October 19, 2017

FROM MICKEY KAUS, A 2003 FLASHBACK: Twilight of the Pricks? “Have you noticed that a number of powerful public figures with reputations for being … well, schmucks, have gotten their comeuppance lately? Howell Raines, Andrew Cuomo, Gray Davis. I don’t know Trent Lott, but you might be able to add him to the list. Is this a trend? [You have three examples, it’s a trend–ed] … Why is this happening? It’s certainly not just the Internet–the Internet seems to have had little to do with the Cuomo and Davis dramas. My guess is it has something to do with a) the freer flow of information out from inner circles of celebrity and power to the general population (which the Internet helps) so that when a Big Schmuck yells at somebody on the phone or in his office, citizens in Peoria are likely to know this gossip the next week; and b) the increased willingness of reporters to rebelliously act on this sort of information, the way reporters are even now making sure that Cuomo’s the loser in his marital split. … Larger issues! 1) Will this fundamentally change the Darwinian equation for success in Hollywood, New York, and D.C., to something closer to (or even nicer than) the game-theoretical ‘tit-for-tat’ posture, which says you need to be nice to people until they’re nasty to you? 2) Who’s next? … Harvey?”

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