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Black letters

The Conrad Black trial has inspired a deluge of letters to the editor at The Globe and Mail. The following are some of the letters that have been published recently.

Globe and Mail Update

Clouds are lonely things
March 27
The ex-friends of Conrad Black who glugged his champagne and munched his canapés were not the first ones to abandon their Maecenas (Lord's Tale Whets The Lips Of London's Tipplers And Tattlers -- March 26). Ovid (43 BC-AD c. 17) knew that very well when he wrote while in exile: Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos; tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris -- as long as you are happy, you will have many friends; if the weather turns cloudy, you will be alone.
William D. Dorian, Toronto


Get rich shemes
March 24
Re Black Dismisses Briton's Gatsby Analogy (March 23): Gatsby or not, the cost of Conrad Black's trial proves F. Scott Fitzgerald right: The rich are different from you and me.
George A. James, Port Hope, Ont.


Get rich shemes
March 24
Perhaps it would be helpful to assist Christie Blatchford in understanding the concept of non-compete payments, as they "make not much sense" to her (The Real Deal Behind Trial Terminology -- March 22). In supposing that business owners sell because they are "fed up to the gills" and want to get out, she ignores one of the main reasons for non-competes. There's a good chance someone would want to sell a business that has grown substantially for capital to be used to start up a bigger one, hence the need to protect the buyer from potential competition.

Her example of her cleaning lady, Elizabeth, isn't far off. In this context, a non-competition payment would protect her cleaning lady from the possibility that, with money saved by no longer paying her if their agreement were terminated, Ms. Blatchford could purchase a repertoire of advanced cleaning products enabling her to become a superior cleaner and compete with Elizabeth for other clients.
Nick Tory, Victoria


Class clash?
March 23
I often enjoy Christie Blatchford's hard-hitting, blunt commentary on court cases, but her admitted respect for former colleague Barbara Amiel apparently has clouded her judgment (Two Viewpoints, Two Approaches, But Ultimately Only One Winner — March 21).

Ms. Blatchford's description of the 14 women jurors and alternates in the Black case ("each of whose thighs appears to weigh more than all of Barbara Amiel on a fat day, many garbed in the improbably cheerful colours ... of this continent's big-box malls") is a low blow that oversteps the bounds of critical commentary and should have had no place outside the pages of the gutter press.
Stephen Kilburn, Guelph, Ont.


Class clash?
March 23
Admittedly, all I know about law, I learned watching Perry Mason, but it seems to me one is entitled to a trial by a jury of one's peers. Shouldn't Lord Black's jury be made up of businessmen with a net worth of no less than $1-million, instead of the group described by Ian Brown (Taking On The New Gods Of Governance -- March 21) as looking "like a slightly grumpy bus tour"? When it comes to the clash of the classes, Conrad Black is in much the same position as the proverbial camel facing the eye of the needle.
David Lee, Toronto


Class clash?
March 23
Is there anyone out there, except for journalists, who thinks there will be a spring election, or has anything but a passing interest in the Black trial? Or even cares?
Leon De Beer, Mississauga, Ont.


Black and blue
March 21
That budget stuff was all very interesting, of course, but the real hot news was below the fold on the front page. I couldn't help but read the whole gossipy story, as we are all wont to do whenever Conrad and Barbara ake the news. I was left with some vague meme floating around in the back of my ind. Something about pots and kettles and Blacks.
Peter G. Mantha, Point Edward, Ont.


Black and blue
March 21
The pressure on Conrad Black appears to be taking a toll, ccording to Christie Blatchford's report of his elevator banter (Ermine, Vermin And The Sluts In Chicago — March 20). It is difficult to imagine his lordship splitting a common infinitive ("to breathlessly report"). Perhaps this grammatical faux pas was the cause of Barbara Amiel's appalling outburst.
Bill Kummer, Newmarket, Ont.


Brown, Black and red
March 19
The insightful Ian Brown at the Black trial — what an inspired choice! I'm looking forward to his rating of the jury members in order of their hotness.
John O'Brien, Vancouver


Brown, Black and red
March 19
On the front page of your St. Patrick's Day edition, I read that Ian Brown refers to Conrad Black as the Lord of Logorrhea. Sounds like a creation of the Irish peerage to me.
Fred Kirk, Vancouver


Brown, Black and red
March 19
Note to Ian Brown: "Fissiparous" times "homologistic meiosis" does not equal clarity. (Maybe he's just fallen victim to the Stockholm Syndrome.)
John Lorinc, Toronto


Brown, Black and red
March 19
Women have come a long way in the past 100 years. We can now vote, go to university, and become lawyers and judges. But we still have a huge battle to fight: Men still see women as mere sexual objects. I was shocked and insulted by Ian Brown's sexist report of the Conrad Black trial (Why Lord Black Is Loquacious No More -- front page, March 17). In "checking out the babes of the Black courtroom," for example, Mr. Brown describes one of the prosecutors as a "tall, dark Chicagoan antelope."

The female players of the Black case are not simply there for the men to stare at. They are smart, serious professionals who are good at what they do. In the legal profession, women have to work twice as hard as their male colleagues in order to succeed. While male lawyers are celebrated for their intelligence and hard work, female lawyers are noticed for their sex appeal.

The female players at this trial may be part of the twisted sex fantasies of many men. But that doesn't mean it's acceptable to promote it in the service of journalistic truth.
Aryana Rousseau, Montreal


Man bites dog?
March 16
The hundreds of column inches on Conrad Black's trial are full of "dog bites man" stories. For example: Lady Black was "dressed in a pantsuit" (No Peer To Be Seen Amid Jury Pool — March 15). For real news from the Windy City, we need: "Conrad Black wore a skirt and was seen getting out of a car with Britney Spears."
Charles Cook, Toronto


Contempt of courthouse
March 15
Ian Brown succeeded in finding a new angle to the much-covered trial of Conrad Black with his article Courthouse Offers Black A Silent Rebuke (front page, March 14), but to suggest that the courthouse architecture is on the prosecution's side is a reach. You could equally argue that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's use of rational thought and intellectual discipline in his designs will support the elegantly logical arguments expected to be advanced by the defence. Or should the two Eddies insist on a rococo courthouse?
Michael Derblich, Toronto


Contempt of courthouse
March 14
As a concerned member of the Mohawk Nation of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, I feel great compassion for a courageous man (The Battle Of Black — Focus, March 10). We Iroquois admire the warrior spirit that is propelling Conrad Black in his fight against blatant tyranny and self-righteous prosecutors. The sole purpose for this attack on Lord Black is to create a world dominated by Pax Americana.

Lord Black was picked as a target because he is a smart, intellectual historian; his mind sees the vast panorama of world history, how kingdoms rise and fall. He is a formidable enemy of the anti-intellectual elite. It is frightening to see how these master manipulators have isolated the man, how they've tried and convicted him in the press.

In 1812, the Mohawk and other Iroquois Nations stood shoulder to shoulder with the British and pushed back the American onslaught against Canada. This is a repeat of that war. It is as if the Americans had captured General Isaac Brock and taken him to the U.S. for court-martial.
Frank Taiotekane Horn, Akwesasne, Ont.


Not a lawyer joke
March 13
Conrad Black has one thing going for him (Greenspan Rounds Into Fighting Form — March 12): Two Eds are better than one.
Stewart Fisher, Campbellville, Ont.


Good luck, Conrad
March 8
The picture of four Conrad Black prosecutors posing in the Law & Order stance (front page — March 7) says a lot about the motivation for the trial: Attack somebody famous, get your picture taken often, make a book deal, go into private practice. Sound familiar?
Les McIlroy, Toronto


Good luck, Conrad
March 8
I don't know Lord Black well, but well enough to observe he is a gentleman, and has probably done as much or more for the newspaper-reading public as any other tycoon in his field(Chicago Judge Warns Media To Behave — March 7). He may be seen as arrogant and rich, but that is not a crime — so was Pierre Trudeau and he was revered, despite what he did to the economy. Good luck, Lord Black.
E.A. Morgan, Port Williams, N.S.


Black to the past
March 3
None of your correspondents has identified the main reason why Lord Black and his problems hold such a fascination for us. The answer is a mixture of secret admiration and envy of his classic and elegant portrayal of a 19th-century baron doing things his way and challenging the slings and arrows of his outrageous misfortune. He may yet meet his downfall in the 21st century, but his greatest mistake may be that he was born 100 years too late.
Van Sommerfeld, Ottawa


Black depths
March 2
It's March, and it's still cold with more snow coming. Your epigamic report fails to recognize the kind of political specifics middle-class Canadians prefer: Does Lord Black talk with his mouth full?
Roman Jarymowtcz, Beaconsfield, Que.


Black depths
March 2
Given the amount of space accorded to gratuitous coverage of Conrad Black in yesterday's front section, one has to conclude The Globe's view of the importance of Lord Black is approaching the perspective of Conrad Black himself.
Norbert Foese, Vancouver


Black depths
March 2
Patricia Best writes: "Still, he [Black] is buoyed by quotidian encounters, such as the one with an African-American U.S. immigration officer who looked at his file and then said, perplexed by the fuss it was causing, 'But you haven't been convicted of anything!'"

I fail to see the relevance as to whether the officer was African American or, for that matter, any other racial group.
Dennis Jelinski, Victoria, B.C.


Black depths
March 2
The Globe and Mail has finally joined the ranks of such luminary media institutions as Larry King Live on CNN in succumbing to the popular trend of making vanity and gossip a front-page sensation (My Dinner With Conrad — March 1). You created a platform for Conrad Black to garner sympathy in advance of a criminal proceeding. Give me a break — a major part of the front page and a full page inside reporting on a dinner few Canadians can afford and many African children could feast on? Welcome to Vanity Mail.
Arnon Zohar, Toronto


Daring to dream
February 28
Conrad Black is a Canadian icon, a visionary who dared to dream a dream larger than our borders and accomplished it. Margaret Wente deserves credit for her recent column, What's Up Conrad's Sleeve (Feb. 26). Finally, some Canadian media reports seem to be at least considering the possibility that Mr. Black is not guilty of the ever-increasing, more obviously baseless charges levelled against him.

If Mr. Black is acquitted, will the media report on the injustices done to him with the full vigour and force with which they have reported his supposed misdeeds? I say, fight on Lord Black, many Canadians continue to watch you with respect and admiration.
Michael M. Kowalson, Winnipeg


Black to the future
February 27
Like him or not, Lord Black adds welcome colour to the Canadian scene (What's Up Conrad's Sleeve? — Feb. 24). Who else would look forward to battling with the U.S. Justice Department over allegations of misconduct? If his books and columns are anything to judge by, the officials have a formidable opponent. Perhaps we can look forward to reading Conrad Black's own account in a future book after it is all over. If so, I am reminded of an epigram ascribed to Hilaire Belloc: 
    When I am dead,
    I hope it may be said,
    His sins were scarlet,
    but his books were read.
Peter Wallis, Medicine Hat, Alta.


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