History Main / ObstructiveBureaucrat

19th May '17 6:39:33 PM foxley
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* Season 5 of Series/MajorCrimes'' introduces Deputy Chief Winnie Davis. She is gunning for the position of Assistant Chief and resents the preferential treatment that Major Crimes gets. She uses her position as Chief of Operations to make life as difficult for Rayder and her team as possible.
16th May '17 9:40:27 AM nombretomado
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* Before he became the Soviet dictator, UsefulNotes/JosefStalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party, which gave him powers of patronage, the resources he needed to build up a power base in the party, and control of the civil service and Politburo. Effectively, he was Russia's chief bureaucrat, and he was good at it, by all accounts. Other members of the party gave him names like "Comrade Card Index" and "the Grey Blur", but he certainly showed that a list of names and a telephone are as useful as a gun when it comes to taking over a country. That said, TsaristRussia had relied on the bureaucracy (as well as the church and army) as a major part of controlling the country. This directly led to General Secretary of the Communist Party becoming the ''de facto'' highest office in the USSR; Stalin managed to turn a bureaucratic office into the imperial seat. It wasn't until Mikhail Gorbachev that the USSR underwent a political shakeup in the early '90s and the Executive President became the Soviet Union's highest office (the Union didn't last very long after that).

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* Before he became the Soviet dictator, UsefulNotes/JosefStalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party, which gave him powers of patronage, the resources he needed to build up a power base in the party, and control of the civil service and Politburo. Effectively, he was Russia's chief bureaucrat, and he was good at it, by all accounts. Other members of the party gave him names like "Comrade Card Index" and "the Grey Blur", but he certainly showed that a list of names and a telephone are as useful as a gun when it comes to taking over a country. That said, TsaristRussia UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia had relied on the bureaucracy (as well as the church and army) as a major part of controlling the country. This directly led to General Secretary of the Communist Party becoming the ''de facto'' highest office in the USSR; Stalin managed to turn a bureaucratic office into the imperial seat. It wasn't until Mikhail Gorbachev that the USSR underwent a political shakeup in the early '90s and the Executive President became the Soviet Union's highest office (the Union didn't last very long after that).
25th Apr '17 1:29:05 AM aurora369
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* Before he became the Soviet dictator, UsefulNotes/JosefStalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party, which gave him powers of patronage, the resources he needed to build up a power base in the party, and control of the civil service and Politburo. Effectively, he was Russia's chief bureaucrat, and he was good at it, by all accounts. Other members of the party gave him names like "Comrade Card Index" and "the Grey Blur", but he certainly showed that a list of names and a telephone are as useful as a gun when it comes to taking over a country. That said, TsaristRussia had relied on the bureaucracy (as well as the church and army) as a major part of controlling the country. This directly led to General Secretary of the Communist Party becoming the ''de facto'' highest office in the USSR; Stalin managed to turn a bureaucratic office into the imperial seat. It wasn't until Mikhail Gorbachev that the USSR underwent a political shakeup in the early '90s and the Executive President became the Soviet Union's highest office.

to:

* Before he became the Soviet dictator, UsefulNotes/JosefStalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party, which gave him powers of patronage, the resources he needed to build up a power base in the party, and control of the civil service and Politburo. Effectively, he was Russia's chief bureaucrat, and he was good at it, by all accounts. Other members of the party gave him names like "Comrade Card Index" and "the Grey Blur", but he certainly showed that a list of names and a telephone are as useful as a gun when it comes to taking over a country. That said, TsaristRussia had relied on the bureaucracy (as well as the church and army) as a major part of controlling the country. This directly led to General Secretary of the Communist Party becoming the ''de facto'' highest office in the USSR; Stalin managed to turn a bureaucratic office into the imperial seat. It wasn't until Mikhail Gorbachev that the USSR underwent a political shakeup in the early '90s and the Executive President became the Soviet Union's highest office.office (the Union didn't last very long after that).
19th Apr '17 7:08:39 PM RoninMacbeth
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* Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis became infamous because she was being obstructive for ''not'' doing her job. After the US Federal Court legalized gay marriage she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the ruling by claiming [[TheFundamentalist it was a violation of her religious rights]]. She was sued to try and force her to issue licenses to gay couples, from which she repeatedly tried to fight by appealing to higher courts until she reached the federal court. Despite this, she still banned her deputy clerks from issue same-sex marriage licenses. This led to Davis being jailed for a number of days for violating a court order. Long story short, she will not personally issue same-sex marriage licenses but she isn't allowed to veto when they're issued.

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* Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis became infamous because she was being obstructive for ''not'' doing her job. After the US Federal Supreme Court legalized gay marriage she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the ruling by claiming [[TheFundamentalist it was a violation of her religious rights]]. She was sued to try and force her to issue licenses to gay couples, from which she repeatedly tried to fight by appealing to higher courts until she reached the federal court. Supreme Court. Despite this, she still banned her deputy clerks from issue issuing same-sex marriage licenses. This led to Davis being jailed for a number of days for violating a court order. Long story short, she will not personally issue same-sex marriage licenses but she isn't allowed to veto when they're issued.
29th Mar '17 5:01:07 PM WillBGood
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* ''Film/{{Oblivion2013}}'': [[spoiler: Victoria is a much more obedient to mission control than Jack. She refuses to go down to the planet with him, and believes everything mission control says - even ratting him out by saying they are no longer a good team.]]

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* ''Film/{{Oblivion2013}}'': ''Film/{{Oblivion 2013}}'': [[spoiler: Victoria is a much more obedient to mission control than Jack. She refuses to go down to the planet with him, and believes everything mission control says - even ratting him out by saying they are no longer a good team.]]



* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/Discworld'':

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* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/Discworld'':''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
29th Mar '17 4:44:04 PM WillBGood
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* Gilbert Huph, the Insuricare Middle Manager from ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''. His job is explicitly to see that every single claim that is made against Insuricare, no matter how valid or dire, is denied. He sees his clients as his stockholders, openly chafes at laws that protect policyholders, and mocks a man Bob sees getting mugged and beaten. He's such a loathsome character that it's a minor CrowningMomentOfAwesome when Bob hurls him through several walls. Earlier, we have Bob secretly helping an old woman with a backdoor solution after he denied her claim. It works enough that Mr. Huph doesn't notice after she leaves.

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* Gilbert Huph, the Insuricare Middle Manager from ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''. His job is explicitly to see that every single claim that is made against Insuricare, no matter how valid or dire, is denied. He sees his clients as his stockholders, openly chafes at laws that protect policyholders, and mocks a man Bob sees getting mugged and beaten. He's such a loathsome character that it's a minor CrowningMomentOfAwesome when Bob hurls him through several walls. [[note]]That said, when RealityEnsues and we see Huph hospitalized with severe injuries, we're forced along with Bob to realize he could've ''killed'' him...[[/note]] Earlier, we have Bob secretly helping an old woman with a backdoor solution after he denied her claim. It works enough that Mr. Huph doesn't notice after she leaves.
25th Mar '17 2:25:00 PM dasuberkaiser
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On ''C.H.A.O.S'' Director Higgins is this to the ODS team and his goal is to have the ODS team disbanded. His obstruction can result in someone dying or a dangerous criminal or terrorist getting away. However, his actions are often justified by the fact that acting on unconfirmed intelligence from dubious sources can result in the deaths of innocents and a PR nightmare for the CIA. Once he approves a mission he will give it his full support and do everything he can to keep his agents safe.
* Just about every person who outranked Kirk in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' was this.
* Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev is presented this way in most of her appearances on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' and ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]''. Her involvement in the Cardassian [=DMZ=] crisis, if not actually outright caused by her, certainly aggravated the situation.
* ''TheGlades'': The hospital insurance administrator in "A Perfect Storm". She tries to stop Sanchez connecting up a generator to the blacked-out hospital during a hurricane. Later she is targeted by a spree killer because she was the one who cut off his meds when his insurance ran out, causing him to suffer a psychotic break.
[[/folder]]


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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On ''C.H.A.O.S'' Director Higgins is this to the ODS team and his goal is to have the ODS team disbanded. His obstruction can result in someone dying or a dangerous criminal or terrorist getting away. However, his actions are often justified by the fact that acting on unconfirmed intelligence from dubious sources can result in the deaths of innocents and a PR nightmare for the CIA. Once he approves a mission he will give it his full support and do everything he can to keep his agents safe.
* Just about every person who outranked Kirk in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' was this.
* Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev is presented this way in most of her appearances on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' and ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]''. Her involvement in the Cardassian [=DMZ=] crisis, if not actually outright caused by her, certainly aggravated the situation.
* ''TheGlades'': The hospital insurance administrator in "A Perfect Storm". She tries to stop Sanchez connecting up a generator to the blacked-out hospital during a hurricane. Later she is targeted by a spree killer because she was the one who cut off his meds when his insurance ran out, causing him to suffer a psychotic break.
[[/folder]]
24th Feb '17 12:50:00 PM rva98014
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* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the DMV (Department of [[WorldOfFunnyAnimals Mammal]] Vehicles) is, for some reason, staffed exclusively with sloths, meaning it's even slower than the RealLife version by virtue of sloths doing everything in an extremely slow manner (e.g. it takes one two seconds to press the camera shutter button and the same amount of time for another to stamp a form). It's a downplayed version of the trope in that none of the sloths are intentionally trying to be obstructive or petty, they're just slow.

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* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the DMV (Department of [[WorldOfFunnyAnimals Mammal]] Vehicles) is, for some reason, is staffed exclusively with sloths, meaning it's even slower than the RealLife version by virtue of sloths doing everything in an extremely slow manner (e.g. it takes one two seconds to press the camera shutter button and the same amount of time for another to stamp a form). manner. It's a downplayed version of the trope in that none of the sloths are intentionally trying to be obstructive or petty, they're just really, really slow.
20th Feb '17 9:12:51 AM SeptimusHeap
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* ''Literature/WetDesertTrackingDownATerroristOnTheColoradoRiver'': The governor of Nevada delays the opening of the spillways at Hoover Dam when he's informed that people have to be evacuated in preparation from the towns beneath the dam.
14th Feb '17 8:22:25 PM AthenaBlue
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* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** ''[[Literature/StarWarsAhsoka Ahsoka]]'' has an Imperial broker named Jenneth Pilar, who sends the Empire to out-of-the-way moon Raada so it can grow a plant used in nutritional supplements that renders the soil barren for years afterward, without any concern for the inhabitants that will be stuck there after the Empire is gone. He ends up having to flee Imperial service after things go pear-shaped.



* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Nightwatch}}'', Vimes refused to hand over people to the [[SecretPolice Unmentionables]] without a receipt. And proof of ID from the man who signed it. He insists that it is regulations -- though regulations that had not been enforced before due to watchmen being scared. This stops them for a while, as no member of the Unmentionables wants to have his name connected to what they do to people. And asking for proof of ID made sense since the Unmentionable who initially signed for the prisoners did so with the name "Henry the Hamster" and Vimes, quite reasonably, pointed out that he'd look a bit silly if he went back to his captain with that on a receipt.

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* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of ''Literature/TheBible'' frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction using Hebraic code.
* Vice-Chancellor Nesselrode is portrayed as this in ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar''; he seems more funny at first, but his decisions, based on the high political considerations of avoiding all and any possible turbulence, could easily be fatal for some of his subordinates ([[spoiler: and end up being fatal for the Russian mission in Persia]]).
* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/Discworld'':
** In
''Discworld/{{Nightwatch}}'', Vimes refused to hand over people to the [[SecretPolice Unmentionables]] without a receipt. And proof of ID from the man who signed it. He insists that it is regulations -- though regulations that had not been enforced before due to watchmen being scared. This stops them for a while, as no member of the Unmentionables wants to have his name connected to what they do to people. And asking for proof of ID made sense since the Unmentionable who initially signed for the prisoners did so with the name "Henry the Hamster" and Vimes, quite reasonably, pointed out that he'd look a bit silly if he went back to his captain with that on a receipt.



* ''The Small Back Room'' the novel (later film) by Nigel Balchin details the internal struggles of a team of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII scientists/public servants who are the embodiment of this trope. The team spends its time working on an anti-tank weapon that is theoretically efficient but has little practical field value. The protagonist is a decent yet weak man who fails to take the tough steps needed to improve matters, while his ManipulativeBastard friend delights in deposing those whom he's deemed incompetent, but ends up putting an even more incompetent man in charge of the team.
* Vice-Chancellor Nesselrode is portrayed as this in ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar''; he seems more funny at first, but his decisions, based on the high political considerations of avoiding all and any possible turbulence, could easily be fatal for some of his subordinates ([[spoiler: and end up being fatal for the Russian mission in Persia]]).



* In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, and indeed most of the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of the Bible frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction using Hebraic code.
* ''Literature/IRobot'': In "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Co ordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice the best decision to humanity, ''endangering the peace and stability of the entire planet''. He asks for help investigating this from the four Vice Co ordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All dismiss the idea and none helps Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone capable of initiating an investigation have the job]].

to:

* The British Navy in the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and indeed then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until he's "repaid" the commander's salary he drew during that time--while he's furloughed in London in the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered supplies office gets on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of the Bible frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction
his case for using Hebraic code.
what they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* ''Literature/IRobot'': In "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Co ordinator Coordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice the best decision to humanity, ''endangering the peace and stability of the entire planet''. He asks for help investigating this from the four Vice Co ordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All dismiss the idea and none helps Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone capable of initiating an investigation have the job]].



* Near the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even when Mulder says that he's making an emergency distress call, the operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and to "try the appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they send someone out to arrest him for misusing the number. The tracking station does eventually send help, but still...

to:

* Near Sir Lionel of Trebond from the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Mulder says that Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's making an emergency distress call, the operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and too scared of her retribution to "try the appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they send someone out to arrest him for misusing the number. The tracking station does eventually send help, but still...curb her activities.



* The British Navy in the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until he's "repaid" the commander's salary he drew during that time--while he's furloughed in London in the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', the supplies office gets on his case for using what they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* Sir Lionel of Trebond from the second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's too scared of her retribution to curb her activities.

to:

* ''The Small Back Room'' the novel (later film) by Nigel Balchin details the internal struggles of a team of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII scientists/public servants who are the embodiment of this trope. The British Navy in team spends its time working on an anti-tank weapon that is theoretically efficient but has little practical field value. The protagonist is a decent yet weak man who fails to take the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind tough steps needed to improve matters, while his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until ManipulativeBastard friend delights in deposing those whom he's "repaid" deemed incompetent, but ends up putting an even more incompetent man in charge of the commander's salary he drew during team.
* In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, and indeed most of the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** ''[[Literature/StarWarsAhsoka Ahsoka]]'' has an Imperial broker named Jenneth Pilar, who sends the Empire to out-of-the-way moon Raada so it can grow a plant used in nutritional supplements
that time--while renders the soil barren for years afterward, without any concern for the inhabitants that will be stuck there after the Empire is gone. He ends up having to flee Imperial service after things go pear-shaped.
* Near the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even when Mulder says that
he's furloughed in London in making an emergency distress call, the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', "try the supplies office gets on his case for using what appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work send someone out to arrest him for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* Sir Lionel of Trebond from
misusing the second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor number. The tracking station does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's too scared of her retribution to curb her activities.eventually send help, but still...
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