- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Anything to win

“Criminal-defense attorneys who were hoping Kobe Bryant’s defense team might rehabilitate their collective reputation found no succor in the outrageous antics recently unveiled in Eagle, Colo. …

“The lead defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, promptly put the alleged victim on trial. Six times, Mackey referred to the accuser by name. … Mackey’s offensive reached its peak when … Mackey asked the detective if the [victims] injuries could be ‘consistent with someone who had had sex with three different men in three days.’ …

“The defense’s bare-knuckled intimidation tactics suggest Kobe Bryant and his attorneys are prepared to resort to virtually any deplorable stratagem or distraction to win. The old tactic of casting an alleged rape victim as a slattern who invited sexual aggression has been around for centuries because, unfortunately, it resonates with certain potential jurors. …

“That criminal-defense lawyers routinely get away with such rough tactics is not a celebration of the American system of justice or the Bill of Rights, as attorneys are wont to argue. It is rather a harsh reminder that defendants confronting strong, physical evidence of guilt can count on the criminal-justice system to even things up — namely, by showing greater concern for the rights of defendants than for the welfare and dignity of their victims.”

Andrew Peyton Thomas, writing on “Flagrant Fouls,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Zeppelin rising

“With more than 200 million albums sold, Led Zeppelin is the biggest-selling rock group in history. Tour promoters have offered untold millions for a Zeppelin reunion. A whole new generation has discovered the band with a TV ad for Cadillac that features their song ‘Rock and Roll.’ This past spring, Zeppelin entered both the CD and DVD charts at No. 1 with eight and a half hours of live material recorded more than 20 years ago.

“At the time of Led Zeppelin’s ascent, at the end of the 1960s, their reviews were at best dismissive and at worst, devastating. A Rolling Stone critique of the band’s second album stated, ‘Robert Plant sings notes only dogs can hear.’ …

“At the beginning of the 1970s people were liberated and angry, frustrated and bored. There were no cell phones, no Game Boys, no DVDs, no Walkmans, no Internet, no reality TV. Music was it. And just when big music and big money came together, Led Zeppelin gave new meaning to ‘sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.’”

Lisa Robinson, writing on “Stairway to Excess,” in the November issue of Vanity Fair

White menace

“Eminem is not more extreme than the rap artists from whom he learned his trade — he is merely extremely white. ‘The problem is I speak to suburban kids,’ the singer has said. ‘They connected with me too because I look like them.’

“Eminem is someone who can sell 7 million albums and dominate the mainstream of American youth culture, that’s to say white middle America, therefore discussions of black rappers from the Bronx never quite do. …

“Eminem is like a cartoon character … not so much a self-invention as someone drawn into life by the power of the surrounding culture. He is a personality ripe for its own performance — white trailer-trash getting angry and making millions.”

Andrew O’Hagan, writing on “Imitation of Life,” in the Nov. 6 issue of the New York Review of Books

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