We're referring to the silence from The New York Times and other organs of elite opinion in the wake of the second Abner Louima trial earlier this month. The first Louima trial, last year, saw Officer Charles Schwarz convicted, along with Justin Volpe, of assaulting Louima. This month Schwarz was convicted of conspiring to obstruct justice after the attack. The case is complicated. But suffice it to say that Schwarz's presence on the scene of the crime has, since the first trial, been denied by Volpe himself.
Not that the government cares. Judge Eugene Nickerson refused to grant a new trial?even though a couple jurors have, since the first trial, expressed violent compunctions about the verdict. Meanwhile, federal prosecutor Alan Vinegrad's tactics resemble those of an arrogant prosecutor out to railroad a vulnerable member of a fringe community?which is what blue-collar cops represent in elite, smart-set New York.
That gets to the root of the issue. Police officers are increasingly scapegoats for social injustices perpetrated by that haute bourgeoisie that regularly sells them out in the interests of maintaining its own sense of political virtue. Thus the working-class cop?that most probably "racist" oaf with the Queens accent and perhaps the Marine Corps pedigree, like Schwarz's?is ordered to clear the streets of rabble in order to facilitate the unharassed movement of the members of that same elite that will sacrifice him when things become ugly and that rabble's leadership extortionately demands blood. It's a neat little social bargain?Schwarz gets to expiate Anne Roiphe's sins, so to speak?and it speaks to the class antagonism that lurks unacknowledged at the heart of American society.
Justice for big, white, mulleted Charles Schwarz? Maybe. But probably not as long as tout le monde wants to walk the now-safe streets of Manhattan in both peace and good conscience.
Paddy's Day We'd despise Spring Break if we lived in Daytona Beach. We'd loathe living on Bourbon St. at any time of year. And we hate St. Patrick's Day in New York. Along with Halloween and New Year's Eve, it's a time when too many amateur drinkers make shameful public spectacles of themselves.
We love a good bar. We like to party. It's the purple-faced fratboys and inexperienced drunks pouring onto the streets in rivers of piss and vomit that we can't stand. This is no good way to celebrate one's Irish heritage (real, or just borrowed for the day). It is, rather, a very American exercise in loutish vulgarity.
And then there's the annual skirmishing between the gay and lesbian activists and the Roman Catholic Hibernian Church of Jaysus Christ Will Ye Look At Dat Fella Dere With His Nosering. As long as the Church maintains its hidebound stance with regard to the former group, the latter will feel justified in shunning them. But this is New York City, reputedly the world capital of tolerance, as the Irish, of all groups, should have learned by now. If they must have their parade, why not let their gay sons and lesbian sisters march with them? Then they can all go off and get drunk together. Who knows? They may even find they have a few things in common besides their last names.