On Valentine’s Day eve 1976, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a column by Bob Lancaster, in which the veteran humorist bemoans having the flu. In a self-described malaise, Lancaster ponders what a Valentine’s Day card would look like written in a such a sour state, and then - capturing the post-Church Committee zeitgeist - pens one for our “secret admirers” at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Lancaster would no doubt be delighted to know that his sweethearts at the CIA were so smitten by his sentiment that they kept a copy, and it remained classified for just shy of 30 years.
In the eerie depths of the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives, a document came rapping, rapping at our browser window. “POEDGR,” the Agency’s computer-themed “The Raven” parody which might be the first poem to have its rhyme scheme thrown off by a FOIA exemption.
In 1981, a group of Brown University students found a creative way of protesting a lecture by Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey. Then, in keeping with the CIA’s campus fixation, the Agency kept tabs on the students as they defended their free speech rights.
Despite the attention garnered on social media, the Federal Communications Commission received only four complaints regarding the 75th Golden Globe Awards, according to a recently completed FOIA request. However, one of those complaints really manages to stand out as something special, and as such, we’re going to try something a bit different.
As we’ve written about before, the Central Intelligence Agency’s obsessive scrapbooking led to the preservation of quite a few bizarre artifacts in its declassified archives - and perhaps none are stranger than this collection of terrible topical poems, which, through tortured rhyming couplets, offer the author’s takes on geopolitics, race relations, and the merits of “Captain Kangaroo.”