“Hiring the Best” Explained

An employer is always somewhat reassured by the ignominiousness of his staff. At all costs the slave should be slightly, even much, to be despised. A mass of chronic blemishes, moral and physical, are a justification of the fate which is overwhelming him. The world gets along better that way, because then each man stands in it in the place he deserves.

A being who is useful to you should be low, flat, prone to weakness; that is what’s comforting; especially as Baryton paid us really very badly. In cases of acute avarice like this, employers are always a bit suspicious and uneasy. A failure, a debauchee, a black sheep, a devoted black sheep, all that made sense, justified things, fitted in, in fact. Baryton would have been on the whole rather pleased if I had been slightly wanted by the police. That always makes for real devotion.

— Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night

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