pro, a century ago, a woman of ill repute,nand, even further back in time,nshe would have been a strumpet, a slut.nThis gradation attests not only to thenbreakdown of mores, but to the breakdownnof semantics as well, indicatingnhow precise language has evaporatednfrom our communication process. Ms.nWilliams is not a giddy youngstern—she’s 29, thus a cynical caterer rathernthan a zealous true believer. Recentlynshe was arrested in Cleveland for simulatingn(who but Ms. Williams couldnknow the difference between her simulationnand the real thing?) masturbationnon stage during a rock concert packednwith a teen-age audience. This is, perhaps,nthe strangest thing that has happenednto her trade over the centuries:nsome time ago, she would have performednto audiences of jaded socialitesnand drooling rakes; today, thanks to thenLiberal Culture, its academe and itsnfree press, she “liberates” adolescentn”instincts.” She was charged with obscenity,nbut, as things stand now, shenhas been duly acquitted by a progressivenOhio jury.nWhat does Ms. Williams do so wellnwhich permits her to avoid the denominationnof a prostitute? That’s easy—shencommunicates with an “interviewer” orn”critic” of the Knight-Ridder chain whonsells her message to the Chicago Tribune.nIt goes like this: Ms. Williams doesnnot sell her services for pornographicngratification; she is an artist and worksnin the vineyard of culture, which thenKnight – Ridder – cum – Chicago Tribunenauthor properly emphasizes:nThese shows [Williams says aboutnthe beginning of her career] werenstaged by college girls and their boyfriendsnand ‘highly scripted’ and ‘quitenprofessional.’ They featured both simulatednand real sex on stage. Williamsnherself? Well, she says, ‘I always playednthe heavy. You know, the female dominatrix;nthere was some petty bondage,nthat sort of thing.’nThe free and responsible Americannjournalist—whose name in this case isn5()inChronicles of CttlturenAnn Kolson—is quite impressed withnsuch artistry. So she notes Ms. Williams’snartistic credo:nI love being crazy. I love being annanimal—spitting on stage, crawlingnaround.nAnd she eagerly gives an ideologicalnperspective on Ms. Williams’s missionnin life:nWilliams doesn’t really see herself asnviolent when she smashes objects onnstage; artistic expression, she calls it.nIt is materialism that offends her—‘Insee people worshiping TVs, cars, andnI smash them.’nThen she makes a compromising contradiction:nShe (Ms. Williams) has everythingnshe wants, she says, including a whitenCadillac.nPulitzergatenThe most offensive part of the storynis not what happened at the WashingtonnPost. That the liberal press is corrupted,nmendacious and utterly unreliablenin its picturing of our reality isnsomething we have often repeated innthese pages. That it is ridiculously vulnerablento the most caricatural trendinessnin its mass-cultural endeavors—nfor which it demands the most sublimenfreedoms ever devised by the Westernnmind and evolved within the Westernnethos—is not news to us. But the supremensordidness of the Pulitzer Prizenjury—this is a plum. Here we have anninstitution which claims to embody thenconscience of American journalism andnto dispense rewards whose sociospiritualnvalue is supposed to qualify Americannjournalism as the ripe, glorious fruitnof all our civilizational virtues. Andnwhat does it reward? Cheap, sleazy,nbiased, ideologically infected natural­n!««• ‘L> V i I IC1n.»f«. iv.i. » 1.1.1 .*!nnnBut finally Ms. Kolson delivers her ultimatenjudgment, in the best tradition ofnour era’s investigative journalism,nwhich brought us the end of the VietnamnWar and Watergate:nSexy, outrageous, outspoken, anarchistic,nbright, vulgar, and reallynrather charming.nThis is a glorifying sentence. This exemplifiesnAmerican journalism’s acceptancenand apotheosis of the existence,nmission and social worth of countlessnsmelly Williamses, their presence amidstnus and their intercourse with the sensenof life of incoming generations. Thisnpropensity for glorification is what madenthe Pulitzer jury dispense one of its journalisticnprizes for a lie. But this is notnwhat Thomas Jefferson had in mindnwhen he wrote: “Where the press isnfree and every man able to read, all isnsafe…” Dnism which promotes a squalid conceptualizationnof “causes,” the irremediablendolor of a black child who does notnexist, a grim fantasy of journalistic hustlers,nthe affirmative action of a demiintellectualnswindle, and crude, vulgarnpartisanship. Has it ever occurred tonthe Pulitzer Prize jury to consider anconservative journalist worthy of distinction?nA nonliberal journal? A storynby a new genius, a latter-day MarknTwain, Mencken or Lippman who, forna change, might have written an irrefutablenapology of a compassionate carndealer, a chaste clergyman, a humorousnMoral Majority activist? As we formulatensuch a proposition we can see itsnjarring discrepancy with the PulitzernPrize augurs’ morality. In punishingnMs. Cooke for her conmanship in romanticizingnghetto drug problems, thenPulitzer people awarded their honorninstead to a radical “Catholic” from thenVillage Voice for her embellishment ofnpsychotic murder cases. She wrote, innone of her pieces, that disagreementn