FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Condit Ka-Chung

by David Vest

Congressman Gary Condit’s woeful interview with Connie Chung reminds us that it is now more than a century since Oscar Wilde detected a “decay in the art of lying.” But Wilde, who might have saved himself with a lie he would not tell, was born in Ireland, where standards are high and a man who cannot tell a decent lie is reckoned of no account.

It took Condit 30 minutes to do the interview. It took ABC 60 minutes to show it. It would not have taken Oscar Wilde ten seconds to dispose of it.

How on earth did this man get elected to Congress, of all places? Who could have thought this poor bumbler worthy of the company of Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, and Dick Armey? Why for Pete’s sake would anyone who had not had an affair with Chandra Levy need to go on national television and refuse to say so?

Probably for the same reason candidate George W. Bush refused to say whether he had ever done cocaine.

Lying may well have decayed by Wildean aesthetic standards, but today’s lies are not the work of dilettantes and minimalists. They are more like Mark McGwire homers.

Anyway, even if it decayed for a while, lying is definitely on the rebound.

When former Gov. Fob James of Alabama declared, in June of 1997, that “No one has a greater appreciation for a classical education as I do,” one might have been tempted to call this lie the good governor’s greatest moment of truth, were it not for the fact that he also said, “I didn’t descend from an ape.”

Georgia’s Lester Maddox once said, “If elected, I will disintegrate the schools.”

That’s almost as good as an overweight chain-smoking man with the most dishonest-looking face in America making a killing writing books about “virtue.”

Or a millionaire athlete telling us, “Personal records mean nothing to me. What matters is the team.”

Remember this one? “I don’t know what happened. I just snapped.” Mike Tyson said that during his “apology” for trying to bite Evander Holyfield’s ear off — twice. It was repeated by countless men in domestic violence court, virtually none of whom “snapped” in the presence of the judge.

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi a couple of years back, a witness testified that to his knowledge the Ku Klux Klan is a charitable organization that delivers fruit baskets to the needy.

Rep. Condit could summon nothing so memorable. He reminded me of the car salesman in Fargo.

No. He reminded me of the late Senator William Scott of Virginia, who once, after standing on the banks of the Suez Canal and vowing never to give it back to Panama, was voted “The Stupidest Member of the Senate” by his colleagues.

Sen. Scott held a press conference to announce that he had won the “recognition.” It was a lot like Rep. Condit’s interview.

As Delbert McClinton says in a pretty good song, “If you can’t lie no better than that, you might as well tell the truth.” CP

http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv/

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail