Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Profile: Arnold Rothstein


Don't worry, dear readers: we expect Yakov back soon. Yes, he is still not in action. Last I heard he was somewhere in New Guinea, explaining the Jewishness of Superman to a tribe of cannibals. Godspeed, Yakov. Godspeed.

Rothstein was suggested by Sofia from Florida and returning suggester Bruce from Cambridge, IL.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see you get to Rothstein, and understandable to see the K score of 1. There isn’t much to be proud of in him except, in a Jersey Shore sort of way for being the real, true “Original Gangster,” the guy whom Lucky Luciano credits (at least in a suspect series of autobiographical interviews) with teaching him how to dress the part: fine suits worn with a casual contempt.

    Still, I think the Rothstein story is even trickier than you suggest. In Eight Men Out (the book), Eliot Asinof suggests that it wasn’t Rothstein who initiated the 1919 plot but rather some of his associates – former world champion boxer Abe Atell (worth a profile of his own perhaps) among them – who approached the players and gave the impression that they represented Rothstein. His implicit imprimatur (and maybe his eventual actual participation) gave the players the confidence that they were risking it all for a “name brand” fixer rather than the amateurs who actually initiated it and eventually botched it. As a result, I don’t think A.R. quite deserves getting bashed for the Black Sox in the way you suggest.

    On the other hand, the bastard seems to have been central in establishing the international heroin market, and he also played both sides of the fence in the labor wars, helping to perfect the nasty Jewish gangster business of supplying paid thugs both to the factory owners and the unions. So, the 1 certainly does him justice.