12/16/2005 03:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Evil in the Flesh?

I just saw Syriana, which i liked despite my friend Marc Cooper's warnings that it was a reflexive lefty jackoff. It did justice to the intractable tangle that the twenty-first century is turning out to be. (Although I think the Constant Gardener was the better of this year's humanizing geo-political thrillers.) Nor was I bothered by Syriana's byzantine plot as so many critics seemed to be. I did wonder if the politics were a bit ham-fisted at times, particularly the cross cutting between Clooney's sacraficial heroics and the evil oil bosses self-congratulatory Oil Man of the Year dinner. I wondered if they weren't caricatures -- jowly and pasty white fat cats, portly with profit and brimming with sinister intent. And then I realized, no, they weren't caricatures -- that's just how evil oil bosses are. Exhibit A: F. Lee Raymond, CEO of Exxon, the most profitable company in the world. He's the perfect oil boss: doesn't believe in global warming; thinks setting up shop with murderous regimes abroad is good business; and thinks gay rights are a sham to boot. He even looks the part:

Exxon - LeeFRaymond CEO.jpg

Caption: "I love that middle east chaos! It's been a great coupla years!" Come on dude. At least pretend that you're not the devil. Just before this photo was taken I bet Raymond lit his cigar with some burning embers of iraqi children eviscerated by cluters bombs that keeps in a special box made of executed Nigerian prisoner skulls. And note Raymond's buddy in the background. Looks like the photographer somehow captured the impish manifestation of Mammon Incarnate that sits on Raymonds shoulder all day and whispers in his ear.