Russell Jacoby (Op-Ed Page, April 23) condemns "kiss and tell memoirs." He decries the debased level of political discourse. What he is really saying is that in the name of taste, we should limit freedom of the press.
It is nonsense to call insider memoirs "gossip." If Larry Speakes is telling the truth about making up quotes, his statement is not gossip at all. It's the truth. Jacoby writes that such books are "completely irrelevant, since they illuminate no issues or problems." In fact, Speakes revelations deal with the central problem of the Reagan Administration: that much of it is an exercise in public relations, in manufacturing truths.
Of course, recent history is full of what Jacoby would presumably consider irrelevant "gossip." There was that sordid little break-in at the Watergate. There was the 1968 My-Lai massacre in Vietnam. What a waste of our attention!
Intellectual elitists like Jacoby don't like facts because facts get in the way of their theories. Truth is usually in the details, even if the truth is ugly, unpleasant, or petty.