You might be familiar with Dexter, the fictional sociopathic killer with the heart of gold whose life is a constant struggle with his so-called "dark passenger."
Dexter keeps his inner nasty twin (sort of a Super-Id, actually) in check by getting a job as a blood-spatter pattern analyst with the Miami Police Department, thus getting all kinds of insider info on some truly evil guys and gals even nastier than himself. Sometimes he slips up and gets caught torturing and killing his fellow psychos. But, like any sociopath worth his salt, he can fast-talk his way out of pickles that would have a normal person fired or imprisoned or even dead.
So here's a pop quiz: In what episode did Dexter tell his bosses that all his mistakes and transgressions were contained in a mysterious black box in an unknown location, thinking that this excuse might actually fly? And lo and behold, it flew? The brass actually believed his bullshit, because that is just how convincingly good this guy is?
The correct answer is N/A. Because the black box story actually comes from the fervid mind of disgraced fictional broadcaster Brian Williams. And his bosses apparently believed it, because he just got another job at the network after the whole world assumed he was toast.
Brian Williams is the corporate media version of Dexter. He got caught slaying the truth, he got sent to the naughty chair for his serial prevarication and extreme narcissism, and now he's back doing some pretend-penance at the MSNBC halfway house for disgraced news-readers. It's as if Dexter got demoted to sharing lab space with some underlings after deliberately tampering with evidence in a whole slew of major felony cases while accidentally disappearing a few perps while he was at it. The Establishment -- the media state, the police state, the congressional state -- is always in need of useful corrupt idiots offering their services for a very steep price.
Like any Superego veering toward the wrong side of the psychopath scale, Williams has a preternatural gift for separating himself from his own Dark Passenger. In an NBC inquisition conducted by his good friend Matt Lauer, he actually blamed his (alter) ego rather than himself for his mendacity. The guy who tortured the facts for years grotesquely proclaimed himself a victim of torture as he was banished from public view into solitary luxury confinement for four whole oppressive months.
He was even able to summon up a sincere-looking stream of nervous perspiration, which barely made a rivulet down his perfectly pancaked face as he clasped his hands in silent prayer -- in solidarity, I suppose, with all the other elite political hypocrites now holding their own prayerful vigils for victims of our latest mass slaughter... at the same time that they champion everyone's right to open-carry.
He pleaded that he'd always told his stories correctly before his Dark Passenger told them incorrectly. He summoned up enough ham acting skills to not let his natural glibness get too much in the way of behaving like a chastened human being during the friendly interview. Despite some telltale efforts of his Dark Ego to burst back on the surface, he played the part of "Brian Williams Raw" just capably enough to let New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley urge viewers to please give the guy a break already and let's all move on. The multimillionaire entertainer/torture victim/truth torturer has already suffered enough! The fact that he couldn't even make eye contact with his interviewer doesn't mean he won't be able to look a studio camera right in the eye to read headlines. So it's all good. Maybe he can slow-jam the news again, as ably as he apparently fast-talked his network bosses into letting him back in the fold.
Was there ever really an alternate ending to this horror show?
At least they finally kicked Dexter off the air for good.