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1:47 Call Police found tape on door
September 27, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Remembering a forgotten hero on the anniversary of his death. Early in the morning of June 17, 1972, security guard Frank Wills called police after someone repeatedly taped the latch on a door at the apartment complex where he worked. That act changed politics forever; one reporter said “It was one of the most important phone calls ever made in American History.” Mr. Wills did not benefit from the circus that followed, however. After two arrests for shoplifting he died penniless on September 27, 2000.
posted by TedW (62 comments total)

 
What an amazing, and sad, story.
posted by chunking express at 8:10 AM on September 27, 2006


Heroic? The guy was a security guard who called the cops when he noticed a piece of duct tape over a door lock had been replaced after he pulled it off earlier. He was just doing what any security guard would do in that situation.
posted by StarForce5 at 8:14 AM on September 27, 2006


"When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal."
posted by orthogonality at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2006


He was just doing what any security guard would do in that situation.

Heh. The security guards that I know would be too busy smoking pot and chatting on their cell phones to notice some tape.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:20 AM on September 27, 2006


chunking express: I live in Augusta and remembered his life as it was reported in the local paper. I don't know wht made me think of him today, but I thought his story might be worth putting on MeFi sometime. When I saw today was the anniversary of his death I went ahead and worked up the post.

StarForce5: I agree that hero is a bit of a stretch, but considering that Wills died a pauper while many of the criminals he helped bring down became rich off of their exploits, I thought it was reasonable to be a little biased in his favor.
posted by TedW at 8:26 AM on September 27, 2006


Apparently no one told him to get a publicist.
posted by Eekacat at 8:28 AM on September 27, 2006


in Spike Lee's director cut of She Hate Me, there's this great little sequence on Frank Wills
posted by matteo at 8:28 AM on September 27, 2006


The security guards that I know would be too busy smoking pot and chatting on their cell phones to notice some tape.

I guess I'm in the wrong line of work.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:44 AM on September 27, 2006


In other news: The ordinary actions of an ordinary man change the course of human events. Butterflies everywhere flap their wings in support.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:57 AM on September 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


Frank Wills’ sad story is further proof that liberal, America-hating security guards are the weak link in the neocon war on democracy.

This all proves that Watergate was a direct result of Bill Clinton’s obsession with Monica.

We can only be fearful and vote Republican, so billionaires never have to sell their mother’s bodies to science.
posted by BillyElmore at 9:07 AM on September 27, 2006


Heroic?

hell, yes ... he could have cut himself on the tape ... he could have gotten his fingers caught in the dial phones they had back then ... the phone could have electrocuted him ... he could have dropped his flashlight on his foot ... he could have choked on a donut while waiting for the cops to arrive

(don't bother flaming me, i used to BE a security guard)

from the article - But who was looking out for Frank Wills?

if frank wills wasn't going to look out for himself, who would?

his story was a sad one ... but the saddest thing about it isn't that he didn't get "rewarded" for making that phone call ... it's that making that phone call was the major accomplishment of his life, besides the difficult task of taking care of his ailing mother
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2006


I recall his being a guest on the fossil Gameshow I've got a Secret in the mid to late 1970s

None of the celebs were able to guess his secret, and this was just a handful of years after the proverbial shit hit the fan.

History is a starfuck.
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2006


i think his best move would have been to ignore the media circus and the "opportunities" and settle for an ordinary and anonymous life working at a decent job
posted by pyramid termite at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2006


Heh. The security guards that I know would be too busy smoking pot and chatting on their cell phones to notice some tape.

Free nights and weekends!
posted by delmoi at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2006


What's striking about Watergate is how easily we would never have known about it:
- If Frank Wills hadn't been alert enough to spot the tape and call the cops
- If the Post hadn't sent a reporter to cover the booking
- If one of the plumbers hadn't been dumb enough to mention the CIA at the booking
- If they didn't have White House phone numbers on them
- Etc.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:04 AM on September 27, 2006


The dude wasn't a hero. He didn't risk life or limb. He just did his job. The word hero is so overapplied that its become almost meaningless.
posted by bim at 10:28 AM on September 27, 2006


Awww heck....I'm ramblin' again
posted by Pacheco at 10:45 AM on September 27, 2006


The dude wasn't a hero. He didn't risk life or limb. He just did his job.

But not everybody "does their job." The story of Frank Wills illustrates that "doing your job" can lead to important positive consequences (the discovery of Watergate) that never would have happened if you didn't do their job. I detect a note of moral superiority in this comment, but really it's just MeFites harrumphing about "the help."
posted by jonp72 at 10:48 AM on September 27, 2006


But ... harrumphing is what mefi does best!
posted by blucevalo at 10:54 AM on September 27, 2006


jonp, jesus christ, it's not like the guy was afraid of something and overcame that fear to save someone's life. He didn't get shot at. He didn't rescue someone from drowning. At no time was his life or anyone else's at risk, any more than on any other evening. HE JUST MADE A PHONE CALL.

Yes, it was important. Yes, he did his job well, and for that he should be thanked, and I wish he'd been given a chance at a better job.. But it was still just a phone call. The word 'hero' does not apply.

Your comment about 'the help' reads as having far more of a sense of superiority than anything else in the thread.

TedW: This was a good post. Thanks for putting it up. While we may not quite agree with your wording, I certainly enjoyed it.
posted by Malor at 11:02 AM on September 27, 2006


Strangely compelling story. I wonder if a small player could escape notice like that now that we have 24 hour news networks and talk shows all salivating to one up each other.

bim writes "He didn't risk life or limb. He just did his job."

He was thwarting the CIA under Nixon. He may not have known what he was risking but he sure was at risk.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 AM on September 27, 2006


AMERICA'S SECURITY GUARDS: REEFER FUDDLED CHATTY CATHY'S OR MINIMUM WAGE SALT OF EARTH TYPES WHO LOVE THEIR MOMS?

MEFI: BALDERDASH OR HORSEFEATHERS?

NIXON'S FACE: EVIL SAGGY BONELESS HAM!
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:14 AM on September 27, 2006


MEFI: BALDERDASH OR HORSEFEATHERS?

Hobson's choice. How about both?
posted by blucevalo at 11:21 AM on September 27, 2006


Hobson's choice. How about both?

POPPYCOCK!
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:26 AM on September 27, 2006


Mitheral -- At risk??? For what? Assassination? Get a grip. Once the police walked in on the offenders Mr. Wiils became a footnote to history. Peruse this line in the article referenced:

Then, without warning, in walked the Washington DC Police with our man Frank Wills. They caught all five of Nixon's assholes.

Mr. Wills didn't wear a wire in some secret meeting with John Gotti to later testify against the mob. He and the police walked in and caught the burglars in the act. The police were there. There was no need for anyone to further concern themselves with Mr. Wiils again, let alone threaten him.

That's not say that this wasn't a good FPP. I liked it. But let's not be overdramatic. Geesh.
posted by bim at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2006


Something that a lot of people are probably not considering is that someone who was born in 1948 was a product of the "separate but equal" education system of the pre-civil rights south and consequently was ill-prepared to take advantage of the opportunities his brush with fame brought him.
posted by TedW at 11:40 AM on September 27, 2006


“If the President had wanted me to kill someone, I would have done it.”: G. Gordon Liddy, quoted in the first link and elsewhere. The guys who caught the burglars may have been risking their lives more than they realized.
posted by TedW at 11:43 AM on September 27, 2006


Jonp said -- The story of Frank Wills illustrates that "doing your job" can lead to important positive consequences (the discovery of Watergate) that never would have happened if you didn't do their job.

Huh? This is really tortured logic.

The reason why you are employed and get paid is always to generate positive benefits for your employer. That's the nature of employment, i.e. "doing your job."

The Watergate paid someone to provide security and security was provided as contracted for. End of story.

Review Malor's cogent comments too, please.
posted by bim at 11:43 AM on September 27, 2006


posted by bim The dude wasn't a hero. He didn't risk life or limb. He just did his job. The word hero is so overapplied that its become almost meaningless.

So, by your logic, the firefighters and police officers who died in the WTC on September 11 were just doing their jobs, and should not be considered heroes, nor should soldiers, since, again, they're just doing their jobs.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:49 AM on September 27, 2006


Metafilter: Balderdash, poppycock, or horsefeathers, or all three?

HorseCockFeathers!
posted by fandango_matt at 11:51 AM on September 27, 2006


"Hello police? Someone propped the door open with HYPERBOLE."
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:53 AM on September 27, 2006


jonp, jesus christ, it's not like the guy was afraid of something and overcame that fear to save someone's life. He didn't get shot at. He didn't rescue someone from drowning. At no time was his life or anyone else's at risk, any more than on any other evening. HE JUST MADE A PHONE CALL.

I think we have two definitions of heroism here. You're limiting heroism to actions that involve risk of life or limb. I'm saying that heroism refers to those rare and extraordinary situations when we are morally put to the test about doing the right thing. Wills didn't risk his life, and he didn't have to conquer any deep-seated fears. But he was faced with a moral choice about either ignoring a security breach (if you read the articles, it said that tenants in the Watergate propped doors open all the time) or doing the right thing and calling the police.

Wills did the right thing, however small-scale. Most of the time, when you do the right thing, it doesn't really have momentous consequences. Wills had absolutely no idea that simply "doing his job" would set in motion a chain of events that exposed one of the worst abuses of presidential power of the 20th century. That doesn't make what he did any less important.

I think a comparison to Richard Jewell is instructive here. We now know that Jewell's actions helped limit the damage and loss of life caused by the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. Like Wills, Jewell was simply a security guard doing his job. In addition, the likelihood that Jewell would have been harmed by the bomb was minimal to nonexistent, much like Wills probably wasn't going to end up in a shootout with G. Gordon Liddy. But even though Jewell didn't know how important his actions would be, he still did them. In fact, by doing what he did, Jewell exposed himself to an investigation that unfairly tagged him as the Olympic bomber. Jewell did a small thing that had numerous positive consequences for other people (all the people that didn't get killed in the bombing), but set in motion a chain of events that personally brought him a lot of grief. The situation of Wills is quite comparable.

By the way, Wills never got a raise from his employers for what he did. In addition, he had to quit, because they wouldn't give him paid time off to deal with the media circus that surrounded him. Most MeFites would consider this outrageous if this treatment happened to a white-collar professional, but because it's a blue-collar African-American guy with a shoplifting conviction, people act like it's business as usual.
posted by jonp72 at 12:01 PM on September 27, 2006


The Watergate paid someone to provide security and security was provided as contracted for. End of story.

Bullshit. Wills didn't know he was blowing the whistle on Watergate, but his treatment afterwards was very similar to what has happened to government whistleblowers in white-collar occupations. Are you so naive as to think that Wills didn't end up on somebody's Nixon-era shitlist or blacklist for his completely unintentional role in exposing Watergate?
posted by jonp72 at 12:12 PM on September 27, 2006


posted by jonp72 By the way, Wills never got a raise from his employers for what he did. In addition, he had to quit, because they wouldn't give him paid time off to deal with the media circus that surrounded him. Most MeFites would consider this outrageous if this treatment happened to a white-collar professional, but because it's a blue-collar African-American guy with a shoplifting conviction, people act like it's business as usual.

Yep, we're all a bunch of white-collar racists here. Of course, some of us considered it an outrage because it was business as usual, but thankfully you're the compass of true moral outrage, without which we'd just drift aimlessly in the Horse Latitudes of the Sea of Snark.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2006


I detect a note of moral superiority in this comment, but really it's just MeFites harrumphing about "the help."

What are you saying here? That either we agree that “hero” is an appropriate adjective or – we’re racists?
posted by ed\26h at 12:50 PM on September 27, 2006


During my stint as a security guard:

- I stopped a man from the property across the street (not even what I was guarding) after he kicked in a window then stole large quantities of cigarettes
- Discovered a breakin in the passport office of a building attached to the mall I was working
- Discovered the theft of 8 cars from a car lot, after thieves broke in through an air conditioner hole to take the keys

After each, I got neither thank-yous, nor commendations, nor rewards, nor even a free cup of coffee as I sat in the cold waiting for owners, managers, and police to show up.

It's a bullshit job, for bullshit pay, for bullshit employers. In the last few months of the job I gave up, put my feet up and my coat over my head and went to sleep.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:53 PM on September 27, 2006


Yes, it was important. Yes, he did his job well, and for that he should be thanked, and I wish he'd been given a chance at a better job.. But it was still just a phone call. The word 'hero' does not apply.

Malor: I guess I'd concede that "hero" might not apply, if people agreed that the guy didn't get a fair shake and should have been thanked a lot more for what he did. He didn't just stop people from stealing a few hubcaps. He accidentally exposed a major abuse of executive power that put American democracy at risk.

Yep, we're all a bunch of white-collar racists here. Of course, some of us considered it an outrage because it was business as usual, but thankfully you're the compass of true moral outrage, without which we'd just drift aimlessly in the Horse Latitudes of the Sea of Snark.

fandango_matt: Actually, I see class prejudice more at work than racism here. But still, you have to admit that Wills got screwed royally compared with the small but very very positive contribution he made. The pile-on here has an undertone of "uppity security guards need to quit bitchin' and learn that his 15 minutes are up."

The ironic thing is that, if Frank Wills had discovered the Watergate burglary today, he'd be on the Daily Show or Letterman or Oprah or the Colbert Report in short order. He'd be some minor celebrity milking it for all he was worth on "reality TV." And yeah, he'd probably overstay his welcome, but he'd certainly deserve it much, much more than the washed-up pop stars, annoying child actors, and bit players in public scandals who are currently riding our culture's celebrity gravy train.

By the way, if praising Wills is lowering the standards for what constitutes heroism, why doesn't anybody raise the same complaint when Rudy Giuliani is called a hero simply for "doing his job" on 9/11? The "hero" label attached to Giuliani for 9/11 wasn't any less the result of dumb luck than it was for Frank Wills.
posted by jonp72 at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2006


I think we have two definitions of heroism here. You're limiting heroism to actions that involve risk of life or limb. I'm saying that heroism refers to those rare and extraordinary situations when we are morally put to the test about doing the right thing. Wills didn't risk his life, and he didn't have to conquer any deep-seated fears. But he was faced with a moral choice about either ignoring a security breach (if you read the articles, it said that tenants in the Watergate propped doors open all the time) or doing the right thing and calling the police

Well, again this is simply saying that doing your job properly is enough to make you a hero, but this is exactly what is in dispute.

Wills had absolutely no idea that simply "doing his job" would set in motion a chain of events that exposed one of the worst abuses of presidential power of the 20th century. That doesn't make what he did any less important.

I don’t think anyone’s claming that where these historical events are concerned he wasn’t important (i.e.: causally instrumental), just that he isn’t a hero.

Now you can employ a bit of low redefinition and get the term “hero” to include people like Wills, but that comes with at the unfortunate cost of rendering the term practically meaningless.
posted by ed\26h at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2006


By the way, if praising Wills is lowering the standards for what constitutes heroism, why doesn't anybody raise the same complaint when Rudy Giuliani is called a hero simply for "doing his job" on 9/11? The "hero" label attached to Giuliani for 9/11 wasn't any less the result of dumb luck than it was for Frank Wills.

Funny you should mention that – I’ve always said that Giuliani being labeled a hero was inappropriate.
posted by ed\26h at 1:04 PM on September 27, 2006


You can boo me but I cannot fuck with Rudy Giuliani.

/OK
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:13 PM on September 27, 2006


Funny you should mention that – I’ve always said that Giuliani being labeled a hero was inappropriate.

I think that's a defensible position as long as you're consistent in judging the powerful people (e.g., Giuliani) and the less powerful people (e.g., Wills) by the same ethical standards. On the other hand, think about what Wills discovered. Frankly, if Nixon hadn't been stopped by Watergate, we probably would have been undergoing even more abuses of power similar to what we're experiencing right now with the current administration. Can you imagine what else the Plumbers would have been capable of if they hadn't been stopped? If Wills didn't do what he did, our society and our democratic form of government would be even more screwed up than it is now. For that, we owe Wills a bit of thanks, even if he might not fit everybody's dictionary definition of "hero."
posted by jonp72 at 1:22 PM on September 27, 2006


Actually, I see class prejudice more at work than racism here. But still, you have to admit that Wills got screwed royally compared with the small but very very positive contribution he made. The pile-on here has an undertone of "uppity security guards need to quit bitchin' and learn that his 15 minutes are up."

You are just absolutely determined to see racism/classism where there isn't any. ALL we're saying is that calling him a hero for making a phone call is stupid. You seem to be taking that simple observation -- that a phone call does not make a hero, if it's not something that is putting you or someone you care about in jeopardy -- and running with it and assuming we're all a bunch of very nasty people.

If anything, I think the racist/classist one here would have to be you. You seem of the opinion that this guy is deserving of special mention for doing what a good security guard should have done. Like, somehow it's a a surprise that someone who was black and/or poor could actually have shown a little gumption and done the right thing.

The way I read your comments, a NORMAL black (or poor person, I'm still not sure of the thrust of your classification) would have just ignored it... but this guy was less inferior than the others, so he's a hero. Do you really find it that remarkable that he called the police when he should?

I do think it's a shame that he wasn't given more of an opportunity in later life; that's really bad. And it's an absolute crime that his employers didn't give him time off for the media frenzy that ensued. But getting screwed doesn't make you a hero either.
posted by Malor at 1:31 PM on September 27, 2006


You are just absolutely determined to see racism/classism where there isn't any. ALL we're saying is that calling him a hero for making a phone call is stupid.

I didn't see you throwing this kind of tantrum when people called Giuliani a hero on 9/11 merely because he didn't sink to Dubya's level of incompetence.

If race isn't an issue, then why was Frank Wills called "the real hero of Watergate" by blackpressusa.com, a "hero forgotten on 30th observance" by Jet Magazine, and a "hero in the Watergate scandal" on the Tavis Smiley show, but not in his New York Times obituary? I did a basic Google search on +"Frank Wills" +hero, and I find these three examples of African-American media on the first results page. If African-American publications don't think it's racist, insulting, or condescending to call Frank Wills a hero, why should you? And if an ex-security guard tells you that security guards work unappreciated and get treated like shit and he's not offended by Wills being called a hero, then why should you be?

And if you think I'm being hyperbolic, here's an ACLU pamphlet from 1973 that says what high stakes were involved:

We would not have learned of this -- nor of a constellation of crimes against our people and their Constitution -- had not Frank Wills, a 24 year-old night watchman at the Watergate complex, discovered that a second piece of tape covered a basement door latch. Without rationalization or evasion, Mr. Wills simply did his duty. He telephoned the police.

Frank Wills' telephone call provided us an opportunity to save ourselves, our children and their children. That telephone call was not as dramatic as Paul Revere's cries on an eventful night long ago, but it was as effective and as important.


We're looking at things after over 30 years have elapsed, but people at the time did find Wills to be quite heroic.
posted by jonp72 at 2:14 PM on September 27, 2006


MEFI: BALDERDASH OR HORSEFEATHERS?

Hobson's choice. How about both?


That is not Hobson's choice. Hobson's choice is either "this thing" or nothing.
posted by pmurray63 at 2:32 PM on September 27, 2006


If race isn't an issue, then why was Frank Wills called "the real hero of Watergate" by blackpressusa.com, a "hero forgotten on 30th observance" by Jet Magazine, and a "hero in the Watergate scandal" on the Tavis Smiley show, but not in his New York Times obituary?

You accused people on this thread who didn't agree with you of being racists. And when it was pointed out to you that there was no evidence for this, you cited how certain African-American publications hailed Wills as a hero but the New York Times did not. How is this relevant??

And if you think I'm being hyperbolic, here's an ACLU pamphlet from 1973 that says what high stakes were involved

Again, no one’s doubting the gravity of Watergate.

We're looking at things after over 30 years have elapsed, but people at the time did find Wills to be quite heroic.

I doubt a security guard phoning the police when he suspected a break-in could any more validly be considered a hero in 1972 than he could today.
posted by ed\26h at 2:52 PM on September 27, 2006


Uh...jonp...would you be so hell bent on glorifying the security guard if he was white? I bet not.

Give credit where credit is due. But to try to make a big deal out of the guard's actions seems a bit patronizing to me.

Something to think about, eh?
posted by bim at 2:52 PM on September 27, 2006


If African-American publications don't think it's racist, insulting, or condescending to call Frank Wills a hero, why should you?

I didn't say that it was. I said it sounded like YOU thought it was. I think he's not a hero because he all he did was make a phone call. I'd say the same thing about Joe White Guy from Whitebread, IA. I don't care what color his skin is. That is entirely irrelevant. His use of the telephone was not a heroic act.

And if an ex-security guard tells you that security guards work unappreciated and get treated like shit and he's not offended by Wills being called a hero, then why should you be?

He did not say that. You really are reading things in where they don't exist. Reread what he posted. He says that being a security guard really sucks. That's ALL he says. The part about him not minding the hero bit is stuff you made up wholesale.

Frank Wills' telephone call provided us an opportunity to save ourselves, our children and their children. That telephone call was not as dramatic as Paul Revere's cries on an eventful night long ago, but it was as effective and as important.

There is a difference between "important" and "heroic". Your blurring that distinction makes the real use of that word meaningless. Audie Murphy was a hero. Jimmy Carter's association with Habitat for Humanity is important. Bunnatine Greenhouse was a hero(ine). Lawrence Lessig's attempts to fix copyright are important.

What if the phone call hadn't actually mattered? What if Nixon's thugs hadn't been breaking in? Would it still be heroic?

Consequences of simple actions don't make those actions retroactive heroism.
posted by Malor at 2:57 PM on September 27, 2006


MEFI: BALDERDASH OR HORSEFEATHERS?

Hobson's choice. How about both?

That is not Hobson's choice. Hobson's choice is either "this thing" or nothing.


EYEWASH!



look, calling people racist or classist or whateverist because you are disagreeing with them about what it means to be a hero is just lazy and doesn't encourage anyone to take up your point of view, the race card is rarely played well. If you want to make an absolute case that this guy is a "hero" and that "hero" has some absolute meaning, well good luck, I think there is a place in this world for tilting at windmills.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:57 PM on September 27, 2006


Hero: Someone who, when in the right place at the right time, does the right thing.
posted by Happy Monkey at 4:37 PM on September 27, 2006


So I'm a hero for turning off the tea kettle this morning when it boiled?
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2006


posted by Divine_Wino So I'm a hero for turning off the tea kettle this morning when it boiled?

I wept when I thought of the lives and eardrums you may have saved with your selfless act. God bless you. Never forget September 27.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:44 PM on September 27, 2006


whatever happened to the idea that virtue or a job well done was its own reward?

he had to quit, because they wouldn't give him paid time off to deal with the media circus that surrounded him

he wasn't hired to deal with media circuses ... nor was he personally required to deal with them ... he could have simply stopped giving interviews

I detect a note of moral superiority in this comment, but really it's just MeFites harrumphing about "the help."

i AM the "help" ... don't presume to speak for me ... i worked as a security guard, ok?

the guy let his "15 minutes" go to his head and people took advantage of that because he allowed it ... instead of concentrating on his own life

we must be awfully damn desperate for heros these days ... but look ... ordinary citizens rescue people from burning cars, burning buildings, drownings, muggings, whatever, every damn day in this country and they don't expect to get laurels or their names in the newspapers or people to bow down to them for the rest of their lives ... they just talk to the reporters and the cameras somewhat sheepishly and self-consciously and then they just move on with what they were doing before it all happened

there are even people who have done this sort of thing, made sure that people were ok, and then just walked away without even giving their names and that's the last anyone heard from them

i saved a baby's life once ... i didn't do it for fame or glory or eternal gratitude, i did it because the baby was about to crawl onto a circular stairwell above a concrete basement and no one else saw it and i didn't want it to happen

me, hero ... so fucking what?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:43 PM on September 27, 2006


Wills talks to Studs Terkel in this book.
posted by zoinks at 1:49 AM on September 28, 2006


That act changed politics forever

If only. It may have changed Nixon's career forever, but politics? Nah. It's just made those in power more careful. The current Administration gets away daily with much worse than the Watergate break-in, and they almost exclusively do it in plain view of the press and the public.
posted by psmealey at 2:42 AM on September 28, 2006


psmealey-while I agree that politicians are as underhanded and sleazy as ever, ever since Watergate scandal-mongering has become an integral part of the political process, as evidenced by the propensity to append "-gate" to the latest scandal (Monicagate, Plamegate, and so on). This didn't happen after, say, Teapot Dome (imagine MonicaDome).
posted by TedW at 5:17 AM on September 28, 2006


Uh...jonp...would you be so hell bent on glorifying the security guard if he was white? I bet not.

Give credit where credit is due. But to try to make a big deal out of the guard's actions seems a bit patronizing to me.


Excuse me, but I did favorably compare the actions of Frank Wills to security guard Richard Jewell. Richard Jewell is white.

Frank Wills got treated like shit after blowing the lid off a major scandal. I think either his race and/or economic status probably had something to do with that. Pointing out this point does not mean I'm playing the "race card." On the other hand, disagreeing with that point does not make you racist or classist.

Then again, going all kneejerk and whining "Waah, waah, he's calling me a racist!" isn't productive either.
posted by jonp72 at 7:23 AM on September 28, 2006


the guy let his "15 minutes" go to his head and people took advantage of that because he allowed it ... instead of concentrating on his own life

So what if he let "15 minutes" go to his head, I think he deserved that right, certainly more so than say Paris Hilton or some no-talent, one-hit-wonder pop star. You try "concentrating on your own life" at $80 per week.
posted by jonp72 at 7:25 AM on September 28, 2006


Consequences of simple actions don't make those actions retroactive heroism.

Frank Wills gets called "hero" retroactively for simple actions: Several MeFi posters let fly with accusations of reverse racism and racial condescension, while making dismissive comments like "hero...so fucking what?"

Rudy Giuliani gets called "hero" retroactively for simple actions: Some MeFi posters seem less outraged by this.
posted by jonp72 at 7:41 AM on September 28, 2006


jon --Quit trying so hard hard to prove that you're an open-minded non-racist socially enlightened human being. I'm sure that you're a nice guy. Relax.

Your desire to canonize Frank Wills may be more about you than Frank. :)
posted by bim at 8:29 AM on September 28, 2006


So what if he let "15 minutes" go to his head, I think he deserved that right,

we all have a right to do things that aren't in our best interests

You try "concentrating on your own life" at $80 per week.

i've made less than that a week in constant dollars

i clear less than that in constant dollars, after child support, in constant dollars right NOW ... or i would if i hadn't have been laid off because of medical restrictions last week ...

it's my previous and current experience that it's pretty damned hard NOT to "concentrate on your own life" when you're in that set of circumstances

but go ahead, lecture me about it ... because it's obvious that even though i may not have an income for a month or two, that i know absolutely nothing about it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:29 AM on September 28, 2006


ps - in other words, your classist assumption that everyone posting to this thread is an affluent middle class person has been noted, and refuted
posted by pyramid termite at 9:34 AM on September 28, 2006


Frank Wills got treated like shit after blowing the lid off a major scandal. I think either his race and/or economic status probably had something to do with that. Pointing out this point does not mean I'm playing the "race card." On the other hand, disagreeing with that point does not make you racist or classist.

It was not for this reason that you were accused of playing the race card and you know it. You tried to suggest that those on this thread who disagreed with you were racists. That’s why. It’s only later that you brought up the question of whether or not Wills not being treated well at the time was due to racism and/or classism (which incidentally, you claim “probably” had something to do with it – even though you have no evidence for this).

Then again, going all kneejerk and whining "Waah, waah, he's calling me a racist!" isn't productive either.

To suggest that it’s inappropriate for people to criticise you for making false accusations of racism against them seems totally bizarre. Perhaps if you hadn’t made those accusations in the first place that would never have been a problem. And I cannot speak for everyone – but I certainly made no such noise.

So what if he let "15 minutes" go to his head, I think he deserved that right, certainly more so than say Paris Hilton or some no-talent, one-hit-wonder pop star.

Just because Paris Hilton doesn’t deserve to be a celebrity, how does this mean Frank Wills deserved to be a celebrity? Two wrongs don’t make a right.
posted by ed\26h at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2006


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