Saturday, September 7, 2019

This might not be the outrage Patti expected, but it’ll have to do

     Friday was the rare day I had two columns in the paper, the second being a quick hit ordered up in response to Patti Blagojevich shaking her fist at the heavens for the unfairness of life. A few readers found this harsh, feeling pity for Patti and her fractured family. They might not realize that it was her father, Dick Mell, who inflicted Blago on the state in the first place, as a wedding present. She had plenty of opportunity to spare him, and herself, and us, this endless drama. Sympathy is misplaced.

Coincidence can be a satirist.
 A reader sent in this, which ran
 in the paper the same day. 

     Oh, Patti. Do you really not get it? After all these years? You “cannot even wrap” your head around former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, having his indictment dismissed while your hubby is seven years into his 14-year prison term? (That is, assuming Donald Trump, friend of frauds and crooks, doesn’t commute his sentence as a big wink to his cronies that he has their back.)
     Shall I explain it then? OK.
     First, Schock’s acts were penny-ante — Super Bowl tickets and fudged expense reports. It was not trying to sell a seat to the United States Senate, and doing a botched job at that. The harm of a crime matters — a guy who takes a sledgehammer to Michelangelo’s Pieta is in more trouble than somebody doing the same to a plaster Elvis. Both guys are swinging hammers. Schock got a fancy office; Illinois got Sen. Roland Burris. Those are not equal harms.
     Second, Schock played ball with the feds. He cut a deal. He did not prance and preen and glory in the attention, the way your husband did. He did not go on “Dancing with the Stars.”
     Not that Rod didn’t have a point. Sure, he only did the kind of horse-trading politicians do. But into an open FBI tap he knew was there.
     Third, what makes you believe the legal system is fair? Murderers walk while mopes sit in stir for decades over a $50 stick-up. Dan Rostenkowski committed petty thefts over postage stamps and office chairs — and ended up in the joint. (Taking it, I might add, with far more grace than Rod, who practically had to have his hands pried off the radiator as they dragged him to prison, like Jimmy Cagney going to the chair in “Angels with Dirty Faces.”)

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  1. Wow. I see this as a kindness rather than a slap in the face. It was explained to me once that criticism should often be seen as caring. The simple act of expending the energy is a sign of caring enough to find the truth and share it with you. Silence is apathy.
    Or it is just a great premise for a newspaper columnm.
    My guess is the latter.
    But I could be wrong.....

  2. Schock was a two bit congressman, one of 435.
    Blago was the governor of the 5th most populous state & a phony populist, if there ever was one!
    There's a huge difference between the two.

  3. Judy, Judy, Judy. If you had gotten a few more Republican women to vote for you, Illinois would have been spared all this turmoil and shame.


  4. Great column, Neil. It's perhaps worth nothing that Blago's first trial ended in a hung jury because of one goofball holdout juror. This was enough to convince Blago that he had such irresistible appeal that no jury would ever convict him. So he spurned all deals, insisted on a second trial, and of course sank like the rocks in his head.

    This is tangential, but regarding the ending of "Angels with Dirty Faces" you linked to: If I ever get executed, I will pitch a bitch just like Cagney's character did. Talk about a situation where you don't have to care what anyone thinks of you...

    1. Cagney's character supposedly goes apeshit in order to "scare straight" the young thugs who idolize him and want to emulate him. But it's left uncertain whether or not he really put on an "act" or turned "chicken" in his final moments on the way to the chair. The authorities, the press, and the viewer are also left wondering, which only serves to show how superb Cagney's performances really are.

      In the early Sixties,I discovered his Thirties gangster films on WGN-TV, when I was in eighth grade. I couldn't get enough of them. They still hold up well, and as an actor, he still blows me away. Cagney was one of the all-time greats.

  5. Oops. I meant "it's perhaps worth noting."

    Although, who knows, maybe it's worth nothing too.

  6. I’ve always found it fascinating that Blago who seems as narcissistic as the current President was able to find such a devoted partner. To be fair, He had he was “ caught” on some of the government wiretaps in private conversations with Patty being as sweet and loving as anyone could want from their spouse. This should once again serve as a reminder that fidelity in your marriage isn’t often related to fidelity to the public. Though if even your wife won’t hold your hand (looking at you Melania) the public should run as far away as possible!


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