“We are a nation of laws, not men,” the Second President of the United States famously said. The truth is we are a nation of lawyers
Consider an infamous figure in today’s new: Michael Cohen
The lawyer for the creature currently squatting in the oval office is no Perry Mason. He’s a “fixer” comparable to the one George Clooney played so memorably in Michael Clayton
But before considering Clooney, let’s recall Kafka, by way of Orson Welles
That bit of “pin screen” animation opens Welles’ 1962 film of Kafka’s most famous novel. For reasons that escape me this masterpiece was not well-received in the U.S.
(Though Marty Scorsese is among it fans, paying t copious homage in After Hours)
Welles was a great admirer of —
one of whose most frequently quoted lines can be found in this scene from Henry IV Part 2, Act IV Scene 2
JACK CADE. Valiant I am.
SMITH [aside]. A must needs; for beggary is valiant.
JACK CADE. I am able to endure much.
DICK [aside]. No question of that; for I have seen him whipp’d three market-days together.
JACK CADE. I fear neither sword nor fire.
SMITH [aside]. He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.
DICK [aside]. But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being burnt i’ th’hand for stealing of sheep.
JACK CADE. Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven half-penny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hoop’d pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass: and when I am king,- as king I will be,-
ALL. God save your majesty!
JACK CADE. I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.
DICK. The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
Back to George Clooney and the climactic scene from Michael Clayton in which Tilda can be found playing Michael Cohen avant la lettre (George is Robert Mueller)
Dave Frisberg will sing us out