Archive for August 25th, 2013

August 25, 2013

Saul Goodman

better call saul

Saul McGill, known almost exclusively by his professional alias Saul Goodman, was a character on the TV show ‘Breaking Bad’ on AMC. He was portrayed by comedian Bob Odenkirk and was created by Peter Gould, a writer of the series. Saul is a criminal lawyer and can be easily found in the yellow pages of Albuquerque.

His made up surname ‘Goodman’ is a play on words to better attract clients: ”S’all good, man!’ becomes ‘Saul Goodman.’ (Additionally, he claims his clients feel more comfortable with a Jewish lawyer instead of a generic white guy.) He is also known for his low-budget commercials in Albuquerque, where he advertises mainly under the tagline ‘Better Call Saul!’

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August 25, 2013

Shyster

A shyster [shahy-ster] is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, politics or business. The etymology of the word is not generally agreed upon. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it is based on the German ‘Scheißer’ (literally ‘defecator’ but also used to refer to deceivers), but the Oxford English Dictionary describes it as ‘of obscure origin,’ possibly deriving from a historical sense of ‘shy’ meaning disreputable. Various false etymologies have suggested an anti-Semitic origin, but there is no proof for that. One source claims that the term originated in Philadelphia in 1843 from a disreputable attorney named ‘Schuster.’

Notable ‘shysters’ of fiction include Sylvester Shyster (a Walt Disney cartoon character introduced in 1930), a disbarred attorney who schemes to deprive Minnie Mouse of her inheritance; and Dave Kleinfeld, a mob lawyer in ‘Carlito’s Way’ (1993) who was parodied in ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’ as Ken Rosenberg.

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August 25, 2013

Shylock

shylock by andy friedman

Shylock [shahy-lok] is a fictional Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ who lends money to his Christian rival, Antonio, setting the security at a pound of Antonio’s flesh. When a bankrupt Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock demands the pound of flesh as revenge for Antonio having previously insulted and spat on him.

Meanwhile, Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, elopes with Antonio’s friend Lorenzo and becomes a Christian, further fuelling his rage. She also takes money and jewels from Shylock. During Shakespeare’s day, money lending was a fairly common occupation among Jews because usury, charging interest on a loan, was a sin for Christians at the time.

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