A very sweet thing happened last night. One of the younger denizens of the dormitory-slash-tenement I wound up living in by some cruel twist of luckless fate came by to offer his support in my defense against the (in my opinion) nefarious Susan Blais. He not only offered to testify at my upcoming court appearance, but suggested I spearhead a “class action” suit on behalf of most of the beleaguered residents of this shithole. I’ve been feeling like Moses all day, with the theme song from “Prince of Egypt” playing on maximum rotation in my head.
My young friend guilelessly believes that just because I have the “moral upper hand” that I will win. I explained that legal right and moral right are two very different things. Ms. Blais has the legal right based on a technicality and she is exercising it, as is her right as the owner of this property. She is doomed to win. It will be probably be a Phyrric victory, as most assaults of this kind against my august person usually are, but that is neither here nor there: I want out of here, a.s.a.p, and suggested to my young friend that he and whoever else wants to join in the so-called class action suit to do the same rather than fighting a wacko over control of her own property. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, which includes possession by Satan, apparently.
He said, “I never like to say this about a woman, but she is a real cunt.” Jinx! That’s exactly the word I muttered when I got my summons.
Indeed, justice can work as often against you as it can for you. As I said in a previous post, in this case I am a victim of justice. And it’s nice to know that everyone around me agrees. It will give me courage when I raise my staff in court and bring a plague of locusts down to ravage Ms. Blais’s entire property portfolio and slaughter her first born sons.
Mistaking moral right with legal right is completely understandable for people outside the law industry. Just because you are right, doesn’t mean they can’t make you wrong, or in this case, just because what Susan Blais is going to me is wrong, doesn’t mean she isn’t within her rights to do it.
I learned the distinction between moral and legal right a couple of years ago, when my film project HATTER was under siege from various directions. It was flattering that it caused such a brouhaha, but it wasn’t pleasant to discover that, even though wrong was being done to me, I “didn’t have a leg to stand on,” as Alan Cumming put it so aptly when he called me from the set of Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest” in Hawaii. He capped the conversation with, “Come on, James, this is Hollywood. You know how it goes,” meaning I should capitulate to the meanies, and furthermore ought to be coerced into doing it by that cliché. Yes, but Alan, darling, I’m not a bottom, I don’t take it up the ass from anyone. So I thought about it for a while, and understood that, while the moral upper hand felt good, doing the right thing by the project felt even better, so I turned the screenplay into a stage play and called a holdback on the film while everyone simmered down. It’s now being cast in London, with the wonderful Sean Mathias directing.
To stick with the biblical theme, what happened to HATTER was sort of like the Judgement of Solomon: in order to keep my baby alive, rather than have it butchered by the opposition, I gave it over to someone else. Provided it lives, let it be raised by another parent. As the play goes up this year (hopefully; it’s an extremely edgy piece, not for the squeamish), I will blog more about it and fill you in with the details of what happened during that period.
It’s quite the story, with quite a few morals.