Conrad Black


His Lordship and Lady Black

Today is Conrad Black‘s birthday (born 1944).  Once a Canadian press baron, he gave up his Canadian citizenship to become a Peer of the Realm, Lord Black of Crossharbour.

As a boy he was thrown out of Upper Canada College for stealing and cheating.  As an adult he was thrown into U.S. federal prison for cheating and stealing.  He is currently out on bail pending an appeal of his convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice.  John Ralston Saul has observed of him:

Lord Black was never a real “capitalist” because he never created wealth, only dismantled wealth. His career has been largely about stripping corporations. Destroying them.

Frye on aristocrats and proletariats in Denham’s Frye Unbuttoned:

Aristocrats get everything in this life: consequently they are fatalists & accept a Hades shadow-world.  Cults of immortality are proletariat. (15)

Having been stripped of most of his assets — and a convert to the view that the American justice system is brutal and unjust, while also wondering aloud what that system must do to people without his means — it will be interesting to see if Lord Black might again become Citizen Black, this time with a more proletariat than aristocratic view of things.

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One thought on “Conrad Black

  1. John Ayre

    In all the many discussions about Conrad Black, I am surprised that no one has seen the obvious parallel to the Casa Loma man, Sir Henry Pellatt who had a similar lust for big things and British honorifics. He was a scoundrel who had a role in the fraud which led to the collapse of the Home Bank and ended up so poor that he died nearly penniless at his chauffeur’s house in Mimico. Conrad Black seems heading that way. He has lost most of his real estate and the US IRS is after him for a huge pile of unpaid taxes. Unless he has a lot of cash buried somewhere, he may have to live in subsidized housing soon and make regular visits to the hock shop with Babs’s jewelry.

    Northrop Frye was interested in the Wheel of Fortune motif which figured prominently in medieval art. Usually there are figures around the wheel. A king sits on a throne at 12 o’clock and a beggar in rags barely hangs onto the wheel at 6 o’clock. I’ve often seen Conrad Black on that wheel.


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