Wallowing Publicly in Our Own Guilt

So yeah, bitching and moaning on a mega-blog is probably not the best thing to do on a Friday night at 2am, but I’m not feeling the veepage-love tonight that seems so insistent and yet so forced.

In the darkest of times-indeed, in those times when it only seems dark, but is actually some other shade entirely-in my weak, shameful moments of worst malaise, I turn to the Doctor, who makes me smile every time. For an admittedly roundabout, but strikingly current example, try “Here Come De Judge”  from Thompson’s S.F. Examiner column, 9/21/87:

By the end of the week [Judge Bork] looked like a big winner, with a solid 8-6 plurality that stonewalled Ted Kennedy, embarrassed the Democratic majority and left Joe Biden’s ’88 presidential campaign in a pile of stinking ruins.

Biden went into the hearings on Tuesday as a real contender for the presidency of the United States in 1988. He was the junior senator from Delaware who had paid all his dues, thought fast on his feet, hired a blue-chip staff and had what the polls called “Kennedy-style charisma.”

He would be a stretch runner, they said. Maybe third in Iowa, then a close second in New Hampshire-and after that, a killer sweep on Super Tuesday in the South […] That was the scenario last week, but not now.

Uh-oh. We all know how that flair for the dramatic-nay, melodramatic-can flare up suddenly, like a horrible case of piles on a hot, sticky night:

Senator Biden, with no front-warning at all, was suddenly exposed as a liar, a plagiarist and a dupe who’d spent most of his life as a whimpering, cheating fool. He was stealing his best lines from old Bobby Kennedy speeches, they said, and he also cheated one time about 20 years ago on a law school paper at Syracuse. Biden immediately called a 9 a.m. press conference in Washington to flog himself on network TV and wallow publicly in his own guilt.

Indeed, but that’s not the wisdom we need to take away from this long-lost episode in wankery. Never fear-the Doctor provides…

But Biden had to cheat to get through law school at Syracuse, and now he’s denying that he steals all his speeches from old Bobby Kennedy transcripts. What kind of fool would deny a thing like that? Hell, I was proud to steal one of those high white notes from Bobby, now and then.

Hell yes. When a line’s a good line, but it ain’t yours, you oughtta have the stones to admit it. Stealing from genius is a far, far better thing to cop to than getting caught with your hands in the Cracked Cookie Jar of Dumb.

Senator Biden has had twenty long years to learn from the shameful ditch of 1988. But that’s quite a while, and many nuggets of wisdom seem to get lost in transit over the years.

But whatever. I hope everyone who had good money on this bet will be able to collect. I’m not a gambler, so I have no idea if the bookies do brisk business in the wee hours, but we shall see.

And anyway, we’ll always have Denver to look back on with fond, glowing memories, won’t we? Suuuure we will, buddy.