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By Paul Russell
5/20/2003 6:30:07 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include 2Pac.

Comes from an article titled "Tupacs Revenge on Bennet":

IT is almost too perfect that Las Vegas, the city where Tupac Shakur was murdered in 1996, would be the undoing of William Bennett.

In 1995, Mr. Bennett, serving as America's self-appointed cultural commissar, made a target of Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and other practitioners of gangsta rap. They were public enemy No. 1 in his relentless battle against what he was fond of calling "the filth, sewage and mindless bloodletting of the popular entertainment industry." Mr. Bennett was above such vulgarity. He had been secretary of education. He had attacked the National Endowment for the Arts for perpetrating junk. He had anthologized Plato and Aesop in "The Book of Virtues."

But the guy just couldn't keep away from Vegas. It was there and in Atlantic City that he plied the gambling habit that has made him comic relief for a grateful nation in the two weeks since The Washington Monthly and Newsweek first exposed his $8 million, decade-long history of losses. Many of the gags, though, miss the point. Mr. Bennett's embarrassment is seen by late-night comics and Washington alike as a strictly personal humiliation: Mr. Virtue, in a farcical belly flop out of "Tartuffe," is caught sinning. But for those of us who think gambling isn't a sin so much as a potential illness, there is a different and even greater payoff in Mr. Bennett's downfall. The puncturing of his dishonest public persona is a huge nail in the coffin of the disgraceful national culture wars in which he served as a particularly vicious commanding general during the 1980's and 1990.

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