As the topic of race continues to pop up in the news now and then, what with the Los Angeles Clippers imbroglio and whatnot, it’s worth reconsidering the conventional wisdom on the subject, which has congealed into: “€œRace does not biologically exist because, uh … Science!”€

Nicholas Wade, the New York Times“€™ chief genetics reporter, has published 1,052 articles in the newspaper of record since 1983. For most of this century, Wade has been methodically waging war in the Science section of the NYT against the liberal creationist myth that race isn”€™t real. He has now written a definitive book on the existence of biological differences among races, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, which will be published on May 6.

In his new book, Wade writes:

Ever since the first modern humans dispersed from the ancestral homeland in northeast Africa … the populations on each continent have evolved largely independently of one another as each adapted to its regional environment. … Because of these divisions in the human population, anyone interested in recent human evolution is almost inevitably studying human races, whether they wish to or not.

To Wade, race isn”€™t just skin deep. In fact, he finds the visual differences between races less significant than the behavioral. Evolution’s strategy for adapting to radically different environments is to “€œkeep the human body much the same but change the social behavior.”€

For example, in one study, the variant of the MAO-A gene most associated with aggression and delinquency was found in 5.2 percent of a sample of black males but only 0.1 percent of Caucasian males, which may explain a lot.

“€œThe inability of a first-rate reporter like Wade, ensconced in the seeming bully pulpit of the New York Times, to make much of an impact makes for a fascinating case study of the zeitgeist’s power to cloud the minds of men.”€

Wade has also written Times editorials, such as this 2011 one about the perfidiousness of the 1981 bestseller The Mismeasure of Man by the late Stephen Jay Gould, arch-druid of anti-Darwinian obscurantism. “€œIt takes only a few vigilantes to cow the whole campus,”€ Wade notes on the baleful impact of witch-sniffers, of whom Gould was one of the first in the 1970s when he led the mob after Harvard colleague Edward O. Wilson.

In his new book, Wade quotes economist Paul Samuelson’s famous assertion that knowledge advances funeral by funeral. And yet a dozen years after Gould’s funeral, the expert on crabs with a sonorous prose style is still cited as an unimpeachable authority on everything; worse, practically nobody has even noticed Wade’s dozen-year campaign to undermine the antiscience orthodoxy.

The inability of a first-rate reporter like Wade, ensconced in the seeming bully pulpit of the New York Times, to make much of an impact makes for a fascinating case study of the zeitgeist’s power to cloud the minds of men.

I first documented what Wade was saying about race in the NYT at in 2003, then returned to the subject in 2006 when reviewing Wade’s book on prehistory, Before the Dawn. But I scratch out a living by reading very closely, so I notice things.

Wade says with some frustration in his latest book:

The fact that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional is not widely recognized, even though it has now been reported by many articles in the literature of genetics. The reason is in part that the knowledge is so new and in part because it raises awkward challenges to deeply held conventional wisdom.

As a nonfiction writer, Wade is congenitally allergic to the kind of human interest padding that makes people believe whatever message Michael Lewis or Malcolm Gladwell decides to peddle. You know how popular science articles always include a description of the researcher’s looks, personality, and laboratory, as if that were relevant? Well, Wade refuses to pander. If somebody’s theory and evidence are good, then he doesn”€™t care who said it or what kind of car he drives.

A Troublesome Inheritance is based in sizable part on the work of a rogue’s gallery of crimethinkers such as Gregory Cochran on Jewish IQ, Richard Lynn on global IQ, Ron Unz on Chinese Social Darwinism, Gregory Clark on the evolution of the bourgeois virtues among the English, and Steven Pinker on the decline in violence. Personally, I know some of these people, which is helpful in reading Wade since he won”€™t tell the reader anything, even though some of them are pretty interesting. For example, during his anthropology fieldwork, Henry Harpending found he loved life in Africa so much that he almost quit academia to become a great white hunter, guiding safaris. (Here’s Henry’s tale of stalking that most dangerous of beasts, the Cape buffalo.)

“€œI WANT TO BELIEVE,”€ announces The X-Files“€™ Agent Mulder, although silently, via that austere poster on the wall of his dark basement FBI office. It’s a declaration of defiance; Mulder was exiled to his subterranean berth by agency higher-ups who were embarrassed by his caseload of alien abductions and chupacabra sightings.

When the X-Files phenomenon fully ripened almost twenty years ago, I feared the program would further popularize cryptozoology and other Fortean phenomena. Worse (as far as the health of the body politic was concerned) was the way The X-Files“€™ glamorized conspiracy theory investigations came to represent a kind of 21st-century chivalry.

Note, for example, the thrillingly chaste “€œromance”€ between the two noble lead characters. Wielding their flashlight-swords, Agents Mulder and Scully stoically traverse a shadowy, seductive post-modern Gothic landscape on their weekly crusades and dragon hunts.
I should have been right. September 11 happened during the show’s penultimate season, after all. But while “€œ9/11 Truthers”€ do, alas, exist, they never achieved the cultural traction once enjoyed by, say, JFK buffs; “€œonce”€ because the massive resurgence of interest in that morbid topic that I expected to witness on the 50th anniversary of the assassination last November also failed to materialize.

One particularly distasteful breed of conspiracy theory that stubbornly refuses to die, however, is that which posits the existence of local, national, or even international pedophile rings.

“€œAt the end of the day”€”or, rather, the decade and counting”€”only one individual was ever convicted of any crime.”€

Does pedophilia exist? Sure. However, it doesn”€™t follow that perverts have semiorganized themselves into some kind of parody of Freemasonry, a Bilderberg of diaper snipers.

For whatever reason”€”a quirk of the collective unconscious; individual shame and guilt; profound resentment of the ruling elite”€”the modern mind wants to believe in these vast pederast conspiracies, even though, again and again, investigations into their existence come up embarrassingly empty.

Yes, we can argue that this is because “€œthe authorities”€ are members of the ring, too, but lots of “€œauthorities”€ were in on Mafia and KKK malfeasance; this made prosecution difficult, but certainly not impossible. There are museums packed with primary source evidence of the Klan’s existence, and the Mob’s; contrast that with this utterly bizarre example of what can only be described as anti-journalism that appeared in the UK’s Islington Tribune earlier this month:

Despite recognition that a huge paedophile ring preyed on Islington children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s no one has ever been prosecuted and all the records of the homes and the names of the children who went to them have been “€œlost.”€

Behold: After the longest and most expensive trial in American history, all charges were dropped in the McMartin Preschool child abuse case, during which an archeologist testified to the existence of “€œsecret tunnels”€ on the school’s grounds, and children claimed they”€™d been raped at orgies at car washes.

Here in Canada, a $53 million inquiry failed to uncover a widely rumored pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ontario. (The Ontario Provincial Police had already reached the same conclusion eight years earlier.) At the end of the day”€”or, rather, the decade and counting”€”only one individual was ever convicted of any crime.

Speaking of fictions, witness the popularity of HBO’s series True Detective, about two cops trying to crack open a pedophile ring in (unsurprisingly) Louisiana. “€œUnsurprisingly”€ because, some would argue, Hollywood and TV Land are ever eager to demonize Middle America to divert attention from their own immorality.

Last Christmas Day, a drone missile flew into the Pakistani village of Qutab Khel and killed four suspected militants. Their identities couldn”€™t be confirmed because their bodies were reduced to charred remains. The protests of families who resided in the decimated village were ignored. On the day once reserved for worshipping the birth of mankind’s savior, the U.S. government thought it would be fun to flat-out murder a few guys. Per usual, little explanation was offered besides, well, they”€™re terrorists.

This last Easter weekend, three separate air strikes felled at least twenty-five suspected militants in Yemen. The strikes were purportedly on al Qaeda camps, though no identities were named. The story was the same: on the day reserved for celebrating the rise of Christ and the liberation of humanity from the bondage of sin, lives were taken, apparently without a hint of remorse or afterthought.

Nearly a decade and a half into the War on Terror, it has to be asked: What are we still fighting for?

Clearly not our freedom. Between testicle-groping TSA brutes and the NSA cataloging everyone’s Internet search history in their Utah desert basement, what freedom is left in America? If you don”€™t pay property taxes, you lose your home. If you don”€™t pay income taxes, you are thrown in a cage. If you don”€™t buy health insurance, the goons at the IRS will hound you.

“€œWar is never pretty. And the price paid is almost always dear. But there used to be limits to the atrocities men unleashed on one another.”€

Are 22 veterans committing suicide every day just so you have the luxury of being forced to pay for some moocher’s Obamaphone? Is that really freedom?

The argument that we”€™re valiantly fighting al Qaeda before they invade America and massacre all of us in a glorious jihad is totally nonsensical. Congress already voted to fund rebels in Syria with taxpayer dollars. It’s widely known that many of these “€œfreedom fighters”€ are radical Islamists affiliated with al Qaeda.

Just as risible is the notion that Uncle Sam stands for democracy and freedom around the world. In Ukraine”€”a country the media now finds important because Putin is a big meanie”€”Washington is backing a bunch of fascists and neo-Nazis who have won power in the government. These guys aren”€™t open-minded liberals fighting for a democratic and pluralist society. It’s highly probable that activists from Ukraine’s new power players even staged a false flag sniper attack to gain Western sympathy.

Uncle Sam is waging war across the globe for a different interest: himself. It’s gotten to the point where basic custom is eschewed for the sake of victory. War is never pretty. And the price paid is almost always dear. But there used to be limits to the atrocities men unleashed on one another. In an era of drone strikes on the Prince of Peace’s birthday, it’s hard to remember the great Christmas Truce of World War I. On Christmas Eve in 1914, the Western Front was no longer a desolate stretch of land fit for men with a death wish. British and German soldiers sang carols to each other across the trenches. As daylight appeared, men emerged from their pits of death and shook hands on the battlefield. They collected the bodies of the deceased. They exchanged gifts.

And on that day, when the world’s leading powers fought the war to end all wars, compassion and love emerged from the slime of imperial conquest. It was almost, as Damon Linker puts it, “€œa fleeting glimpse of God.”€ The cause of governments was put aside to honor the cause of man. It was short-lived, and no event like it occurred after.

As Western society has become more secular, it has put its trust in government. The result is a religion called “€œstatism,”€ and the diminishing of life’s grander purpose. We now live for the government and accept its transgressions. Bureaucracy takes our money and gives us food stamps, tax credits for homes, retirement income, subsidized health care, and an idol to salute at baseball games. It’s no coincidence that the loss of scruples, morals, and decent behavior descended as the liberal political order grew. Private, civil society organizations have lost their sway in governing social behavior.

A drone strike on Christmas Day now seems like an ordinary event. Our lives now revolve around the goings-on in Washington, D.C. The War on Terror must take precedence over everything. Our privacy has been obliterated for the sake of safety. We”€™re force-fed a narrative that says our own intuitive moral conceptions are wrong, and that our overseers know better than we do. From Sunday morning talk shows to editorial columns in major newspapers, we”€™re constantly told the warfare state is necessary and virtuous. Questioning it amounts to treason.

This all happened last week:

“€¢ In South Dakota, someone claiming to be a 16-year-old boy called the county sheriff’s office and said he’d rigged his house with explosives, had already shot one of his parents, and was holding three other family members hostage. An estimated 15-20 officers were sent to the house to confront the shooter.

“€¢ In Michigan, a police dispatcher received a call from someone who claimed to have “had a bad night,” was “high on drugs,” was wielding a machine gun, and was going to slaughter all the hostages he was holding at his house if authorities didn’t show up within 20 minutes.

“€¢ In Alberta, someone called 911 around 11 PM last Thursday claiming a house in Edmonton contained a huge cache of weapons. “Dozens of emergency responders””€”including canine units, a tactical team, police officers, and EMS workers”€”were sent to the scene.

“€œTo my knowledge, no one has yet died as a result of a swatting hoax gone haywire. But it seems inevitable.”€

“€¢ On Long Island, an estimated 60-70 “heavily armed officers” were dispatched to a house after a “young male” called the city of Long Beach’s police department and claimed he’d killed his mother and would murder anyone who showed up at his house as a result of his call. 

All four incidents were hoaxes.

They are thought to be part of a surprisingly pervasive and twisted real-life game known as “swatting,” so named because the purpose is to freak out 911 dispatchers with your false tale of an unfolding bloodbath to the point where they don’t only send a few squad cars, they send a whole SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team. The goal is to get the most elaborate police response possible”€”if you’re able to summon some helicopters, a bomb squad, and maybe even get a tank involved, you are one hell of a swatter.

Although swatting occurs in the real world”€”also known as “IRL””€”it emerged mostly from the online gaming community as a hyper-vindictive way of striking back at another player who’d defeated you. Last week’s case in Long Island is thought to have erupted after the teenager in the targeted house beat the suspect in an online game of Call of Duty. As genuinely heartbreaking as it may be for a young gamer to lose at Call of Duty, swatting takes sore losing to previously unimaginable lengths. And it makes video games uncomfortably real.

According to FBI estimates, there are around 400 swatting incidents in the USA yearly, averaging roughly one per day. There are online reports of swatting hoaxes in Indiana, Washington, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.

But swatting is not the sole domain of vindictive gamers, as modern celebrities are often targeted: Justin Bieber, Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Russell Brand, Diddy, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Ryan Seacrest, Kris and Bruce Jenner, and Charlie Sheen have all allegedly felt the cold slap of the swatter’s hand. The fact that I very strongly dislike every one of those listed celebrities makes it slightly easier for me to accept the hardships they all must have endured. Not that I”€™m condoning the obvious crime against humanity that is known as swatting, but I must say that these celebrity swatters pick good targets.

The Week’s Most Steroidal, Negroidal, and Hemorrhoidal Headlines

Two elderly white men got in trouble last week for making the sort of comments that people who hate elderly white men expect them to make. This led to outrage (and possibly a sense of relieved vindication) among anti-racist headhunters who sit around all day like bored firemen praying for a blaze to break out somewhere.

Sixty-seven-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was filmed on April 19th making the following comments:

I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro….They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?

Many mainstream conservative mouthpieces who’d supported Bundy up until those words spilled from his mouth immediately backtracked and made grand public displays of holding their noses. Sean Hannity called Bundy’s words “beyond repugnant,” and Glenn Beck deemed Bundy “unhinged from reality.”

“€œTwo elderly white men got in trouble last week for making the sort of comments that people who hate elderly white men expect them to make.”€

Octogenarian LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, born Donald Tokowitz, found himself the despised white sheep of the NBA after audiotaped comments were revealed to have been part of an alleged telephone argument with his black/Mexican girlfriend. Sterling was apparently incensed that his girlfriend had posted a photo of herself on Instagram with longtime AIDS incubator Magic Johnson:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?…You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that…and not to bring them to my games….

The reaction was of the intellectual caliber you’d expect, perhaps best summarized in this pithy rejoinder by rapper Snoop Dogg, which definitely undermines Sterling’s insinuation that many blacks may be uncultured:

A message to the motherfucker that own [sic] the Clippers. You bitch-ass, redneck, whitebread, chickenshit motherfucker. Fuck you, your mama, and everything connected to you, you racist piece of shit. Fuck you.

A 2006 federal lawsuit against Sterling for housing discrimination quoted Sterling as saying that Hispanics “smoke, drink and just hang around the building” and “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”

Sterling had been scheduled for a banquet next month held by the LA branch of the NAACP, which had been planning to bequeath unto him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

British Columbia’s Health Ministry admitted in an email that it sends “biomedical waste””€”which potentially includes “cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue””€”to a power plant in Oregon that burns the waste and converts it to electricity for local homes. A “former temporary worker” at the Covanta Marion facility in Brooks, OR, claims he often had to lift boxes of medical waste from delivery trucks and that “it would make you sick…there would be so much blood.” After the news story hit, county commissioners ordered an immediate halt to the practice. This news comes about a month after it was revealed that British hospitals had incinerated at least 15,000 aborted fetuses to help heat their facilities.

British publicity slut Josie Cunningham, a mother of two who, despite her face, seems to believe she has a future as a model, first gained notoriety last year after demanding that the National Health Service give her free breast implants because she’d been bullied all her life for being flat-chested. The NHS complied.

Armed with her new welfare boobs, Cunningham managed to get impregnated by either a paying client of hers or an unnamed soccer star”€”she isn’t sure which one”€”and recently caused a hubbub when she announced she planned to get an abortion if it would help her land a slot on reality show Big Brother:

I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now. An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way….I want to be famous for being me”€”Josie Cunningham, a glamour model and celebrity in my own right.

Supposedly 18 or 19 weeks pregnant, Cunningham smoked during the interview and confessed that she’d also been drinking vodka while with child. At press time, it appears that the show Big Brother will not hire her, anyway, and that she remains pregnant. If true, we wish that unborn child all the luck it will obviously need.

Yesterday a young woman who was unknown to me except at third hand died. She was the friend of a friend of my wife. Considering that I was personally unacquainted with her, and that there are about 1500 deaths a day in my country alone, her death affected me to a surprising degree. 

She was 38 when she died. Until about five or six months ago she led a normal, happy life: happy in the way that Tolstoy said that all happy families were happy. She had a son aged two and was recently pregnant with her second child. Then she began to suffer from severe back pain. At first her doctor ascribed this to her pregnancy”€”by historical standards she was old to be pregnant”€”but the pain was so persistent and became so severe that she had a scan. Her spine was riddled with secondaries. 

She had cancer of the breast, which is often of a fulminant kind during pregnancy. She had a termination of pregnancy, then chemo- and radiotherapy. She needed an operation to stabilize her spine, to prevent it collapsing from the secondaries and rendering her paraplegic. For long she denied the prognosis, which was terrible. She planned for events that she would never see. (Such denial, incidentally, tends to prolong life”€”slightly. Irrationality can have a rationality of its own.)

“€œWe are so constituted that a single instance of human tragedy moves us more than a whole catastrophe affecting hundreds, thousands, or millions. No doubt this is testimony to the smallness of our understanding.”€ 

Only when she was admitted to the hospice for terminal care did she fully admit that she was dying. She then wanted to write a letter to her son for him to open when he was of an age to understand it, to explain to him how she had loved him, and perhaps to let him know a little of his mother.

Of course by then he would have no memory of her. With luck, his father would have remarried, let us hope to a woman who would be a good stepmother to him, indeed like a real mother.  

She never had time to write that letter. Her decline was so rapid that she died before she could write it. Whether, had she written it, it would have been for good or ill, I am still undecided; but what is certain is that the thought of her unfathomable grief moved me greatly. To know that her beloved son would know nothing of her, that her good and devoted husband would, through no demerit of his, soon cease to remember her other than at odd moments, for he would have to resume normal life, and to die so young through no fault of her own, were sorrows so deep that I felt almost ashamed of my own good fortune which I have so little appreciated and so much complained of. 

Of course I know that there have been worse tragedies than hers and that, not so long ago in human history, this story might have been commonplace. But we are so constituted that a single instance of human tragedy moves us more than a whole catastrophe affecting hundreds, thousands, or millions. No doubt this is testimony to the smallness of our understanding. 

Her death reminded me of a fairly recent incident in my own life. I received, as in a novel, a letter from a solicitor informing me that he wished to get in contact with me. Naturally, my first thought (and hope) was that a long lost relative had left me a fortune. It was, I need hardly say, no such thing. 

It concerned, rather, the burial plot of my father’s first wife. I had quite forgotten that he had been married before his extremely unhappy second marriage, to my mother. His first wife died young, during the war, of cancer of the breast, at about the age of 30; and it was one of my mother’s reproaches against my father that he had wooed her while his first wife lay dying.

The sister of my father’s wife was now also dying, and it was her wish to be buried next to her sister. As my father’s legatee I was, unbeknownst to me, the owner of the burial plot in which my father’s first wife was interred. Would I be prepared, the solicitor asked me, to transfer ownership to my father’s first wife’s sister?

NEW YORK — The poet was right, April is the cruelest month. We at the Spectator lost Clarissa Tan, my good friend Bob Geldof’s 25-year-old daughter Peaches died, and my oldest friend from prep school buried his son, one of the greatest athletes of his time, at age 42. There is something obscene about surviving the young, something only politicians like Tony Blair can do and still smile, and A.E. Housman got it right in his “To An Athlete Dying Young.” We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness and the pursuit of it. Thousands of books are published about it every year. Arianna Huffington’s opus on how to thrive is number one on the best-seller list. (More about this later). Eliot also wrote that humankind could not bear very much reality, but is there anything more real than death?

I didn’t know Clarissa well, but whenever I met her at Speccie parties and pulled her leg about her teaching me strange Oriental sexual rituals she would crinkle up her face, blush, and laugh. She never once hinted that all was not well, that she was ill. Talk about profiles in courage. Bob Geldof’s Peaches I had met only at parties and she was swell. Friendly and very polite, she had her father’s nous, and that means she had a lot of brainpower. For those of us who know Bob Geldof well, he may use the F-word more than necessary at times, but he’s an extraordinary man. A rock star who neither drinks nor smokes, he’s a walking encyclopedia and has read more serious books than all the rock stars put together have had one-night stands. My heart goes out to him because he is a very loving father whose suffering the jackals of the tabloids cannot imagine as they circle for their story. The famed Band Aid and Live Aid organizer is a wonderful father, as he is a family man. He has endured a lot of personal grief and has endured it with dignity. Thank God for his wonderful French girlfriend, Jeanne Marine, and his other three daughters. His statement to the press was typical of Sir Bob: Writing “was” a beautiful child destroys me afresh.

“Eliot also wrote that humankind could not bear very much reality, but is there anything more real than death?”

Back in my old prep school, Blair Academy, in 1951 I became a star wrestler, a sport I had taken up at Lawrenceville before that wonderful school decided to throw me out for recalcitrance, a word I had never heard of when the school used it to explain to my father why I was being sent home. I had begun wrestling at 103 pounds and had gone slowly up to 141. When Tony Maltese arrived at Blair, wrestling at 141 also, the coach warned me to bulk up or diet down to 132. At sixteen years of age this is very hard to do. The reason for this was that Tony was undefeated when he arrived, and remained undefeated after three years of competition. He left school a state and national champion at 141. Poor little me had to starve myself or wrestle against bigger boys. If it weren’t for Tony, I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody. No matter, we have stayed friends throughout and now Tony and Cynthia, his wife of close to fifty years, have had to bury their son, a top skier who skied at pro level, a triathlete who also played in a band and whose doctor broke out in tears when he diagnosed him with brain cancer. Tony is a very rich man who does not show off. He has kept his emotions in check but I know the agony he’s going through. When we parted after graduating he chose to go to North Carolina because of its wrestling program. I also went south, to the University of Virginia for tennis. We have been much closer than brothers always. My own boy J.T. was heartbroken to hear about A.J.’s death, as our sons were friends and both used initials for their names.
            Conveying the grief of a parent invariably sounds tinny, soggy, sentimental. But there are no euphemisms for it, no subtle ambiguities. Losing a son or daughter has to be the greatest fear of a human being and it never fails to send a shudder through my heart. The moment a child is born the parent becomes a hostage and it remains like that throughout. Suffering, it is said, gives people a more accurate sense of their own limitations. I am not so sure. I have always known my limitations, one of them being my incapability to secure my children’s well-being. Placing them in the hands of God can be a tricky business. The Almighty has taken some of the best and has left some of the worst around. Still, he has the last word and who am I to doubt him?
            There is a lot of money to be made through the avoidance of unhappiness, and Arianna Stassinopoulos-Huffington is an expert at it. She has launched an argosy of press releases aimed at telling the world that power and money mean nothing to her. Does the Greek pudding really take all of us for totally stupid? She revels in high visibility with only the rich and famous, does not pay writers, has made a fortune with her noodle but also through marriage to a gay man, and now she tells us how to thrive. I am not about to read her book. I’ll stick with my memories of Clarissa, Peaches, and Tony’s boy.


Navel-gazing in Tucson “”€ The Supremes get one right “”€ La Latina loca “”€ Open and candid “”€ Let’s gloat

Back in 1961 a CIA agent and I approached Thomas Lejus, who won the 1959 boys”€™ singles championship for the Soviet Union at Wimbledon. We took him to Café Royal, where Oscar Wilde and Whistler and other such swells used to hang their top hats. The agent spoke first. “€œThomas, if you decide to stay in the West, we will give you a Ford car with an automatic reclining roof and a large electric fridge, and make sure your life is comfortable in America.”€ Thomas was a university graduate and he sort of scratched his head. “€œYou mean you want me to leave the land of Pushkin for a car with an automatic roof and a fridge?”€

“€œWho the hell is Pushkin?”€ spluttered the agent. “€œIs he involved?”€ That’s when I interfered. Let me try it my way, was all I said. The lunch was effectively over.

“€œWhat the neocons cannot stomach after all the anti-Soviet propaganda of a half-century is the fact that the Russian people are not our enemies.”€

Thomas was an educated and nice person, but got into trouble later when he caught his wife in flagrante and killed her. Having earned a Stalin order, he got only eight years in a Gulag, and I ran into him during a veterans”€™ tournament 30 years later in Palermo. He was a broken man. He had no regrets, he said. Typically Russian, I thought. The love Russians have for their country is something arms-rattling neocons do not always take into account. It’s a mystic love, Mother Russia, and Mother Church, along with one thousand years of suffering, deprivations, and war. A German general, Hasso von Manteuffel, once told me how inexplicable he found the frenzied and ferocious resistance to the German bombing of Leningrad by the starving populace, let alone the soldier defenders. Solzhenitsyn, no commie fan, wrote how surprised and ashamed he was when his battalion was stringing up Russians who had gone over to the German side. It was like a bad dream, he wrote later, these desperate men who had fought under Vlasov and had resisted so tenaciously, and were now being tortured and shot like mad dogs. A German officer naked to the waist was being whipped to death and he appealed to Captain Solzhenitsyn as a fellow human being. The great writer kept quiet. Russian nature is cruel, as are the people living there. But they defend the land like wild animals defend their young, something the soft Western op-ed writers will never comprehend. For Russians, the farther west into Europe their borders extend, the farther any future Napoleon or Hitler has to travel to reach Moscow. It’s as simple as that. The great George Kennan went on record saying that NATO and the U.S. were making a great mistake in bottling up Russia after the fall of communism. Kennan knew the Russian character better than the know-nothings inside the beltway. And the ludicrous unelected EU bureaucrats who sang a siren song to the Ukrainians only showed what nincompoops they are by egging on anti-Russian sentiments in a country that became the Ukraine only in 1991, having been a batted-about set of provinces until it joined the Soviet Union. As I wrote in another journal, the Ukraine choosing the EU over Russia was like a man kicking out Ava Gardner from his bed and inviting Hillary Clinton under the sheets.

Now that Colorado has legalized marijuana (though not for 4th graders), drugs are back in the news, and that inevitably brings the discussion to the decriminalization of all drugs.

The two bad trips that inevitably come up in these debates are: 1. Few understand that just because something’s bad for you doesn”€™t mean it should be illegal, and 2. Nobody appears to have tried the drugs they”€™re arguing about. The first one is a simple concept. The second one takes some ‘splaining.

First, pot sucks. Northwestern University recently linked it to brain abnormalities, and we all have those pothead friends from college who never did anything with their lives. There are also some great things about it, especially when used in small doses. It makes sex better, movies more interesting, and laughing with your friends unavoidable. It’s all about moderation. This is true of all drugs. They should be discouraged, not criminalized. Only a couple of the Ten Commandments are laws. None of the seven deadly sins are. Almost half of Americans see homosexuality as a sin, but only a handful of lunatics want gays sent to prison. We don”€™t want the government regulating our morality. They don”€™t know how.

Second, why is everyone so sure about how horrible something is when they don”€™t even know what it looks like? Whenever I have this debate with someone and mention that I”€™ve tried crack they shriek, “€œYOU”€™VE DONE CRACK!?”€ I”€™ve done pretty much every drug there is and it’s been a wild ride. The only thing I”€™ve become addicted to is booze and if you try to make that illegal, I”€™ll bring back the tommy gun. Here are 15 drugs you should try before debating legalization.

“€œIf I hadn”€™t had cocaine and Adderall in my history, my bank account would be approximately one-third of its present size.”€


What you used to need a garbage bag of back in the 70s can now fit on the head of a booger. Black kids smoke “€œblunts,”€ which is a hollowed out cigar with a gram of pot in it, but that’s enough to last you about a dozen Fridays. It is pretty bad for you and can lead to brain damage, especially over generations of use, but so does jail.

The legalization debate was easy back when it was nothing more than a beer in cigarette form. Now that it’s basically LSD, it’s hard to want to legalize it without throwing all hallucinogens in the mix.


This is Canadian pot, which means it’s smaller and more polite but packs quite a wallop if you mess with it.


I heard comedian Joe Rogan recently say he doesn”€™t trust an atheist that hasn”€™t done acid. I”€™ve been screaming the same thing for years. I don”€™t think you can be a successful scientist without trying it at least once. It permanently stretches your mind. Steve Jobs said it was crucial to his success and so did Francis Crick, the father of genetics. This usually comes in the form of a tiny piece of paper. If you”€™re over thirty, try cutting the paper into quarters and see where that takes you.


I hear this is a very intense version of LSD but I”€™m way too old to look into it. Hallucinogens are a young man’s game.


These look like rotten vegetables that have been left in the microwave overnight, and they taste worse. Once you get past that, prepare to enjoy the insight of LSD combined with the giggly body buzz of 1980s marijuana. If LSD was Batman, mushrooms would be Robin, and if you take it on Halloween, all costumes become real.


Crazy drug from the 70s that nobody does anymore.


Like Krokodil, this epidemic is a myth created by the media. More people have probably been raped by a hippopotamus.


These are the zombies you see holding balloons at the edge of the party. We used to inhale PAM cooking spray out of plastic bags, which is probably the same basic inhalant. It is totally legal and makes you feel lightheaded because it plays with how much oxygen your brain gets. It’s probably really, really bad for you but it made us laugh to see our friends pass out, and we gave it up when our fake ID was good enough to buy alcohol.