Evidently there are plenty of people in journalism who have neither got what they liked nor quite grown to like what they get. They write pieces they do not much enjoy writing, for papers they totally despise, and the sad process ends by ruining their style and disintegrating their personality, two developments which in a writer cannot be separate, since his personality and style must progress or deteriorate together, like a married couple in a country where death is the only permissible divorce.
What arouses the indignation of the honest satirist is not, unless the man is a prig, the fact that people in positions of power or influence behave idiotically, or even that they behave wickedly. It is that they conspire successfully to impose upon the public a picture of themselves as so very sagacious, honest and well-intentioned.
This American system of ours', he shouted, 'call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if only we seize it with both hands, and make the most of it'. A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times. He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together, I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago.