Best of the Black coverage (or, Conrad quaffs America cocktails)
As the Black coverage continues raining down cats and dogs, I can’t help but think that this is the storm before the calm. There’s something all too ephemeral about the endless recitation of grim prison factoids: the mandatory shirt tuck, the khaki trousers, the steel-toed boots, lights out at 11, maximum 15 minutes on the phone, only five books, three magazines and one newspaper at a time, pedophiles for roommates, starchy food, 12 cents an hour…this too shall pass. And then there will be a silence into which everything else will flood—Britney, Obama, Cadman, Schreiber and on and on and on. Amid all the noise, I have found several highlights of today’s coverage (listed below). One item in particular intrigued me. It’s an entry by Michael White on his politics blog at The Guardian. In it he demonstrates the British gift for taking away with the right hand, then taking away more with the left:
I have one relevant anecdote I think is worth repeating today. As a journalist who taps into think tanks to hear clever people spouting ideas, I once attended a dinner given by Dr. Sheila Lawlor. A likable Cambridge don, she runs a free market tank called Politeia in London’s Charing Cross Road.
The room is crowded, and the food is haute cuisine only in the sense of being cooked up five floors. But her dinners can be interesting.
Imagine my surprise on one occasion to find Lord Black slumming it among us proles. He seemed genuinely keen on batting around ideas. As such I remember him contradicting a speaker who was trying to fit American ideas of economic dynamism into the gentler framework of EU social justice.
‘You have to take America as it is, you can’t pick and choose. It’s not a fruit salad, it’s a cocktail,’ he told us.
As dawn breaks over that strange place which is modern Florida today, he will be tucking into that cocktail. But his arrogance seems to protect him from self-pity, which will help sustain him. And, contrary to bitchy predictions, that high-maintenance wife of his seems to be standing by her man.
See what I mean? But nonetheless true. Black had a few too many of those America cocktails and—oy vey schmerz—such a hangover.
• Conrad Black’s American cocktail [The Guardian]• Can Obama break their prison bars? [The Times]• Lucky man who still protests his innocence [The Times]• Conrad’s Last Free Day – The Photos [Maclean’s]• Conrad Black starts sentence [Toronto Star]• Defiant Conrad Black starts life as a prisoner [The Independent]• Unrepentant Conrad Black begins sentence [Chicago Tribune]• Black now makes 12 cents an hour [Chicago Sun-Times]• Media tycoon reports to federal prison [Orlando Sentinel]• Could Bush pardon be Black’s ticket out? [Globe and Mail]• New inmate will face germs, overcrowding and lack of privacy [Globe and Mail]