Wednesday, December 1, 2021

He’s baaaack! Lessons from the Smollett case

Ufizzi Gallery, Florence
     Has the law ever been compared to a dim cat? No? Good, then let me be the first. Waking Monday morning to see the dead mouse of the Jussie Smollett case dropped on our collective pillow is a reminder not only of walnut-brained felines, but that when Hamlet lists the reasons to kill himself, “the law’s delay” is No. 2, right after the pangs of unrequited love.
     Almost three years. Longer than COVID-19, and COVID-19 feels like forever. You’d think it should be done by now. But no. He’s baaaaack.
     Given that a trial is going on, journalistic convention discourages me from endorsing either of the two possible narratives: A) That Smollett was the victim of this strange racist/homophobic attack committed by a pair of his employees, as the defense now suggests. Or B) Smollett himself paid his two associates $3,500 — by check, since we are not dealing with Lex Luthor here — to stage the attack in some kind of cracked effort to boost his profile and hence his salary.
     I’m not publicly endorsing one or the other. Let’s just say I believe the one that doesn’t require a suspension of common sense. While we’re waiting for the jury to choose, no one can fault us, the unwilling audience, if we pass the time by trying to extract a bit of benefit out of this waste by noting three of the general lessons illustrated here.
     1) Don’t lie. Lying is a trap. Alas, the same sort of person who fabricates stuff also lacks the fortitude to admit it when caught. And so it continues.
     We’ve seen this on a national scale as the election fraud lie of Donald Trump has become the bedrock belief of the Republican Party. Worse than merely a lie, it’s a flimsy lie. They obviously don’t really believe the election was stolen from them in some amorphous way they can’t explain, never mind prove. If they actually believed that, why vote at all?
     Rather, it’s just the lie they use to grease the skids of their bad behavior to fool themselves, if nobody else. The way Smollett is ignoring the fact that at one point he did community service — not the usual route taken by victims of hate crime — before Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s special alternate system of justice for TV stars came to light and the matter was taken out of her hands and given to a special prosecutor.

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  1. Yep, this case was handled poorly from the beginning. But lest we forget the Daley family member who clocked a kid half his size. Kid gloves by the prosecution, law enforcement "special handling", and selective outrage that suited perceived purposes. That seems to fit both cases.

  2. Fabricating a serious hate crime) deserves the maximum penalty. I hope Jussie Smollett gets majorly fined and ordered to pay restitution to the city, and does some jail time. And after he's done all that, here's hoping that Fox, and every other studio, won't hire him to clean their rest rooms. That's what he deserves...a career that becomes burnt toast. We already have enough real hate crimes without having to sort through phony ones.

    Throw the book at the dude, and throw it so hard that it bounces off his thick skull and leaves a dent in the courtroom wall. But I expect nothing of the sort will happen. Slick lawyers will cut a deal. He'll get a slap on the wrist. And then he'll walk, after which he'll pull some strings, get another lucrative job, and laugh all the way home. These entertainment-industry clowns always get the last laugh on the rest of us.

    1. I think he's "toast" already. And if he has any money left after all this litigation, the lawyers should be kicked out of whatever bar association they're members of. On the other hand, if they get him off, they're made men/women for sure.


  3. Smollett's behavior brings to mind what Sir Walter Scott said about fabricators: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

    But bringing Trump into the matter evokes an addendum by that great poet Anonymous:

    "But when we've practiced quite a while,
    How vastly we improve our style."



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