Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lady Black and Her Portrait

The extremely few people following this blog will remember my description a few weeks ago of an evening spent at Lord and Lady Black's Toronto house last year. In that description, I mentioned my surprise at seeing a Hitler portrait hanging in the Blacks's living room.

I was surprised today to see that Lady Black mentions this very portrait in her recent "Maclean's" magazine column, 'I Lie in Bed...' Feb. 18, 2008); but imagine my surprise upon reading her claim that it's not a portrait of Hitler at all, but of Joseph Goebbels.

Sure, it's kind of dark, semi-abstract...but still, I'm not sure how I could have missed that - it's not like Hitler and Goebbels look similar. Certainly my buddy (and new global pin-up boy for freedom of speech rights) Ezra Levant gave me every impression he thought it was Hitler, too. If it ain't, I'm embarrassed.

I presume the odds of Lady Black lying about this, or being mistaken, are very low, so I'm not really sure what to think - other than that I'd like to have another look at it! (By the way, Black says she has the painting because it's a wonderful representation of evil).

But if I may, I'd like to mention a few things for the record here about Lady Black. I've never met Lady Black, and doubt I ever will, but over the past few years I've wound up with some sympathy for her, even before her husband was convicted. Everyone says she's a bitch; maybe she is. Maybe she's the kind of bitch that had to be a bitch to contribute anything to the world - the good kind of bitch, in other words. And if she is, I give the bitchiness a pass.

I admit that my soft spot for Lady Black first formed for a fairly weak reason - I read Peter C. Newman's low, petty, National Enquirer-style, gutter-scum hack job on her in "Maclean's" a few years ago. Mostly through the repetition of innuendo and rumour, the article came close to depicting her as a conniving, unscrupulous, soulless slut who'd slept her way to the top. I thought it was very unfair. I then read Tom Bower's hack job of last year, "Conrad and Lady Black", and it had the same effect on me as Newman's grotesque article had.

Lady Black (Barbara Amiel) might have bizarre tastes in living room paintings, but she is a talented journalist, seems to have an admirable hatred of the nanny-state, and sadly, is now the pining wife of a man who, it appears, will be spending the next several years in a federal penitentiary. Until I know of good reason to do otherwise, I'll be wishing her the best.