Memo to BP: You Can Run, but You Can't Hide
There are advantages to the relentless, 24-hour news cycle of our celebrity-obsessed media. Sometimes the bad guys get their due.
Such images make it more than clear that dramatic change is on the way--not because we actually like or expect it. The imperatives of improvement are upon us in a relentless way that cannot be sidestepped. Republicans make it seem impossible to find anything truly wrong in or with the world of business, but I am sure ''Drill, baby, drill'' will not be chanted any time soon--or it will be soon forgotten.
If that responsible slogan had any chance of being forgotten, Republican Joe Barton reminded all of those who saw him apologize to BP at a nationally televised committee meeting in Washington for the company having experienced a ''shake-down'' at the hands of the White House. He said that in the morning and had apologized for apologizing by 4:30 that afternoon. Some elephants had obviously used those big ears to listen to the angry rumble shaking the ground in response.
Genuflecting to our celebrity culture comes with a price: It corrupts our national spirit and buck dances us all ever closer to decadence. We have come to believe that the shocking culture innately has something to do with rejecting repressive limitations, which is a fool's analysis. But the reality is that American popular culture has become the equivalent of thick mud covered with glitter. And yet, a chance at redemption has arrived, and we should grab it.
What is necessary should happen because the alternative has been proven to be exactly what it is and what people have long known. Yes, those at the top usually look out for themselves and might even create alliances with others almost exactly the same as themselves. But we are in a moment when unimpeachable power is taking a beating we never thought we would see.
It's a beating that was inevitable. Any student of professional criminal behavior knows that once crooks go beyond the point at which it would be good to thank their lucky stars, they usually begin to see themselves as invincible rather than fortunate. They then usually act in ways that doom them into the hands of the law.
The mindless and sloppy books of British Petroleum were proof that they were so sure the fix was in that they didn't even feel the need to create anything close to a pristine paper trail. They never felt the need to hide their sheer mendacity. And why should they? Things had been so cozy with the federal government that those in charge of filing for BP virtually hung themselves with their own greasy fingers. Fellow commanders at the tops of five other big oil companies admitted in Washington that they all virtually Xeroxed the drilling requests that had been accepted for years. It had worked for years; why wouldn't those counterfeit documents still hold up? There was never any close scrutiny. But as the knuckleheads used to enjoy cackling, ''Things done changed.''