Celebrity Disgrace is Not an Actual, You Know, Thing

Steve on the sympathy for former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

Add Richard Roeper tothe list of sympathizers.

“Look at Rod Blagojevich’s life right now,” Roeperwrites. “He’s been stripped of his law license. He was impeached and removed from office by a vote of 114-1. He’s broke. His house is for sale. His daughters have seen their father become a disgrace and punch line. His obituary will lead with his criminal convictions. In the court of public opinion, he’s already been sentenced to a lifetime of disgrace.

“Yes, Blagojevich did all that to himself, and has no one to blame but himself. But given the price he’s already paid and the fact he was arrested before he could execute one of his wacky plans to sell the Senate seat, I have no great desire to see the guy serve 15-20 years in prison.”


Perhaps some media folks sympathize because Blago is “like us,” not “them.”

“[S]hould he really do more time than hundreds if not thousands of violent criminals?” Roeper asks. “[I] a country where Dr. Conrad Murray gets four years and will serve much less than that for contributing to Michael Jackson’s death, seems out of whack for Blago to serve a dozen years or more.”

Fittingly, Roeper’s best analogy is a celebrity doctor in a celebrity death.

Okay. Once and for all, people making jokes about you on TV is not actual punishment. It may seem so, for those whose livelihood is invested in the importance of celebrity, but it’s not actual punishment, not the way going to prison is.


11 thoughts on “Celebrity Disgrace is Not an Actual, You Know, Thing

  1. Mudge says:

    If only the banksters were like Blago, or even Dr. Murray. Behind bars.

  2. virgotex says:

    “Wacky”? Really?

  3. Soprano says:

    Blago did not betray one person, as Dr. Murray did. He betrayed the public trust, which is arguably much more important, As a public official, Blago was entrusted with the welfare of all the citizens of Illinois; his actions affected them and potentially many more people than that (in the case of appointing a U.S. Senator, for example). His longer official punishment is not difficult to figure out. I agree with you that it is appalling that not even one bankster has been prosecuted, much less ended up behind bars. Disgraceful failure of our system of justice.

  4. CVS says:

    As Charles Pierce has said, it’s not a crime in this country to buy a political office, but it is a crime to (overtly) sell one.
    If you can’t do the time, then don’t do the crime…

  5. mellowjohn says:

    god help me, i voted for him twice (because the alternative was worse!).
    as a resident of IL who watched it like a train wreck, my personal take on it is that his crimes weren’t that bad (george ryan at least made $$$ w/ his schemes!), but that rod’s mouth earned him most of his time.

  6. pbg says:

    As a firm believer in the rehabilitation model for imprisonment, I think that 14 years may be just about enough time to convince Rod Blagojevich that what he did was not a) some bad decisions, b) a few regrettable missteps, or c) momentary lapses brought on by excessive zeal and the pressure of the job–butcrimes. Evil acts done with evil intent.
    Maybe. I would have tacked on a decade just to be sure.

  7. Charlotte says:

    We were discussing this last night at dinner — the AP wire story, which is what our small town local paper ran, was entirely sympathetic to Blago … no mention of the fact that, among other things, he tried to SELL a senate seat. Sorry. Throw the bum in jail. I think what he did was much worse than George Ryan’s crimes (at least Ryan had the sense to see that the death penalty was entirely screwed up.) It was really striking though, how odd the tone of the AP wire story was …

  8. Alan in SF says:

    No one who’s well-off should ever have to go to jail, because just being charged with the crime is punishment enough. How hard is that to understand?

  9. Bloix says:

    I dunno. Seems to me that he’s getting a sentence that long because he’s an idiot and a loudmouth. Five years or seven years would make sense for the crimes. He’s 55 years old – 14 years means his adult life as a free man is at an end.
    But then, I think US sentencing laws are grotesquely harsh for all sorts of crimes.

  10. -BWG says:

    “Yes, Blagojevich did all that to himself, and has no one to blame but himself. But given the price he’s already paid and the fact he was arrested before he could execute one of his wacky plans to sell the Senate seat, I have no great desire to see the guy serve 15-20 years in prison.”
    You see, they factored that all in and didn’t give Blago 15 to 20. They gave him 14.

  11. markg8 says:

    Blago got 14 years for trying to raise campaign funds to continue his political career. Governor George Ryan OTH sold every office he ever held for material gain. It caught up with him when one of the drivers licenses he sold as IL Secretary of State went to a truck driver who killed an entire family in a tragic traffic accident. For that he got less than 7 years and $20 million dollars worth of pro bono legal representation from the IL GOP via one of the most powerful alw firms in the state Winston & Strawn led by another former Governor, Jim Thompson. Ryan was represented in court by former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Dan Webb.
    So yeah Blago was a pompous publicity hound who recited poetry to the press and spent a lot of money on clothes. He also passed the All Kids program that helped thousands of poor IL children get medical care they otherwise wouldn’t have had. He tried to get seniors a better deal on prescription drugs from Canada. He also gave seniors free access to mass transportation.
    If you ask me Ryan should have gotten more than Blago. At least nobody died for his crimes.

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