A pair of scandals

April 15, 1991

There is nothing like a juicy scandal to get the thought waves stimulated and make us pay attention to the news.

One by one the gossipy parts of the Nancy Reagan biography are oohed and chuckled over. Did she or didn't she? Did he or nTC didn't he? Oh, the fascination with the foibles of the famous.

But, in the end, what does it all prove? Even assuming that most of it is true, what have we learned about Reagan or his presidency that we could not have known before? If as much interest had been paid during the early years of the Reagan era, the history of the last decade, and tomorrow, might have been different.

But the information was offered as news, not scandal. We prefer it as scandal. People who get away with the grossest of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and all the other -feasances had better watch out lest they fall over some picayune episode full of sound that raises us to fury while signifying nothing.

At least it shows that people will read books in some circumstances and will give the publisher money to help put out some deeper tomes.

And what of William Kennedy Smith, accused of rape? Who would ever have heard of the case but that he is a Kennedy? In a way, though, it is ironic that the same ties that assured him success in life are now serving to devour him. For no matter what the outcome of the case, in the public mind he will always be suspect. That's one of the drawbacks of being a central figure in a scandal and how we repay our unwilling entertainers.

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