Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Real Killer

This post reveals the M. Night Shyamalan style secret twist ending in the October 7, 2007 Maureen Dowd New York Times article.

I Did Do It
Published: October 7, 2007

O. J. Simpson wrote a book called If I Did It describing the hypothetical scenario that would explain the death of his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Many people assume it is a thinly veiled confession. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written an autobiography titled My Grandfather's Son. Dowd has mashed up her review copies. Today’s column is written in the first person as the alleged voice of Clarence Thomas confessing to a crime.

Fine. I did it. Everything A. said — let’s just use the initial because it’s still hard for me to speak the name of my victim and tormentor — was true.

I did what I had to do and I didn’t care if it ruined A.’s life. I didn’t even care if people thought it was obscene.
We of course assume that “A.” is Anita Hill who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and exposing her to obscene material. More details about his disdain for A. follows:
Not the sort of person I’d like to tailgate with, listen to Marvin Gaye with, share Ripple or a Scotch and Drambuie or a blackberry brandy with — if I were still drinking.
Marvin Gaye is mentioned in Thomas’s biography as someone he admired when he went through a phase of Black radicalism. Marvin Gaye was also a famous soul singer whose smooth vocal stylings are often used to set a romantic seductive mood.

Ripple was a very cheap fortified wine associated with winos and lower class African-Americans from its many references on the 70s sitcom Sanford and Son. Judge Thomas confesses to excessive drinking in his book:
"His terrible words still burned in my memory a decade and a half later. Had Daddy been right after all?" Thomas wrote, the anguish evident in his words. "I poured myself a large glass of scotch and Drambuie over ice and downed it greedily, alone with my thoughts and afraid of what lay ahead."
The book details his decision to never drink again. Armstrong Williams in an NPR interview says he never saw Thomas drink alcohol. Dubya has also abstained from alcohol without ever entering a formal recovery program.
They’ve even shown the lighter side of Clarence. My new friend, ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg, called me one of “the most complex, compelling, maligned and misunderstood figures in modern history.” And thank you, Steve Kroft. I never thought “60 Minutes” could be so sweet.
Greenburg wrote an eight part Sparks Notes synopsis of Thomas’s book for Dowd should be thanking Greenburg for not making her read the whole thing. Many of the details mentioned in Dowd’s column are also covered in a long 60 Minutes profile by Steve Kroft. Portions of it are available on the official CBS website, but longer excerpts are linked to from the Mirror On America blog.

Then we get all literary:
From the time I was a kid, when my white classmates made fun of me as “ABC” — “America’s Blackest Child” — the beast of rage against The Man has gnawed at my soul.
From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy discussion of war:
"It's just their defenselessness that tempts the tormentor, just the angelic confidence of the child who has no refuge and no appeal, that sets his vile blood on fire. In every man, of course, a beast lies hidden-the beast of rage, the beast of lustful heat at the screams of the tortured victim, the beast of lawlessness let off the chain, the beast of diseases that follow on vice, gout, kidney disease, and so on." (Brothers Karamazov, ii.V.4, "Rebellion")
It is unclear whether this passage is alluded to in Thomas’s book or MoDo’s imagination.

And this is the surprise twist ending:
So I voted to shut down the vote-counting in Florida by A. — oh, I’ll just say it: Al — because if he’d kept going he might have won. I helped swing the court in case No. 00-949, Bush v. Gore, to narrowly achieve the Bush restoration.

I know it wasn’t what my hero Atticus Finch would have done. But having the power to carjack the presidency and control the fate of the country did give me that old X-rated tingle.
Atticus Finch is the hero of high school English class staple To Kill a Mockingbird, a book Clarence Thomas relates to in his autobiography (via Harpers):
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have been thinking of To Kill a Mockingbird, in which Atticus Finch, a small-town southern lawyer, defends Tom Robinson, a black man on trial for the rape of a white woman.
Thomas’s current wife is white.

One of the accusations Anita Hill made was that Thomas was an aficionado of x-rated movies including the African-American pornstar Long Dong Silver.

Dowd’s wishful-thinking version of Thomas sums up:
It’s a relief to finally admit it: I’m proud to have hastened Al’s premature political death, hanging by hanging chads. It was, you might say, a low-tech lynching.
Maureen Dowd is often accused of aiding George W. Bush get elected by frequently criticizing Al Gore. Finally we now know the truth. It was Clarence Thomas avenging grudges and repaying old debts that did in Al Gore. In a twist worthy of a Scott Turrow novel, MoDo is off the hook because the real killer has confessed.


Jeff said...

Say, that WAS A surprise!

I understand Thomas was recently spotted burglarizing a Vegas hotel room in an attempt to recover his dignity.

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