It’s like the old jokes that started as soon as the commercials aired– “It’s a candy mint, no, it’s a breath mint, no, no, it’s two, two, two mints in one.” Comedy routines would hawk products that were both “a floor wax, and a desert topping.”
So we revisit the story of Mark Whitacre: it’s a study in corruption, no, it’s a study in corporate culture, no it’s a period piece, no, a study of a highly…unusual individual.
The movie The Informant! starring Matt Damon has been out now for nine years as of September 18, and if there’s anyone in the hemisphere who hasn’t seen it, they’re making a mistake. It’s a comedy, no, a serious look at a corporation’s malfeasance, and the damned unique guy who brought them down.
We don’t know if anyone has ever been a whistleblower before while embezzling money, at the same time, from the same corporation. We doubt it, it makes absolutely no sense!
Whitacre, who had trouble with truth and falsehood, perhaps even in his conversations with himself, supposedly rated a bi-polar disorder. But as portrayed in the film, at least, he didn’t just slide into the pigeon-hole of any diagnostic category.
This guy was one of a kind. An idiot, a genius, a criminal, a whistleblower, and God knows what else. Mark’s story is part comedy, it can’t help it.
In his years in prison, for embezzlement, this genius scientist-executive did a little mental light work: he earned further graduate credentials including a law degree. Yawn.
And now back in the free world, in his sixties, he’s a top exec again with Cypress Systems, a serious biotech firm. Do they let him near the money, do they monitor all his phone calls?
A Corruption and Conspiracy story, and a Social and Psychological journey. All in one.