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On the Jury

I was on a jury in 1980. At the start the judge cautioned everyone not to discuss the case with their family or friends each night.

On the first day I heard the charges against the defendant and the whole thing seemed obvious — he had stolen something and run away. On the second day I heard the police give testimony and it seemed clear they were hiding something. On the third day it turned out that the defendant had a previous criminal record for something similar. Etc.

Luckily I had kept quiet each evening, against my worser nature, and I realized what a good thing it was I’d held my tongue. If I’d told anyone what I was thinking each day I would have perhaps painted myself into a corner that would have made it difficult to announce a change of mind the next day for fear of embarrassment. In the end we acquitted for lack of proof.

Last night I watched the documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”. When Polanski hit the news a few months ago I thought he shouldn’t complain and should come back and face the music, as should everyone, whoever’s work they are doing. I didn’t think personal testimony about what a good artist and nice guy he was should bear any relevance, and I still don’t.

The documentary doesn’t change my mind about whatever he allegedly and admittedly did, but, if you believe the more or less factual parts of the documentary as opposed to the opinions of his French academy friends, then the judgments about his flight to France are subject to greater complexity.

The judge in the case seems to have painted himself into a corner where he worried mostly about how he looked to the public when he made his decisions. That said, despite Polanski’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland, the Manson murders, and the loose LA culture of the Seventies, it doesn’t let him off the hook. But it’s not as simple as I thought to figure out exactly what’s right.

The Droid Emploid

I was quick to judge the Droid too, but I still stand by my criticisms about the things it lacks, esp the keyboard, which I guess has such flat keys because it has to slide in and out. The absence of various critical applications is really dumb — imagine a small computer coming without a file reader and text editor for documents. It also has a very vulgarly raucous unpleasant set of ringtones and wallpaper to choose from, quite unclassy and unbusinesslike given that it supports Microsoft Exchange and isn’t aimed at teenagers. But it does work pretty well as you get used to its menu style.

I finally managed to drag and drop a picture I like as wallpaper, shown above, which I got off the internet. You have to mount the damn droid as an external USB drive to do it, and then unmount it again later. The picture is David Hockney’s Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2,, a photocollage made out of thousands of small photos. I saw it once a long time ago at the Jewish Museum in New York, I think, and it looks nice and open on a phone screen.

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