Tough Tamalesrnby J.O.TaternMaybe I should hop a jet to Vegas for a weekend at therndice tables or hang out in Beverly Hills for a while.rnMaybe I should bang a couple of hookers or sniff some cocainern—you know, something recreational to change my mood.rnI went in the library again and it didn’t do me any good.rnCall me crazy, call me a dreamer, but I think that JamesrnMadison and Arnold Rothstein and Lucky Luciano and thernother founding fathers of our country wanted me to have whateverrnI want whenever I want it. And let me tell you something:rnthe way the market is going, everybody can afford it. Is this arngreat country or what? But you’ll never know how great it is untilrnyou get out of that library. The stacks are a real drag.rnI can’t even remember when it was I started to lose it. All Irnwanted to read about was some simple hits and exciting stuffrnlike that, like you see all the time on the cable, when I made thernmistake of picking up Jonathan Kwitny’s Vicious Circles: ThernMafia’s Control of the American Marketplace (1979). This bookrnreally brought me down. It was all about the Mob in the meatrnbusiness, unions, cheese, trucking, banking and finance, therndocks, clothing, booze, and corporations. I didn’t want to hearrnabout that stuff—too complicated, too many facts. And I mustrnadmit Kwitny really grossed me out when he declared that thernMafia was “the largest American criminal conspiracy since thernsecession of the Confederacy.” You see? Organized crime andrnAmerican history really are the same thing. That’s what I’vernbeen trying to tell you. Tommy “Stonewall” Giacsonni, Jamesrn”Warhorse” Longostrada, you remember those guys.rnWell, Clinard and Yeager’s Corporate Crime (1980) was alsorndull. It was more about white collar stuff. Am I missing something,rnor aren’t those guys, the white collar criminals I mean,rnjust yuppies trying to get along and make a buck? If it wasn’t forrnthem, the stock market wouldn’t be so high. Clinard and Yeagerrnare some kind of low-rent party-poopers if you ask me, andrnif you didn’t, I’m telling you an)’way.rnNext case. Corporate Crime and Violence: Big Business Powerrnand the Abuse of the Public Trust by Russell Mokhiber (1988)rnwas a real root-canal. Mokhiber never met a scam he liked. HernJ.O. Tate is a professor of English at Dowling College on LongrnIsland.rndumps on Love Canal, thalidomide, Bhopal, Agent Orange,rnthe Corvair, you name it. He sounds like Ralph Nader. I wonderrnif he is a real American. He doesn’t seem to have any appreciationrnof moxie.rnBy now I was feeling like Huey Lewis and the News. I neededrna new drug. I figured I also needed a suppressor for my SigrnSaner because I was going to blast the next guy who rained onrnmy parade, you know what I mean? But Indecent Exposure: ArnTrue Story of Hollywood and Wall Street (1982) by David Mc-rnClintick was more about routine lying and stealing than anythingrnelse and I didn’t even get annoyed with it though by nowrnmy back was starting in on me. I needed a steam bath and notrna bath house, if you get my drift.rnI kept plugging, looking for some action. Then I hit pay dirt.rnThe Mafia Mystique by Dwight C. Smith, Jr. (1974) was a lotrnmore mv st)’le. As far as I’m concerned. Professor Smith provedrnthat the Mafia doesn’t exist but is only a bunch of cliches thatrnhaven’t changed since New Orleans in 1890. And he is a professor,rnnot some goombah trying to organize a civil rightsrnleague like Joe Columbo. And you remember what happenedrnto Joe. I was starting to cheer up.rnMaybe this whole thing was going to work out, becausernCrime, Crusades, and Corruption: Prohibitions in the UnitedrnStates 1900-1987 by Michael Woodiwiss (1988) blamed everythingrnon the cops and the feds. My thoughts exactiy! Residualrnpuritanism and resentment of victimless crimes had led to arnspiral of corruption mostly to be blamed on old fogeys and thernpolice. Woodiwiss was my favorite so far. I wondered why itrntook a Limey to understand how this country’ really works. Irnmean, if a guy wants to roll the bones, get laid, and get high (inrnwhatever order), that’s his business. And the judges and the oldrnladies should butt out.rnBut then I crashed. Stephen Fox really brought me downrnwith Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-CenturyrnAmerica (1989). I hate to admit that his was the best book Irnlooked at, because he was real tough on the wise guys. I thinkrnthat Fox has his values screwed up, but otherwise I have to admitrnhe knows a lot about what’s been happening. The troublernis that he thinks all the good things (the booze, the broads, thernnumbers, the drugs, above all the millions) are bad things. He’srn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn