ALL HONORABLE MEN by Walter Goodman


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If poker goes with politics, then corruption goes with compromise in American life. The corrupted studied here include corporation vice presidents out to make a capital gains deal, members of the government, and producers of mass media. For the most part, the famous scandals are of recent vintage and vaguely honest in appearance. What's wrong with Charles Wilson, ex-president of General Motors, and his son buying a large tract of land next to the Chrysler plant and then selling the property to the plant for $1,300,000 profit? What's wrong with G.E. and Westinghouse meeting privately to fix prices to avert a disastrous price war? What's wrong with Charles Van Doren's pre-knowledge of the answers on a TV quiz show? While the deceits involved are only occasionally illegal, Mr. Goodman suggests that the public which tolerates them is ""soft and weak, self-centered and self-indulgent. Yet it is also friendly, generous and quite decent..."" The second half of this characterization weakness the final effect, for the argument concludes that ""our otherwise vigorous nation's young response to charlatanism, ineptitude and mediocrity... is a brief grumble and a prolonged, all-expressive shrug"". One doesn't generally read a whole book to be told this, but Mr. Goodman says it so well.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1963
Publisher: Little Brown