Cinema: The Milieu Is the Meaning

Advise and Consent, as novel, play and film, has applied to Washington politics the popular American notion that every public event contains an inside story wildly signaling to be let out. An event treated in this way tends to become polarized either as an exposé, which is a form of ethical idealism, or as gossip and innuendo, which are the scuttlebutt of sensationalism. Neither has much to do with the basic reality of U.S. politics, which is a blended genius for compromise and bargaining.

Part of the appeal of Allen Drury's best-selling Pulitzer prizewinning...

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