The Interior Life of CSM

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Title: The Interior Life of CSM
Creator: LoneThinker
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
External Links: [1], Archived version
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The Interior Life of CSM is an essay by LoneThinker.

It is one of many essays at The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives.


... why does he continue to hold onto--and to look at--that picture of a colleague's wife and young son? It could be argued that there's a simple mechanical explanation, that he and not Bill Mulder is the child's father. Certainly that viewpoint has been floated. Still, the fact that he takes the photo out and looks at it so many times indicates to me that something more is involved here. Maybe this is CSM's one link to his own humanity, the thread that keeps him from succumbing entirely to the cerebral world where presidents are assasinated for the greater good of the country, where murder is honorable if you do it yourself because you hold the victim in such high regard.

There is a shred of humanity in CSM--a chink in his hardened armor against the world, if you will. We see it most clearly where he gets the letter of acceptance for his story. Here, for once, he is completely childlike and guileless, all defenses down. His story will at long last be published; he has no clue that there will be strings attached, that once again things will be twisted, as they always have been, into something less--and darker--than the ideal he holds in his mind. (This is, BTW, one of the things I like best about TXF, that CC & company give us villains as three-dimensional as the good guys. They are not mere devices.)

The other incident where we see a visible chink in CSM's armor is in Redux, where he enters Mulder's apartment after hearing of Mulder's death. Get your tape out and watch this one over if you don't recall it well. CSM is MOVED here, visibly so. He walks tentatively; he is not smirking. He is sobered by the outline of the dead man on the floor, and by the blood-soaked carpet. But it is once again a photograph that nearly brings him to tears, a photograph of... young Fox, once again, with Samantha. He swallows back the emotion, but perhaps more significantly, he takes the photo, as he did in Musings. It is the thing he clutches--latches onto--when he is shot through the window of his apartment.
Over the course of five years we have heard CSM say what appear to be contradictory things about Fox Mulder: that he has made him--created him; that he is crucial to the success of the project (as a smokescreen? as a rodeo clown to draw attention away? or in some other role?); that he has seen too much (implying, as far as I read it, that he should be eliminated); that he has protected Mulder so far (this to Bill Mulder on the afternoon of his death.) Where do CSM's real allegiances lie as far as Mulder is concerned? And what emotional investment does he actually have in the family whose pictures he seems to carry with him in the same way cavemen carried fire?