Radio Derb: Kate Steinle, No Justice For Whites, Muslims With The “Whip Hand” In UK, Etc.
55m57s — Signoff. (RIP Dmitri Hvorostovsky.)
[Music clip: From Haydn’s Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
Rather a lot to turn over this week, so let’s go straight to the news wires.
The killer, 45-year-old Jose Zarate, is an illegal alien who has been deported five times back to his native Mexico, then each time just strolled back in to the U.S.A. He has seven felony convictions here, a fact the jury was not permitted to be told.
This jury did find Zarate guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the sentence for which is sixteen months to three years. Since Zarate’s been in the county jail for over two years awaiting trial, on standard sentencing procedures there’s an excellent chance he’ll be released with time served.
Our immigration authorities have said they’ll immediately deport him. As one of Steve’s commenters wrote about that, quote: “Hey, it worked so well the first five times. Why not keep trying it?” End quote.
San Francisco is of course a sanctuary city. If it weren’t, Zarate wouldn’t have been free to shoot Ms Steinle. He’d been released from jail just a few months before the shooting. ICE had asked that he be released into their custody so they could deport him, but San Francisco ignored the request.
Immigration patriots are mad as hell about this, as we should be. I believe, though, we should be precise about what’s maddening to us.
For sure we should be mad about the Sanctuary City craziness. We should be mad about an open border that allowed a guy — a many-times-convicted felon — to walk into the U.S.A. five times.
We should be mad about the liberal media’s attempts to put some lipstick on this pig, the color of the lipstick preferably being every Progressive’s current favorite hue: Trump Derangement Syndrome pink.
See for example Thursday’s New York Times report, the headline of which reads: Trump Tweets ‘Build the Wall’ After Immigrant Is Acquitted in Kathryn Steinle Case. See, it’s a story about President Trump — shouldn’t every story be about President Trump? — and the acquittee is an “immigrant” — just like Albert Einstein!
There’s plenty to be mad about, and I’m as mad as you are. So what am I suggesting we should not be mad about?
The not guilty verdict on the murder charge, mainly. The evidentiary bar for a murder conviction is high, and it should be. Did Zarate set out to kill Ms Steinle, with malice aforethought? I don’t know. I haven’t read all the witness testimony and lawyers’ arguments. From what I’ve read about Zarate, I’d guess there’s reasonable doubt. He seems to be retarded, or at least very stupid. It’s possible he mishandled that gun somehow, it fired without his intending it to, and Ms Steinle got killed by the ricochet.
I actually own the very same handgun Zarate had, a SIG P239. The defense attorneys much exaggerated its sensitivity; but yes, it’s not hard to mishandle, especially if you are as much of an imbecile as Zarate seems to be.
So I’m not mad about the verdict on the murder charge. Convicting someone of murder is difficult, and should be.
Although, walking that back a little way, I am aware of how quaint I’m sounding here. Yes, I know as well as you do how politicized our legal system has become. I’ll present an example in the next segment. Those fussy old standards of equality before the law are increasingly being abandoned when there is Thoughtcrime to be rooted out and counter-revolutionary witches to be burned.
How far has it gone? Well, we shall have a nice comparison to study when James Fields, who drove his car into an antifa crowd in Charlottesville last August, gets his day in court.
Will the strict evidentiary standards applied in Jose Zarate’s trial also be displayed in James Fields’? That’s a very interesting question.
There are grounds for hope. The Trayvon Martin killing was just as politicized, just as wilfully distorted in the media, as the Charlottesville event, yet George Zimmerman seems to have been fairly tried.
As I noted on Radio Derb last week in respect of the current hysteria about so-called “sexual harassment,” ordinary people, when put to the test in the voting booth, often show more good sense than the CultMarx commissars who seek to herd them. Perhaps what applies to voting booths also applies to jury rooms. Perhaps James Fields will get a fair trial. I wouldn’t give up hope at this point.
An aspect of the Kate Steinle case not much discussed, for very understandable reasons of sympathy, is the attitude of Ms Steinle’s parents to those issues we immigration patriots are mad about.
In interviews a few weeks after their daughter’s death, Kate’s mother denied that she, the mother, was opposed to sanctuary cities. Kate’s father, asked whether he thought illegal aliens working the fields in California should be deported, said no, he didn’t think they should be deported. Quote: “If you deport them, what are you going to eat? Rocks? I mean, they feed the United States.” End quote.
This, to me, is the strangest, the weirdest, the most disturbing aspect of the case, the aspect that carries the highest level of information content, the highest signal-to-noise ratio, about the direction and probable fate of our civilization.
I hesitate to take my commentary any further down this road. I have a daughter of my own; I share the general sympathy for Kate Steinle’s parents.
I’ll only say, as I’ve said many times before in other contexts, that the big question here, the question lurking behind all the CultMarx lunacy and stupidity, the outstanding question of our age, is: What the hell is the matter with white people?
The legal case here is a civil one, brought by Dissident Right journalist James Edwards against the Detroit News, which is of course a newspaper — a daily newspaper — serving Detroit.
That newspaper had described James Edwards, in an opinion column back in March 2016, as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Not only is Edwards not a leader of the Klan, he’s not even a member of it, and never has been.
So Edwards asked the Detroit News for a full retraction. Instead the paper published a grudging, not-very-honest “clarification,” telling readers that Edwards, quote, “has no formal position” with the Klan. So, what? Does he have an in-formal position? They also jiggled the text of the op-ed in their electronic edition to fudge the issue.
Not satisfied with that, Edwards sued the Detroit News for defamation. The trial court ruled for the paper, arguing that the word “leader” is ambiguous, which it really isn’t, and that the paper’s calling Edwards a leader of the Klan was a subjective opinion, not a statement of fact.
Edwards appealed. The appeals court ruling is the one we just got, dated October 31st. It’s a little gem of politicized jurisprudence.
The appeals court allows that, quote:
There is no record evidence to suggest that Edwards holds a formal leadership position in the Ku Klux Klan, nor is there any record evidence to suggest that he is even a member.
End quote. So the statement that he is a leader was false. Was it defamatory, though? The ruling continues, quote:
Notwithstanding this lack of formal relationship, Edwards has espoused views consistent with those associated with the Klan and, equally as important, he has repeatedly and publicly embraced several individuals who are strongly associated with the Klan. Mindful of Aesop’s lesson, [inner quote] “A man is known by the company he keeps,” we hold that Edwards cannot make claims of defamation or invasion of privacy and affirm summary disposition in favor of defendants.
End quote. There’s a helpful link there directing you to Aesop’s story of the Ass and the Purchaser.
Now, I know the law of libel is a bit of a quicksand, but it seems plain to me that the Detroit News printed a lie about James Edwards, and that the lie was defamatory — injurious to his reputation. It seems even more plain, glaringly plain, that the appeal court’s ruling was based not on matters of fact or law, but on the three justices’ disapproval of Edwards’ opinions.
To see the politicization here, let’s conduct a wee thought experiment. Imagine I wrote an op-ed for the Detroit News describing the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, as a leader of the American Communist Party.
That’s false, just as false as the accusation made by the Detroit News writer against James Edwards. Let’s suppose I committed that falsehood in print, though, and de Blasio sued me for it. Let’s then suppose the trial court ruled in my favor and de Blasio appealed.
How defamatory, how injurious to Mayor de Blasio’s reputation my statement was, is a matter of opinion. It ought to be very injurious: Worldwide, communists have murdered way more people than has the Klan, more by about five orders of magnitude.
That notwithstanding, the Communist Party is not held in such odium among Americans, certainly not by graduates of our CultMarxified law schools, as is the Klan.
So by American standards, my lie is probably only mildly defamatory. And on the Aesop Principle invoked by the Michigan Court of Appeals against James Edwards, Mayor de Blasio is definitely asking for it. He’s hung out with far-left types — including undoubtedly many Communist Party members — all his life. The guy took his honeymoon in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, for goodness’ sake, in violation of a U.S. travel ban.
So if the Michigan Court of Appeals applied the same standards to the Bill de Blasio case as they did to the James Edwards case, I’d be off the hook. They’d rule in favor of the Detroit News, who published my lie.
Listener: Do you think that’s how they would rule? Do you really think so? [Laughter.]
In a case like that of James Edwards, where a person holding dissident opinions about social policy is seeking redress in the courts, his opinions — his opinions, not anything he’s done nor any organization he belongs to: his opinions will weigh against him in the court’s judgment. The Michigan Court of Appeals has made that plain.
For more on this case, you should read our own James Fulford’s long article here at VDARE.com, posted November 27th. James gives much more legal and historical background.
You think my saying “anti-white” there is hyperbolic? Earlier this year the British Broadcasting Corporation — a government operation funded from taxes and license fees — posted an ad for internships that specifically excluded white applicants. The positions were, said the ad, quote: “only open to UK nationals from a black, Asian or non-white ethnic minority,” end quote.
(I should explain that in a British context, “Asian” means subcontinental — Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi. East Asians from China, Japan, or Korea are honorary whites.)
When confronted over this, the Beeb blustered, claiming they were trying to get a representative balance of minorities. In fact minorities are slightly over-represented at the BBC: 13.4 percent of employees, against 13.1 percent of the population.
Most favored of all over there are Muslims, who are positively fawned over by the British media, politicians, and other establishment Brits, probably out of fear. To utter a word of negativity about Muslims is not just a Thoughtcrime in Britain, it’s an actual crime.
One person who’s found this out recently has been Jayda Fransen, who actually is a leader — to be precise, the deputy leader — of a nationalist party called Britain First. Ms Fransen has a criminal record already. A year ago she was rude to a Muslim woman wearing a head covering. For that — actually for, quote, “religiously aggravated harassment” — she was arrested, tried, convicted, and fined three thousand dollars.
Right now Ms Fransen is awaiting trial on two other charges: one for “religiously aggravated harassment” again, the other for “threatening and abusive language” at a public rally in Northern Ireland last month.
To interrogate her on that second charge, the Police Service of Northern Ireland sent a squad of officers all the way over to London to arrest Ms Fransen and escort her back to the Emerald Isle with them. After hours of questioning she was released on bail. She has a court appearance on December 14th.
The entire case against Ms Fransen is that she has said negative things about Islam and Muslims in public. For this she has been getting far more police attention than the gangs of Muslim men who rape and enslave English schoolgirls. The bobbies have acted against those gangs only belatedly, sluggishly, and reluctantly for fear their careers would be destroyed by anti-white witch hunters.
That’s the state of affairs over there. It came to the attention of Americans this week when President Trump retweeted some anti-Islam videos Ms Fransen had posted.
Britain’s rulers are very angry over this. London’s Pakistani mayor, Muslim Supremacist Sadiq Khan, is demanding that our President’s state visit to Britain, scheduled for next month, be canceled.
Some dude named Sajid Javid, who rejoices in the title “Communities Secretary,” which I think can fairly be translated as “Government Official In Charge Of Shutting Up White People,” said that our President had, quote, “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organization that hates me and people like me,” end quote. That would be as opposed to the Mayor of London, who hates me and people like me.
Are there any, like, you know, actual British people in this story? Other than the deplorable Ms Fransen, I mean. Is there anyone who would be recognized as British by Winston Churchill, George Orwell, Thomas Hardy, Fanny Trollope, Jane Austen, John Milton, Elizabeth the First, or William Shakespeare?
Well, yes: There is Theresa May, Britain’s feeble, dimwitted, and politically inept Prime Minister. Mrs May is, like the rest of the old white British establishment — what’s left of it — terrified of Muslims, so she squealed along in unison with Sadiq, Sajid, and Chuka. Quote from her:
Britain First is a hateful organisation, that spreads division and mistrust among our communities. It stands in opposition to the values we share, of respect, tolerance and common decency …
On the issue of radical Islam, British Muslims are peaceful people who have been victims of acts of terror.
There are those who act in the name of Islam but it is not in the name of Islam.
End quote. Just roll that last sentence around on your tongue a time or two. “There are those who act in the name of Islam but it is not in the name of Islam.” Yes, indeed. There are those who down a bottle of whisky in order to get drunk, but it’s not in order to get drunk. There are those who rob banks in hopes of getting a lot of money, but it’s not in hopes of getting a lot of money. There are those who start wars to further imperial conquest, but it’s not to further imperial conquest.
The Brits have been cringing at the threat of Islam for so long, they have twisted their language to fit the cringe. White is black, red is yellow, and murder in the name of Islam is not in the name of Islam.
These people have been grabbing their ankles for so long, they can no longer stand upright.
In 1968 an English working man told Enoch Powell that, quote: “In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man,” end quote. You can argue with his time scale and quibble about Muslims not all being black, but he grasped the main point, didn’t he?
05 — Harvard, justice, and reality. There hasn’t been a whole lot of news about the Justice Department’s investigation of Harvard University since I last mentioned the issue back in August.
To refresh your memory: the DoJ was responding to a complaint from a coalition of Asian-American groups that their people, Asian-Americans, are discriminated against by Harvard admissions officers.
Back then in August the DoJ was just staffing up for an investigation. It seems that now they’re getting ahead with it. So at least I infer from this column by Betsy McCaughey in Wednesday’s New York Post. Headline: Ending Ivy-League Bigotry.
According to Betsy, Jeff Sessions’ DoJ has advanced to the point of demanding admissions records from Harvard. Harvard, she says, is stonewalling like crazy. They haven’t delivered a single document. DoJ has imposed a deadline of December 1st — today, as I speak — and threatened to sue.
This is nothing new. Harvard got sued in 2014 by a mainly Asian-American group on the same grounds — that Harvard runs a quota system on admissions to keep the numbers of Asians down. Harvard’s been stonewalling on that, too. Quote from Betsy:
Harvard has spent millions of dollars on legal maneuvers and court filings, trying unsuccessfully to get the lawsuit dismissed and to shield the college’s “holistic” admissions process from scrutiny. But a federal judge is compelling the college to hand over six years of admissions records … This lawsuit is expected to be tried in Boston late in 2018, but no doubt will end up at the US Supreme Court.
The first thing to be said about this is that of course Harvard does discriminate against Asian-Americans. Ron Unz crunched the numbers just five years ago this week over at The American Conservative in a brilliant piece titled “The Myth of American Meritocracy.” You can also find the essay in Ron’s book of that title.
The centerpiece of Ron’s essay is a killer graph comparing the steady rise from 1990 to 2011 of the Asian-American college-age population with the dead-flat proportions of Asian-American admittances to Ivy League schools, held down firmly in a tight band between thirteen and eighteen percent. Of course they are discriminating. Who doesn’t know it?
Betsy McCaughey is upbeat about the situation. Here’s her closing paragraph, quote:
Harvard’s racial-quota system is indefensible. Fortunately, its days are numbered, because finally we have a Justice Department willing to fight for colorblind fairness in college admissions.
Naturally I’m going to take a much darker view. East Asians have higher mean IQ than whites, and of course far higher than mestizos and blacks. They especially excel at disciplines needing visuo-spatial skills. IQ aside, it seems likely they also have higher proportions of the personality characterisics that suit a person to high intellectual endeavor.
If Harvard and other high-prestige universities practice color-blind admissions, therefore, Asian-Americans will be way over-represented, and way-way over-represented in fields like math and computer science.
Betsy actually sees this. Quote:
Asian-American students now win nearly half the places at California Institute of Technology, up from only a quarter in 1992.
End quote. Okay, Betsy, but here’s my question: Is this actually good for America?
Think of the kind of resentment, anger, and bitterness that blacks feel when they see other races succeeding more than they do. Wouldn’t color-blind admissions just add a new layer of resentment in American society, with whites watching Asians flood into the Ivies, displacing them?
Restrictionists in the early 20th century strove to keep out East Asian immigrants, not because they “hated” them, as the infantile language of our current discourse would tell you, or because they thought them an inferior race, but because they feared mass immigration of East Asians would produce an overclass, generating discontent and resentment among legacy Americans.
As Kevin Macdonald wrote here at VDARE.com in 2004, quote:
Many restrictionists, far from feeling they were members of a superior ethnic group, worried that their people could not compete with Japanese and Chinese.
End quote. I think that worry was reasonable. What would Betsy McCaughey say if I confronted her with it?
I’m sure she would respond with a stream of race-denialist blather. “There are no innate differences between the races,” she’d protest. “That’s a horrible thing to suggest! We just need the right social policies. Fix the schools! Save the black family! …” We’ve heard it all a thousand times. Race denialism is state dogma in the 21st-century West. Nobody with a gig writing op-eds for the New York Post is going to turn race-realist.
Unfortunately race-realism is true and race-denialism is a lie. That being the case we have to choose between two evils: unfairness in college admissions, or higher levels of social discord. To date we have chosen Door Number One. Are we quite sure that wasn’t the better choice — the lesser of two evils?
If you go to a doctor with a bacterial infection — an infected blister perhaps — he can give you an antibiotic, and you’ll be cured. If you go to him with a broken leg, he’ll get it set for you, and soon you’ll be playing tennis again. Doctors can fix things and cure things.
If, however, you go to the doctor with arthritis, or diabetes, or a leukemia like the one I have, he can’t fix it, he can’t cure it. What he can do is manage it: set you up so that the pain and inconvenience are the least possible. We can’t cure those conditions, but we can manage them, minimizing the trouble they cause us.
America’s race problem is like that. There’s no cure, although the race denialists breezily assure us there is. We can’t fix the schools to produce equal racial outcomes. God knows, we’ve been trying for decades, with essentially zero results. We can’t make whites as smart as East Asians; Mother Nature’s standing in the way.
What we can do — what we do do — is manage the situation, to keep social discord at a minimum. Race quotas in college admissions is one aspect of that management. It works pretty well.
As I said back in August, though, quoting myself, quote:
This is one of the holes we have dug for ourselves this past half century with mass immigration and multiculturalism.
Do I know how to get out of the hole? No. I do know, though, that if we adopt Derbian Minimalism as our immigration policy with no further settlement of foreigners from anywhere and severe restrictions on numbers of foreign students, we might at least stabilize the situation.
There: I just said it again. We’ve foolishly, heedlessly made a mess for ourselves with these decades of mass immigration. Now there are two things we have to do.
One: We have to manage the mess as best we can.
Two: We have to stop making it worse.
06 — The voice of the Hutu. Two weeks ago on Radio Derb I included a thumb-sucking segment I titled “The Age of Dropped Masks.”
The case I tried to make was, that petty inter-group resentments — of urbanites for country folk, of women for men, of Democrats for Republicans, of blacks for whites — have always been present, but were kept at a low key by polite social conventions.
Nowadays, though (I said), where the resentments are in line with CultMarx ideology, those conventions have been dropped. Women can snarl openly at men, city folk at peasants in the sticks, blacks at whites, etc. Resentments that go against the ideological grain are more taboo than ever, though. It is, as the kids say, “not okay” for men to snarl at women, or whites at blacks.
Well, I included in my catalog of resentments the resentment Jews feel for gentiles. I quoted Bret Stephens at the New York Times as a case in point. Quoting myself:
Again, the mask has been dropped. Bret Stephens doesn’t do masks. He just hates us white Anglo gentiles, and doesn’t care who knows it.
That got me into some interesting exchanges with a Jewish friend, a fellow of roughly my own age, of Dissident Right opinions. He had, he said, never met a Jew who hated the goyim, though he knew many who nursed mistrust and mild contempt for them.
In his childhood, he told me, the expression “strictly for the goyim” was current, for example when shopping, to indicate some item no self-respecting Jew would buy. There was no hate in it, though, just mild contempt.
That’s interesting. It actually fortifies my theory — or, credit where it’s due, Amy Chua’s theory — that in a multicultural society, with big groups displaying different profiles on ability and success, the arrow of real hate generally points from the less successful group to the more successful.
The more successful group may indeed nurse negative emotions towards the less successful: contempt, mistrust, impatience, fear. None of those is equal to hate, though. Hate is a distinct state of mind, with a dictionary definition. We’ve sort of lost sight of that fact recently. The word “hate” is widely used nowadays to indicate any negative emotion at all.
That’s a dumbing-down of our language. Mistrust is not hate. Wariness is not hate. Fear is not hate.
Real hate, as I just said, is directed from a less successful group to a more successful one: from medieval European peasants to Jewish tax gatherers, from Malaysian and Indonesian indigenes to Chinese merchants, from Hutus to Tutsis.
In the spirit of my friend, I can truthfully say I’ve met very few whites who hate blacks. Sure, I’ve met a great many who feel dislike or contempt for blacks, but that’s not hate. It’s only the stupidity of our age that calls it “hate.”
On the other hand, a great many blacks seem really to hate whites. Examples aren’t hard to find: here’s one from last week, courtesy Paul Kersey. A nurse, a black female named Taiyesha Baker, an employee of Indiana University Health service, tweeted that, quote:
Every white woman raises a detriment to society when they raise a son. Someone with the HIGHEST propensity to be a terrorist, rapist, racist, killer, and domestic violence all star. Historically every son you had should be sacrificed to the wolves Bitch.
Now that is hate. That’s not mere dislike or mistrust or contempt; that’s the voice of the Hutu.
Where does that leave us with Bret Stephens, though? I just looked again at Stephens’ June 16th column in the New York Times, where he argues for the mass deportation of a group. Quote:
They need to return whence they came.
I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.
End quote. Sorry, but we definitely have an exception here: a member of the more successful group who hates — not dislikes or mistrusts or finds tiresome, he hates Anglo white gentiles.
My friend is an honest man, and I’ll take his word for it that this kind of thing is rare among Jews; but in human affairs, there is always an exception.
Imprimis: Ann Corcoran over at Refugee Resettlement Watch reported on Monday that Afghans from the deal with Australia are now arriving in the U.S.A.
These are not refugees by any stretch of the term, though they’re being brought here under our refugee program. These are mainly young men, most from Iran and Afghanistan, who paid people-smugglers to get them across Asia and the Indian Ocean to Australia. The Australians, who are very strict against illegal aliens, intercepted them and interned them in camps on Pacific islands.
Barack Obama, for reasons obscure to me, made a deal with Australia in the last days of his administration to take 1,600 of these illegals off Australia’s hands and settle them in the U.S.A. Donald Trump, for reasons even more obscure, is honoring that deal.
And this isn’t “deal” as in The Art of the Deal. Center for Immigration Studies researcher Dan Cadman asked rhetorically on his blog what was in this for the United States, and answered with, quote, “Nothing, as far as I can see.” Ann Corcoran agrees. Everyone who’s looked at this Australian arrangement also agrees. It’s just a total negative for the U.S.A., even if we don’t get a couple of ISIS jihadis in the mix, which of course we might.
And it’s all being done with open contempt for the American people. We’re not even allowed to know where these Australian rejects are being settled; it’s all done in secrecy.
If this is a sample of the President’s deal-making skills, Heaven help us with North Korea.
Item: I’m sorry Radio Derb missed World Toilet Day on November 19th. This is a U.N. project to improve the bathroom experience worldwide. Quote from the World Toilet Day website, quote:
If there’s one thing that unites humanity, it’s the call of nature. But depending on where we live, it’s not always possible to dispose of our bodily waste safely and responsibly.
End quote. Well, isn’t that the truth.
Especially keen to get on board, or on pedestal, with this program are the ChiComs. Quote from ChiCom dictator Xi Jinping, in a front-page article in the Peking People’s Daily, quote:
The toilet tissue …
I beg your pardon, I’ll start again. Quote:
The toilet issue is no small thing, it’s an important aspect of building civilised cities and countryside.
End quote. You can’t say these commies don’t attend to details.
China’s National Tourism Administration is overhauling the nation’s crappers as part of a plan titled Advance the Toilet Revolution Steadily. That’s right, it’s not a thing you want to rush. Best to sit down and take your time over it …
I’m going to resist the temptation to make more silly jokes about this. I am, though, going to read off to you the headline of the article in Monday’s Guardian that I got this news from. Headline: Xi Jinping makes China’s toilets a number two priority.
Several readers were baffled by that until they looked up the word. “It’s ‘Pervnaydo’,” they scolded me, “like ‘tornado’, see?”
OK, I get the point. It just doesn’t look like “Pervnaydo.”
Pervnahdo, Pervnaydo, I refuse to take any further interest in the silly business.
Item: Thursday this week marked the 350th birthday of the Irish satirist and wit Jonathan Swift, the chap who wrote that, quote: “Mankind is as well equipped for flying as for thinking.” He wrote a great many other droll things, too, and I’m somewhat of a fan.
When I brought out We Are Doomed in 2009 the Wall Street Journal invited me to write a piece nominating five books of, for, or by curmudgeons. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was my first choice. As a birthday tribute to the old gloomster, here is what I wrote. Quote:
One component of curmudgeonliness is the Cold Eye, seeing humanity plain. Jonathan Swift saw us rather too plain. The “savage indignation” he wrote of in his own epitaph was rooted in the disgust, physical and moral, he felt toward people. His famous satire Gulliver’s Travels — about an Everyman wandering through “remote nations of the world” and encountering beings of different sizes and sensibilities — can be mined endlessly for insights into the human condition. I never hear the utterances of our high-minded PC-ocracy without thinking of Gulliver’s encounter with the nation of horses called Houyhnhnms, whose sleek hides and icy rationality had none of those physical and moral failings that excited Swift’s disgust. Casting his own Cold Eye on the Houyhnhnms two centuries later, George Orwell said: “The ‘Reason’ by which they are governed is really a desire for death.”
Item: Now that I have that page open, I may as well note that my fifth choice for the Journal was the collected poems of Philip Larkin.
I note that because, as it happens, some point in this month is the fortieth anniversary of Larkin writing “Aubade,” one of the very best poems of the last few decades. It’s the one that begins, quote: “I work all day, and get half-drunk at night …”
“Aubade” — an aubade, by the way, is a song for the dawn, opposite of a serenade — the poem “Aubade” is too long to quote here, but I urge you to read it anyway, in bright daylight for preference, in honor of another fellow curmudgeon.
We curmudgeons are here for a purpose, after all. The news we bring you isn’t at all comforting, but it’s true. Even if you prefer the pretty lies, you should at least give us a hearing.
08 — Signoff. That’s it, ladies and gents. Thank you as always for your time and patience, and special thanks to those who donated on Giving Tuesday this week, to help keep us afloat in the teeth of hostility from progressive orthodoxy and its obedient tools: PayPal, Facebook, and the rest.
I just learned this week, via a very moving obituary from Heather Mac Donald at City Journal, that on Wednesday last week, November 22nd, we lost the great operatic baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
The singer was 55; he died from inoperable brain cancer. As well as being a great performer, he was a friend of my own late friend and former boss Wally Fekula, who died four years ago, adding an extra personal layer of melancholy to the news for me.
Here is Hvorostovsky to sing us out. There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Hvorostovsky, The Toreador Song from Carmen.]