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By Robert S. Becker
April 19, 2010
Holden Caulfield, the self-described if suspect expert on phoniness in The Catcher in the Rye, would have a field day. Phoniness abounds, shredding a sense of fair play, from predatory lending, Ponzi schemes, gouging credit card companies, greedy medical insurers, insider trading, egregious campaign betrayals, sports steroid usage, mock journalism, doctored government agency reports or disgrace for the west’s most durable institution, the Catholic Church, inadvertently teaching by negative example – how not to deal with its own pedophilia.
Every week breaks new thresholds for backsliding, subterfuge, and hypocrisy. Phoniness undermines hope, especially remaining correlated with wealth and fame. Karl Rove, the master of guile, is revered, with his own soapbox; W., who mouthed his every deception, is a well-heeled stage monkey; and my favorite, one Alberto Gonzales, the amnesiac attorney general who infected our Justice Dept. with criminal schemes, well, okay, he’s a shyster lawyer having trouble finding work.