Atticus FinchPosted: July 20, 2015
Eleven years ago I released my first CD, The Billable Hour Blues, which my good friend and then-publisher of the Connecticut Law Tribune, Vince Valvo, produced. He wrote the liner notes for the CD, beginning with: “Cross Mel Tormé with the Capitol Steps, add a dash of Atticus Finch, and you get Dan Klau.” I’ve always loved that sentence. The Mel Tormé and Capitol Steps references captured my musicality, and the Atticus Finch reference was both flattering and inspirational.
So, what am I to do now that the world has learned that Atticus Finch was not the man we all thought he was, the man we desperately wanted him to be, the man Gregory Peck portrayed, the man who inspired so many people to become lawyers?
It is painful when we learn that our heroes–fictional and real–are often deeply flawed individuals. Racist (Finch), sexual predator (Cosby). Is it ever truly possible to reconcile the good in such individuals with the bad?
Part of me wonders whether we should simply stop placing human beings on pedestals. Keeping their feet planted firmly on the ground would not demean their “heroic” accomplishments, but it would mean they can’t fall very far when we discover their full humanity.
I don’t know the answer. I only know that today I feel a profound sense of loss.