April 23, 2010, - 3:07 pm
On Saturday Night, HBO will premiere, “You Don’t Know Jack,” its version of the saga of Jack Kevorkian a/k/a “Dr. Death.” Instead of the cold-blooded, macabre performer of euthanasia murders, this movie portrays Kevorkian as some sort of saint, some sort of civil rights crusader.
And he even gets one of the greatest contemporary actors, Al Pacino, to portray him (and although Pacino uses a Sarah Palin accent, not a Detroit-area one, he’s a dead ringer for Kevorkian). From cold-hearted mob boss and killer Michael Corleone at the beginning of his career to cold-hearted killer with a medical degree Jack Kevorkian, at his career’s twilight, Pacino has come full circle in masterfully glamorizing what are essentially thugs who take human lives against the law and the dictates of a moral society. One wore fancy Italian suits and headed up a Cosa Nostra family. The other wears old, ratty, Mr. Rogers style cardigan sweaters. But they aren’t that different, other than that Kevorkian’s victims made appointments to get whacked.
The gushing in the Detroit area and on the national stage is deafening this week. There is so much unearned drool over Kevorkian, it could supply water for the entire Third World. But let’s be clear. Kevorkian was a mass murderer, not a savior or a great humanitarian. He wasn’t even much of a doctor, having lost much of his ability to practice because of a series of strange behavior and action throughout his career. Kevorkian’s “hobby” was painting sick photos of dismembered and disemboweled humans. Look at this disgusting painting he made depicting himself and a beheaded human at dinner. Yes, there’s something wrong with the guy, a lot wrong.
Full disclosure: my personal attorney and friend, Michael Alan Schwartz, was Kevorkian’s lawyer for each of the cases in which he was acquitted. Yes, the face you saw on TV was that of Geoffrey Fieger, but Fieger isn’t really a criminal defense attorney. Schwartz is, having been a prosecutor of violent killers and felons in Brooklyn, New York. He was the brains behind each successful defense of Dr. Death and sat at the defense table at each one. Fieger was merely the showman performing Schwartz’s strategy. And while I disagree entirely with euthanasia and assisted suicide, Schwartz is a brilliant attorney. And yet he isn’t even mentioned or depicted in the movie. That’s just one of the many inaccuracies in the HBO flick.
But the most glaring one is that Kevorkian is some kind of folk hero. Not even close. He took us steps closer to “Brave New World” America, where people are put out of their misery at the drop of a hat. And then it’s too late for them to change their minds, too late for a cure to treat them, too late for everything. And in at least one case, it may not have been what the patient wanted in the first place. A New Republic article, “The Selling of Doctor Death: How a Savvy Lawyer and a Pliant Media Turned a Mad Scientists Into a Public Hero, reporter Michael Betzold writes:
Boston and Michigan papers, wire services and many other publications reported that Franklin Curren, a psychiatrist, was being probed for improperly prescribing drugs to his wife. Three weeks before his wife’s death, Curren had been arrested on a domestic assault charge.
Was this patient murdered? Foul play or not, the answer is a definite yes.
The strange new respect visited upon Kevorkian was predictable. He is, after all, the best kind of poster boy liberal Hollywood could wish for. Kevorkian is a liberal, he’s weird, and he has an anything goes mentality. He killed people for sport and mostly got away with it, with jury after jury acquitting him in a courthouse just a few miles from where I live. And a willing liberal press gushed over him and fed on the story, turning him into a cult figure with an ever-growing cult of personality and retinue.
Jack Lessenberry, a far-left Wayne State University journalism professor with zero scruples, slobbered over Kevorkian in his “reporting” for the New York Times. Later, though, it turned out that he was working directly with Geoffrey Fieger, and essentially taking dictation from him, violating all journlistic ethics (not the first or last time for him).
At the same time the sleazy Lessenberry was “reporting” on the Kevorkian trial for the NYTimes, he was ghostwriting NYTimes op-ed pieces and Penthouse articles in Fieger’s name. That’s journalism? Maybe that’s why, as the New Republic reported, Lessenberry’s “coverage” of some of Kevorkian’s killings reported as fact the request of Kevorkian’s patients to be put to death, when there was no proof they wished it, and now they were dead. It’s truly incredible that this guy teaches college journalism. Or maybe not incredible, given today’s state of journalism.
One accurate thing about the movie: its portrayal of Richard Thompson, then the Oakland County prosecutor, who went after Kevorkian and lost miserably each of several times. The man is incompetent and was soundly defeated at the polls at the next election in the Republican primary, completely unheard of in my county. He was that bad. Thompson is portrayed as a bad guy. And he is–not because he went after Kevorkian, but because he’s a terrible attorney and a sleazebag as a person.
Now, Thompson heads up the Thomas More Law Center, where he regularly rips off contributors, lying to them about filing lawsuits against Muslims, many of which are never filed and others of which are filed but then withdrawn from a few months later, when he’s milked all the money he can from them. An incompetent attorney under his employ, his former employee Emily M. Zanotti, spent all day long on his payroll blogging on her personal website instead of doing any work. That included writing on her site in defense of anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying death, rape, and torture threats against me and my family. When he was confronted with it, Thompson helped Zanotti cover it up and made excuses for the comments he admitted were anti-Semitic, saying he was too busy to monitor his employees. (More about Thompson and Thomas More Law Center fraud, next week. Stay tuned.)
But Thompson’s portrayal, as well as that of a few other figures, is where the accuracy stops. Especially the accuracy on Kevorkian and what he was doing: legalized serial-killing.
Kevorkian wasn’t a normal guy who just wanted to put people out of their misery. He’s a sick man who sounds like a nice guy.
HBO fell for the nice guy routine. And didn’t care about the trend he set toward a nation where people make appointments to get snuffed out by guys like him, as if they are scheduling a haircut or a manicure.
Is the utter devaluation of human life really something to celebrate?
I don’t know Jack, but I know all about him. He’s the angel of death, and not much of an angel at all.
But if you really want to “know Jack,” forget HBO’s propaganda and revisionist history and buy this book: Appointment With Doctor Death by Michael Betzold. It’s a far more accurate–and far more critical–telling of the story of Jack Kevorkian.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Al Pacino, doctor death, dr. death, Geoffrey Fieger, HBO, Jack Kevorkian, Jack Lessenberry, Michael Allan Schwartz, Michael Schwartz, Richard Thompson, Thomas More Law Center, You Don't Know Jack