Bad Bosses in Books

With Donald Trump in the White House, Americans have the bad boss from hell. Not only have his actions been a disaster for the U.S. and the world, but his “leadership” style has driven out a record number of almost-as-abysmal people from his administration.

Trump embodies the worst qualities of a bad boss. Mean, lazy, corrupt, cowardly, erratic, untruthful, incompetent, racist, sexist, homophobic, a sexual harasser, etc. So let’s take a look at some fictional bosses who, while mostly not as awful as Trump, are pretty darn substandard.

How about Captain Queeg of Herman Wouk’s enthralling Pulitzer Prize-winning 1951 novel The Caine Mutiny, which I just read? Queeg is a second-rate captain — not that skilled, cowardly, sadistic, a harsh disciplinarian on trivial matters, has the hypocritical philosophy of “do as I say not as I do,” just friendly enough at times to keep his crew off-balance, and, like Trump, blames underlings for his own mistakes. (Pictured at the top of this column is Humphrey Bogart as Queeg.)

Staying at sea for another paragraph, we of course have Captain Ahab of Moby-Dick, who deliberately puts the Pequod crew in danger as he seeks his irrational revenge on Herman Melville’s titular white whale.

Then there’s the faux-sweet Dolores Umbridge, of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, who temporarily becomes high inquisitor and then headmistress at Hogwarts. She rules the wizardry school in an unfair and ruthless manner (which includes vicious harassment of Harry), and is basically on the side of arch-villain Lord Voldemort.

Umbridge eventually gets her comeuppance — exemplifying a satisfying potential plot rationale for having bad-boss characters in literature. Plus readers empathize with and root for the beleaguered underlings. But good doesn’t always triumph over evil in nasty fictional workplaces.

Of course, novels with workplaces that are depicted at least somewhat realistically will feature plenty of bad bosses. If not, they’re fantasy novels of a sort. 🙂

A boss doesn’t have to be on-the-scene to be crummy. In Richard Russo’s Empire Falls, wealthy widow Francine Whiting almost never visits the Empire Grill she owns, but makes life hell for the eatery’s mild-mannered manager Miles Roby. Why does Francine treat Miles that way? She’s a nasty control-freak, and the rich Whiting family and not-rich Roby family have a complicated intertwined history.

Another bad boss is Vinnie Plum, cousin of bounty-hunter protagonist Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s mysteries. Vinnie is lazy, a gambler, a sexual pervert, and contemptuous of his employees — despite those employees being much better workers and much better people than he is.

Then there’s the bank boss in Jules Verne’s Paris in the Twentieth Century who fires protagonist Michel Dufrénoy and his co-worker after they make just one mistake.

Also in the bad-boss club are — among others — Nurse Ratched of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Miranda Priestly of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, and Ebenezer Scrooge (until he’s transformed) of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Which bad bosses in fiction are most memorable to you?

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece — about dance vs. gym, an unauthorized hotel addition, and more — is here.

100 thoughts on “Bad Bosses in Books

  1. Hi Dave, I’ve been having problems with WordPress lately, so if you see something from them that’s what it’s about. I’ve been not having so many problems with them when it comes to posting, but all of a sudden the whole thing falls apart and I lose whatever I posted, though nothing of importance. But it’s still quite annoying (sayeth Zazu, who could just fly into the jungle whenever he wanted). 🙂

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      • Yes, if only. In between my bouts with WP and having the installers here for my bathroom and are still here now, I’ve been mellowing out by watching some very fine performances of classical music. I’ve learned that one can catch some great concerts (or the main ones) from some of my favorite pieces. This is something I should have known before, but for some reason I never knew this before today and realize how much more interesting it is to watch live performances I watched two live piano concertos (Rachmaninoff)and it was fascinating to watch the soloists on piano. It made me think of Mrs. Musgrove in “Persuasion” who said something like, “Anne, how your fingers fly across those keys!” 🙂 So I think I’m going to devote myself to classical music, as well as a huge book I bought years ago about “The History of Art,” which was quite expensive, but one of my college roomies had the same book for an art history course back in 1968 (I feel sure that it has been updated, though I need to find it on my shelves somewhere!). I’m not planning on leaving this blog, especially since I’ve read so many books in my life that I can still comment on them, esp. Jane Austen and mysteries/etc. I love your blog and all the friends/interesting people I’ve met here.

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        • Kat Lit, it sounds like you’ve been doing, and plan to do, some great things instead of or in addition to reading! And, yes, you know tons about Austen’s novels and various mystery books — among other authors and genres. And thank you for the compliment about this blog and its commenters. I agree — very interesting people here. 🙂

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          • Yes, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for here. I know sometimes I might get carried away by posting too much and often, but this is a very safe place for me to go to every week and talk about more about other than someone’s dinner plate or vacation pictures or whatever. I must say that I do miss seeing your very funny cartoons on Facebook. Even though I may have to come back to FB at some point! So, we’ll see.

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            • I always enjoy your interesting posts, Kat Lit. There can never be too many. 🙂

              Thank you for the kind words about my cartoons! I ran out of cartoons to post last spring (or at least ran out of the better ones 🙂 ). I’d like to draw some new ones at some point, but not sure if it will happen. So many other things to do!

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              • Very funny, bebe! The whole thing reminded me of the old show “Hullabaloo” or something like that! Yes, I think our POTUS has finally met his match in Pelosi. I thought it extremely humorous and quite telling that he couldn’t come up with a nickname for her other than “Nancy.”

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  2. ‘The boss’s jokes are always funny.’

    Past the pinnacle of the pyramid, the social dominance that the employment hierarchy demands is overall crushing, if occasionally amiable. We defer, they decide. By our training in school, we are built to be useful to those above us, and, with exceptions, cannot find enough to do for ourselves on our own– we are employees, even out of work.

    I have always thought they most implacable divide among us was simply this: there are humans who would use others to gain, and humans who could never imagine they could distance themselves from their fellows for such selfish purposes, and thus, are useful to those who would use others for gain– as employees.

    There are of course, a fair number of bad bosses in books. Often, they get their comeuppance there, by way of compensation for what happens here.

    I hesitate to post this, for fear of offending my betters, or would, were I still of employment age.

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    • Eloquent description of the often-fraught employer/employee hierarchy, jhNY. Though I had some minor supervisory roles during my work career, I could never be a real boss for the reason(s) you mentioned.

      Yes, it’s wonderful wish-fulfillment when bosses in books get their comeuppance more often than real bosses do.

      And, heck, in reference to your opening quote, I think one reason I lost my last full-time job was laughing very minimally at my not-liked supervisor’s mediocre jokes.

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      • As to your last graf–

        I saved that saying out of the NY Daily news decades ago, because to me at least, it said so much. It appeared in that single panel anachronism ‘Meet Mr. Luckey’ by Henri Arnold, who I’m sure you must have met… I seem to remember Mr. Luckey (Luc Key?) was once a Chinese man, but there’s no mention of the character’s transformation (to leprechaun) in the obit I attach:

        https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/jumble-meet-mr-luckey-cartoonist-dies-aged-97-article-1.2440006

        The obit mentions the ‘clues’ some saw in his panel for horse race winners– I recall he was also pored over by those who hoped to win at the numbers.

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        • That saying DOES say a lot, jhNY.

          I don’t remember meeting Henri Arnold. He seemed to be among those cartoonists who rarely showed up at cartoonist meetings.

          Your last paragraph reminds me that famed caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, as you probably know, would hide the name of his daughter Nina in his drawings.

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  3. A previously unpublished novella by Kurt Vonnegut was published close to 60 years after it was written was rejected after the novella was written. After his death his daughter published the book with two novellas.

    Hayley Brandon, a teenage boy adopted and then orphaned by his adoptive parents . Later he had to move with his mother`s brother known to all as General with three daughters. He raised his girls with military guidelines and started the same with Hailey.

    He made him toil very hard who was actually a fine pianist. But General said would support his ambition but Hayley has to work hard in his farm to do that.
    So the story continues…

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  4. Well, I won’t talk about my own bad bosses, but I do want to mention when I was a boss of only a very few people (perhaps even one), but I had to take her to task for something that wasn’t quite appropriate, and she accused me of treating her unfairly because she was older than I. I let it go, but the next morning I came into work and noticed that a paperweight I had on my desk looked out of place — it was a polished rock, with a cute frog on it — and when I turned it over I saw the word written on it was in a green magic marker, that said (B**CH). This was the moment when I said to myself that I didn’t want another supervisory role, and stuck by that for the rest of my working career.

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    • Very sorry that happened to you, Kat Lit. There are certainly also great bosses and bad employees, and the immature employee who did that sounds awful. I can understand how that soured you on being a supervisor; being in that role was not to my liking, either, the few times it happened.

      Great bosses can be relatively rare, especially at larger companies, because the people who tend to get promoted are not always the nicest people, falsely flatter the higher-ups, etc. Many large companies think that nasty supervisors get the most out of their staffers, but I think the opposite is usually true. I know I worked harder and better for the bosses I liked and respected.

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      • It’s interesting, Dave, that I’ve found that through my life most of the bad employees/bad bosses were female. I don’t know if it’s because we had more to prove to everyone else or what. The last manager that I supported. along with a female doctor along with at least 10 male medical directors, the latter was just a pain to work for (though she was very personable), along with many male medical directors, who were a lot less trouble.

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        • Interesting, Kat Lit. It’s probably true, as you allude to, that some female supervisors overcompensate — believing they have to be as tough and ruthless as many male bosses.

          Looking back at the bad bosses I’ve had, more were male than female — maybe partly because I had more male than female bosses during my media career. But, overall, I’ve been lucky to have more good bosses than bad bosses, no matter what the gender.

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          • I had a couple of female bosses, my first on was Australian with Brit accent and was proud of it. Later had another woman boss, nice but had personal issues. She was a close talker, funny. When she would talk to you, you needs need to step back ..

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              • She did not mean to , obviously needed some treatment. So bright and brilliant yet because of her scattered mind finally lost her job.Even though she was a good scientist.

                Incidentally was a staunch Jewish woman and husband was not. I had gone to Bar and Bat Mitzvah of her Son and Daughter in a very fancy Synagogue in Overland Park, KS . If you remember one crazy man few years ago shot so many in that place. 😥

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        • I’ve read studies that correlate my own experience that women who have had to compete in a mainly-male environment tend to be quite cruel to other women. Probably a combination of wanting to distance themselves from any taint of being female, and the feeling that there’s only so much respect for women going around and they have to get all of it. When there’s a scarcity of anything, people tend to fight pretty viciously over it.

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    • I am sorry Kat Lit but I am laughing, it was funny as well.
      I have worked in medical center as a researcher. After that had 3 separate research jobs but did not have to interview. My last boss was a staunch Republican and had a mean streak so we kept our mouth shut. One time he called my immediate supervisor and myself to his office and was so mean to him I started crying for his meanness and cruelty.
      Anyways then when I started recording I quit or you could say retired early and never looked back.
      Now I volunteer at the public library and love it.
      It is like a job but no supervisor, like to dress up, work my own time and have a good rapport with the manager. The staff were not supposed to discuss politics but I whisper to likeminded patrons and the manager knows it because she is as well anti you know whom 😀..

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      • Sorry about that boss you had, bebe. “Staunch Republican” and “mean” — definitely a connection between those two things these days. (Though I once had a boss who was very progressive politically but awful on a personal level.)

        Your current volunteer position at the library sound perfect! And, yes, there’s plenty of potential bonding over being against America’s Monster-in-Chief.

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        • That was W`s time, now W seems to be not so bad compared to the liar in chief.
          Anyways the Boss used to say because of Iraq invasion we could cross the street safely.
          Imagine that 🙄

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          • George W. has gone from the worst president of all time to the second worst. He’s probably grateful to Trump for that.

            “…because of Iraq invasion we could cross the street safely” — what a misinformed statement by that boss!

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                • Zazu here for your morning (afternoon?) report. We had a lot of rain last night which took away most of our snow/ice accumulations. Of course, now it’s snowing again, but I hope not for long! I’ve got the installer for my walk-in tub/new toilet here right now. He’s been making a new bathroom for me, but I was disappointed to learn that there’s something up here (a road?) called a babbling brook. I thought I was the one to name my creek that. Oh well!!

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                  • Ha, Kat Lit — it’s fun when Zazu reappears. 🙂

                    A LOT of rain here, too, but we’ve been spared the snow you’re getting.

                    Good luck with the installation!

                    “Babbling brook” — love the sound of that. 🙂

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                    • Zazu is coming back for a short report this morning. 🙂
                      There’s no new snow, and I’m looking out at the beautiful sunrise that’s reflecting off my lake with yellowing/rosy colors beneath dark clouds above. It actually looks more gorgeous every time I look out! Have I always been appropriating this lake, spillway and babbling brook as mine? I’m not sure where I came to babbling brook, but it sounds like something from a poem I read long ago. I do think I must have one of the best views in this community. Anyway, the guy doing the installation is only perhaps half-done, but he’s super nice and I hope his helper who was sick yesterday, will show up today.

                      I’m still having trouble coming up with bad bosses in books. However, there is “Little Women” for the horrid teacher to Amy, and Aunt March to Jo, who was supposed to take her on her European trip, but selected Amy instead. She redeemed herself by giving her home to Jo when she died.

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                    • Evocative lake description, Kat Lit!

                      Bad teachers are definitely bad “bosses” in a way, so your “Little Women” example makes total sense! Then there’s Miss Trunchbull in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”…

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  5. I just finished reading “the Alice Network” by Kate Quinn – a story about a WWI female spy ring that takes a few decades (and another World War) to unfold. As I imagine there would be in any spy network, there were many boss or authority figures in this story. The woman running the network on the ground at first comes off as firm, cutting, and condescending with the main character, but then once things get really sticky, you see just how much she cares about the well being of the other female spies in her circle – she just does what she has to in order to survive a dangerous job in a man’s world. I have a real soft spot for a character like that (tough as nails on the outside but soft inside).
    Then again, in the same story, there are two male overseers of this mostly female spy ring and they are based out of London. Although one comes off gentle and the other comes off as a complete jerk, I had my problems with both of them. Although NEITHER of them were doing the “dirty work” on the ground, they refused to let the women run things the way they wanted to. They both took on that “I know what I’m doing and you don’t” air, even when the gentler one thought he was being nice. He still drove me nuts with not taking the word of any of the women seriously or letting them make their own choices. It was a very wonderful book full of beautiful webs of complex relationships, between friends, bosses, and even enemies. I would recommend it!

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  6. I certainly believe in a policy of conformance with a boss, do not become too comfortable,do your job,try not to rock the boat although not always smooth sailing,as life is. However,having the Liar in Chief as one’s boss would be,unless completely subservient,like a puppy, not really admitting to the monster in the room. If one disapproves of Donald J.Rump, prepare to be ridiculed by the imbecile to the public at large as well as potentially being subpoenaed into his legal messes,a corrupt man who has no moral compass,cares about NO ONE but himself.😆

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    • Thank you, Michele! Excellent points! Trying to conform to many bad bosses is expected and doable, but some bosses — like Trump — are beyond the pale. You described Trump exactly: only cares about himself, tarnishes everyone who works for him, etc.

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  7. I have to say Lex Luthor was probably a bad boss. Although there are no specific examples re: his interactions with his staff, he is so very much like Trump, e.g. narcissistic, evil, vindictive, etc. There’s even a Luthor Tower, ha! And also, Meredith Johnson, the boss in Crichton’s book “Disclosure”, who tries to ruin her ex-lover/employee by accusing him of sexual harassment. Sorry for including comic books in a literature blog, my bad. 🙂

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    • Thank you, SW! Not a problem — comic books have the word “books” in them, and I’ve read various comic books (and graphic novels) that are basically literature in a different form. Love the Lex Luthor and Trump comparison!

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  8. Dave, this is to J.J., who I was in a discussion with last column about the comedies written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes (the book I finally found are translations by Dudley Fitts), which include the following: “Lysistrata,” “The Frogs,” “The Birds,” and “Ladies’ Day.” You can tell how old the trade paperback is that the price on it is $2.45, and was published during the 1950’s.

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    • Howdy, Kat Lit!

      — Dave, this is to J.J., who I was in a discussion with last column about the comedies written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes (the book I finally found are translations by Dudley Fitts), which include the following: “Lysistrata,” “The Frogs,” “The Birds,” and “Ladies’ Day.” —

      Nice selection! I do not actually recall reading “Ladies’ Day,” but I have to assume Aristophanes did a good job with that sucker, too.

      — You can tell how old the trade paperback is that the price on it is $2.45, and was published during the 1950’s. —

      My missing collection most likely had a similar cover price, although I believe mine was published in the 1960s. I think I acquired it in the early ’70s during an epic visit to the Harvard Coop Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., where I scored about 20 terrific books — half hardcovers, half softcovers — for around $10. Deal of the century! (Memo to Dave: Only one of them was a novel, Lee Richmond’s “High on Gold.” I like it!)

      J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

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      • J.J., I’m glad you saw my comment, especially after leading you astray on the writer of “Lysistrata.” I honestly don’t remember what was required in my class that year, but I’m fairly certain I never read “Ladies’ Day,” though that sounds intriguing to me. I do see paging through it that Euripides plays a prominent role in this play.

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        • — I’m fairly certain I never read “Ladies’ Day,” though that sounds intriguing to me. —

          I am sure I do not remember reading it, but I am unsure whether I did read it. In any case, it sounds intriguing to me, too!

          — I do see paging through it that Euripides plays a prominent role in this play. —

          Uh-oh. I was proud of my restraint all last week, but another mention of that author has freed me of it this week. Thus: One of the alternative facts in ancient Greek history is that Aristophanes’ great contemporary also plays a prominent role in The World’s First Knock-Knock Joke:

          Knock, knock.

          Who’s there?

          Euripides.

          Euripides who?

          Euripides pants! Eumenides pants!

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    • Thank you, Molly! “…an understudy of Dolores Umbridge” — that IS bad. Totally understand how that influenced you to retire earlier than you might have. My boss in my last full-time job (before I was laid off) was also…interesting. 😦

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    • Hey bebe, that was a great column you posted here. Even though I studied Greek and Roman literature/mythology/etc., that was powerful stuff today. Even though I know my friend Bill feels much the same as I do about Trump and his cronies, he still probably doesn’t understand the wrath that we women are feeling right now. Thank you, Dave, because I’m sure you know this!

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      • Kat Lit…I am glad you like it…appropriate for Dave`s new blog.
        Who could be worse than the current President, he thinks he is the King, hope he is gone sooner than later.
        Stay warm, it is subzero in here, Pomchi is our worry, so cold out difficult for her to step on icy yard.

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        • Yes, bebe, hard to think of anyone worse than Trump.

          Poor Pomchi. 😦 This weather is indeed not fit for our beloved animals. I think I’ll have to avoid a leashed walk with Misty the cat again — perhaps another stroll through my apartment building’s basement instead.

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        • bebe, it is extremely freezing up here, and I just learned that the installers for my new walk-in tub called to ask if they could come tomorrow instead. I’m totally fine with it, in that I don’t want anyone to risk their lives in driving up here to deliver me with a new tub which is something that I can live without for another few days or longer if need be. Another off the wall question, but is your Pomchi her actual name, or is she a mix of the two breeds? I adopted my girl Willow from a shelter and they told me that’s what she was, but others have told me she doesn’t have any characteristics of a Pom. Not that it matters in the least, but I’m just curious.

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          • Good question…it is her Online name, she is from Nashville Humane, we lived there, she is a mix breed of Pomeranian and Chihuahua, her coat is thick and so silky and she is almost 14.
            That is the scary part, she runs like a bullet train and got hurt in her hind left leg. Now on maintenance medication. We decided not to travel at all, because we don`t want to board her. She used to stay across the street folks and I paid them well. But now I don`t, they work and if she runs she will get injured 😦

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      • bebe, I agree with Kat Lit — a terrific column by Maureen Dowd. (Though I was a bit annoyed at Dowd’s “girl squad” phrase describing adult women; I know she was trying to be droll or something.) I am a very big fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a number of other new congresswomen.

        As infuriated as I am with everything Trump says and does, I totally understand that many women (and people of color and others) despise him on an even more visceral level.

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          • Kamala Harris is very impressive, but I have some mixed feelings about her record (not always liberal) as California’s attorney general. I’m still a huge Bernie Sanders fan, but not sure he’ll run. I also like Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren a lot. And if Stacey Abrams were to run…

            I can’t wait until Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is old enough to run for president. 🙂

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            • Oh A O C will, not to worry !
              She is a good medicine for trump.
              Bernie is too old and I am a democrat as you know, he will divide the party.
              I am against Kirsten Gillibrand , she got rid of Al Franken to clear her path.
              Sherrod Brown I want him to be our Senator, if he runs I will support him.
              The best of all.

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              • Thanks for those thoughts, bebe! Heck, with Sherrod Brown, we’d get two for one: I’m so impressed with his wife Connie Schultz, the congenial/talented/outspoken columnist who’s a friend of mine. When she won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ Lifetime Achievement Award last June in Cincinnati, Sherrod Brown was there and I found him to be very down-to-earth. I didn’t get the negative vibes I usually do from many politicians.

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                • True, I’m not sure there’s a lot to choose from, or perhaps too much to choose from. The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want two white men to head the Dem ticket in 2020. I think we all need to see how it all shakes out, it’s still too early for me to come down on any side right now. I’d actually prefer to see Joe Biden (who is much loved in this area) vs. Bernie, but I’d much rather see a woman/man of color on the ticket. It’s way past the time to have a woman elected as Pres or VP, and I think there are quite a few to choose from, e.g. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar as well as men such as Corey Booker or Julian Castro.

                  I’m now listening to one of my favorite songs (Ashoken Farewell) that reminds me both of the Civil War and the Sandy Hook children who were senselessly killed that fateful day. Way back when, I was listening to my classical music station on the radio, when someone requested that piece be played in the children’s memory. I was passing my local elementary school and had to nearly pull over to the side of the road, as I was overcome with tears.

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                  • Kat Lit, I totally agree that there should NOT be two white men on the 2020 Democratic ticket.

                    Yes, it’s very early, and so many candidates may or may not declare. We all have the “non-starters” in our mind, and those names vary with each of us. In my case, I can’t support Joe Biden after what he did, and allowed to be done, to Anita Hill. I know that was a long time ago, but we’re paying for it to this day with Clarence Thomas still on the Supreme Court — where he might remain for many years more. And I can’t support my own state’s Cory Booker, who strongly supported/strongly supports charter schools that have virtually no public oversight while they siphon desperately needed money (our tax money) from public school budgets.

                    Of course, I’d take either of those two over Trump or virtually any other Republican. 🙂

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                    • Dave, I agree that there are not many men who would be supported by any women, whether Joe or Bernie, because quite frankly as I stated before they are too old for the major job of being president. Perhaps last year, but now two years away from the election… I just don’t see that happening. Especially now that there are so many young politicians who would be happy to step in if something happened to the president, and you’ve seen how much that the office has changed the people who have held that office for better or worse! Even Obama, who remains as cool as a cucumber under the most awful of circumstances.

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                    • It also worries me when a (potential) candidate is the age Bernie Sanders is, but that’s one of several factors I would weigh — along with policy stands and so on. A major thing I respect about Sanders is that he has been consistently progressive for decades, while other potential candidates (Biden, O’Rourke, Harris, Gillibrand, etc.) have tacked more liberal lately now that they see that’s a possibly electable place to be.

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                    • Dave, I’ve learned that there are sexual harassment charges leveled against Bernie’s team in the last election. You may not believe them, which is fair, but no campaign is without its own baggage; however, I’m not ready to follow Bernie for now, though of course I would over Trump tomorrow if I could. Or any Dem over him for that matter. Any thoughts?

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                    • I’ve read about those charges, Kat Lit, and believe them. Sexual harassment is abominable. My understanding from reading two or three New York Times articles in recent weeks is that the harassment was done by underlings in the 2016 campaign, not Sanders himself, and that Sanders was not aware of the harassment at the time. When he became aware of it, he apologized profusely — more than once — and met with various women who were treated so badly. I also believe that some men were let go or will not be allowed to work on a 2020 campaign, if Sanders decides to run again. All that said, and with the belief that there’s sexual harassment in every campaign (as you alluded to) and almost every walk of life, the situation does lower my admiration of Sanders to some degree.

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  9. There are quite a few bad bosses in “Jane Eyre,” especially Mr. Brocklehurst who treats all of his students and teachers at Lowood with complete distain, and worse is actually evil to all. Then there is Mr. Rochester, who at first is just arrogant to Jane as the governess of his daughter, or perhaps not, then after they fall in love, he neglects to mention that Oh, by the way, my insane wife is living in the attic…

    Also, the milliner in “The House of Mirth,” treats Lily Bart shabbily (as do most people), then fires her, leading to a very tragic ending.

    I’ve been having a hard time coming up with many examples of bad bosses, because I’ll think about one, then realize that he/she were from my real life. Ha! But I’m sure more will come to me later.

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    • Thank you, Kat Lit! Those are three GREAT examples, with Rochester of course having somewhat of a good side amid his arrogance and anger.

      Your final paragraph was so funny yet so true. Sorry you had some bad supervisors; I guess most of us did. While writing the post, I also thought about some of the excruciatingly bad bosses I had — and felt thankful once again that I’m now a freelancer.

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      • Dave, I agree with you about Rochester, I think my friends and I were enthralled with him and happy about the ending of the book. I’ve got on DVD a production of the book with Timothy Dalton as Rochester and is my ideal of who should play him. One of my friends from 20 years ago had a daughter who used to have get-togethers with her college friends so that they could watch this version and swoon over Dalton/Rochester. I was also quite fond of his (Dalton’s) portrayal of James Bond — only two movies, but he remains my favorite Bond to date.

        Oops, I was also going to renege on my promise to no longer give a “Zazu” Morning Report. But it is really, really cold out there and my windowpanes are covered with frost. Bill and I are going to hibernate for at least today and perhaps tomorrow as well. I was talking on the phone today to a friend who lives perhaps only 2 hours south of here, but she had only flurries where she was. Much more snow up here in the mountains. I’m supposed to have my walk-in tub installed today, but I’m not sure they are still going to come today.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rochester IS an enthralling character — though Jane Eyre herself is even more interesting. 🙂 I’ve never seen the version of “Jane Eyre” with Timothy Dalton, but did enjoy Orson Welles’ depiction of the character in the 1944 film.

          Weather reports are always welcome! Yes, bitterly cold. Currently one degree where I am. 😦 It’ll be somewhat better the rest of the week, at least.

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          • I don’t think I ever saw the Orson Welles’ depiction of Rochester, but I doubt I’d like that much better. I’m probably the only person on the planet who despised “Citizen Kane,” and threw out the VHS tape after I finally made it through to the end. That may have been part of the problem, but if a film is that great, it should also be good on a not well produced VHS tape!

            Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, but I’ve been seeing portions of a lot of Turner Classic Movies, as well as westerns on GRIT, which is usually my cue to head off for bed, and Bill can watch anything he wants to. He’s been talking about buying a new TV, which would suit me fine as long he only uses it for my DVDs that he can watch in his own bedroom. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  10. Dolores Umbridge is one of the most loathsome villains in literature, in my opinion!

    Some spectacularly bad “bosses” appear in camp literature. I recently finished reading Zakhar Prilepin’s “The Monastery” (not, alas, translated yet into English), a giant historical novel about the Solovki monastery-turned-prison in the 1920s. Various overseers and interrogators play critical roles, sometimes good, often bad, in the plot, and one of the main characters is the real-life personage Fyodor Eikhmans, one of the founders of the GULag system.

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    • Thank you, Elena! I agree about Dolores Umbridge — spectacularly and creepily mean. Imelda Staunton was off-the-charts good portraying that psychopathic character in the “Harry Potter” movies.

      “The Monastery” sounds like a very intense, memorable, depressing read. I hope it’s translated into English someday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My dream is that I’ll get commissioned to translate it 🙂 Unfortunately Prilepin is a bit of a persona non grata in the US right now, so it might take a little while to get more of his books out in English. But “Sankya” has been translated and I highly recommend it. It’s about a quasi-terrorist opposition group in contemporary Russia. The film “Break Loose,” based on one of Prilepin’s stories and directed by Aleksey Uchitel (I think I’ve already mentioned it), is also available with English subtitles on Amazon Prime and well worth watching, if not your typical Hollywood fare.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wonderful if you somehow got that translation job, Elena! I just read about Zakhar Prilepin on Wikipedia — very interesting. And I put “Sankya” on my list; perhaps my local library will miraculously have it — I’ve found many books there I wasn’t expecting to find.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You never know! If you do get a chance to read Prilepin, I recommend it. Not only is he a hard-hitting writer, but he really captures the mood of modern-day Russia, although Americans may find his combination of nationalism and dissent to be a challenging one to understand.

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