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Stuck in denial page 2
Former University of Mary Washington President William Frawley should stop blaming others

Date published: 12/5/2007


Originally, Mr. Frawley blamed his ills on an overdose of cough medicine. In the Post piece, he transformed that substance, Messiah-like, to wine--which, he suggests, mixed disastrously with his allergy prescription. Mr. Frawley, a linguist, in the Post uses the vocabulary of the health profession--"no apparent consideration for my illness," "undiagnosed depression," "[n]ew heart problems and allergies," "stress," "my history of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, an electrical problem of the heart," "[my] still-sedated state," "the feeling that I was about to have a breakdown or a heart attack," etc.--to evade personal responsibility for his reckless actions.

Even his two dramatic car accidents he half writes off to mere misfortune: (1) In Fairfax, on a strange, winding road, "I went off a curve and flipped the car," while (2) approaching Fredericksburg, "I hit a pothole and blew a tire but continued on, sleepless and disoriented." No mention that being high as a kite on vino--he registered a BAC more than 21/2 times the legal limit in Fairfax--might have precipitated the mishaps.

In his essay, what's more, Mr. Frawley says hardly a word about the harm his "meltdown" did to UMW, which holds dear a reputation forged by devoted leaders over decades, and which now, amid a search for a new president, is described by a past one in a leading American newspaper as an institution governed by Captain Blighs. What's more, it was the people of Greater Fredericksburg that Mr. Frawley both served and ill served, not those of Dulles and Cabin John. Why did he not make his case in these pages?

Mr. Frawley holds an English degree and was an arts-and-sciences dean at George Washington University. He must know the Greek tragedies, all of which boil down to a single moral, an ineluctable lesson from which none among our all-fallen race is exempt: Character is destiny.

Let us earnestly hope that Bill Frawley, a brilliant man who has suffered hellfire, is destined for higher things than the blamesmanship of a lesson unlearned.

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