'I have never been happier to be Canadian.'
Conrad Black has penned his pre-trial address to the plebes. For a man who is "not afraid", this column sounds an awful lot like a man's farewell address, his last words before the guillotine. Especially the part where he thanks his family (including ex-wife), colleagues, fellow parishioners (!), and all his supporters. (It is, admittedly, his last column in the Post until the trial is over, but still...)
I fear Conrad's bravado is failing. His one over-the-top reference in this column is a run-of-the-mill fictional one("...like Transylvanians heaping garlic on the resting place of Count Dracula..."), not a historical oddity; it's less ostentatiously phrased than some of his old ripostes to detractors. He actually writes, "I have never been happier to be Canadian." He sounds like he wants to be liked, like he's actually been hurt by all the grave-dancing. He's human, of course, so in a rational way I don't doubt he has been hurt and deeply; but Black without his pluck and armour... it's a sadder sight than I thought, someone larger than life suddenly becoming life-sized.
Maybe I've just been manipulated by him, maybe I'm just a sucker for the Canadian-vs-American angle, but I've kinda (secretly) started to root for him. If Black wins, he can go back to being the bombastic aspirant we love to hate, the cartoon mustache-twirling villain of journalism. A deflated Tubby is no fun; we all learn a lesson about, I don't know, hubris or something, but then the party's over.