Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More On Where’s My Roy Cohn And A Little On Citizen Cohn


‪Haven't seen the flick, but with their purple prose, "K" and "Me" make a caricature of Cohn.  Well, he was a caricature of himself, too.  I suggest you view or re-view James Woods' Cohn, to get a more three-dimensional look.  If McCarthy weren't his Prince, then Cohn might be just another pitbull litigator, depending on your view of aggressive lawyers.  For more perspective, see Woods as Danny Davis, in Indictment: The McMartin Trial.  Both stories are chilling.  Compare and contrast Cohn with Darrow, Rogers, Nizer, Belli, Balley, who had their vices.  Or maybe Cohn the political hit man is more interesting than Cohn the lawyer. ‬

‪I'm reminded of the history of labor relations.  For a long time workers with grievances were mugged by company goons.  Then unions got their own muscle, and companies had to listen.  Of course, that muscle inevitably came from gangsters, who used union pension funds to finance their projects or launder their money, like Las Vegas and Miami Beach.  But that's what it took to level the playing field for the worker.  Prosecutors have an outfit behind them.  Some lawyers have their own outfits.  Hey, it's the adversarial system!  Fun and games with justice.‬


‪I can’t go along with my prose as purple, but we could saw it off as mauve.‬

‪I’ll check out, try to, the James Woods flick, Citizen Cohn. And I’ll try to check out Indictment: The McMartin Trial. ‬

‪Good counterfactual point about what would Cohn have amounted to if he hadn’t worked for McCarthy. But he did and then he did what he did, so really there’s no need for supposin’.‬

‪The US yesteryear practice of law was pretty wild and wooly and the guys you list were larger than life and had their share of shenanigans. But except for Bailey, I’m unaware of any of the rest of them stealing from their clients and bullet proofing themselves so as to be immune from money judgments. I know Belli went broke while prosecuting a class action against Dow Corning after it did. But that’s not a comparable thing. ‬

‪And while Conrad Black is right to complain loudly and bitterly at the power US prosecutors have and how unethically they often wield it, what with gross overcharging and so on and having a near infinite list of laws and regulations to choose from, my impression is that civil litigation and criminal defense work in the US isn’t anything like what it was in the time of Darrow or Rogers. That Cohn and Bailey got disbarred is a sign of the changes, and those disbarments were some years ago. Cohn seems to me to outstrip all these guys in the way of wrong doing. He seems in a class by himself. And the doc didn’t do a a good job, as I argue, in making his evil vivid. ‬

‪Btw, we Canucks are pikers in the way of unlawful legal shenanigans. Our most prominent lawyers past and present are church mice compared to your guys. ‬


‪Hey, we just watched Citizen Cohn. It’s good. You’re so right that it gives a more rounded, “three dimensional,” picture of Cohn. I learned some things the doc never showed. It’s better than the doc in that. I think the doc is weak in any event as I’ve noted. But I make this point: in presenting a more rounded Cohn, the movie doesn’t veer in attitude from what the doc tries, not so well, to show—Cohn as unmitigatedly evil. In fact, the movie does what the doc doesn’t: give a vivid and dramatic version of his evil, however rounded its depiction of him is. So if the charge of purple (or in my case mauve) prose goes to K and I vilifying Cohn by over the top words in describing his rotten soullessness, well, the movie makes the case for those colors in language, purple, mauve, being apt.  ‬

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