Monday, June 21, 2010

Will Hunting explains why he won’t work for the NSA

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This is probably my single favorite scene from the great Good Will Hunting [1997], where the NSA attempts to recruit the titular genius and instead gets a very detailed and chillingly appropriate response.

And because I felt like it, a little transcript of mine for those who can’t watch the vid:

WILL: So why do you think I should work for the National Security Agency?

RECRUITER: Well, you’d be working on the cutting edge. You’d be exposed to the kind of technology that you wouldn’t see anywhere else because we’ve classified it. Super string theory, chaos math, advanced algorithms –

WILL: Code-breaking.

RECRUITER: That’s one aspect of what we do.

WILL: Aw, come on, I mean, that is what you do. You guys handle 80% of the intelligence workload. You’re 7 times the size of the CIA.

RECRUITER: We don’t like to brag about that, Will. But you’re exactly right. So, the way I see it, the question isn’t “why should you work for the NSA?”; the question is “why shouldn’t you?”.

WILL: Why shouldn’t I work for the NSA? That’s a tough one. [chuckles] But I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at the NSA and somebody puts a code on my desk, something no-one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it; maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself ’cuz I did my job well, but maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East and once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels are hiding. 1,500 people that I never met and never had no problem with get killed.

Now, the politicians are saying, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area”, ’cuz they don’t give a shit. Won’t be their kid over there getting shot, just like it wasn’t them when their number got called because they were out going on tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie over there taking shrapnel in the ass. He comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cuz he’ll work for ¢15 a day and no bathroom break. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was even over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that could sell us oil at a good price. And of course, the oil companies use the little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices – a cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at 2.50 a gallon. They’re taking their sweet time taking the oil back, of course; maybe they even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fucking play slalom with the icebergs. It ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic.

So now, my buddy’s outta work, he can’t afford to drive, so he’s walking to the fucking job interviews, which sucks because the shrapnel in his ass is giving him chronic hemorrhoids, and meanwhile, he’s starving ’cuz every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re serving is North Atlantic [?] scrod with [?] Quaker State.

So, what did I think? I’m holding out for something better. I figure, “fuck it; while I’m at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected President”.

And this was written and filmed 14 years ago.

Edit: (06/21/10 11:52 PM) – Thanks to uzza for the corrections.

(via @todayspolitics)