for Mussolini. In Hemingway’s “My Old Man” and SherwoodnAnderson’s “I Want to Know Why”—both racetracknstories in which sensitive youths are traumatized by thenmoral defections of adult sportsmen—it is the failure of thenadult world to support the innocent expectations of adolescencenin all matters, not simply in sport, that is at issue.nSimilarly, in Ring Lardner’s “Champion” the boxer MidgenKelly stands for all the boorishness and hypocrisy innAmerican culture.nWasn’t Lardner right. Maxwell Geismar once asked, “innbelieving that a nation’s sports (like an individual’s humor)nwas the real key to its character”? On the evidence of hisnbook, Cosell would have to agree. After all, he is a seriousnwriter, concerned ultimately with issues that transcendnsport, just as Thoreau is concerned with issues that transcendnthe flora and fauna of his Walden habitat. Everynchapter of I Never Played the Game is headed with anquotation from a writer not generally the topic of lockerroomnconversation: Byron, Scott, Shaw, Machiavelli,nEmerson, Camus, Milton, Homer, Frost, Sam Johnson,nDana, and St. Paul. Whether the quotations are indicationsnof the more literate heights from which Cosell has descendednor have been contributed by editorial assistant PeternBonventre, they have the effect of reinforcing the book’snconcern with duplicity, incompetence, and greed. Cosellnis, in fact, as much in the tradition of Puritan didacticism asnThoreau, who cannot eat a fried rat without making thenevent an occasion for a lay sermon.nOne consequence is that Cosell, like Thoreau and thenexpose journalists, must rank honesty and courage ahead ofncharity and prudence. The traditional ranking is the reversenof this, the reason being the hard-learned lesson that unlessnthe priority of charity and prudence is honored, evenninstitutionalized, honesty and courage can easily go tonfanatic or destructive extremes. If it is honesty, not charity,nthat covers a multitude of sins, then the covering may onlynbe a way of liberating the sins so effectively that theynmasquerade as virtues. If it is courage that is the masternvirtue, then society may have to find a way not only to livenwith but also to honor some of its most ruthless enemies.nThe trouble is that charity and prudence are slow virtues,ndesigned to keep human affairs moving at a manageablenpace. Those imbued with them are inclined to presume, forninstance, that if they can restrain their impulses to takenimmediate corrective action, then what appears to bencontradictory in many personal, social, or political situationsnmay turn out to be complementary, or what appears tonbe justice may turn out to be revenge. Such disciplinednforbearance assumes a faith that manifest defects in thensocial or political order do not argue against its basicncongeniality with human need. People like Thoreau andnRousseau, for whom society as currently organized isnabsurd or morally offensive, or who, like Cosell and Alcestenin Moliere’s The Misanthrope, experience the contradictionsnand hypocrisies of society as an almost intolerablenburden, either do not have that faith or have painfully lostnit. The world being the way it is, they tend to live in annatmosphere of crisis in which charity and prudence are atnbest unafifordable luxuries and in which only the fast virtuesnof honesty and courage promise salvation. In their darkernmoments, it may even seem to them that hypocrisy andnChapter and Verse fornLiberation Theologiansn(John 6:26-27)nby Diana ShawnThey followed Him for fish,nA crumb of bread,nA morsel in a dish.nWhile what He saidnFell on deaf ears. The Word,nThe spirit’s food.nWas little sought or heard;nThe earthly goodnWas all they valued, suednOr followed for,nThey cast away the fruitnAnd kept the core!ncowardice are the engines that make society go.nIn our society it is quite proper to let others know that onenhas honesty and courage—especially if one has first passednthe risky money test. The publication of this fact may evennbe a display of bravery: One is not afraid of being called anboaster. In a world made hypocritical and cowardly bynmoney, one may even, like Thoreau, feel morally obligatednto hold oneself up as a model. Thus Cosell, who had thenhonesty to “tell it like it is” about the NFL, needed thencourage, as he tells us frankly, to give up “millions ofndollars” and “suffer tremendous vilification in print” for hisnactions.n* * *nIf society does not institutionalize its valuation of courage,nit will not survive long enough to discover its capacitynfor charity or prudence. Society also depends at all times onnthe willingness of some to tell it like it is, whether they risknSocrates’ hemlock or the loss of a profitable connection withnABC. Therefore, society has no alternative to honoring thencourageous truth-tellers. The problem at any given time isnto distinguish those truth-tellers who put charity andnprudence first from those who do not. The latter, especiallynin a message-crammed, pluralistic, and skeptical worldnsuch as ours, might be honestly concerned with improvingnthe world and might even improve it, but they are also likelynto be scandalmongers addicted to the pleasure of discoveringnand publicizing the falsity of established truth, ornpointing to the rot behind the facade of gorgeous growth.nThey risk becoming captives of the romance of corruptionnin which the distinction, crucial to civilization, betweennresponsible truth-telling and scandalmongering is blurred ornobliterated. They may appear to pass the money test even asnthey enrich themselves with best-sellers.nThe romance of corruption is demystifying, secularizing,nand reductive, so that among possible interpretations ofnaction only the lowest, the meanest, the most demeaning,nthe rottenest, or the ugliest is considered authentic. In thisnromance the good news is that the supply of the right kind ofnnnJUNE 1987/f7n