If you were to keep a list of the top three media barons who have gone to jail, it’d look a little something like this: Martha Stewart, John Rigas, and Conrad Black (and if you haven’t kept a list of the top three media barons who have gone to jail, then you should probably sit down and write one now – I’ve pretty much done all the work for you anyways – before someone laughs at you). Though if everything goes according to plan, Rupert Murdoch will soon replace Martha Stewart at the top of the list. (That’s right Murdie, that’s what you get for tapping my phone. If you even think of publishing those messages between my “secretaries” and I, you’ll get your comeuppance.) And now Conrad Black has been released back into the real world, and we should all be worried.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why should we be worried about Conrad Black? –it’s not like he’s some sort of serial murderer (although we can’t really be sure of that, because there are a lot of unsolved serial murders out there). But think about it — Conrad wasn’t in some sort of “white-collar” prison (which I’ll now be pitching as a movie starring Kevin James); he was in, like, an Oz prison. And that means that not only is Conrad Black a hardened white-collar criminal, he’s now a semi-hardened real criminal. In fact, he’s probably now one of the most well-rounded criminals around.
So, what is it that Mr. Black learned in prison that we should all be worried about? Thankyou for asking. Conrad went to prison on fraud charges, meaning he is already a master at working the markets: stocks, investing, bonds, all the markets (and don’t tell me those are all really the same thing — they obviously have different names). But, now that he’s lived in prison for 71 months with real bad guys, he’s going to be a master of the black market as well. Do you think they’re using money in prisons? Nope. I’ve watched enough adult videos about women in prisons to know that they’re trading cigarettes and other such contraband — that’s how they make deals in the big house. So Conrad will not only be able to screw you out of your investments, he’ll screw you out of your carton of cigarettes, too.
Beyond that, he’s probably spent the last 71 months in prison just buffing the hell up. And, I can only assume, if something like Ab Ripper X will get you ripped in just 90 days, then imagine how ripped you’re going to be if you’ve spent 2,130 days straight just working out. He’s going to be massive! (Think Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Mr. Universe phase, or Mr. Universe in his Arnold Schwarzenegger Halloween costume.)
The only hope we have really is the fact that Conrad will have found God while in prison (everyone does . . . even the girls in those adult videos end up screaming his name a lot), and therefore probably won’t hurt any of us. I don’t know what it is about being in prison that makes people religious, but I can only assume eventually you’ve run out of John Grisham novels to read and the only thing left is the Bible.
But God help us if Conrad Black hasn’t found God while in prison, because, now that he’s a super criminal, a death ray can only be next.
Nathaniel Moher is a television writer living in Vancouver. This column first appeared in The Flying Shingle.