Yesterday was the anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Birthday. Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of Englishman, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865.
Alice in Wonderland is forever linked in my mind now with Enron because of the reference to the Red Queen which appeared in an amicus brief written in support of Enron Broadband defendant, Scott Yeager’s, appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. I wrote about that amicus brief in an earlier post on this blog — it was sponsored by co-defendant, Rex Shelby, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA). The background and significance of that brief is also covered in my new book, Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story.
Here is the quote from Alice in Wonderland which appears in the amicus brief:
“The analysis in the Fifth Circuit and in other cases in the lower courts is reminiscent of Alice’s argument with the Red Queen: no matter what Alice’s answer, the Red Queen simply changes the question or redefines the pertinent terms until Alice is left with “a riddle with no answer.” The sparse words of guidance in Ashe — realism, rationality, practicality — are made to mean too many different things leading to sporadic and absurd results.”
You have to love a literary reference in a legal brief!
Another way the Enron prosecutions remind me of Alice in Wonderland comes from the events of the first chapter of the book, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” in which poor Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a land in which logic and rational thinking no longer exist.
Surely, the dozens of Enron employees who found themselves suddenly being hounded by the federall prosecutors of the Enron Task Force must have felt that they, too, had fallen “down a rabbit hole” and into a world of insanity!