – and brilliantly portrayed by James “Chief Webber” Pickens Jr, is one of my favorite recurring characters on The X-Files, for some of the reasons many fans did not particularly like him. He’s snarky, unpleasant and usually “right” – in the sense he’s quite the stickler for the rules. I’ve never been able to figure out (definitively) whether Kirsch is reductive trope or the acknowledgment of reductive tropes in Sci-fi. Oddly enough, either framing works fine for me! I know, shocking right?

Kirsch is cut of the classic mean dude boss cloth. I find Kirsch endearing and unintentionally hilarious for the exact reason I find Skinner endearing and unintentionally hilarious. While Skinner favors a more Barney Miller or Bones McCoy style of interpersonal communication – where the last word of every sentence is in ALL CAPS – Kirsch slow burns like stew in a crock pot, which is often the other style manifested by mean dude bosses – like say – Lt. Martin Castillo. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you! Irrespective of race, pretty much most mean dude bosses on police procedurals are either Miller or Castillo types. If you’re feeling some racially problematic “informed assclown” vibe from Kirsch, in my opinion it’s probably projection.

Kirsch is all about them expense reports, which is definitely a nod to swivel servants and their loved ones who often found the budgeting fuckery of Mulder and Scully a tad unrealistic. Apparently, our suspension bridge of disbelief could steady the weight of a great many things – black oil, aliens, Leonard Betts – but couldn’t handle the load of creative accounting practices our tax dollars probably supported!

Skinner is a “Don’t make me turn this station wagon around!” kind of patriarchal boss; Kirsch is definitely a, “This is why we can’t have nice things!” kind of patriarchal boss. Kirsch is what happens to you when you’re hard headed and consistently engaged in random acts of insubordination. Kirsch could give two fucks about your intentions. Just like dads could give two fucks as to why you were playing Mission to Mars in the house! They just care about why a beloved antique – always precariously placed on top some other beloved antique – is shattered in several thousand jagged pieces. And while you’re at it, take that damn colander off you head; we’re having spaghetti for dinner!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 6:05 pm

    I am looking forward to these posts like you would not believe.

  2. A Sarah permalink
    June 21, 2010 8:32 pm

    Skinner is a “Don’t make me turn this station wagon around!” kind of patriarchal boss; Kirsch is definitely a, “This is why we can’t have nice things!” kind of patriarchal boss.

    Now, see, that just makes me weep with delight.

  3. IrishUp permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:23 am

    ” … the budgeting fuckery of Mulder and Scully a tad unrealistic. Apparently, our suspension bridge of disbelief could steady the weight of a great many things – black oil, aliens, Leonard Betts – but couldn’t handle the load of creative accounting practices our tax dollars probably supported …”

    According to a good friend who is both a G1x AND a rabid XFiler, aliens are orders of magnatude more likely than a supervisor approving funds beyond your daily gumment allotment. Perhaps in this way, Kirsch is a touchstone.

    The Kirsch’s of the world have good reason to stew: there it is, all written down, and you either didn’t read it, or decided it didn’t apply to you. Either way, now the whole class has to sit in the dark with heads on desk, instead of recess. See what you did?

  4. June 22, 2010 7:46 pm

    The question is, what kind of patriarchal boss is Chief Webber, and how do the two differ?

    I feel like the Chief is clearly a “your sister is WAY smarter than you and I will give her this cookie since she finished her homework first–and because I feel guilty” kind of dad.

    Although! They do both display a propensity for firing and cutting the fat/interns when the budgets get tight. I have not yet seen Kirsh in action though, so I cannot go deeper than this. Hmmm.

    Don’t hate me, I do comparative literature, I can’t help myself.

  5. Octavia permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:26 am

    I will never be able to imagine Kirsch now in any other way. And… I think… that’s a good thing.

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