Mark Twain once quipped, “By command of the law a criminal juror must be an intellectual vacuum, attached to a melting heart and perfectly macaronian bowels of compassion.” I think what he was getting at was: Being tried by a “jury of one’s peers” is by no means a guarantee of a correct verdict in court. Others have noted that having one intelligent juror would be better than 12 idiots, but the justice system doesn’t consider this.
Although the punditry in general is lining up to shellac the criminal justice system for letting Phil Spector “off the hook” (“guilty until proven otherwise, and even then, still guilty” could be the LA media’s motto for this case), I’m wary of convicting Spector in the court of my own intellect, given that I’ve only heard the pull-quotes from the case. Yes, even the fact that a mere two jurors held out on a guilty verdict doesn’t really convince me one way or the other; they may have been the only two intelligent jurors, or the only two idiotic jurors.
I’m not saying that I think Spector innocent; I’m saying that I don’t know and probably can’t know.
You know what this whole ordeal reminded me of, though? What a piss-poor job Spector did on Let It Be. As the mostly superior (however revisionist) Let It Be… Naked showed, barren versions of “The Long and Winding Road” and “Across the Universe” packed much greater intensity than Spector’s suffocating strings-and-choirs arrangements allowed. And don’t even get me started on the embarrassing over-indulgence that was the production on All Things Must Pass. I think that, if it was possible to de-Spectorize some of the songs on that one, it would stand alongside Plastic Ono Band as an extremely stark and perfectly crafted album. As it is, though, you’d need some kind of aural decoder ring to figure out the lyrics on most of the songs.
Guilty of murder? Maybe. Guilty of disastrous production errors? Definitely.
Not willing to tempt the wrath of Apple Corps:
Rufus Wainwright – “Across the Universe”: mp3