All the references, lovingly collated


The banality of evil... (27.20)

Stephanie: Axe Cap was not what I thought it would be.

Bryan: What did you expect?

Stephanie: A training ground. A chance to observe every part of the industry sitting next to the best mind in the industry.

Bryan: And instead?

Stephanie: You ever read The Banality of Evil? I could see myself ending up like that. Following orders, normalizing. In a way, it was a relief to be let go.

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a book by political theorist Hannah Arendt, originally published in 1963. Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise to power, reported on Adolf Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker.

Arendt's book introduced the expression and concept the banality of evil. Her thesis is that Eichmann was not a fanatic or sociopath, but an extremely average person who relied on cliché defenses rather than thinking for himself and was motivated by professional promotion rather than ideology. Banality, in this sense, is not that Eichmann's actions were ordinary, or that there is a potential Eichmann in all of us, but that his actions were motivated by a sort of stupidity which was wholly unexceptional.