Just Remember, Mayor Dwaine: Confession is Good for the Soul, Better for the Memory

I covered part of last week's school board meeting on the budget crisis. I was way back in back of the room gossiping with other reporters, which is really the only thing I like about news events any more, and nobody wanted to talk about the school board crisis. We all wanted to talk about Dwaine.

You have to understand. People like us discuss the secret police interrogation tape about a domestic dispute at the home of Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway house the same way a bunch of forensic pathologists would talk about a front-entry cranial pole-axe wound. For us, it's very technical, academic and la-de-da. We are, after all, kind of like Ph.Ds in the field of really juicy scandalology.

One guy in the scrum said something we all thought was quite insightful. He said instead of suing the city to bar release of the tape, building public suspense and keeping the story alive, Dwaine should just have copped to whatever embarrassing stuff was on the tape and apologized.

After all, he pointed out, people will forgive anything these days.

He's right. Most people are ready to forgive Charlie Sheen. In fact, what can a person even do any more that Americans would not forgive immediately? Too bad Benedict Arnold wasn't alive now.

"I feel so betrayed the country to the I will never do it again, promise...(sniffle sniffle, gross nose-wipe on shoulder)."

He'd be a hero! People who do really bad things and then apologize for them and sniffle are more respected and adored nowadays than people who never did anything wrong.

Look at Alec Baldwin.

You don't even remember what Alec Baldwin did bad, right? That's the other thing. There's so much sin and confession coming at us, nobody can remember any of it for more than a day.

If Dwaine had just brought out the tape immediately, played it at a press conference, cried and hugged a puppy, nobody would remember by now that any of it ever happened in the first place.

Look, here's a test. Take this test. It won't take a second. Question: What is the name of the shirtless guy?

Oh, come on, you know: the shirtless guy! Sent a picture of himself shirtless to somebody, and they caught him, and then he had to drop out or resign or go on a reality TV show and let people stone him with wet sponges or something.

I'll tell you what that guy's name is now in history. He's the shirtless guy. That's his name, because that's all anybody remembers.

If it's sex, I truly cannot imagine what someone could do that would be taken as shocking. Wait, forget I said that. I don't want to be blamed for people injuring themselves.

Dwaine seems to be doing everything he can to keep it alive. After he got a judge to hand down a temporary restraining order barring the city from releasing the juicy stuff, he asked the city attorney to release the juicy stuff -- to him. City Attorney Tom Perkins had to say, no, Dwaine, you got the judge to bar a release, so in order to get us to release the stuff, you have to get the judge to un-bar it. So that's what he's doing. He's going back to court to ask the judge to release the juicy stuff, but only to him. And he says he needs the judge to extend the ban on releasing it to the rest of us from 14 to 28 days so he can read the juicy stuff. About himself.

What can you say?

The point is, Dwaine could make this all go away with a snap of his fingers. Play the tape. Cop to it, whatever it is: He betrayed the city to the British or he didn't have his shirt on or something. Nobody will keep it straight. Nobody will remember. And Dwaine will be forgotten.

Oh, snap! Is THAT why he's keeping it going?

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze

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