This is a series of essays on the subject of politics and society at present, a time which the author describes as the smooth deal. Mr. Meyer has many complaints and some of them have been issued by others before him, for example, the merchandising of political candidates according to the regulations of Madison Avenue and the general concentration on the image rather than the man. He criticizes what he thinks is an over-emphasis on the mechanical aspects of government and the various rites and stratagems of prestige prevailing in the company town of Washington, D. C. Among the several areas which draw his fire -- the absence of real conflict in Congress, the architectural projects undertaken by Rayburn and Johnson, the erasure of regional political distinctions, perhaps his criticism of the press, in its handling of foreign dispatches, is the most pertinent and telling. His social comments are probably very debatable: in what he calls the ""victory of Bohemia"" he sees its greatest defeat and he makes an alignment between William Buckley's young conservatives and the beatniks, which would probably be anathema to both. But by and large his opinions, if provocative, are authoritative.