Yesterday I participated in a call-in radio interview with station 1290 AM in North Texas called Real Life Talk, hosted by author David Sabine, Ph.D. The man is an accomplished clinical psychologist who, as you might expect, has a soothing tenor and is easy to speak with, plus you couldn’t pay the guy to interrupt you.

I was invited twice previously to Sabine’s show to discuss personal responsibility, excuses, and the mental cases/ethical shape shifters we Americans are quickly becoming. First we usually bat around the ball of my background and the story behind my forthcoming book, Where Excuses Go to Die, and from there we get down to business. Today that meant Dr. Conrad Murray and Mr. Herman Cain.

The show will air in Texas on Dec. 3, but if you’re interested in more of what we said, the interview will find its way into the media section here as soon as it becomes available for download. The short version is this: With his inability to accept fault or show any remorse (what the court referred to as a “failure of character”), Murray has become a character, stuck forever in our minds as the cartoonishly creepy man who killed Michael Jackson. We’ll always recognize the footage of him sitting through his trial with no expression whatsoever, or defending himself on the witness stand. He’ll forever be seen as the jerkoff who chose celebrity, cash, and stature over the life of a patient he swore an oath to protect. As anyone who watched courtroom footage could see in his eyes, Conrad Murray will be known as a small man who left behind a big, disreputable, public imprint.

Herman Cain, on the other hand, wants Americans to believe he’s a big man: big in business, principle, stature, and vision. On his campaign website he’s called “the epitome of the American Spirit,” which certainly sounds big, but given his unwillingness to acknowledge that he might have done something questionable, let alone wrong, pizza guy’s public imprint will be small in the end. In contrast to Ginger White, the woman alleging a 13-year-long affair with Cain who has publicly apologized for her part in the scandal and for hurting Cain’s family, Cain himself remains defiant. Just yesterday he vowed to continue his fight, claiming he’s a victim of “character assassination.” So I believe we’ll wind up remembering not the “100% honest” Herman Cain, but Cain the cliché, the self-important, breast grabbing, philandering GOP also-ran.

My point is (and was on the show in a longer-winded version) that both Murray and Cain failed to “get” character when they needed it most, and as a result they’ve “become” characters in history – jokey pop culture references to shitty moral values. And neither man has anyone to blame but himself.

Thanks, David, for the discussion and the opportunity to share my perspective.

Cain Update:  Friday, December 2nd 2011

Herman, to me and countless other Americans whose bullshit detectors aren’t turned off, Pharma fuzzy or bought ‘n paid for, when you talk you, you become a case study in pathology.

The media is out to get you? Somebody’s paying off your accusers to smear your character? Your attorney is workin’ on reestablishing your character, you say?

As previously stated: Get character or become one. You sir, are a genuine idiot. You’re ego is so big you haven’t a clue as to your role in history.