Assiduous readers of my column know that I have frequently made the point that America’s immigration policies benefit only three groups of people: 1) rich Americans with a lot of employees, 2) the immigrants themselves, and 3) their grandmothers back in Chiapas.

The money illegal immigrants send out of the country doesn’t come from their low wages. It comes from the taxpayers, who are required to subsidize immigrants so that investment bankers can have cheap nannies. Yes, it is a problem that they couldn’t possibly live on what I pay them, but that’s where YOU come in, taxpayers!

When the rich merely have to pay Social Security taxes on their nannies, they quickly say, Oh, never mind, as we saw in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton’s first two female attorney general nominees had to withdraw because of the illegal aliens raising their kids, and we finally ended up with Janet Reno.

Zoe Baird, the first nominee caught up in Nannygate, promptly fired her illegal alien nanny and chauffeur, Lillian and Victor Corderos, who were deported.

That’s how much the rich love Latino immigrants! As Baird’s spokeswoman, Jamie Gorelick, said at the time: “I think it truly pains them that Lillian has had to pay this price. … They have true affection for her.”

She’s like family!

“Seeing what a fantastic deal mass immigration is for the rich, it’s easy to understand why they lie so much about it.”

A cynic might wonder if the beneficiaries of mass Third-World immigration would be so altruistic toward the rest of the world if they were the ones being forced to compete with immigrant workers.

At a time when the working class could have been ginned up to oppose this dump of low-wage workers on the country, the unions lied to them and told them, Don’t worry! This will make the union stronger. Thirty years later, California construction workers who were making $45 an hour are now making $11 an hour.

The entire readership of The New York Times is immune from wage pressure like that. Our immigration policies strictly limit high-skilled immigration, ensuring that there will be no competition for jobs in the executive suite, while foisting a dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest competition on their employees.

The left has never had to defend the argument that everyone on the planet has a right to come to America, drive down wages, access welfare and force us to educate their children — because rich Republicans like the cheap labor, too.

Seeing what a fantastic deal mass immigration is for the rich, it’s easy to understand why they lie so much about it.

For example, the Cato Institute — funded by the Koch brothers — keeps producing “studies” claiming that immigrants are less likely to be on welfare than Americans.

That’s at least counterintuitive.

We’re told day in and day out about the horrible lives of the poor asylum-seekers. They’ll starve if we send them back! Their children have all kinds of health problems, no medical care, no decent food, no roof over their heads! Their neighborhoods are hotbeds of wife-beaters, drugs, murder and gangs!

And then: A financial burden to America? No … what makes you say that?

Even if it were true that fewer immigrants were accessing government assistance than American citizens, the number of immigrants who should be on welfare is, wait, checking my notes … yes: ZERO. Why would any country bring in people who immediately need our monetary support?

In fact, bringing in poverty-stricken immigrants is a disaster for the welfare programs intended to help our fellow Americans. Fully half of all non-citizens in the United States are on at least one welfare program, according to the (very non-MAGA) Migration Policy Institute.

The only purpose of these Cato “studies” are the headlines, which will be endlessly repeated throughout media without a moment’s reflection.

Whether journalists are citing phony studies, phony polls or phony experts, every statement about immigration in the mainstream media is a lie. You always have to look for the trick. Cato’s welfare “studies,” for example, put welfare-receiving children of immigrants — legal and illegal — in the “American” column.

This tells us nothing about the soundness of our immigration policy. If the immigrants’ kids need welfare, we’re not bringing in the right immigrants.

Even more preposterous, Cato counts Social Security and Medicare as “welfare.” This is money that was taken by force from working Americans for their entire lives, of which they will get a portion back upon reaching retirement age. Immigrants are collecting welfare that the older Americans didn’t collect when they were the same age. Wait until they retire.

Of course Americans are more likely to be collecting Social Security and Medicare! I refer you to mass-immigration advocates’ usual sneer about white Americans being so much older than young, hardworking — and surprisingly cheap! — Latino immigrants.

It’s so obvious that our immigration policies are bankrupting the nation’s welfare programs that I’ve often wondered if this was the intent of the libertarian Koch brothers all along. Burden the entire system until it blows up — and then we can finally return to pre-Great Society America!

Someone needs to tell the plutocrats that their employees are voting, and they aren’t voting libertarian. Heard of Venezuela? Heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Heard of California?

The rich’s Third World employees — “natural Republicans,” we’re always told by The Wall Street Journal — turn out NOT to be huge fans of small government. That’s why, instead of being a libertarian paradise, California is a banana republic, running on fumes from Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

As Lenin supposedly said, “Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” The rich know they want to pay their employees less, and they don’t know anything else.

DALLAS—Whoever took the photo of the Covington Catholic High School kid holding that painful smile during the face-down with the Omaha tribal elder at the Lincoln Memorial should receive the Pulitzer Prize and the photograph itself should go into the Smithsonian Institution as a portrait of America in 2019.

The title of the photography should be E Pluribus Chao, the opposite of E Pluribus Unum.

The only thing that would have made the photo better is if it had included one of the Black Hebrew Israelites.

I know this group well, or at least I know their street habits well, since for years they occupied a platform in Times Square and preached their religion of black supremacy. They are formidable provocateurs, every bit the equal of their counterparts in the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Brotherhood. It’s not a stretch at all to believe that, when they encountered a group of well-scrubbed white high school kids, they taunted them as “School shooters!” and “Incest babies!” because any group based on bloodline privilege will have loose-cannon flamethrowers on its fringes.

Unfortunately, the Covington students had not learned the part of the New Testament about turning the other cheek, and so the Catholic boys responded with their school cheers in an effort to drown out the Israelites. (Good Catholic kids all, they requested permission from their teachers before they started cheering.)

Meanwhile, the Omaha tribesman sees a situation developing between two races and two religions and he steps in with more noise, thinking that a little Native American drumming will somehow defuse an already raucous situation.

“The only thing that would have made the photo better is if it had included one of the Black Hebrew Israelites.”

And that’s when the smile occurs. The smiling/smirking kid was neither a saint nor a sinner, he was merely doing what everyone else was doing that day—expressing his moral superiority. He was being a peacemaker, he said, but he also betrayed himself when he said, “I wanted him to know that this was the most he was going to get out of me.” In other words, he resented the drumming. By fighting it with a smile, he thought he was doing the Christian thing.

So the Black Hebrew Israelites felt morally superior to the white boys.

The white boys chose to express their own moral superiority by singing cheerful songs.

The Native American chose to express his morality by being the peacemaker between two angry groups.

And the smiling kid wanted to be the hero who would stand up for his school in a peaceful Christian way.

Each group was sending out signals to the other groups: Ours is the high road, you live in ignorance. I mean, you don’t go to a demonstration in the first place unless you want to make a public point, whether that point be opposition to abortion, defense of minority rights, or pride of indigenous people. But the remarkable thing about this particular moment in history is that none of the groups knew what the others were doing. The Omahas were judged for their drumming, interpreted as aggressive. The Catholic kids were judged for their “Make America Great Again” hats. (I don’t know what you would normally expect from schoolkids, but when I went to Washington as a kid, we bought all kinds of souvenirs that had President Johnson’s likeness on it, at a time when he was very unpopular with the public because of the Vietnam War. A kid’s first instinct is to buy a hat, a shirt, or a button.) And the Black Hebrew Israelites were judged for the obscene and tasteless slurs of a few of its members. I really doubt that most people had even heard of the Black Hebrew Israelites before that day.

Here in one moment we have identity politics, the pride of being righteous outsiders (all three groups), and the belief that some Other is about to destroy the country.

We would understand the whole thing better if we admitted that all three groups had mixed motives, that the loose cannons (the tomahawk chopper, the “go back to Europe” guy) represent the kind of insecure show-offs who are part of any organization, and that posturing as “peacemakers” or “truth-seekers” doesn’t get us anywhere.

Anybody involved in the fracas would have done better to turn back to the Lincoln Memorial that loomed right there above them and read the words on its walls once more:

With Malice Toward None, With Charity for All.

That phrase, taken from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, was all about “binding up the nation’s wounds.”

Listen to Abe, please.

The Scramble for Africa became possible when Europeans began to use quinine to lessen the ferocious toll that malaria took upon whites. Before the later 19th century, Europeans had barely penetrated into the interior of tropical Africa. But as indigenous diseases became less lethal, a great enthusiasm arose in Europe to colonize Africa. The fraction of Africa ruled by Europeans grew from 10 percent in 1870 to 90 percent in 1914. (By 1977, the percentage was zero. A century of experience with Africa left whites with rather little interest in it.)

Similarly, the 21st century is witnessing the Scramble for America and Europe as technological innovations boost the population of the Third World and also make migration easier. In particular, the recent spread of the smartphone has emboldened the young men of the Global South to set forth on the adventure of a lifetime crossing the Mediterranean, with the payoff in mind of the most famously beautiful women in the world awaiting them on the northern shore.

The United Nations forecast in 2017 that the population of sub-Saharan Africa would octuple between 1990 and 2100, reaching 4 billion by the end of the century.

In recent months, a few brave VIPs such as Bill Gates and John Kerry have begun to warn that a more moderate African fertility rate would be good for Africa (not to mention—cough, cough—the rest of the world).

Of course, if African fertility control doesn’t happen, and soon, much of this vast population will, if allowed, leave Africa. The disruptions caused to Northern cities such as Detroit in the second half of the 20th century by the Great Migration of 7 million rural Southern African-Americans offers an eye-opening preview of the effects of what promises to be a Greater Migration two orders of magnitude larger.

Likewise, Pakistan, whose grandsons have done so much for the civic weal of Rotherham, is expected to grow from 197 million in 2017 to 307 million in 2050.

“There isn’t anything inevitable about the Scramble for America. It’s well within our capabilities to defend our homeland.”

Curiously, however, unlike in the 1880s, the lands being colonized in this new Scramble are richer, technologically superior, and militarily stronger than those doing the colonizing. In other words, there isn’t anything inevitable about the Scramble for America. It’s well within our capabilities to defend our homeland.

As evidence, a few self-confident countries, such as Israel and Hungary, have virtually eliminated illegal immigration through simple expedients such as border barriers. Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu, for instance, routinely tweets out photographs of the ferocious fences and walls Israel has quickly erected in recent years.

But much of the rest of the First World is paralyzed by the widespread assumption that its peoples don’t deserve to protect themselves from being colonized. For example, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently proclaimed, “The fact is, a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”

Who we are, evidently, are the people who aren’t here yet.

Elites like Pelosi tend to be motivated by self-interest (that’s how they got to be elites): The Scramble for America has turned Pelosi’s California into a one-party state and might do something similar for the rest of the country. Her descendants, of course, will do fine for the foreseeable future.

Obviously, Pelosi’s rhetoric isn’t intended to persuade anyone rationally: Like much of elite reasoning in recent years it’s fundamentally childish, based on an appeal to simplistic assumptions about who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys. The dominant dichotomy about punching up versus punching down, for example, makes sense to a 6-year-old boy: We know that the good guys punch up at the bad guys. Why? Because they are good.

Consider the Covington fiasco in which much of the media leaped to the conclusion that the boy who stood stoically while being harassed by the alcoholic drifter had to be the bad guy because…well, because we hate his white male face, so that must mean he is the Face of Hate.

Unfortunately for the press, the kid not only didn’t do anything to apologize for, he didn’t apologize anyway.

Many pundits took away the message that their only mistake was using Twitter to immediately express their hatred for Core Americans rather than writing it up for a slower-moving outlet from which they could have pulled their piece before it was published. For example, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo explained:

I will confess that when I first saw the video of a smirking teenager staring down a drumming elder, I, too, was stirred to outrage. My politics lean against the kids’, and something about their smugness and certainty—they seemed to be doing tomahawk chops and were wearing hats supporting a racist president—confirmed all my priors about the ugliness of our Trumpian times.

You might think that Manjoo would go on from there to do some public soul-searching about why he is so bigoted against Core Americans that he let his racist prejudices cloud his judgment. But instead, he merely took away the lesson “Never Tweet.”

Of course, the problem with Twitter for journalists is that it allows them to instantly expose their hate-driven bias without an editor suggesting that they more artfully disguise their intolerance.

A related bizarre aspect of the Scramble for America is the ever growing demand in American media for commentators to do the Job Americans Just Won’t Do: dreaming up ever sillier microaggressions for Core Americans to apologize for—what I call “immigriping.” I’ve read numberless op-eds by interns with unpronounceable names lambasting white Americans because at some point in the past there was one American white who couldn’t pronounce her name. (And then another asked to touch her hair.)

For example, Rachel Hatzipanagos of The Washington Post tweeted this week:

Are you a POC who has been confused for a colleague at work? Want to talk about how that made you feel? Contact me for an upcoming story for The Post’s race and identity newsletter. or leave your info here

The implicit or explicit solution for whatever our new immigrant overlords shamelessly complain about is that America should let in more of their extended family. For example, Manjoo wrote in the NYT:

There’s Nothing Wrong With Open Borders
Why a brave Democrat should make the case for vastly expanding immigration.

In other words, you stupid Americans let my nuclear family in, and now I’m going to bully you until you let my entire extended family in. And then they are going to badger you until you let their extended families in. You naive Americans don’t understand how important our clans are to us, so, too bad, you are doomed.

The Scramble for America is on, and Americans are ideologically ill-equipped to survive it.

“Pay the soldiers. The rest do not matter.”

This was the deathbed counsel given to his sons by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in A.D. 211.

Nicolas Maduro must today appreciate the emperor’s insight.

For the political survival of this former bus driver and union boss hangs now upon whether Venezuela’s armed forces choose to stand by him or to desert him and support National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.

Wednesday, Guaido declared Maduro’s election last May to a second six-year term to be a sham, and had himself inaugurated as acting president.

Thursday, the defense minister and army chief General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, with his top brass, dismissed the 35-year-old Guaido as a U.S. puppet, and pledged allegiance to Maduro.

Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. … Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

By Friday, however, the world had already taken sides.

Russia and China stood by Maduro, as did NATO ally Turkey, with President Erdogan phoning his support. Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia were also with Maduro.

Backing Guaido are Venezuela’s neighbors Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia, the U.S. and Canada, and the Organization of American States.

Britain, France, Germany and Spain have sent Maduro a diplomatic ultimatum: Agree in eight days to new elections or we back the 35-year-old Guaido, who, until this year, was an unknown.

All options are on the table, says President Donald Trump. But Russia called Guaido’s action a “quasi-coup” and warned that intervention could result in “catastrophic consequences.” Vladimir Putin also phoned Maduro with his support.

The stakes for all sides here are huge. Russia has contractors in Venezuela and has lent the regime billions. In a show of solidarity, Putin recently flew two strategic bombers to Venezuela.

China has loaned Venezuela tens of billions, with Caracas paying Beijing back in oil.

“A blockade and sanctions would magnify and deepen the suffering of the people of Venezuela long before they would bring down the regime.”

Cuba has sent military and intelligence officers to maintain internal security. Hugo Chavez had seen in Fidel Castro a father figure and modeled his new Venezuela on Castro’s Cuba — with similar results.

Where hundreds of thousands fled Castro’s revolution in the 1960s, three million Venezuelans have fled to Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and other South American countries and the USA.

The economy is in a shambles. Though Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on earth, production is a fraction of what it once was. Cronyism and corruption are endemic. Inflation has destroyed the currency. There is poverty, malnutrition and shortages of every necessity of modern life.

Yet, still, the crucial question: What will the soldiers do? And if the military stands with Maduro, and Maduro refuses to go, what do the Americans do to force him out?

Invade? That would invite disaster. Venezuela is not Panama, Haiti or Grenada. Larger than Texas, its population is more than 30 million. And U.S. forces are already committed around the world.

A blockade and sanctions would magnify and deepen the suffering of the people of Venezuela long before they would bring down the regime. Would our allies support a blockade? And if years of suffering by the Venezuelan people have not shaken Maduro’s hold on power, what makes us believe more of the same would persuade him?

Maduro and his army are being offered amnesty if they peacefully depart. But what would Maduro’s fate be if he flees?

If he gives up power under U.S. threat, he is finished and disgraced as a coward. Would he not prefer to go down fighting?

And if the leadership of the army should abandon Maduro, there are younger ambitious officers who would surely see a rewarding future in fighting to save the regime.

Are we inviting a civil war in Venezuela? Should the shooting start in Caracas, what do we do then?

Did anyone think this through?

Maduro is an incompetent brutal dictator whose ideology has helped to destroy a nation. But if he can change the narrative from a confrontation between a tyrant and his persecuted people to that of an embattled defender of Venezuela being attacked by Yankee imperialists and their domestic lackeys, that could resonate among the masses in Latin America.

And from all indications, Maduro intends to defy the U.S. and rally the radicals and anti-Americans in the hemisphere and the Third World.

Guiado’s constitutional claim to the presidency of Venezuela was a scheme cooked up in collusion with Washington, made in the USA, with Secretary of State Pompeo, John Bolton and Sen. Marco Rubio signing on, and President Trump signing off. This was Plan A.

But if Plan A does not succeed, and Maduro, with America’s prestige on the line, defies our demand that he yield, what do we do then? What is Plan B?

“Assad must go!” said Barack Obama. Well, Assad is still there — and Obama is gone.

Will the same be said of Maduro?

The Wire was the critically acclaimed HBO series that told the story of the Baltimore drug trade from a variety of perspectives (cops, dealers, importers, longshoremen, kids, and crooked journalists). Unfortunately, praise for The Wire all too often emanates from leftist white hipsters who’ve probably never actually seen a single episode. But the truth is, The Wire really was exceptional TV.

The reason The Walking Dead will never be remembered as “great” (popular, sure…but so was that Paris Hilton reality show a decade ago) is that its revolving-door showrunners insist on continuously repeating the same script. The heroes stumble upon a megalomaniacal postapocalyptic human with a cultlike band of violent followers. And again, and again, and again. Different names, same plot. But on The Wire, because that show was actually crafted with care and intelligence, when Baltimore drug lord Stringer Bell was killed and his partner imprisoned, the writers saw to it that the next drug kingpin would be cut from a different cloth. Bell was an organizer and an orator, a larger-than-life character with grand schemes. Replacing him was Marlo Stanfield. Marlo knew nothing of oratory. He was a dead-eyed, cold-blooded killer with no ambitions beyond ruling his hood. He wasn’t trying to bring anyone together or “civilize” the drug business. In fact, as one particular street dealer pointed out, Marlo loved “killing niggers just cuz he can, not because of business, not for profit; just cuz he can.”

Idris Elba became a star thanks to his performance as Bell, but I think Jamie Hector’s understated, coldly inhuman Marlo was an even better characterization.

In season 4, Marlo loses a good deal of money at an all-night card game. Pissed off, he wanders into a convenience store in the early-morning hours, as he waits for his lieutenant to come pick him up. As the Asian clerk isn’t looking, he swipes some candy, in plain view of the store’s paunchy, middle-aged black security guard. Marlo had more than enough money to pay for that candy, but he stole it “just cuz he can.” The guard follows Marlo outside and lectures him about disrespect and what it means to be a hardworking family man with a shitty job who has to put up with neighborhood thugs mocking him to his face.

With an iciness that’s absolutely bone-chilling, Marlo stares the guard straight in the eyes and says, “You want it to be one way. But it’s the other way.”

The security guard hates his reality. He hates his job, his neighborhood, and the “rules” of the street that reward the violent and conscienceless and punish those who obey the law. He wants reality to be one way, but in fact it’s the other way.

Marlo proceeds to get into a pricey SUV chauffeured by his right-hand man, and coolly drives off (days later, the guard turns up dead).

“You want it to be one way. But it’s the other way.” It’s a great line, and I find myself recalling it every time the left opens another front in its war against normal. Because at its core, that’s leftism. Since the days in which communists proclaimed the creation of the “New Soviet Man”—an engineered human devoid of self-interest and caring only to serve the state (oddly, the “New Soviet Man” ceased to exist the minute belief in it was no longer enforced at gunpoint)—the left has been all about trying to reinvent normal.

“These folks understand that the key to accomplishing their goals is to undermine the underpinnings of human society.”

Last week, left-wing West Wing television hack Aaron Sorkin, who’s as likely to ever create a show as timeless as The Wire as a retarded lemur with a typewriter is likely to write Hamlet, blasphemed against the left’s war on normal, by urging his beloved Democrats to stop obsessing about issues like letting men in lipstick and dresses use women’s bathrooms. “I think that there’s a great opportunity here, now more than ever, for Democrats to be the non-stupid party, to point out the difference—that it’s not just about transgender bathrooms. That’s a Republican talking point. They’re trying to distract you with that.” Needless to say, everyone from actual retarded lemur Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to prominent gay activists to the rapidly vanishing loons who write for the Huffington Post slithered onto social media to “clap back” at Sorkin (small aside…how the fuck did that become such a widely used news-media term?). On Twitter, “progressives” took their former darling to task for being a transphobe, a homophobe, and pretty much every other phobe in the leftist lexicon.

How could Sorkin, who’s been pandering to left-wing audiences for damn near 25 years, so badly misjudge his base? Well, Sorkin is a simpleminded party-line Democrat, as uninspired in his thinking as he is in his writing. “High taxes! Big government! Welfare! Free health care! Oppose interventionism and war when a Republican is president; cheer it when the prez is a Democrat (or when a Republican president is actually against interventionism and war). Abortions for all, and don’t forget to recycle those dead fetuses in the proper green trash bin, because global warming is killing the planet!” To an extent, Dems like Sorkin are to the left what the neocons are to the right; they stick with the safe, time-tested issues, and they feign ignorance (or have made themselves purposely ignorant) of the fact that some in their circle have a more radical agenda.

In fact, to the increasingly powerful far-left wing of the Democrat Party, trannies in the bathroom is not only a defining issue, it may very well be the defining issue. When Sorkin says “it’s not just about transgender bathrooms,” the Ocasio-Cortez crowd “claps back” that in fact it’s all about transgender bathrooms. These folks understand that the key to accomplishing their goals is to undermine the underpinnings of human society: the traditional two-parent family, women who actually want to get married to a man and have kids, and traditional gender roles. Far-leftists despise the very notion of “boys” and “girls.” They’re at war with biology, they’re at war with human nature, they’re at war with reality itself.

They want it to be one way, but it’s the other way.

Unfortunately, unlike The Wire’s hapless security guard, the left has amassed the muscle to torment the rest of us by trying to alter reality by force. On The Wire, Marlo represented the reality of his neighborhood, and the security guard represented bitter, frustrated wishful thinking. Marlo had the power; on The Wire, reality always won. And in real life, reality always will win. The left’s endless war against “the way things are” is always a losing one, but that eventual defeat inevitably comes at the expense of countless lives. For most of the 20th century, the Soviets tried to beat, bully, and stomp the belief in God out of the Russian populace. In the end, reality won (it’s a simple truth that most humans believe in God, and even after seventy years of enforced atheism, Russians remained overwhelmingly Christian. These days, atheists make up a mere 13% of the population). But how many people were killed or imprisoned in the course of the left’s failed war?

Hardcore leftists have never been shy about explaining why tranny advocacy is so important to them. The ultimate goal is to “liberate” the world from traditional values and, in the words of The Guardian’s Yvonne Roberts, “reshape society.” But Roberts is quick to add that “we can’t leave change to osmosis.” Indeed not; the left always needs to resort to whatever level of force it can get away with. Here in California, we don’t have gulags (much to our state Democrats’ dismay), but we do now have a ban on saying “he” and “she” in the State Senate.

It’s very easy to think that the left is winning its war against those who refuse to accept that donning lipstick magically makes a man a woman in not only the legal but the biological sense. Academic papers arguing that “gender fluidity” is either a fad or a pathology (as opposed to a biological constant) are censored, and opposition to the tranny agenda is quashed online. And sure, there is more than a little “osmosis” going on. The number of kids who think it’s cool to identify as “fluid” is exploding, and most Americans think there are six times more trans people in the U.S. than there actually are (funny enough, although Americans think this nation is swarming with trannies, a 2013 survey found that, when asked if they’d ever met one, 89% of the respondents answered “no,” and 2% answered “I don’t know,” leaving only 9% who’d ever actually seen one of these supposedly commonplace beings). But I’m not overly pessimistic. As I wrote in a column three years ago, “Reality doesn’t care if you acknowledge it or not; reality always wins in the end.”

If I could sum up why I think the left will eventually lose this one, I’d utter two words: GameStop tranny. Last month, a deep-voiced dude with a women’s haircut, sporting hoop earrings, a pink top, and a handbag, trashed a videogame store in Albuquerque because the clerk dared to call him “sir” instead of “ma’am,” even though he’s obviously a sir. The misbegotten creature at the center of the story, “Tiffany” Moore, has tried to present himself as a hero, and many in the media have been doing their best to support him/her/it. But this is a losing battle. The truth is, Moore looks ridiculous. Leftists want us to look at Moore and not laugh, but that’s just not going to happen. Ironically, if leftists were honest and admitted that most trannies have serious mental issues, we probably wouldn’t laugh, as mocking the insane went out of style with London’s infamous Bedlam tours. We mock trannies because we’re told they’re normal, and if they’re normal—if a freak like Moore is as natural and healthy as freckles on a redhead—then they’re open to mockery, like all other normal human variations.

The more the left forces us to accept the “Tiffany” Moores as normal, the more pushback there will be. Yes, the left’s use of the force of law and the power of social-media censorship will work for a time. But suppressing something is not the same as eliminating it. Surely the Soviet Union taught us that. And a pragmatic, predictable party hack like Aaron Sorkin recognizes this. He knows a long-term losing strategy when he sees one. The Democrats’ embrace of racial identity politics is smarter, because for better or worse (and I’m not saying better), the idea of being true to your racial “kin” is rooted in nature. Trannyism is an artificial invention.

The majority of us will never allow ourselves to be forced into seeing people like “Tiffany” Moore as normal, or above mockery. To repeat the opening theme of this piece, on trannies, leftists want it one way. But it’s the other way. And in the end, Marlo, or should I say reality, will prevail.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is supposedly our legal standard regarding criminal proceedings, and I believe it’s an admirable one even if I suspect it’s rarely utilized. The authorities have too much invested in always being right, and I also believe that most people not only presume the accused is guilty, they relish the armchair sadism attendant to punishing someone else in order to expiate their own guilt and self-loathing.

The past few years have proven beyond a whisper of doubt to me that truth is not the mainstream media’s first priority—leftist ideology is. Therefore, every time they attempt to whip up hysterical hatred toward the nation’s founding stock, I believe the proper standard should be, “False until proven true.”

Witness the bloodlust exhibited by the Supposedly Tolerant in response to a viral video depicting a white Catholic teen in a MAGA hat smirking while a gaunt, tooth-deficient Injun bangs a drum only inches from his face. I was alerted to the video’s existence by my podcast cohost JB Beverley, who says he knew the drum-banging Injun, Nathan Phillips, years ago when they both lived in Washington, DC. He says that despite the media hype about Phillips being a respected tribal elder and Native American activist, he only knew him as a fucked-up grifter who lived in a car.

When I finally watched the video, only to see a white kid in a MAGA hat smirking as Phillips menacingly beat a drum in his face, my reaction was, “That’s it? He stood there smiling while someone attempted to intimidate him, and the media and the Twitter social-justice PMS crowd are dredging up slavery and lynching and the Holocaust?”

Of course. The supply of white hatred is dangerously low these days, so rather than admit they’ve been hyperbolically wrong, the anti-white squads will simply make things up to support their outdated and childish narrative.

To hear the mainstream media tell the story, this frail and elderly tribal elder was surrounded by a group of entitled white racists who had harassed a group of black “black activists” before aiming the flamethrower of their undying hatred toward Phillips, a Vietnam veteran whom they surrounded, taunted, and blocked from leaving as he attempted to flee their lynch mob. They shouted “BUILD THAT WALL!” at him along with other xenophobic remarks.

“The past few years have proven beyond a whisper of doubt to me that truth is not the mainstream media’s first priority—leftist ideology is.”

In truth, remarks were made that could be classified as “xenophobic,” or at least “nativist.” But subsequent video footage reveals that it was a member of Phillips’s posse telling the kids, “You white people go back to Europe, this is not your land.”

There were also remarks made that would fit the standard definition of “racist,” but none of them came from the white kids. Video footage shows that for over an hour, a sect of the Black Hebrew Israelites had been taunting the kids by calling them “crackers” and “faggots” and “future school shooters.”

Then again, it took a day or two for the truth to emerge, which was long after the mainstream media had set the wolves loose on the white teenage boys of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky.

CNN’s Bakari Sellers tweeted that the white kids should be “punched in the face.”

TV host Reza Aslan asked, “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”

Some fat hairy moron named Jeff Grubb tweeted that although giving a “shit-eating grin” to someone “isn’t legally violence,” it “is fascism. And you should punch fascists.”

Hollywood film producer Jack Morrissey (Beauty and the Beast) tweeted an image of a human body being fed into a woodchipper and blood spraying out the other end along with the caption “MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper.”

Within hours, though, it became inarguably clear that the MAGA kids were not the antagonists. The original perps were the Black Hebrew Israelites—suspiciously shortened to “Hebrew Israelites” through much of the mainstream press—who were captured on video making the following charming statements toward the Covington boys:

America ain’t never been great. It only been great for you damn peckerwoods.

That’s ‘Make America Great Again.’ A bunch of child-molesting faggots!

Look at all these dusty ass crackers with that racist garbage going on. Look at these dirty ass crackers.

A bunch of future school shooters.

A bunch of incest babies! A bunch of babies made out of incest!

The biggest terrorist on the face of the earth is the pale face man, woman and child.

CNN had the gall to call these overweight psychopaths in wizard costumes “Four African-American young men preaching about the Bible.” The New York Times did a puff piece on the group describing them as “sidewalk ministers” and quote a black professor who deems them “harmless” compared to white teens wearing MAGA hats. Mind you, even the frickin’ Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Black Israelites as a “hate group,” probably because they mock the Holocaust and claim to be the True Jews.

Enter perpetually aggrieved Omaha Tribesman and serial liar Nathan Phillips, AKA “Chief Sitting Bullshit.”

Phillips has repeatedly claimed he’s a Vietnam veteran. In truth, he served in the Marines from 1972-1976, never set foot in Vietnam, and went AWOL at least three times.

Phillips claims the MAGA kids “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals” and “looked like they were going to lynch them,” when video footage shows that the opposite was true. Before Phillips decided to get involved, the only antagonists were the Black Israelites.

He insists the MAGA kids chanted “BUILD THE WALL” in his face, although none of the countless videos made of the incident shows this to be true.

He says he and his retinue were swarmed by the MAGA kids and prevented him from leaving, whereas video footage shows that he was the one who approached the kids and started banging a drum in Nick Sandmann’s smirking face. He claims that banging a drum in a kid’s face was an attempt to defuse the situation rather than to escalate it.

Phillips not only has an extensive criminal history, he also has a history of accusing white people of racially taunting him. And mere hours after the now-infamous event in front of the Lincoln Memorial, he and his cohorts attempted to disrupt a Catholic mass at the National Shrine Basilica, screaming for apologies and reparations.

Nick Sandmann—the white boy whose smirk was seen ’round the world—did an interview with NBC where he claims that Phillips was the one who “locked eyes” with him first and that the only reason he smiled was not to mock, but to demonstrate that he had no desire to escalate the situation into violence:

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation.

Naturally, the usual suspects ignored Sandmann’s explanation and instead attacked NBC for daring to provide a platform for an obvious enabler of white supremacy and genocide.

To their credit, a few media luminaries admitted they were wrong in their rush to judgment. For the most part, the other torch-bearers either deleted their erroneous tweets or said that although this incident may not have been the right hill to die on, it’s still undeniable that Trump enables unprecedented racist hatred against nonwhites, and that’s their story and their sticking to it, despite the gaping lack of evidence to support it.

Sandmann and others are apparently lawyering up and are ready to launch defamation suits. Although I’m not generally a fan of civil law, I’m increasingly of the opinion that this is the only way to tame these psychopathic online lynch mobs—sue them until they can’t even afford computers anymore.

The Week’s Most Conceited, Defeated, and Maltreated Headlines

If your personal struggle to achieve social justice doesn’t extend beyond the human sphere to include all of the wondrous creatures shat out by the rainbow-colored pudendum of the Goddess, we only hope you are eaten alive by a lesbian great white shark.

Actually, scratch that—we hope you get eaten alive by a lesbian great black shark.

In the latest horrifying and problematic example that even though this is the current year, many people don’t realize that animals are people, too, the Monterey Bay Aquarium foisted the following hate-tweet upon the world:

Abby is a thicc girl. What an absolute unit. She c h o n k.

The “Abby” in question is a 46-pound adult female otter who allegedly helps train orphaned baby otters in the skills they’ll need to survive before being released into the wild. The pseudo-words “thicc” and “chonk” are lifted from black vernacular and are both pseudonyms for “overweight.” Although aquarium officials insist that Abby is actually normal-sized, the picture we’ve seen suggests she’s been overindulging on the oysters and other shellfish.

From our vantage point, the most offensive thing about the tweet is the apparent attempt of workers at an aquarium in a town that is less than 3% black to appear “hip” and “cool” and “with it” by shamelessly appropriating black vernacular. We are almost certain that nobody black works there due to the documented fact that black people are terrified of large bodies of water.

However, this is not what enraged the eternally battered hearts of Twitter’s social-justice hordes. Instead, they were upset that aquarium officials attempted to “fat-shame” the otter, which is rather stupid since it assumes that the otter reads Twitter. They also acted concerned that officials were comparing black women to animals, apparently unworried that many otters might be offended by being compared to black women.

Pressured and shamed and psychologically destroyed by the backlash, aquarium officials pecked out a groveling apology:

If our tweet alienated you, please know that we are deeply sorry, and that we offer our sincerest apologies….In particular, several terms referenced originated from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and specifically reference Black women’s bodies. Using them in a sea otter meme without that background makes insinuations we never intended. We need to do better.

We are reminded of Muhammad Ali’s famous reason for why he refused to fight in Vietnam: “No Viet Cong ever called me an otter.”

In 2003 Japan passed Law 111, which required anyone who wished to legally change their gender status to first be sterilized.

The Japanese Supreme Court recently upheld the law in a decision regarding an appeal by a certain Takakito Usui, a “transgender man”—which is shorthand for “a disturbed and sexually confused woman who insists she’s a man”—whose feelings were apparently hurt by a law designed to protect people such as Usui from humiliating herself by popping a baby out of her vagina while insisting she’s a man.

“We are reminded of Muhammad Ali’s famous reason for why he refused to fight in Vietnam: ‘No Viet Cong ever called me an otter.’”

According to a conservative Japanese politician named Mio Sugita, who is a biological female:

Support for LGBTs has gone too far….Will people agree to have their taxes used on LGBT couples? They cannot have children, so they are unproductive.

Good point, Mio-san. Personally, we don’t want our hard-earned taxes wasted on women who insist they’re men while they are projectile-shooting squalling infants out of their vaginas.

Allah, like all of the Abrahamic gods, is not very keen on fudge-packers. And as we all know, Allah is easily the angriest of the Abrahamic gods—so angry, we would suggest counseling before he has an aneurysm.

Since Egypt’s population is 85-90% Muslim, the country has very little tolerance for rump-wranglers.

Egyptian TV journalist Mohammed al-Gheiti has been an outspoken critic of homosexuality. Regardless, he has been sentenced to 12 months in jail merely for having the cojones to interview a gay man on his show.

If al-Gheiti has learned his lesson and is truly penitent, he will refrain from interviewing any gay men in jail.

Although Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel body-slammed the social-justice witch-hunting website out of existence a few years ago, it was only a few weeks ago that Gawker 2.0 launched, only to crash in flames because its two female staffers thought a third female hire was a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot.

Last Wednesday, the site’s only two full-time writers—Maya Kosoff (who is intensely obese) and Anna Breslaw—who has kinky hair, a large nose, and an intensely self-satisfied smirk—tendered their resignations in protest of the fact that Carson Griffith—who is also fat but unforgivably blonde and Nordic-looking—is guilty of making “comments about everything from poor people to black writers to her acquaintance’s penis size.”

Her “offensive workplace comment” about poor people involved likening herself to a poor person for carrying around a snack in her pocket. She also insinuated that black writers like to write about being black. And she actually didn’t say anything about an acquaintance’s penis size—her friends insinuated she must have noticed the guy’s bulge because she once saw him in a swimsuit.

Good riddance to Gawker 2.0 and any further attempts to resurrect the toxic dodo bird that was the Gawker empire. It is supremely satisfying to see it commit suicide due to its own misguided pieties and sense of moral irreproachability.

Martina Big is a German woman who really should be called Martina Ginormous, seeing as her surgically enhanced breasts measure at a watermelon-sized 32S.

Not satisfied merely being a Grotesquely Deformed Breast Monster, she and her lover, a very fat man named Michael Eurwen, recently began receiving injections of a synthetic hormone called Melanotan. After only three jabs, the formerly white-as-snow Martina is now coal-black. The injections haven’t quite “taken” with her partner Michael, who remains lighter than a lunch bag.

Martina says that in March of last year she flew to Kenya to be baptized as a “true African woman.”

The self-hating couple recently appeared on a British TV show called This Morning to announce that a doctor told them that any babies they have will be born black:

Of course, it will be a mix of me and Micheal, I’m pretty sure it will be black, but if it is milk chocolate or a little bit lighter it doesn’t matter.

It is our sincerest wish that the deluded couple fails to breed. But if they do, it reminds us of the Frank Zappa line: “If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they’ll murder you in your sleep.”

Not that we encourage killing your parents, because we don’t. We need to make that clear for legal reasons. Either way, we suspect that their children, if they are remotely mentally healthy, may be tempted to kill them. That’s all we’re saying.

Yossi Adler is a Jewish man from Michigan with at least nine children. According to officials from American Airlines, Adler, his wife, and their 19-month-old daughter were recently booted from a Miami-to-Detroit flight because several passengers and flight attendants complained that Adler stunk to high heaven.

According to an official statement from American Airlines:

…multiple passengers, along with our crew members, complained about Mr. Adler’s body odor. Our Miami airport team members were concerned about the comfort of our other passengers due to the odor. Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit Thursday morning.

Adler, however, says that something far more sinister caused their expulsion:

Obviously, there was a reason….But I think it was an anti-Semitic reason. Even if it wasn’t, they were anti-Semitic afterward….I’m trying to stay calm here….But there’s two Jewish people on the plane, and now they’re kicking us off because of odor. Seriously? Nobody here thinks I have odor….Not once in my life has someone said I smell.

Not once? Does that include the one time where nearly everyone on the flight besides you, your wife, and your infant daughter said you smell?

Mr. Adler, it is our professional opinion that your excuse stinks. We also suspect that you emit a very foul and unpleasant odor. We will hold out the possibility that, due to historical reasons, you are afraid of anyone who wants to lead you to the showers.

As the saying goes, when you point a finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

When it comes to men who are always accusing other men of being gay, at least one of those fingers may be pointed—or even planted—somewhere else.

David Matheson was one of the best known anti-gay “conversion therapists” attempting to de-faggify men who made a habit of lying down with other men to indulge in smelly acts of carnality.

Now he has abandoned his practice in order to be gay. He has also apologized to anyone who might have felt harmed by his conversion therapy.

However, a certain Chaim Levin, who claims he was personally harmed by gay conversion therapy, says Matheson’s apology is not enough:

I hope that Mr. Matheson will do whatever he can to rectify the harm that he’s inflicted on many people in the LGBTQ community, myself included.

We strongly suspect that Matheson is busily engaged attempting to “rectify” other men, but not in the way that Levin intended.

Every Monday, Jim Goad reads the previous day’s “Week That Perished” on his podcast.

Asked how he was feeling as he was about to give a speech to a ladies’ group, Mark Twain looked horror-stricken and said: “How do you expect me to feel? Shakespeare is dead, Goethe is dead, and I have a terrible cold.” Alas, I’m no Twain, but I feel worse than the Mississippi sage ever did, that I’m sure of. Having gone cross-country skiing underdressed in bone-chilling temperatures didn’t help. I now sneeze about 150 times per day, I’m aching all over, my nose is running as if I had shoved two ounces of Peruvian pure up there, and my head feels stuffed with poisoned marshmallows.

So, last Sunday, unable to read, I decided to improve my mind by watching television, the device that has made Western man a superior human being. Believe it or not, the horrible device brought back some very pleasant memories: May 4, 6, and 7 of 1967, to be exact. I went to the guest loo to check the date and look at the picture hanging on the wall. There we were, the four of us in our blazers and tennis shorts, under the heading “Coupe Davis,” and beneath our picture in enlarged letters: “Suisse–Grèce, Parc des Eaux-Vives, Genève.”

The reason for this trip to yesteryear was the Federer–Tsitsipas Australian Open match late on Saturday, one that the Greek won in four sets, causing one of the great upsets in tennis. I watched the whole four hours, something I have never done before, not even when I was on the tour and friends were playing. Which makes it 52 years since a Greek beat a Swiss in tennis, although the 1967 Greek triumph was not exactly kosher. Three of us on the Davis Cup team had developed our tennis skills abroad, and the star of the Swiss team was a Romanian prince, Tim Sturdza, who was a better prince than a player. My doubles partner, Nico Kalogeropoulos, won both the French and Wimbledon junior titles in 1963, and he and I won the Greek national doubles title regularly. Nico also got to the round of 16 at Wimbledon once, losing to Fred Stolle, a finalist that year.

“Roger began looking at his feet between points, another bad sign.”

The Swiss back then were not exactly dangerous, although Tim the prince was angry at Nico and myself for bird-dogging his girl, a German player on the circuit whom I choose not to name. I, of course, managed to lose in five sets to Werren, but Nicky won both his singles and the doubles with a new partner because I had been ruled ineligible by the captain, one Mr. Alepoudelis. Alepoudelis, which means “tiny fox,” knew as much about tennis as I know about coprophagia, but he was nevertheless named captain because he had a factory that made soap in Athens. His brother, a poet, won the Nobel Prize in Literature about ten years later, under the pseudonym Odysseus Elytis. (Check it out.)

I had broken bounds earlier and gone to the Bataclan, a notorious Lausanne nightclub, and had bragged about it to the team. That was enough for the little fox. He kept me out of the doubles and my chance to play against Tim Sturdza, who was bad-mouthing me over the girl. The prince at present has a very successful brokerage house in Geneva, offering all sorts of profitable funds to the public, but I’m too scared to go near. Romantics tend to keep a grudge. Nico and I ran into the lady player 25 years ago in a veterans’ tournament and were aghast at how badly she had aged. Tennis does not do wonders for a woman’s skin or shape in later life. Try swimming, girls.

I know nothing about Tsitsipas except that he was born in Greece and grew up there. His mother is Russian, hence his 6-foot-4 height and blond hair. What I loved about the match was the free-flowing hitting by both players, and their one-handed backhands. Tsitsipas mirrors Federer, but although you’ll have to trust me on this, Roger looked a loser after winning the first set on a tiebreak. Twelve chances for a break in the second were saved by the Greek, which means the great Roger was tightening up. At one set apiece, Federer looked mentally tired. What mentally tired means in tennis is one makes the wrong choice of shots. One tries to end the point early, or plays safe.

The Greek began hitting all-out once he got the lead. That’s what champs do, suckers play it safe. And Roger began looking at his feet between points, another bad sign. It was a great victory for a 21-year-old who will go places. But I felt bad for the greatest of them all. His elegant and impeccable strokes, his manners on court—he doesn’t groan like a wounded animal every time he makes contact with the ball—and his sportsmanship will never be topped. I only hope someone will try to imitate him. But Roger should call it a day. Or play only best of three. Personally my three tennis heroes are Gottfried von Cramm, Roy Emerson, and Roger Federer. All three pure, clean hitters with impeccable manners. Last piece of advice to Roger, however unsolicited: Keep Anna Wintour out of your box. Every time she visits, you blow a lead. She’s very bad luck.

When I reached maturity, or at any rate stopped growing, I was of average height. Now I am below average height, the world having grown taller than I in the meantime.

In the same way, I used to be averagely egocentric or narcissistic, being neither entirely self-obsessed nor completely selfless but halfway between. The average in these characteristics, however, seems to have shifted too, so that I am now somewhat less than averagely narcissistic.

When I was growing up, no one had heard of the concept of wellness, that is to say of being better than not merely suffering from no illnesses. Nowadays, however, people make their health, or super-health, the focus of their lives, and in doing so turn themselves into an object of self-worship.

Recently the Times of London published the self-reported daily routine of three wellness warriors. The accompanying photograph showed them looking every bit as complacent and self-satisfied as those unctuous evangelical Christians who know that God loves them and are headed for heaven via a period of earthly prosperity. If they will experience eternal bliss, it is only what they deserve.

The routine of a man called Alex starts as follows (he wakes between 5:55 and 6:45):

I wake up and immediately rehydrate. Your body is most absorbent after you sleep, so the first thing you put in it is the most important. I have a glass of Rebel Kitchen raw coconut water (you should be drinking slightly pink coconut water not white, as that’s more concentrated) and dilute it with water at a ratio of 2:1. I take multi-vitamins and vitamin C boosters.

Where, one might ask, does he sleep? The Sahara desert? More likely Chiswick or Clapham (prosperous districts of the inner part of outer London, where the worried-well who think of illness as an infringement of human rights congregate in droves). I was reminded of the medical students whom I used to examine, who brought bottles of water with them to the exam as if it were being held at an open-air bus station in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.

Having resuscitated himself physically, Alex attends to his soul:

I do some meditation, where I might recite some mantras. One of them is, “All my relationships are harmonious and full of love,” which is good if you are working with difficult clients.”

“Compared with this, Uriah Heep was straight-talking and plain-dealing.”

Compared with this, Uriah Heep was straight-talking and plain-dealing; but what is most evident in this “mantra” (a word with spiritual connotations) is its complete solipsism. Alex’s relationships, if they can be called that, are either entirely with himself or delusional, because a relationship with another that is full of love requires that the other person should love as well as be loved, for otherwise it is not a relationship.

Having sung some “really relatable mantras,” he “focuses on each inhale and exhale for five minutes” before taking himself off to the gym for a little “yoga, cardio and weight-training,” after which he returns home—it is now 7:45—to “have a shot of coconut water and glutamine.” By now, he says, his serotonin levels are through the roof, and he showers with organic products and moisturizes with vitamin E oil.

During the rest of the day, he eats nuts, drinks green juice, and swallows activated charcoal and two apple cider vinegar tables “to help with digestion,” as well as digestive enzymes “to help distribute the nutrients all over my body.” And if, when turning in for the night after all this care for himself (and a second spell in the gym), he feels under the weather, he swallows some almond milk with turmeric. Naturally, he believes in the healing, or at least the prophylactic, powers of crystals, and keeps one on his desk, and works by the light of a Himalayan salt lamp, which “helps to absorb the magnetic and radioactive waves that are all around you from wifi and your computer.” All that is missing from his regime to render himself immortal is Hopi ear candles, coffee enemas, and red flannel underwear.

Luckily for Alex, he found a soul mate in a woman whom he married in Ibiza at the top of a cliff called Es Vedra, which is “the second most magnetic place in the world.” He knows this because he can feel it: “Our bodies [there] are magnetic, we are all energy.”

This is not satire, and Alex is not alone in his self-absorption. The next person who describes his routine is Tim:

7:45 I wake up having had, on average, seven hours and forty-one minutes’ sleep—I have analysed my sleep over the past four years and I know that this is the perfect amount for me.

Tim rehydrates using a different method from Alex’s:

I take shots of probiotics and Quinton Isotonic, a supplement that comes from plankton and contains enzymes that help me stay hydrated, and a glass of filtered water.

Then he weighs himself and measures the pH of his urine.

This is all both hilarious and sad. While of course the account of their regime is just that, and not a description of the totality of their lives, it is difficult to believe that they have much time or mental energy left over to interest themselves deeply in anything else. Even philately, a pastime that for many symbolizes futility, would be better.

Indeed, much better. About once a month I meet a friend for lunch in an excellent restaurant halfway between us. I have reached the age of frequent urination, but I greatly enjoy going to the lavatory there because, above the urinals, is wallpaper that consists of a display of hundreds of Penny Blacks, the first postage stamps in the world ever issued (for some reason, the date of their first issue, 1840, has always stuck in my mind). How fascinating are the variations, and no doubt the explanation of the variations! I suspect that the study of Penny Blacks could last a lifetime without exhausting it. Thanks to the distraction of the Penny Blacks, it takes me even longer than usual to void (I have reached the age when mental concentration is necessary to do so).

My advice to Alex and Tim, then, is: Throw down your enzymes, take up philately! And remember always what Francis Bacon said:

It is a poor centre of a man’s actions, himself.

It is normal in the hyperbolic times we’re living in to call people iconic or legendary. Both “hyperbole” and “iconic” are Greek words, and they were coined in order to separate the normal from the legendary. The trouble is that today the word “legendary” is overused. Untalented performers, bandy-legged footballers, even silver-tongued crooked politicians are referred to as legends by flacks and PR enablers. Legends, of course, become monuments of our own magnificence. The first great and always enduring legend is none other than Homer, whose poetry lifts even the most devastating human events into the realm of the beautiful, and it shows us how vast and serene the mind can be even when it contemplates the horrors of war. Goethe called Homer the most “astonishing human being ever.”

But legends also have defects, and even Homer was thought to be blind. Napoleon was a bit too short and had a small penis—or so his marshals said who had seen him naked while washing after a battle and had laughed about it. The greatest musical genius ever, Mozart, was said to be a coprophiliac, but jealousy of his prodigious talents might have had a lot to do with that particular vicious rumor. Beethoven, also, was known for his terrible temper and dark moods, while poor Robert Schumann’s uxorious nature was said to have made him the butt of jokes among the mauvaises langues of the time.

Be that as it may, in my profession as a journalist, I have come across very few legends, and the ones I do consider legendary, it is because of momentary acts or reactions they had under stress, especially in battle. General Christian de Castries, defender of Dien Bien Phu, was the scion of a very old and aristocratic French military family. His ancestors had fought for Louis XV, Louis XVI, Napoleon, and so on. When General Navarre assigned him to the lost cause of defending Dien Bien Phu, de Castries named his outposts after his numerous mistresses. There were two Catherines, a couple of Elianes, and so on, but all eleven outpost bunkers were named after his women. Just before the surrender, Cogny, his superior, ringing from Hanoi, managed to connect de Castries to his wife in Paris. She sounded awfully cheerful, and de Castries asked her why: “Because for once I know where you’re going to be in the next few months,” came the answer. Christian de Castries, with whom I share a birthday, August 11, became a legend to me just for that fact alone.

“But legends also have defects, and even Homer was thought to be blind.”

The greatest German fighter pilot of World War II was also the handsomest man to ever fly, with the exception of Charles Lindbergh. Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille was a virtuoso without equal. He built up his score of kills (158) in a very short time and against the RAF. He was a great womanizer and a very hard drinker who often fought aerial duels drunk. After his 100th victory he was flown back to Berlin, where Hermann Göring toasted him and asked him if he would now go for 200 victories. “You mean airplanes or women? Because I’ve passed that number where the latter is concerned,” said Marseille. He was killed bailing out of his JG 27 when he struck the tail and fell to his death. His plane had caught fire but not by the enemy. That, for me, is a legend.

Peter Arno was a man I met when he was old and I was young. He was a cartoonist from a patrician background, and a very handsome tough guy. His cartoons appeared in The New Yorker throughout the ’30s until the end of the ’60s. His drawings were constructed—I have many of them—of confident, swooping ink lines and bold washes, teasing the readers. They depicted the cat-and-mouse games between husbands and wives, husbands and lovers, crooked politicians, less-than-godly ministers, the common man, the cowardly man, the rich, the showgirl, the jaded prostitute, the sugar daddies, the wide-eyed college girls, and the clueless elders. His specialty was the high-society ladies and the high-society men indulging in guilty pleasures. And very rich old men tempting very young women with gifts. He was very tall, very handsome, and a fighter of renown in nightclubs and other such places. All the men he portrayed were always in white tie and tails or in smoking jackets, and their hands always held a glass of champagne. We had a legendary night at El Morocco when he was 61 and I was 20.

The Byron of our time, the first pop star before the term was invented, my all-time hero, was the literary legend Ernest Hemingway. Papa Hemingway wrote about the active life, the tranquil exhilaration of fishing, but also about the brutality of big-game hunting, bullfighting, and war. His masculine prose had the effect of the utmost subtlety. It was the hardest way to write because it seemed so easy and natural. Papa insisted on “no fat, no adjectives, no adverbs, no threadbare metaphors, clichés or literary conceits. Nothing but blood and bone and muscle.” Like Byron, Hemingway preferred to die “rather than drag on an existence with faculties impaired and feeling blunted.” I once saw him swaggering down Fifth Avenue and followed him into El Borracho, a restaurant my parents used to take me to on Madison and 54th Street. He was at the bar and I got my 15-year-old courage up and approached him. He bought me three whiskey sours and we talked about writing. I went back home and my mother saw me dead drunk. I was with Hemingway, I told her, and people with Papa drink. Three days later, on the front page of the Post, I read that the man I had drinks with was an imposter, posing as Papa. I never met the real one.

And now for a legendary woman, a lustrous beauty who could have easily caused the Trojan War and was a modern Helen of Troy, if a bit more promiscuous than the Spartan queen. The best way to describe her allure would be by quoting Raymond Chandler, the great detective writer: “She had the kind of sexual attraction that would make a bishop break through a stained glass cathedral window.” Her last husband, Frank Sinatra, whom she dropped, said that the trouble with Ava was she could drink him and any other man under the table. I met her once, in Spain, where Greece was playing Davis Cup. I went to a nightclub and was introduced to her. She asked me in Spanish, “Toreador?” “No, soy jugador de tennis,” said I. “Puto?” (Gay?) “No.” I then said to her in English: “Miss Gardner, I could have been somebody, a great tennis player, if I hadn’t seen you as Pandora and the Barefoot Contessa.” I then made a masturbatory gesture with my hand. She roared with laughter and asked me to sit down for a drink. When she had an affair with the greatest bullfighter ever, as well as the best-looking matador ever, Luis Miguel Dominguín, I wrote that it was the best-looking couple since Paris and Helen, but Luis and Ava were real. The legend died in 1990, aged 67 and an alcoholic three doors down from me in London.