McCarthy Henchman, Nixon fixer, Trump mentor, Reagan White House guest
September 26, 2019 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Roy Cohn, The Most Hated Gay Man in America (The Nib) "Everybody knows, too, that the grotesque qualities embodied by the president are widespread among the Manhattan elite that tolerated and nurtured him, from the real estate sector to the tabloid press and from NBC to Fox News. Just like everybody knows that Jeffrey Epstein was a pedophile, and everybody knew it when he was hosting VIPs at his Upper East Side mansion and on his private jet. Everybody knows that after his apparent suicide, most of his elite associates will escape any justice. That’s how it goes." Covering for Roy Cohn (New Republic) " At a gay bar in Provincetown, as reported by Cohn biographer Nicholas von Hoffman, a friend described Cohn’s behavior at a local lounge: “Roy sang three choruses of ‘God Bless America,’ got a hard-on and went home to bed.” How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn's Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America (Vanity Fair) "But important unindicted people were invited, too. And they went. Large slices of the upper crust of New York and Washington snuggled up to him, laughed and entertained one another with stories about his crimes as though they were choice insiders' jokes, and wrestled for the privilege of partying with Cohn and his crooked and perverse friends." King Cohn (The Nation) How Angels in America put Roy Cohn into the definitive story of AIDS (previously)
posted by The Whelk (27 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
How Angels in America put Roy Cohn into the definitive story of AIDS

I've always wondered and tried to look up a few times, the Roy Cohn in the play is obsessed with telephones, and the play uses the phone as a symbol of his importance and power. And with Trump's real lifelong telephone obsession, it's struck me as an incredibly potent symbol. Does anyone know if the real life Roy Cohn had a thing for telephones or if that was entirely a Tony Kushner-created theatrical affectation?
posted by zachlipton at 9:34 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


If there ever was a candidate for the quote "Tragedy does not sanctify someone", it would be that fucker, Cohn.

*for "tragedy": read "membership of an oppressed group" too, but it's much less pithy a quote.
posted by lalochezia at 9:35 AM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


Super new doc on him from Matt Tyrnauer.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:43 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Heard this interview with Tynauer the other day: 'He created a president from beyond the grave': How Roy Cohn created the blueprint for Donald Trump

"He's a satanic hypocrite," kind of sums it up, really.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:46 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Cohn was also one of the lawyers for Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, the Studio 54 cats, when they were up to their eyeballs feds. He shows up on screen a couple times in the Studio doc on Netflix and it's a bit of a shock if you don't know to expect it. A truly American asshole, with his fingers in so many places.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:46 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I learned about Roy Cohn from an episode of The Good Fight (season 3, episode 2 - “The One Inspired by Roy Cohn”), which also contains a comedic educational musical* animated short about him.


* performed by nerd darling Jonathan Coulton
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:51 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


/Does anyone know if the real life Roy Cohn had a thing for telephones or if that was entirely a Tony Kushner-created theatrical affectation?

3rd link, Vanity Fair, “As he spoke, his tongue darted in and out; he twirled his Rolodex, as if to impress me with his network of contacts. The kind of law Cohn practiced, in fact, needed only a telephone. (The New Yorker would later report that his longtime switchboard operator taped his calls and kept notes of conversations.)”
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


As Diseased Pariah News proclaimed “Roy Cohn and Kimberly Bergalis: Together in Hell.”
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:23 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Honestly, the direct line between Roy Cohn and Donald Trump with Pence as a running mate makes me feel like we need a third part of Angels in America which includes also includes Rogers Stone and Ailes as characters.

Like "Millenium Approaches" to "Perestroika" to "Are You Fucking Kidding Me With This Shit Still"

- me, here, 13 October 2016

I, of course, believe this many times more now than I did then.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:30 AM on September 26, 2019 [23 favorites]


Michael Stipe bought Cohn's personal archive at auction for cheap - no one else wanted it - and has a delightful photo in his last book of all the people Cohn surrounded himself with at his birthday dinner in New York, it's extraordinary, I mean, Henry Kissinger doesn't even get a seat at the main table. I'll see if I can scan it in for y'all.
posted by bookbook at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2019 [14 favorites]


The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn (Michael Kruse, Politico Magazine)
The unrepentant political hitman who taught a younger Trump how to flout the rules didn’t get away with it forever.
posted by katra at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Lavender Scare.
posted by clavdivs at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2019


Also from the Vanity Fair link:
“Roy was a master of situational immorality . . . . He worked with a three-dimensional strategy, which was: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.”
The birth of alternative facts was a lot earlier than we thought.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


I thought the Politico link (from katra) was an electrifying read. I disagree, though, with the implication in the snappy final lines that somehow crime - in the long run - doesn't pay.

The piece ends:
But Tyrnauer reiterated the last lesson of Cohn.
“He got away with it,” he said, “until he didn’t.”


I think the lesson is really - don't get sick.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:10 PM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


More hated than J. Edgar Hoover?
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why am I not surprised that Alan Dershowitz was a character witness for Cohn at his disbarrment hearing? It all ties together, doesn't it?
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:09 PM on September 26, 2019 [10 favorites]


Lavender Lads would be a great Merseybeat band name.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:06 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Roy Cohn: the Forrest Gump America deserves.
posted by PMdixon at 3:52 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Here’s that picture, with Warhol - of course - looking straight at the camera.

Points for every name spotted.

https://ibb.co/2jb4YBJ
posted by bookbook at 4:05 PM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


More hated than J. Edgar Hoover?

posted by Bee'sWing at 12:18 PM on September 26 [+] [!]


Perhaps more self-hating.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:09 PM on September 26, 2019


The Bad Gays Podcast about the evil or problematic gay men: Roy Cohn the Polestar of Human Evil.
posted by The Whelk at 5:02 PM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Today's tweet from the FBI Records Vault: "Roy Cohn: https://vault.fbi.gov/roy-cohn"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


FBI releases files on President Trump’s late lawyer, Roy Cohn (CNBC)
The vast majority of the FBI files include details of an investigation into Cohn for perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with a grand jury probe of an alleged $50,000 bribe Cohn paid the then-chief assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan to keep several stock swindlers from being indicted in 1959. Cohn was found not guilty after a trial in that case in 1964.

A number of the files were sent directly to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s director at the time, and reflect the bureau’s painstaking efforts to acquire information about trips by Cohen to Las Vegas in 1959, and other evidence, in connection with the bribery case.

One memo was sent in July 1962 to both Hoover and then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy details the claim by a source of the FBI’s Las Vegas office. The source said that gamblers in that city, worried about “extreme pressure” begin applied by the federal government on the Nevada gambling industry, had approached the Justice Department’s criminal division chief “to determine whether he would ‘trade Las Vegas’ for ‘Roy Cohn.’” The Justice Department’s division chief “flatly rejected” that approach, the source told the FBI.

A small part of the files released Friday include a letter that Cohn sent Hoover in 1969, when Cohn was being prosecuted on other federal criminal charges, for which he ultimately was acquitted.
posted by katra at 2:11 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


He drank champagne spiked with Sweet’n Low - now it's gone too far.
posted by bunderful at 9:28 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Super new doc on him from Matt Tyrnauer.

Does anyone know where you can stream the documentary?
posted by photoslob at 7:03 PM on September 28, 2019


[Just a warning: there's a paragraph in the King Cohn article from The Nation which has some ugly language about mental illness. Its the paragraph just after the story about him ordering desserts then spitting them into a napkin, if anyone would like to skip it.]

This is a fascinating and educational set of links. I like how the variety (reviews, articles, oral history excepts) gives a more three-dimensional view of someone so influential yet so difficult to understand. The bit about the Roy Cohn panel of the AIDS quilt really got to me. Thanks so much for this post.
posted by harriet vane at 8:00 AM on September 29, 2019




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