When Is It OK To Betray a Friend?

I like your phrase “the commodification of candor” a lot. I only wish you’d coined it years ago when O.J.’s girlfriend, Ms. Paula Barbieri, was given a book advance of $3 million–more, even, than Mr. Stephanopoulos’ $2.85 million. (And thanks to the alert Slate reader who corrected my figure of $2.4 million.)

Now that you’ve weighed in on the “commentraitors” issue, let me toss in my two cents. I admire Mr. Stephanopoulos’ candor. I’ve read the excerpts in Newsweek, and despite the jingling of the cash register in the background, the loudest sound was that of a soul in torment. This is a guy who believed, and whose belief was debased and dishonored. To his credit, Mr. Stephanopoulos rose above the politics of the situation–unlike his fellow “War Room”-er Mr. Carville, who has managed of late to reduce himself to the role of official Clinton Gargoyle. (With apologies to the ones on Notre Dame.) Prize loyalty as one might, it is difficult, for me at any rate, to value Mr. Carville’s continuing loyalty to Mr. Clinton. It is undeserved. But for people like him, all considerations are tactical; there are no overarching considerations. Mr. Stephanopoulos proved that though he may be a political creature, for him there are higher considerations. Whether this stems from his Greek Orthodox faith, I can’t say. I have no window into his soul. But his pain is there for us to feel and it is cleansing and restorative, and I say let’s have more of it. It’s not really his fault if the culture stands ready with bags of cash to strew in his path. Would it make it all better if he announced that he was donating the $2.85 mil to the Foundation for the Detection and Prevention of Bimbo Eruptions? Well, “over to you, George.”

So where does all this leave us? Being more selective in our friends, I suppose. If we choose them wisely, then we won’t have to decide down the line whether to snitch on them.

Thanks for the dialogue.