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The Times’s (London) hyper-Tory columnist William Rees-Mogg thinks that it is, particularly when one considers the layer of stain applied by Fredo:
Americans are well aware of the horrid faults of their legal system, but they still like to think that it is the best in the world. Its abuses include plea bargaining, class actions, Hollywood actions, Guantanamo Bay, racism, elected district attorneys looking for votes, hick justice in states such as Arkansas, federal patronage of prosecutors and judges, the politicisation of the Supreme Court, the squalor and brutality of big federal and state prisons and the aggressive ruthlessness of tax and regulatory authorities.
He’s right that all of these things reflect a sordid atmosphere around American justice–a cross between Savonarola and Dick Cheney. But let us not forget that much of it is the legacy of all the things that Charles Dickens decried in Bleak House, which I was up late last night reading, and on which I will have more to say soon. The concerns are appropriate for our own times, I’m afraid.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”