Expert analysis of the George Zimmerman trial, by the general impression of the Erik Wemple Blog, has been quite good. The commentators have made strong points about the various witnesses and have for the most part stayed away from ridiculous speculation and bombast. Until now.
Earlier Friday, MSNBC’s Karen Finney spoke with MSNBC social critic Goldie Taylor about the defendant. The chatter drifted toward the central issue of the past day or so — the actual clash between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Taylor riffed:
Are we seeing the same George Zimmerman in court now as Trayvon Martin encountered that night? You know, he is 100 pounds heavier, he is clean-shaven, he no longer is sort of this buff, tanned guy with a goatee that, to me, is simply more imposing. I’m not sure that if I saw this George Zimmerman at night confronting me that I would feel nearly as intimidated as the George Zimmerman we’ve seen in some of these photographs. I wonder if that weight gain has something to do with the stress and pressure of being under house arrest. I wonder if that weight gain has something to do with a concerted effort by the defense to make sure that their client appears as non-imposing, as non-threatening, as possible. You know, those are all of the things in the toolkit that the defense has to work with. And I think we’ve got to see these two men as they saw each other that night.
Lisa Bloom, another analyst, noted that the defense has said that Zimmerman had put on weight because of the stress of the trial. “Of course defendants are always going to come into court in a suit and a tie, cleaned up, well groomed. He’s also grown his hair out…I’m not going to say that he put on his weight intentionally to look better at the trial because we don’t have any evidence to substantiate that,” said Bloom.
Spoken like a real legal analyst.