The Mercy Report
It’s almost too good to be true. This coming Tuesday, Conrad Black will appear in a three-and-a-half-minute skit—taped at his transitory Elba in Palm Beach—in the season premiere of CBC’s Rick Mercer Report. If this seems the least bit alarming or bizarre (as a rule, convicted felons awaiting sentence do well to maintain a low profile in keeping with their newly acquired condition of abject contrition), I have two words by way of explanation: Richard Nixon. Though admittedly it’s all reading tea leaves, seen through the lens of Nixon’s life (so recently treated by Black), his Lordship’s plan for, if not vindication, at least some form of redemption, is there in his explanation of his subject’s comeback from the travails of Watergate.
As Black has suggested in interviews supporting The Invincible Quest, so long as Nixon claimed no criminal wrongdoing while at the same time admitting that “mistakes were made,” the very puritanical streak in American life that condemned him in the first place would see him through in the end. In the face of Nixon’s overall record of public service and, latterly, his performance as an elder statesman, Americans inevitably grew discomfited by the “artificially severe doghouse to which they had consigned him.” And so Black hopes it will be with his various constituencies in Canada, the U.S. and Britain. And what better way to humanize his image than to take the piss out of himself, courtesy of Mercer’s always gentle satire. Just as surely as Nixon went to China, he also visited Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, famously intoning the words “sock it to me.” What impression Black leaves remains to be seen, and yet one thing is sure: Nixon wasn’t too far from his mind in his effort at making it.
Conrad Black to appear on season premiere of The Rick Mercer Report: Source [The Canadian Press]”