FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Condit Ka-Chung

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/

More articles by:

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.

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail