Bobby Mueller’s Book Report

An exclusive transcript of Bobby Mueller’s book report summary.

Perhaps if someone had thought to review Robert Mueller’s high school record from March of 1958, we wouldn’t have been surprised by his performance before two House committees on Wednesday. Herewith a transcript of a long-lost tape recording of Bobby Mueller’s grade nine oral summary of his book report:

book reportTEACHER:   Bobby, could you tell us what book you chose to read?

BOBBY:   I read The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, Miss Jones.

TEACHER:  Please summarize the plot of the novel.

BOBBY:   I’d refer you to my written report for that.

TEACHER:   Could you at least read the summary from your book report?

BOBBY:   I’m happy to have you read it.

TEACHER:   Well, in the book, as I recall, some lower officers on the World War II Navy warship the U.S.S. Caine are at odds as to whether or not to relieve command of the ship from Lieutenant Commander Queeg.

BOBBY:   I defer to you on that. I can’t get into the details.

TEACHER:   But it was clear, wasn’t it, that Commander Queeg performed a number of cowardly actions which endangered the safety of the ship and its crew.

BOBBY:   If that’s what was written in my report, then yes.

TEACHER:   Captain Queeg was relieved of command during a storm and then subsequently the officer relieving him is accused of mutiny and tried. Correct?

BOBBY:   The Navy Regulations and specifically Section 184 apparently govern such situations but I was only charged with reading the book and thus I am precluded from making any conclusions as to potential criminal conduct at least by the Commander.

TEACHER:   Yet there’s a complicated psychological relationship between the characters touching on such issues as sanity, loyalty and moral duty, wouldn’t you agree?

BOBBY:   I’m afraid I can’t say. All of that is outside of my purview.

TEACHER:   Your report touches on all of the underlying actions in great detail. I think it would be remiss of you to not come to at least some ethical conclusions about the main characters’ actions and motivations.

BOBBY:   I can’t speak to that.

TEACHER:   What about the situation after the war ends? Couldn’t you then comment on the guilt or innocence of the Commander?

BOBBY:   Yes, at that point it might be appropriate to comment and possibly even charge the Commander. But that issue falls outside the terms of my assignment.

TEACHER:   Thank you, Bobby. While I’m somewhat disappointed by your oral presentation today, I do have to give you credit for the incredible detail provided in your 448-page report although I am still puzzled as to why you have redacted portions of it. On balance, I’m giving you a B-minus.

BOBBY:   Thanks, teach.

David Martin
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