It’s maybe a bit naïve to think that this ideal — the band as a cell, decrypting codes and forcing doors, not so much jamming as un-jamming — could be recaptured, here and now. These days, with the creation and, to a great extent, the consumption of music reflecting the conditions of late capitalism – atomisation, anomie — Can’s collective action feels like a nagging dream, something drifting in from another time, from the long-forgotten fringes of the libertarian Left. The communal, the collective, the sense of musicians as cogs in a machine… it’s barely a factor in rock music now, let alone the avant-garde. Everyone’s too busy, or else intent on expressing their own worldview, their own confusion, their own longing for something beyond their own problems, their own self.
~ Taylor Parkes @ Quietus
With no support from the higher-ups or even knowledge of the real mission, Millbarge and Fitz-Hume nevertheless must manage to complete the objectives of the real spies purely as a consequence of their improvisational skills. A scene where they are forced to pretend to be surgeons epitomizes this: As they spout more and more egregious nonsense, a real surgeon questions their approach, to which Millbarge counters, “We mock what we don’t understand” — a rich response that cuts both ways.
As with today’s social-media free laborers — another set of semi-self-aware spies — their ordinary-schmuck amateurism turns out to be a difference-making advantage that allows them to achieve what professionals can’t. Because they work without knowing what they are working on, they can produce untainted results and unexpected innovations without demanding a proprietary interest in them. The fact that they prevail against all adversity not only vindicates the ends-based moral reasoning for setting them up as sacrificial lambs but also neatly foretells of the proletarianization of erstwhile professional vocations.