Conrad Black Still Loves You, America (In Spite of Everything)
I’d joked that this party was going to be “the whitest thing ever,” so imagine my surprise when the first guests I saw were two brown guys and a blind Asian lady and her seeing eye dog.
The two distinguished fellows introduced themselves to me as a Muslim professor and an Indian-born (Christian) doctor, both readers of my blog.
The blind Asian lady, they informed me, was the wife of George Jonas, the Hungarian refugee, race car driver, poet, and pundit who also happens to be Barbara Amiel's -- I mean, Lady Black’s -- (second) ex-husband.
(Jonas literally wrote the book about the Munich Olympics massacre, which formed the basis of Spielberg's 2005 movie. Earlier this year, his wife, Maya Jonas, ran the Boston Marathon and was, thank God, uninjured during the terrorist attack.)
Liberal Toronto brags about how sophisticated and "multicultural" it is, so how ironic, I thought, that the most "multicultural" event I'd attended since moving to the big city in my twenties was a "do" at the home of a supposedly "racist," "fascist" right-wing millionaire.
Then I spotted the painting of Hitler.
Yeah, it was very abstract and postmodern and all that, but that painting -- amongst the very, very many paintings on the living room wall -- it was Hitler, right?
For the sake of my tenuous sanity, I'm grateful that one of the other guests at this party, singer-songwriter Tal Bachman, later independently confirmed my observation.
In fact, Bachman's account of this evening -- and especially his primer on why so many liberals at home and abroad hate Conrad Black and gleefully celebrated his "fall," with some even wishing prison rape upon him -- cannot possibly be improved upon.
"Tall poppy syndrome" has been blamed to the point of banality, but there is a touch more to it than that chronic, crippling Canadian disease, as Bachman explains with admirable economy:
[T]here is something even more Shakespearean about Black's fall from the top of the business world into a cell in a Florida penitentiary.
During the tenure of Prime Minister of Jean Chretien and the Liberal Party, the Canadian Conservative Party was in disarray. To make a long story short, for years, the only real viable national opposition to the ruling Liberal Party was Conrad Black's newspaper, The National Post. And it was the Post which was at the forefront of critiquing -- and exposing scandal in -- the Canadian Liberal Party. Chretien -- a mean, petty, miserable man -- ended up hating the Post, and Black, for just those reasons.
So when the British government offered Black a seat in the House of Lords, Chretien decided to stick it to Black, and in unprecedented fashion -- simply to wound Black personally -- officially objected. The British government, respecting protocols, then withdrew the offer pending Black's adoption of British citizenship -- something only possible if Black renounced his Canadian citizenship. So, that is what Black did. He was then made Lord Black of Crossharbour and given his seat in the upper chamber of the British parliament.
This would come back to haunt Black; having renounced his Canadian citizenship, he had no grounds once convicted to petition to serve his sentence in the much laxer Canadian prison system -- after all, though he'd been born in Canada, he was no longer a Canadian.
How his enemies manage to sustain their spittle-flecked fury at the man I really have no idea, especially when I watch things like this -- a segment taped as part of the Canadian equivalent of The Daily Show.