f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 6, 2005

Deep Thought

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:34 pm




Disclaimer:  Your definition of “deep thought” may differ

from that of the Editor’s, at least for the purposes of this post.

 

Trillions of pixels and tankersful of ink have analyzed the Deep Throat story 

since last week’s decloaking of Mark Felt.   While it’s still in the news cycle, I

thought I would make a few of my own idiosyncratic observations.

 









singing since morning
skylark, your throat
is parched

 

    ISSA

 

tiny check  Bob Ambrogi has explained how Deep Throat’s contribution to the investigative

reporting of Woodward & Bernstein helped (in a rather roundabout way, by

filling up journalism schools) to spur him on to law school — which, then, helped

bring Bob back to his first love of journalism.   I had just finished college when

the Watergate scandal began to unfold.  Although I had always read newspapers

every day (and delivered them for 5 years as a kid), the reporting that Deep Throat

facilitated had me rushing to the door the first thing every morning to read the Wash-

ington Post.  [I had gone to college in Washington, D.C., and was living and working

there after graduation.]  The Vietnam War had turned me into a skeptic about getting

the truth from the White House, and I disliked Nixon greatly, so the scent of his blood

was exciting.   I decided to go to law school in 1972, during the Nixon dramas, but the

decision had more to do with wanting to prepare myself for an interesting career than

with Watergate.  What Deep Throat helped instill in me, though, is a very healthy

distrust for what we’re told by politicians, along with a belief that good people in

Government can make a difference by standing up against corruption.




  • It was kind of cool, I must admit, that my first job out of

    law school was located in the famous, but[t] ugly, Watergate

    Building.

 

tiny check  There has been much talk about the ethical ramifications of Felt, a high-level   potLadleNF

FBI official, giving information to the Washington Post rather than to investigators in  

the prosecutorial chain of command.  John Steele has a good sampling of links to

materials dealing with various perspectives on the ethical issues.  I can’t possibly

know Mark Felt’s motives, but I would not be the least bit surprised to find out

Felt sincerely (and correctly) believed that sending his information up the chain of

command would have been futile (and fatal for his career), while causing him to be

either fired or blocked off from addition information on this story. 

 


mountain shade–
deep in a thicket
a kite

 

       ISSA

I agree with two observations of Micheal Getler, the Ombudsman of the Washington

Post (June 5, 2005, free reg. req’d) 


“Felt’s story reaffirms the ability of smart and dogged reporters, courageous

editors and owners, and truly informed yet anonymous sources to help get

information before the public that is vital to a democracy’s functioning.” . . .

 

“[M]uch undoubtedly remains to be written about exactly what motivated

Felt to confide in Woodward. Ultimately, it was not The Post, but the FBI,

a Congress acting in bipartisan fashion and the courts that brought down the

Nixon administration. They saw Watergate and the attempt to cover it up

as a vast abuse of power and attempted corruption of U.S. institutions. But

without that early Post reporting, based frequently on Felt’s guidance, the

linkages from Watergate to the White House might never have been fully

unraveled. So Felt turned out to be the most important — albeit anonymous —

whistle-blower in modern American political history.”

We don’t usually inquire deeply into the motives of people we decide to call patriots

or heroes.  We look at the risk taken and results.  I am grateful to Mark Felt for his

role in bringing about the fall of the Nixon Administration, and its lessons for any

future Presidents who care to read a little history and reflect humbly upon it.

 











half of it showing
in the deep grass…
peony

 

     ISSA

tiny check I am not the least bit sure that Mark Felt’s family has done him any favors 

by making the revelations before his death.  Stephen Amidon made some very

good points in an op/ed piece, in yesterday’s Washington Post (“Deeper Meanings:

It’s All Relative: Telling a Family Secret Can Be Treacherous,” June 5, 2005, reg req’d).  


“Until Tuesday, perhaps the only aspect of his role as Deep Throat

that gave the old G-man peace was the knowledge that his brethren

would not know he had broken their trust until after he was gone.” . .

 

“We can only speculate now, since it is clear that the one person who

can tell us for certain how Mark Felt feels no longer speaks for himself. 

 . . . Will the family be closer than when they werekeepers of his deepest

secret, and perhaps his deepest shame?  Or has Joan Felt instead

opened a Pandora’s box that will create fissures in her family? The

greater risk is that, like some modern-day Cordelia, her frankness

may make her father’s last days as troubled as Lear’s.”

DeepCoverG  Last Wednesday, on the PBS News Hours, Gwen Ifill moderated a

segment on “Deep Throat Reflections” (June 1, 2005).  Gwen had her hands

full trying to keep the guests on topic — analyzing the role of Deep Throat and

Watergate in “shaping our government, our politics, and our journalism”.  In

addition to historian Ellen Fitzpatrick, panel members included Herbert Klein,

who served as communications director for President Richard Nixon from 1969

to 1973, and is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Goucher

College president Sanford Ungar. 

 

After saying that thought Deep Throat’s leaks were “a bad thing,” Klein injects

the following issue:


“I think another thing, too — we talked about is the word “Deep

Throat” was added to the fact when they wrote a book, when they

used it for the movie. I wonder if people would really be as excited

about it if (Bob) Woodward and (Carl) Bernstein had not attached

that sexy term ‘Deep Throat.’ ”

That detour appeared to fluster Ifill, who replied: “I’m not sure all these years later

anyone knows what’s sexy about that term, but let me ask you another question to

follow on that. . . .”   Shortly thereafter, Ungar says, “This is perhaps the most famous

as Herb Klein points out, the most cleverly named anonymous source.”

 

I figured that most of the News Hour’s regular viewers are of an age where they

would remember “what’s sexy” about the term Deep Throat.  However, I was happy

to see that the main stream media, along with weblogdom, were ready to fill in the

gaps for the innocent and ignorant among us.  If you’re still in the dark, see the article

by the Associated Press movie critic, David Germain, which explains that “Before it

became the moniker of journalism’s most famous anonymous source, “Deep Throat”

was the first hard-core pornographic experience for mainstream moviegoers.” (Chicago

Tribune, “Deep Throat Film Lent Its Name to Source,” June 2, 20005)  Germain also

outlines the plot and tells how word of  mouth made a sleazy porno film into a big cinema

hit.

 

Recollecting the movie phenomenon (I’ve never seen it), reminded me that its female  DeepCoverG

protagonist, Linda Lovelace, is considered by many to be the most famous porn star

of all time.  Unfortunately, the R-rated Deep Throat Part II (1974) and the soft-X

Linda Lovelace for President (1975) were box-office flops that brought her stardom

to a halt.  However — and here’s the socially-redeeming part of the story — a large

part of Linda Lovelace’s fame comes from her later denunciation of the porn industry. 

See her autobiography Ordeal (1980), and a follow-up feminist tome called Out of Bondage 

(which even has an introduction by Gloria Steinam).  Publishers’ Weekly had this to say

in a review of Out of Bondage:


“She lectures at colleges on degradations suffered by women as sex

objects. She appeared before a Senate subcommittee to testify against

the right of porn purveyors to First Amendment protection.  Lovelace’s

evidence should engage civilized people in the fight against businesses

that exploit women and children.”

I was suprised to see that Linda Lovelace, nee Linda Boreman, was born the same year

as I (1949) — who thinks of porn starlets as old?   Then,  I was sorry to learn that she died

in a car accident in 2002.   I sure hope the Felt Children get book deals that are even

better than Linda Lovelace got, and that they speak frankly of motives and choices.

 










one mosquito
flies down my throat
buzzing
 




all haiku by ISSA,

translated by David G. Lanoue

 

update (June 7, 2005): Evan at The Legal Underground is pleased to

see that we’re talking about Watergate again.  It’s fun (and important).

Meanwhile, I’m a bit queasy over the attitudes displayed by high school

juniors in Maryland in this Baltimore Sun article.  It seems the public just

doesn’t need to know about corruption in government.  Woe is me.  Woe

to the Republic.

the old man’s wink

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:22 pm


Everyone’s talking about marijuana and abuse of federal power today, with the release of the Raich decision.  For a fun treatment of both topics during the Nixon Whitehouse years, and a tie-in to my about-to-be-written post on Deep Throat, see the 1999 flick “Dick,” with Kirsten Dunst (at 17) playing one of a pair of innocent high schoolers who befriend the Trickster.   


Meanwhile, predators, risk-takers and thoughtful Americans should

enjoy a trio of small poems from Honored Guest Randy Brooks:

 


horsefly kicking

in the pond water . . .

     a bubble from below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 








our teenagers

on the whitewater raft . . .

I let go of the rope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bingo boards empty–

    another widow intercepts

    the old man’s wink

 

 

 

 

 “schoolBrooks” Randy Brooks  from School’s Out (Press Here, 1999) 




  • by dagosan                                               









violent thunderstorms

arrive — backing up

my harddrive

 

                               [June 6, 2005]  

 


 potluck


tiny check JurisPundit hosts Blawg Review #9 today and has

some great pointers.  I’m especially glad to have discovered

Greatest American Lawyer‘s recent provocative post on

lawyer advertising.  There are some good Comments, along

with a short ethicalEsq sermon.


 

tiny check  Tip to my friends at Blawg Review:  If you plan to be

around awhile, numbering the weekly editions is not as helpful

as including the date.   In the alternative, you might consider:

Blawg Review Vol. I, No. X. (2005).

 

tiny check Count me among the Democrats who wish that Howard

Dean would stop name-calling and start sounding a lot more like

a mature adult who has worthwhile ideas.   I’m sure Prof. B concurs.











  potLadleN 

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