American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Quiz Show" (1994)

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Charles Van Doren Testifies Before the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce

Audio mp3 delivered by Ralph Fiennes

Van Doren: I would give almost anything I have to reverse the course of my life in the last year. The past doesn't change for anyone. But at least I can learn from the past.

I've learned a lot about life. I've learned a lot about myself and about the responsibilities any man has to his fellow man. I've learned a lot about good and evil -- they're not always what they appear to be.

I was involved, deeply involved, in a deception. I have deceived my friends, and I have millions of them. I lied to the American people. I lied about what I knew and then I lied about what I did not know. In a sense, I was like a child who refuses to admit a fact in the hope that it will go away.

Of course it did not go away. I was scared, scared to death. I had no solid position, no basis to stand on for my self. There was one way out and that was simply to tell the truth.

It may sound trite to you, but I've found myself again after a number of years. I've been acting a role, maybe all my life, of thinking that I've done more, accomplished more, produced more than I have. I have had all the breaks. I have stood on the shoulders of life, and I've never gotten down into the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own. I have flown too high on borrowed wings. Everything came too easy.

That is why I am here today.

Charles Van Doren


More Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Van_Doren; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/quizshow/peopleevents/pande02.html

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