In a coffee joint in Vermont the kid behind the counter wore a black tee shirt that said: “We Don’t Have Friends, We Have Sources”. I didn’t ask him about it. I suspected he wanted me to. There are people who button their jackets askew on purpose. There are people who deliberately drive with one headlight off. I don’t care for such people. They have always seemed loopy to me, like a turtle tied by one leg and hanging from a branch.
Exchanging friends for sources is however a thing any one of us can do. Tyrants always do it, news reporters must do it. Office gossips and Tweeters can’t help themselves.
If you trade in your friends for sources you are no longer responsible for the feelings of others. You become an accomplice to something darker than your own ennui. You allow yourself to feel independent of the human mess.
I suppose that at bottom I’m the type of man who distrusts general distrust. Cultivated misanthropy is like a photograph poorly altered. The effect doesn’t stand up. It takes too much work to admit the thing.
If you can’t have friends get a turtle.
Even J. Edgar Hoover had a dog.
Even Hoover had Clyde Tolson.
Friends may make modest demands but sources will blackmail you.