Boston Boys

Hag and I were communing off to the side about posting something on Boston.  He’s moving, and working on an FDL piece I presume.  I’m a tad busy, but also in shock about the atrocity in my hometown, which is, truly, our great historical mecca.  Yet, dumbstruck or not, scribblers must scribble.

History is real in Boston.  As I’ve said here:  there is a Witch House in Salem, but also lots of the history of original thought and debate that formed the nation.  This event, sadly, is one more chapter in the record of the city and region.  Yes, Red Sox star David Ortiz did utter a cuss word before the Sox-Royals game the other day, and, despite the quick clean-up of his remarks for mass media consumption, Ortiz’s expletive is on record too.  It’s okay, Dave.  We forgive you.  Play ball.

People were blown up on the streets of Boston on Patriot’s Day – Marathon Day – at the finish line of the race.

The history of the Boston Marathon is real too.  The first race was held in 1897, inspired by the 1896 Summer Olympics.  Today, the race is the oldest of its kind in the world, the crown jewel of the world marathon circuit.  It’s Boston’s rite of spring.

As for the bad guys – these little boys - let’s get one thing straight.  We can size them up on our own terms – on our Western terms.  And we should, more than ever, even as the investigation continues, while taking into account the sensibilities of their families, ethnic ties, religious leanings, what Vladimir Putin thinks, or the failures of security services or intel.

I would have shot the fuckers dead on the sidewalk on Boylston Street that day had I any inkling of what they were about.  They deserved to be taken out, whatever their problems were, and I’d bet a lot of Bostonians feel the same.  Some locals might say about such an attitude:  Tough toenails.

Anyway, as for sizing them up on our terms, the following take satisfies me.

This is about the personification of evil:

“To ‘plume up the will,’ to heighten the sense of power or superiority – this seems to be the unconscious motive of many acts of cruelty which evidently do not spring chiefly from ill will, and which therefore puzzle and sometimes horrify us most.  It is often this that makes a man bully the wife or children of whom he is fond.  The boy who torments another boy, as we say, ‘for no reason,’ or who without any hatred for frogs tortures a frog, is pleased with his victim’s pain, not from any disinterested love of evil or pleasure in pain, but mainly because this pain is the unmistakable proof of his own power over his victim.  So it is with Iago.  His thwarted sense of superiority wants satisfaction.”

– … from “Othello”

– Shakespearean Tragedy, 1904

– A.C. Bradley

Iago is Shakespeare’s greatest villain, and while Shakespeare remains the greatest dead white male author of them all, his stuff, or criticism about his stuff, still informs.

In the story, Iago, passed over for promotion by Othello, a Moor who serves as a commander in the Venetian army, decides to drive Othello into a jealous, killing rage.  Iago creates in Othello enough anger and confusion about his newly married wife, Desdemona, that he does kill her.  But Iago is also destroyed.  His plot collapses on him at the end of the play as other characters finally realize what he’s been up to.

Iago thoroughly believes he’s been wronged, and he feeds on his need to destroy.  Shakespeare created a character who “plumbs” his worst impulses and eventually acts on them.  As with the boy-men who set off bombs in Boston the other day, Iago may be affected by various exotic externalities, by people near him or far away.  But he decides his course.

Mike Barnicle, a Boston native and long time reporter with deep knowledge of the city, said the other day the real issue is about murderers.  Barnicle was sending a shot across the bow of Sen. Graham, who has called for the accused to be tried as an “enemy combatant.”  Barnicle, and others, have provided some clarity in that they’re arguing that what happened in Boston should stay in Boston, in so far as this is a crime more than a terrorist attack, and that it should be dealt with by the quite capable civilian criminal justice system in that jurisdiction.

This is an argument that might turn us away from the great cloud about the war on terrorism, even while the Bush library is opened in Texas and the rehabilitation of that former president gets underway in earnest.  Honest.

The case should be presented to a Boston grand jury, because the people of Boston should determine what justice means in this case.

By the way, it’s not known what happens to Iago.  As the play ends he is taken alive, arrested and removed from the scene.


  1. mikeinportc says:

    He should be charged in Boston, and tried in state/county court(?*) court. Bot…. in turf battles, the feds usually win, especially if they have broader, and more vague, and often more specious, statutes to use. I’m guessing that the main issue is execution. It’s more likely in federal court . Some would consider that, and the conviction, as a career-enhancer. I also suspect that Obama & crew don’t want to hear Graham, Sessions, McCain, et al, whining about it if he got life.

    (As I said elsewhere) Graham & McCain the first out of the gate, in the Hysterically Wrong Derby? Shocking! Btw, Graham tweeted that he wanted him charged as an Enemy Non-Combatant. The national media seemed to have cleaned up Linda’s horrid act a bit, to save embarrassment, or because they’re (as usual) unobservant, incurious, and oblivious. I’d like to know what he meant by that. Typo.? Subconscious slip? Deliberate, but doesn’t know what the words mean? Deliberate, meant it, and wants to create a new category of state-sponsored purgatory.

    I think the response will prove to be more significant than the event. Dirigo, what’s your observations on the lockdown? From here it seemed excessive. Even if they didn’t know where exactly to look, they knew , to some degree, where not to. Almost as if it was practice, and just locked down everybody because….well, …. they could.In fact, it was somebody outside of the zone that found him. The lockdown may have actually delayed finding him, by reducing the number of eyeballs.

    * Not sure how it works in MA. In NY, it’d likely be county court, unless multiple counties were involved, then it’d be state court. City courts generally don’t handle such serious cases.

    • dirigo says:

      I am queasy about the scope of the lockdown, but they do like to play with new toys and try out new tactics.

      The bombings occurred in Boston, which is Suffolk County. Cambridge, where the chase began with the killing of the MIT cop, and Watertown, to the west, where the chase ended, are both across the Charles River from Boston, in Middlesex County. After they dragged the kid out of the boat, he was brought back into Boston, admitted to Beth Israel Hospital and charged by a federal magistrate. There’ll be prosecutors posturing, in federal court most likely.

      • dirigo says:

        Adding: seems state charges related to the killing of the MIT police officer have been filed. So the venue for that should be Cambridge Superior Court, unless it’s just rolled into the federal case in Boston.

  2. nswfm says:

    As one in NYC in the time of 9/11, w an office across from the NYSE, and had my own “seat” on the Boston Shuttle, I was completely horrified by the insane lock down, search, stolen liberty and freak show that has become our society. I’m looking at you, lindsay you so called lawmaker and lawyer. Jeebus, I didn’t want to get out of bed Tuesday and I’m on the West Coast. And Friday! WTF was that? Only Dunkin’ Donuts was open citywide? For whom? The city was on LOCKDOWN! I can’t watch TV and I’m about to turn off NPR for good. Insanity.

    • cocktailhag says:

      As my crazy Grandmother, Etta, used to say, “things have really gone downhill” just here lately. From 9/11 to Occupy, to the lockdown, the police state has shown it is open for business.

      • dirigo says:

        Just a bit more about “local color.”

        Boston, and Massachusetts, are not places where officials take seriously fake righty rhetoric about anything really.

        Some “decent respect” for the opinions of newly minted whack jobs, like Ted Cruz, may be paid, if only because of the local angle that Ted is a Harvard Law graduate.

        So is the current president of the United States.

        But in the every day in Boston, elected officials within the city or state don’t take seriously such people (Cruz) when it comes to decisions about funding state and local law enforcement. Money is approved for these agencies because putting in for it is routine practice. Unlike say Texas, Massachusetts is not in a perpetual funk on ideological grounds about applying for federal funds. Rick Perry would be lucky to be elected to a local board in a burg west of Worcester, and he would wield little influence in Boston.

        This does not mean that Boston and Massachusetts are not corrupt, just as any big city or state combination are.

        If there’s any local FBI bureau that has been thoroughly compromised in the last generation, it’s the Boston bureau, mostly because of Whitey Bulger, the Irish mob boss.

        Whitey was recently arrested and awaits trial on murder charges related to his mob activities.

        Whitey struck a deal with the Boston bureau some thirty years ago – a devil’s pact if ever there was one – based on protection (or eye-rolling and winking) in exchange for information. Whitey agreed to provide info to the bureau as long as he was allowed to run his rackets, but not necessarily indulge in vendettas (including against quite a few Italian mobsters from Rhode Island). Unfortunately, Whitey allegedly murdered perhaps two dozen enemies over a twenty-year-plus period, severely compromising his FBI “handlers” along the way. In Whitey’s upcoming trial, the FBI will go to the wall (maybe like diocesan lawyers, who tried unsuccessfully to intimidate a state judge more than ten years ago on all the drek about pedophile priests) to prevent damaging stuff from coming out about all this, which is Whitey’s ace in the hole in terms of a plea deal.

        Within this maze also is the murky role of Whitey’s brother Bill. It happens that Bill is a former, longtime state senate president and former president of the University of Massachusetts who has denied up and down knowing anything about what his brother was doing. Up to now, Bill hasn’t been implicated in Whitey’s crimes, but he was a powerful politico during Whitey’s most influential years.

        Bill hated the Boston Globe. Hated it. Just fucking hated it. But you can read detailed reporting there about the Bulger brothers and about Whitey’s ties to the Boston FBI, and, if you’ve a mind, in-depth stuff about George W. Bush’s heroic stint in the Texas ANG, published well before Dan Rather fucked that story up.

        Also, while Mike Barnicle, referred to in this post as a Boston reporter, lauded the cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement in the hunt for the alleged bombers, it is also true that local and state law enforcement – particularly the state police – have not always been on the “same page” about inter-agency karma. The Massachusetts state police are and remain a very political outfit, and they have not been known to be buddies with federal law enforcement within the borders of the commonwealth.

  3. dirigo says:

    Somewhat ancient headline:

    Beating Witness Provides Names
    (Quad City Times, Davenport, Ia., 8/2/78)

    Perversely current, eh?