was published some months ago, it came to my attention only just now. The writer was Theodore H. White, a much-lauded political journalist of yore whom I have always admired. In a recently-unearthed private letter (written in 1960), he expressed some surprising sentiments.
My question: How much of this did he truly mean, and in what sense did he mean it? Is this an expression of bedrock conviction or the venting of a mood?
Whatever your interpretation, I think you'll find these words interesting, especially as we approach another election year.
...it is all fraudulent, all of it, everywhere, up and down, East and West. The movies, radio and state and books and TV — all of them are fraudulent; and the foundations and universities and scholars, they are all fraudulent too; and the executives and the financiers … and the Commissars and the Krushchevs and the Mao Tze-tungs, they are fraudulent equally; it is all a great game; and there are two dangers in this great game: first, the fraudulent people come to believe their own lies, they come to have faith in their fraud; and second, underneath it all, because people are fundamentally good, they come to realize that we live in lies and the people get angrier and angrier and they may explode.
The scenery of politics is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. Yet I must report all this as serious. This is the strain on me. That I must be serious, and I must exhaust myself trying to find out what is true and what is fraud and yet, even after I know, I must take them both seriously and write of them both as if I did not know the true distinctions between them.