The credo of the tabloid-inspired media has often seemed to emphasize sex, camp, kitsch, schlock–along with babble, dirt, innuendo, and wiseacre opinion. Plus a lot of cigarette ads with smiling coffins. Then they recycle the stuff. It does appear that main, yellow-stream media have just plumb gone Murdoch.

Sex sells everything–from bathroom deodorizers to pneumatic aids for the underendowed. And now the United States Congress has latched onto sex as its main thrust, you’ll pardon the expression. If you think Wilbur Mills was the last politician to fall into the Tidal Basin with his paramour, think again. Already a number of righteous, God-fearing, goose-stepping, right-wing republicans have fallen into the Tidal Basin, each a years-long adulterer. Soon there will be an avalanche of congressional scoundrels and sex fiends splashing about with their objects of desire in the fetid, tidal trough.

Will any congressman dare stop the people’s right to uncover politicians’ hanky-panky? It’s half the fun of being an American. What is this about Henry Hyde, the venerable Hyde, that makes him call upon the FBI to shut down the skinny-dipping truth? Does he not know the FBI is not his private army? We know he’s had a private audience with the pope. And he’s hugged a woman who’s bound to be tomorrow’s saint. But the FBI? His private army? Nixon thought so. But Hyde, the upright (you’ll pardon the expression) Henry?! Remember when he said on television that the statute of limitations was up on his four- or five-year affair with Mr. Snodgrass’s Mrs. Snodgrass? He said it was a youthful indiscretion. Youthful? He was 41. Even in bizarre, Republicanized America, adultery is still not a national offense. Nor is it a high crime. It’s just a sickening blow to a marriage and someone else’s marriage and the children of both parties. Mr. Hyde should cool it. He need not cringe. And as the Tidal Basin fills up, he’s just one of the good ole boys–dirty, to the last splash.

When Hyde spoke about the statute of limitations, didn’t he mean the one on his role in the death of Clyde Federal Savings and Loan [“The Dirt on Mr. Clean,” by David Moberg, December 13, 1996]? Not even Dr. Jekyll can save Mr. Hyde from that covered-up disaster.

William F. Grisham