Almost all the president's men: Mark Felt as Deep Throat
Now, I have nothing against Felt. In fact, like most, I don't know much about him. And if he was in fact Deep Throat, then he deserves our gratitude, his courage our admiration. But there's nonetheless something disappointing about this revelation. Joel Achenbach puts it this way:
The truth is, Deep Throat is more interesting as an enigma, as a Mystery Man. Uncertainty is liberating. In foggy realms our imagination and creativity are unfettered. If D.T. is just a top FBI official, it's a huge letdown. First of all, it'd be better (from a dramatic standpoint) if it was a White House insider, rather than someone in law enforcement. (Why does an FBI agent leaking to a reporter not seem as snazzy as, say, a White House lawyer having a spasm of conscience?) But no matter who D.T. is, he's more interesting when we can project onto him a personality of our choosing... If Mark Felt really is Deep Throat, all we can say is: Oh. Him. Um, now what do we do?
Exactly. Now what? It was so much fun to speculate -- and to hope for a sexier anonymous source, like Rehnquist or Kissinger or Haig or Buchanan. Felt just doesn't arouse as much curiosity. All the President's Men, a fabulous movie, now loses some of its appeal.
Maybe, in the end, Deep Throat was the secret that everyone wanted to uncover that no one really wanted uncovered at all. We all love a mystery, but the payoff rarely lives up to expectations.
UPDATE: Timothy Noah in Slate (with links to his interesting Deep Throat Archive) -- click here.