Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories
This morning’s barrage left me pondering two separate, though not entirely unrelated, notions. First, Godwin’s Law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies ), which states that the longer a discussion goes on, the greater the probability that a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler will arise. Second, the theory of cognitive dissonance, a psychological term that describes the tension resulting from having two conflicting thoughts simultaneously, or engaging in behaviour that’s contradictory to one’s own beliefs.
The example of Godwin’s Law is Conrad Black telling the Star’s Rick Westhead that he wouldn’t have dinner with him on account of his being too friendly with “those Nazis” (i.e., the prosecution). As for cognitive dissonance, I was struck by former Torys lawyer Beth DeMerchant’s assertion that she was “pressed” by Hollinger International’s internal investigators to admit that Jack Boultbee and Peter Atkinson had added themselves to non-compete agreements so they would benefit illicitly from the CanWest deal. Isn’t one lawyer feeling pressured by another sort of like an Indy driver complaining to officials that the guy who just passed him was speeding? Pressing people is what lawyers do. And as for Black calling the prosecutors Nazis—a clear violation of Godwin’s Law (even Mark Steyn agrees)—one wonders what the result might be if the shoe were on the other foot.
Black’s not talking (to me) [Toronto Star]Memo points to direct role in payments [Chicago Tribune]Lawyer says she was pressed by investigators [National Post]Meet the Pressed [Maclean’s]