Its an ongoing comedy that says much more about the nature of Canadians than the actual facts surrounding the issue. Its the incongruous image of the American notion of “a gentler kinder people” and the appalling violence of the national pastime, Hockey, with its suicides and concussions. There is hot blood in the colder climes amid a divisive battle over national identity and economics.Rather than just seeing Conrad Black as an unattractive figure who took advantage of shareholders and the companies he oversaw; its more imperative to examine the ways in which the very functioning of the large scale corporate world encourages, aids and abets some of the more appalling of human nature, and seems to elevate basically mediocre and not overly original characters like Black into the realm of power and influence. But, in a society with a tenuous grip on social justice, a small sacrifice like Black is a bit of a guilty pleasure, though in all honesty he is a compelling individual if absurd, in that his advocacy of right-wing ideology; essentially the name neo-Thatcher system in Egypt, Tunisia and Israel is proving unsustainable in the wake of social inequality in those countries as well as the backdraft reaching here.
…one of the most powerful arguments for religious socialism, again, relates not to economic policy, but to simple existential choices. the dalay lama said “man sacrifices his health in order to make money. then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. and then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”…
Stephen Marche:But of course Black does not really matter. He will never have the sway he once possessed over public life. As a writer, he’s not particularly bad but not good enough to write something that might alter public debate. Black matters only insofar as we make him matter, and so his treatment reveals more about us than him. Black’s conviction has inspired a seismic — and pathetic — national response of unprecedented malevolence. The German word schadenfreude — taking joy in cruelty — doesn’t begin to do justice to it. The past few years, the response to Black has been continuous shuddering celebration at his misfortunes. Maybe schadenorgasmen is the right word. The black bloc, too, enrages us beyond all reason. Canada is an interesting nation when it comes to civil rights. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms may be the model of liberal values, but we also seem quite comfortable suspending those values under mild threats, as during the FLQ crisis and the G20. (Despite several enquiries launched into the police actions at the summit, the appetite for punishing cops is negligible.)
Both Black and the black bloc are more aesthetic threats than real ones. We can all agree that the appropriateness of non-compete payments is perhaps not the single most pressing concern of the financial world at the moment. Black has brought this reaction on himself, by just being his iconic pompous self. Anarchists, too, are not really a threat to the functioning of democratic capitalism, or anything else — except maybe their parents’ legal bills.Both are irrelevant, but in a revealing way. Their criminal pageants show just how vindictive and petty and savage the Canadian middle class can be when threatened. Our hate runs deep and true. Anyone who believes that Canadians are mild mannered has only to poke them the smallest bit to learn their mistake. Read More:http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/839680–the-conrad-black-black-bloc-connection
… So he packs a night bag and heads back to prison. A pilgrimage of sorts. There is an Eastern European story by Nachman of Bratzlav about an individual who embarked on a long journey. After arriving at his destination, what he found there was what he had brought with him from home. There are similar stories in different traditions. It raises the question as to the inherent purpose and value of a pilgrimage; the pilgrimage to build a business empire, to attain great social standing, to influence the lives of millions. Is it all an obsessive compulsive form of escapism?
There is another story to that portends the end of capitalism if we are to herald in a messianic age. Who knows, maybe Black is just a chosen message that rebuts the belief in ideological conservatism and its fetish for hierarchy, elitism and flamboyant indulgences laced with autocratic gestures. What Walter Benjamin called the fascist aesthetization of politics which would be responded to by a communist politicization of art. The Conrad Black vision is similar to the Italian Futurists avoided political realities by understanding war as an aesthetic phenomenon; and armed conflict as a response to economic collapse from a bom and bust financial system- This is a new architecture, a symphony, an act where Lady Black , Barbara Amiel can morph from Trotskyite into an equal demise as cheerleader for reactionary right-wing icons. Ultimately, we see this amusing couple’s story as anything but the horror and the political event it is and the forces they try to represent and incarnate:
rabbi yehuda leib halevi ashlag (1884-1954) argues that the messianic age will be characterized by the diminishing of the ego and of its principal activity manifested as ‘me’ and ‘mine’. the messianic age will be the replacement of the ego by a new spiritual sense of overwhelming love for one’s neighbors, in which rather than receiving and accumulating, the principal activity will be giving and sharing. ashlag called this a faith-based-altruistic-anarcho-communism. this brings up three separate issues: 1. the need to prepare spiritually to usher that age of messianic redemption. 2. the need to begin to implement the messianic age in the here-and-now if we hope to be able to prepare spiritually for it. 3. the continued understanding of spirituality and capitalism as two opposed paradigms of social and spiritual life. the extent to which we still agree and acquiesce with living in a society organized on the foundations of creating and distributing capital, we will need to continue to be fully dependent on our ego-identities, body-mind. if that identity is a radical misunderstanding, as buddhism argues, then our lives are presently lived in un-truth. this is one fundamental reason why personal transformation depends on the buberian understanding that the personal and the social are not two separate realms, that for the purpose of transformation, they are one and the same.( Hune at martin Buber Dialogical ) http://dialogicalecology.blogspot.com/2011/08/im-working-on-reader-that-will-include.html
Maybbe Conrad is a paradox equivalent to Shroedinger
s cat where he advocates economic and political ideologies which are both dead and alive:
On June 7 of 1935, Erwin Schroedinger wrote to Albert Einstein to congratulate him on what is now known as the EPR paper, a famous problem in the interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Soon thereafter, he published what was to become one of the most celebrated paradoxes in quantum theory: Schroedinger’s Cat
A cat is placed in a box, together with a radioactive atom. If the atom decays, and the geiger-counter detects an alpha particle, the hammer hits a flask of prussic acid (HCN), killing the cat. The paradox lies in the clever coupling of quantum and classical domains. Before the observer opens the box, the cat’s fate is tied to the wave function of the atom, which is itself in a superposition of decayed and undecayed states. Thus, said Schroedinger, the cat must itself be in a superposition of dead and alive states before the observer opens the box, “observes” the cat, and “collapses” it’s wave function.
But why did this couple turn out this way? Better yet, does it really matter, and why should we care? And what does this couple tell us about the Canadian psyche?
Maybe the most telling bit of information comes from biographer, George Toombs, who wrote, “he was born into a very large family of athletic, handsome people. He wasn’t particularly athletic or handsome like they were, so he developed a different skill—wordplay, which he practised a lot with his father.”
It’s no stretch to see Black’s rebellion and later towering arrogance as a cover-up for this childhood sense of inferiority, in the same way that Amiel’s excessive ambition became the mask for her own humble beginnings.
Ironically (and that word seems to fit the Blacks’ story like a glove), both of these psychologically insecure Canadian media intellectuals are now shunned in the two countries from which they sought the greatest recognition—the United States and England. Conrad will never be allowed back into the U.S. once his prison term has been served, and neither of the Blacks is likely to be received back into British high society.
No matter how one slices it, these striving Canadians were just not good enough. Read More:http://geraldmceachern.blogspot.com/2011/06/black-archetypes-of-canadian-psyche.html
Jonathan Kay:Thanks to the massive retainers demanded by lawyers, the couple flirted with insolvency at several junctures, and sometimes relied on emergency loans from friends. At one point, there was just $20 in their Palm Beach bank account, and even the local news-agent started demanding cash up-front for newspaper subscriptions. Amid the hardship, Amiel was unceremoniously turfed from columnist jobs in Canada and the U.K., her brand evidently suffering by conjugal association. “It was shabby, and would have been humiliating, if I were not now almost beyond humiliation,” Mr. Black reports. …Outright name-calling abounds. A shareholder activist, for instance, is dismissed as “effete” and “bitchy.” Mr. Black’s prosecutors have “dirty” minds. His prospective jurors were “monosyllabic and listless” — with one woman singled out as “gigantic” and “mustachioed.” A Hollinger vice-president is described as “porcine” and “puffy,” with tiny spectacles “like those of a Stalin apparatchik.” The photographers covering his trial were “like a great mass of Jurassic rodents, grunting and heaving.” (For want of space, I will leave out the lengthy savaging of Peter Newman, which might just be the most scathing words ever permitted passage by the general counsel of a Canadian publishing house.) Some of these lines made me laugh when I read them. But I felt somewhat guilty for doing so, and wondered whether, in the fullness of time, Mr. Black might come to regret giving such full voice to an embittered spirit. Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/09/03/jonathan-kay-on-conrad-black-and-his-new-book-a-man-in-full-pay-back-mode/