An even more damning comment on this older existential discourse occurs in the middle of Chris Fogle's story of personal conversion from “wastoid" to IRS devotee and wiggler. Fogle describes taking, ironically enough, a "Literature of Alienation" course during his "nihilistic" years at Fogle's failure to get through Camus' The Fall is partly ironic in and of itself, but his ability "to totally bullshit my way through the Literature of Alienation midterm" (186-7) suggests that there is something outdated or cliched about "alienation" and existential thought in the postmodern era. Whether or not the "B" Fogle received on the exam is really indicative of "a meaningless bullshit response to meaningless bullshit" (187), it does reveal the limitations of any literature of alienation. Instead of finding something of value in existentialist literature (for which, considering his nihilistic outlook on life at the time, he would appear primed), the younger Fogle finds it a waste of time and can easily mimic its familiar discourse.
In using the IRS as representative of neoliberalism in general, The Pale King is able to connect neoliberalism back to boredom in an illuminating way. This becomes evident when David Wallace remarks that "[t]he real reason why US citizens were/are not aware of these conflicts, changes, and stakes is that the whole subject of tax policy and administration is dull. Massively, spectacularly dull" (83). Thus it is that boredom and apathy become a kind of political tool, or a sure bet to manufacture consent, since "if sensitive issues of governance can be made sufficiently dull and arcane, there will be no need for officials to hide or dissemble, because no one not directly involved will pay enough attention to cause trouble" (84). It would seem, then, that choosing not to pay attention to such "boring" things as political and economic issues does not mean one will lead a life "free" of constraint, but that one will pay off this debt with the freedoms that were granted long ago.
basically neoliberalism crept up on us under cover of boredom