Tuesday, January 11, 2022

How Many Degrees Away from Crime (If Any)?

Does crime, to some degree, not touch everything?

Over the last week, two people of note and one of infamy died, and for each one, I realized as I read the obituary of the first, then the second, then the third of these people, there was a connection to crime and heinous activity, though the directness of the connection differs drastically in each case.

First, on January 6th, 2022, Peter Bogdanovich died.  You could say that during his life he was one contemporaneous degree away from crime, the horrible and grotesque murder of Playboy model and developing actress and Bogdonavich's girlfriend at the time, Dorothy Stratten, murdered of course by her creep of an estranged husband, Paul Snider. 

Second, also on January 6th, 2022, Sidney Poiter died.  Poiter seems to have lived about as blemishless a life as one can lead, and his connection to crime was to the same degree as it was to anyone who ever worked with Bill Cosby.  I saw, as they came out, the trilogy of films with Cosby that Poiter directed and co-starred in the 1970s, Uptown Saturday Night (1974), Let's Do It Again (1975), and A Piece of the Action (1977), and I'd be dishonest if I said that as a twelve, thirteen and fifteen-year-old I didn't like them.  At the time, they were most enjoyable.  And they did well commercially.  They have all or nearly all Black casts, and they are each loose and lowbrow crime comedies.  I'm sure they've dated by this time, but it'd be an interesting experience to watch them again after all these years, with what Cosby became, or more accurately, what we all found out about Cosby, in my mind.  On the other hand, maybe it'd be better not to see them again.  And not so much because of anything having to do with Cosby.  I'd probably rather just keep those movies in my mind as the fun movies I saw at that age.

Third, but hardly least, on January 10th, 2022, Robert Durst died.  His connection to crime is as direct as a connection can get.  He almost certainly murdered his wife in Westchester in 1982; in 2021, he was convicted finally of killing his long-time friend and supporter Susan Berman in the year 2000 in Los Angeles; and in 2001, he did kill (but successfully claimed self-defense)  a neighbor he had in Galveston, Texas at the time.  Asterisk on the Texas acquittal: in that case, he did get convicted for tampering with evidence and for dismembering the body of the neighbor he shot, all in an attempt to dispose of the body, which he did in Galveston Bay.  No degree of separation between Durst and crime, to say the least.

The virus of viruses, more pervasive than Covid and certainly eternal -- scelus.

(That's Latin for crime.)

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