I was going to write another heavy duty current events data analysis column, but then I got distracted and/or lazy, so this essay is going to wander off to a more fun topic.
When I saw the headline that senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) had finally announced she would retire in 2025 at age 91, I got to thinking about just how slowly the Democrats’ old white leaders have been put out to pasture to make way for the diverse next generation of politicians.
Joe Biden, who hopes to stay in office until he’s 86, is only the most obvious example of the Democrats’ recent tendency toward white gerontocracy, perhaps out of fear that its nonwhite politicians still aren’t ready for the big stage.
This pattern first became visible in highly diverse California. In 2016, the five most important California Democrats were Feinstein (then age 82), governor Jerry Brown (78), senator Barbara Boxer (76), representative Nancy Pelosi (76), and party chairman John Burton (83): an average of age 79.
Finally, in 2017, Boxer retired and was replaced by golden girl Kamala Harris, who was quickly affirmative-actioned into the vice presidency. But she’s proven a dud, leaving the Democrats with no graceful way to ease Biden into retirement after one term (which might have been Old Joe’s reason for picking her all along). Indeed, among the new generation of California Democrats, Gavin Newsom, the extremely white governor, now appears more plausible presidential timber than the hapless veep.
I was going to assemble a huge amount of data on this question and tell you what I’d found, at length.
But while looking up examples of just how many eons Biden has been around—he entered the United States Senate a half century ago in 1973, serving with six solons born in the 1800s, including Sam Ervin (1896–1985), the Foghorn Leghorn-like star of that year’s Watergate hearing—I got diverted by the question of how far back into history you could go with the fewest handshake links.
What are handshake chains?
Back around 1900, a popular vaudeville song was “Let Me Shake the Hand that Shook the Hand of John L. Sullivan,” the last heavyweight bareknuckle boxing champion. In those days, people were apparently fascinated by the thought of being linked to the famous via a series of handshakes. This likely helps explain why on New Year’s Day 1907, over 8,500 members of the public lined up and shook the hand of president Theodore Roosevelt (which is the most 1907 thing I can imagine: Picture a sped-up silent movie of Teddy vigorously pumping the hands of the citizenry).
This obsession may sound strange today, but it’s rather like how Americans in 2000 were into playing the parlor game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to find the shortest path connecting another actor with the Footloose star via mutual appearances. For example:
John Wilkes Booth appeared in an 1863 production of ‘Macbeth’ with Louisa Lane Drew.
Louisa Lane Drew appeared in an 1896 production of ‘The Rivals’ with her grandson Lionel Barrymore.
Lionel Barrymore –> ‘Right Cross’ (1950) –> Kenneth Tobey.
Kenneth Tobey –> ‘Hero at Large’ (1980) –> Kevin Bacon.
Granted, the concept of handshake chains is silly, reminiscent of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song “Lame Claim to Fame”:
I had a car that used to belong
To Cuba Gooding Jr.’s uncle
A friend of mine in high school
Had jury duty with Art Garfunkel
Yet, the handshake chain concept has been forgotten for so long that it’s amusing to revive it.
Perhaps its most enthusiastic 21st-century proponent was English journalist Alistair Cooke (1908–2004), who liked to tell young visitors, “You have just shaken the hand of a man who shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of Lincoln.”
Cooke’s intermediary with Honest Abe was Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841–1935). Soviet spy Alger Hiss (1904–1996), who clerked for Holmes in the late 1920s, became fascinated by how his boss linked him to so many famous names of the 19th century, such as John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), who in turn knew George Washington (1732–1799) and Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790). Hiss called it the Great Span.
Similarly, Winston Churchill (1874–1965) marveled in his 1930 autobiography that when he was a boy, prime minister William Gladstone (1809–1898) recounted to him that he remembered the bonfires celebrating victory at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
That got me thinking: How quickly can I link myself to Churchill and thus to Gladstone in 1815, 208 years ago?
I think the goals of the handshake chain game should be to get the furthest into the past to the most famous historical characters by the fewest links. Obviously, these hazy criteria don’t allow objective winners, but they make playing more fun.
The most famous person I shook hands with was Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013). She no doubt shook hands with Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022). If you can trust The Crown (which, of course, you can’t), they may not have gotten along, but they still did meet weekly.
(By the way, I had been under the impression from how King Charles III characteristically walks with his hands behind his back that royals don’t shake hands. Indeed, Princess Anne still doesn’t shake the hands of random people in crowds on “walkabouts,” but the royals have long shaken hands with those to whom they’ve been properly introduced. The late queen may have clasped hands with more people famous in the English-speaking world than anybody else in history. Her all-purpose greeting was: “Busy as ever?”)
You can quickly get from Elizabeth II to almost everybody prominent over the past 100 years, such as Churchill.
But I might be able to cut out the queen. It’s quite possible that Thatcher met Churchill when she ran for Parliament as a Conservative in 1950 and 1951, when Sir Winston was the Tory leader. Thatcher caused a bit of a sensation as a mid-20s blond, so it wouldn’t be unlikely for Churchill to have introduced himself to his party’s only woman candidate. On the other hand, I can’t find any photos online of the two together, so I can’t say for sure.
The most effective handshake connector is somebody like Churchill or Holmes: a famous individual who was socially energetic into old age, and who started meeting famous people very young either as a child prodigy or due to being raised in a socially prominent family.
And it helps to be an extrovert: e.g., Bill Clinton probably shook far more hands than Barack Obama, who has spent much of his life slipping off by himself for a quiet smoke.
Speaking of Waterloo, how few links can it take to get to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821)? Physicist Freeman Dyson (1923–2020) liked to point out that his grandfather had shaken the hand of an old lady who as a young girl had shaken the hand of the Emperor in Moscow in 1812.
Or consider that you probably aren’t that many handshakes away from Paul McCartney (b. 1942), who has been one of the most popular (and gracious) people on earth for almost sixty years.
In the mid-1960s, McCartney knocked on the door of the 92-year-old philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), who then persuaded the Beatle to oppose the Vietnam War. Earl Russell was a handshake-chain super-connector because he was a Victorian aristocrat, mathematician, pacifist activist, and recurrent figure in the newspapers into his mid-90s in Swinging Sixties London.
As a small child, Bertrand lived with his grandfather John Russell (1792–1878), a former prime minister, who had had a lengthy meeting with Napoleon on Elba on Dec. 24, 1814.
(Of course, much more real than handshake chains are teacher-student chains. The most famous is Socrates to Plato to Aristotle to Alexander the Great. Recently, several academic fields have taken to documenting their “academic genealogies,” linking students to their dissertation advisers and other mentors. For example, the Mathematics Genealogy project reports that John von Neumann’s teacher’s pedigree can be traced back to Gauss and Leibniz.)
So, myself to Thatcher to (possibly) Churchill to Gladstone in 1815 is my lame claim to fame.
After a recent hurricane, Puerto Ricans desperately needed fuel.
Fortunately, an oil tanker was right offshore.
Unfortunately, the United States government forbade it to come ashore!
Because of a stupid law with a stupid name: The Jones Act.
The Jones Act forbids shipping anything between American ports in ships that are not U.S. built and crewed. This makes goods cost more (the average Hawaii family must pay $1,800 more a year) and sometimes, as happened in Puerto Rico, makes a crisis worse.
Yet America’s shipping lobby claims this law is a good thing.
“The Jones Act ensures reliable, dedicated service,” says American Maritime Partnership’s Jennifer Carpenter in my new video. Her group lobbies for shipowners and labor unions.
“Your rules really hurt people!” I push back obnoxiously, flatly accusing her of sleazy manipulation, “You give money to politicians; they ban your competition.”
She smiles and says, “The Jones Act is a time-tested American security law, so we are not at the mercy of foreign powers.”
That’s nonsense. The act has nothing to do with American security.
Foreign ships deliver goods to America from foreign powers all the time. That includes ships from China and Russia. Dozens of foreign vessels are in American harbors right now.
It’s only within America that foreign shipping is banned. Only American ships and crews are allowed to move goods from Los Angeles to Hawaii, or from Miami to Puerto Rico.
The Jones Act is just another special deal that one industry has scammed out of Congress.
Banning foreign ships didn’t even do good things for America’s shipbuilding industry. With competition outlawed, they got fat and lazy.
There were once more than 450 American shipyards. Now there are only 150. The number of American-crewed ships has dropped, too.
“Because of your monopoly,” I say to Carpenter, “American shipyards keep closing. They don’t have any competition, so they don’t improve.”
“Competition within our industry and with other modes of transportation is vigorous!” she replies. “It’s dog eat dog.”
“No, it’s not!” I reply. “The best dogs are banned.”
She pivots quickly. “The U.S government does not subsidize U.S. shipyards the way many of our strategic competitors and allies do.”
That’s true, and pathetic. Subsidies are destructive. It’s good that America subsidizes less than other countries.
Anyway, Cato Institute trade policy specialist Scott Lincicome points out that American ships cost much more than the subsidy difference, “four to five times more to build than ships in Japan or Korea,” mostly because of “decades of being protected from competition, simply not having to innovate.”
Today no American shipyard builds even one ship that can carry natural gas. That’s a big problem for New England if we have a cold winter. Eversource president Joseph Nolan worried there wouldn’t be enough gas for the winter because he couldn’t “get relief from the Jones Act.” No wonder New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu calls the act an “antiquated 100-year-old union driven policy.”
Carpenter lobbies against Jones Act waivers.
“You give politicians money not to grant waivers,” I tell her.
“Hold up!” she exclaims. “Let’s unpack this. Frankly, waivers should be safe, legal and rare. What we too often see is somebody’s trying to make a quick buck. There’s no national defense need; there’s no shortage of product. It’s, ‘Hey, I could save some money.'”
But saving money is good for consumers! It’s good for everyone but America’s shipping monopoly.
Of course, most industries don’t want competition! American carmakers didn’t want to compete with Honda and Toyota. But they got better because they had to compete.
“Just like foreign competition improved American automobiles,” says Lincicome, “foreign competition would do the same for American-made ships.”
We’d all be better off if America’s shipping industry had to compete like every other business.
The Jones Act should die.
In recent months I’ve written several pieces that mention my Friends of Abe years. It’s pure coincidence; stories in the news that piqued my interest just happened to contain angles that relate to my time with the “secret” org of Hollywood conservatives.
I’m not trying to be self-indulgent; honest, I ain’t. But if you wanna tell me off about it, please visit my new Substack, where you can comment away.
Okay, that was self-indulgent.
One of the constants at FOA was that if a member achieved even the smallest amount of fame for anything political, they’d make a huge deal of it. If Bill O’Reilly gave passing mention to an FOA member’s viral video, if Glenn Beck linked to something an FOA member did, well…at the next banquet that member would enter the room like Julius Caesar.
“Adore me, cherish me! My music video, ‘Obama’s Marxist Sheeple Will Be Defeated by We the People,’ was linked by Newsbusters. Step aside, peons! I’ve altered the course of mankind!”
So the one thing you’d never expect to see at FOA was somebody with actual bragging rights hiding in a corner.
March 29, 2010, Sen. John Thune (from one of the Dakotas, like it matters) was speaking at our lesser location in the Valley (a run-of-the-mill bistro as opposed to our lavish Brentwood banquet hall). Battling Coldwater traffic from Beverly Hills to Studio City, my friend and I (I being rather drunk already) couldn’t stop cracking each other up by shouting, “Thuuuuuuune!” like the Tick (the cartoon version, and you either get the reference or you don’t).
So we were giddy.
Because I was bringing a nonmember to a banquet, I wasn’t allowed at my usual “good table.” Nonmembers had to sit in the back, lest Kelsey Grammer be forced to see an unfamiliar face.
Jon Voight never cared; he’d lecture a parking attendant if he had the chance.
Voight: “And that’s why the Alinskyite Marxists oppose Sowellism for the benefit of Davos internationalism.”
Parking Attendant: “No entiendo, señor. Five dollar, please.”
So my pal and I were seated in a dank corner, which was fine with us because of the mood we were in.
But then a pretty young girl crept over to our table, alone, and sat, head down, eyes averted, next to me, her back to the room.
A real pretty girl. And I felt like I knew her from somewhere. But I couldn’t place where.
“Hi, I’m Dave,” I said.
“I’m Hannah,” she replied. “Nice to meet you.”
And then it clicked. Hannah. Of course.
“You’re Hannah Giles,” I exclaimed. “From the Breitbart pimp ’n’ hooker ACORN sting video!”
Pro tip: It’s the dumbest thing in the world to tell people who they are.
For those of you who don’t recall, the ACORN sting was what put Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe on the map in late 2009. O’Keefe and Giles, portraying a pimp and his ho, had visited the offices of ACORN, a leftist Obama-supported “community advocacy” organization, and they’d shot undercover video that so embarrassed the org, ACORN had its government funding pulled, eventually shutting down entirely.
The defeat of ACORN was arguably the first major victory against Obama, a full year before he’d be “shellacked” in the 2010 midterms. And Breitbart, who made the O’Keefe video the centerpiece of his newly formed conservative media empire, rode that victory to household-name status on the right.
But those videos had not been 100 percent authentic. O’Keefe and his crew had “creatively” edited several of the clips. And shots had been inserted after the fact of O’Keefe and Giles in outlandish, cartoony 1970s pimp and ho costumes, falsely making it appear as though the two youngsters had entered the ACORN offices looking like characters from Superfly (in reality, they’d been in their regular street clothes).
But in March 2010, none of that was widely known yet. The Breitbart/O’Keefe ACORN sting was the toast of the right.
So why was baby in a corner? Why was Giles, the girl of the hour, in a dark corner table and not at the “captain’s table” with Breitbart himself?
In an instant, I forgot all about mocking Thune’s name, and I became fascinated by Giles’ reluctance to accept kudos.
This was FOA. You never rejected kudos! Breitbart wouldn’t even enter a room until everyone was seated, just so he could make us stand for an ovation.
Studying Giles, prodding her for info, I felt like a baboon looking at a Rolex. I had no frame of reference for what was in front of me.
Someone at FOA rejecting the spotlight? In-con-theivable.
The best I could get out of Giles was that she didn’t want to be part of the Breitbart/O’Keefe circus. But she didn’t tell me why. And why should she? We’d just met. We spent the rest of the evening talking about Vegas (my second home at the time) and how she wanted my advice regarding a Vegas birthday party for her then boyfriend (now husband) Joe Basel (another O’Keefe associate). Hannah and I stayed in touch through June, and that was that.
It wouldn’t be until five years later—May 2015—that I’d solve the mystery of the reticent babe. Giles and Basel (both long separated from O’Keefe) unloaded in the Texas Monthly about their disillusionment with their O’Keefe-era fame.
Giles told the Monthly that in 2009, as a “laid-back surfer kid from Miami,” she’d been moved to action by Roger Stone (yes, that Roger Stone), who counseled her “Above all, attack, attack, attack. Never defend” (this is roughly the same as Breitbart’s “double-down double-down, fuck you, war!” motto: Never cede, even if you’re wrong. What matters is the offensive, the propaganda. Counter their lies with yours; truth has no place in war).
She told the Monthly that the lesson she got from Stone and Breitbart was that “all life is warfare.”
But now she and Basel were disillusioned with the right, “philosophically and politically.” The exploitation also stung. “Every organization and their dog were raising money off my ACORN investigation,” she told the Monthly, with Basel adding, “What we saw there made us so cynical of the American right that we have no country in that sense.”
Giles and Basel are parents and farmers these days. So now baby’s in a cornfield.
Back to 2010, my evening with Giles made me wary of the Brietbart/O’Keefe medicine show. And everything I saw from that point on made me warier. When it was revealed that the pimp and ho outfits were a hoax, Breitbart threw O’Keefe under the bus, claiming that he too had been duped into thinking the getups had been worn during the ACORN interviews. That was not what Breitbart told us privately; indeed, he’d taken credit for inventing the pimp and ho costume idea, as a way of “jazzing up the video” to guarantee headlines.
Then, in early 2011, Breitbart protégé Christian Hartsock (a kid in his 20s) asked me if I could supply any “babes” for a James O’Keefe dancing video.
It was then I learned that at heart O’Keefe was mainly interested in musical theater. He wanted to be a showman, and he was spending his donors’ dough on a Michael Jackson-esque music video (you can watch it here…but don’t). I liked Christian; we always got on well. So I let him have a couple of my bims (I joked that the credits should read “Dancing babes on loan from the David Stein collection”).
Once I knew where O’Keefe’s heart was (every few months he’d release another self-indulgent dance video), his series of “undercover” flubs made perfect sense. The Washington Post/Roy Moore disaster. The “Soros sting” self-own. The Abbie Boudreau/CNN catastrophe. The Mary Landrieu embarrassment. The Hillary Clinton T-shirt fumble.
I found the Boudreau incident so troubling that when I couldn’t get anyone in Breitbart’s inner circle to comment on the record about it (I was writing at the time for a well-connected conservative news site), I took to Facebook (here) to express my concerns (and even with, at the time, 3,000 Abe and GOP followers, you can see from the paltry, well, ZERO number of responses the extent to which nobody wanted to talk about this blight elephant).
And O’Keefe just kept doing those idiotic music videos, even into 2021, using donor money to do the same tired Michael Jackson impression that nobody wanted to see. And—in a move so fucking insane it defies 300,000 years of human cranial evolution—he used donor money to star in an “off-Broadway” (Roseland, Virginia; way off-Broadway) production of Oklahoma!, rationalizing it by claiming that “by bringing my voice to the cultural arts, I can inspire others to break through the wall of bias and censorship currently dominating the entertainment industry.”
James O’Keefe in a vanity project singing about corn owns the libs.
We see two pathologies at work here. One, my favorite sadly-not-dead horse to beat, is the prevalence of failed, frustrated moviemakers and actors among the top conservative fundraisers. Shapiro, Boreing, O’Keefe…people who lie to you about “make a movie to change the culture” so they can get you to fund the entertainment career they couldn’t earn through skill.
And two, the triumph of Breitbartism, which begat Trumpism: our lies vs. theirs. O’Keefe’s “stings” haven’t gotten better; MAGA’s just made rightists less demanding.
Take O’Keefe’s “bombshell” Pfizer story, which either involves a Pfizer exec copping (on a date) to Frankensteining the Covid virus, or a gay black dude (on a date) manufacturing tall tales to make himself look grandiose because he’s angling for an ass-boning.
As Snopes, in a startlingly reasonable piece (and damn O’Keefe to hell for making Snopes look reasonable) explains, the big question is, did that black dude really have the pull at Pfizer that he claimed?
We can’t know, because following O’Keefe’s video, he’s vanished.
Any good documentarian (and I’ve been doing that shit for 33 years) knows, you confirm your target’s bona fides before you release the “gotcha,” because once you do, he and everyone associated with him will circle the wagons.
Before he knows he’s been stung, contact the dude’s employers and get them on the record regarding his duties.
How hard would that’ve been? “Hello, Pfizer, we’re doing a piece on black heroes of Covid research. Could you give us the background on this fellow?”
O’Keefe didn’t do that because he knows his fans don’t care about proof. They’ll believe him because they want to. “FUCK YOU! WAR!” Our propaganda vs. theirs; to hell with convincing the noncombatants.
So with the Pfizer story O’Keefe gave you something that won’t move the needle at all societally, but it’ll certainly persuade you to fund his next musical theater venture.
Good on Hannah Giles for leaving that sickness behind to have kids and grow crops.
Turns out that night in 2010 when we all fellated Breitbart and O’Keefe, the corner was the sanest place to be.
Next week, Part II: “Breitbartism begat Trumpism.”
Before President Joe Biden entered the White House, he consulted with several prominent historians about how to be a great commander in chief. Their answer: Grow government. Spend, spend, spend. Don’t worry about blowing up the debt.
It was the worst possible advice, and that meeting no doubt contributed to our economic calamity.
So, I wasn’t surprised to read about a poll of more than 100 of America’s most prominent academic historians who rated the greatest and the worst presidents. This is a farcical popularity contest that the Siena College Research Institute conducts every few years.
The results tell us much more about the leftward political leanings of historians than it does about presidential performance.
For example, the president ranked the highest in recent surveys has consistently been Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Others in the top five include Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington.
How is FDR a great president? Yes, he was the commander in chief of the military during World War II and deserved high marks for winning the war. But his domestic economic agenda was a failure of epic proportions. For the first eight years of the New Deal’s expansion of modern-day big government, the unemployment rate remained at about 10%, and the Great Depression went on and on.
Woodrow Wilson is also rated a near-great president. He raised the income tax from 7% to 70%, pulled America into a war we shouldn’t have fought, ran up the debt and ushered in the first disastrous era of “progressive” government. He is easily one of the five worst presidents of all time.
Biden was ranked 19th overall. So, the president who has raised the national debt into the stratosphere and has allowed inflation to surge to its highest level in 40 years is an above-average president? For what exactly? Uniting the country?
Speaking of economic failures, President Barack Obama lands in 11th place, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson is 8th best. His legacy was the catastrophic Vietnam War, the failed Great Society and the birth of the modern-day welfare state.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, President Ronald Reagan, who won the Cold War, defeated communism and launched a three-decade stretch of prosperity, is rated only the 18th-best national leader. Reagan barely beats out Biden!
Donald Trump is ranked as the next-to-last of all presidents. Trump cut taxes, deregulated, made America energy-independent, was tough on China and engineered Operation Warp Speed that saved millions of lives worldwide. For that, he’s near the bottom of the heap.
So, who were the greatest presidents? Everyone has their favorites, but here’s my ranking based on promoting security, prosperity and limited government: Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, Jefferson, Reagan and Washington.
These presidents were champions of liberty and recognized government growth as the greatest path to tyranny. Trump, a president I worked for, should be in the “near great” category. But I’m biased.
As February ends, so too does Black History Month (BHM)—although, as is often noted, this “month” now appears to last all year long. At least in the U.S., you have some genuinely historically significant black people in your history worth remembering: Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Al Jolson.
Here in the U.K., the whole unwanted export makes far less sense, being a bit of a mystery. As there were no more than a few thousand non-whites inhabiting Britain until the 1960s, blacks have produced zero figures of true national importance. And yet, still we absolutely must have a Black History Month…but how? Simple. By peddling outright lies.
BHM Britain was launched in 1987 by activist Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who was actually Ghanaian. Nonetheless, in 1984 Addai-Sebo fled political persecution back home and gained shelter in Britain, a safe and welcoming country toward which he quickly showed his gratitude by condemning it as “a touchstone for colonialism, imperialism and racism.” A shame it wasn’t. Then he might have been turned back at the border immediately.
Finding work at the notorious “Loony Left” Greater London Council, in 1986 Addai-Sebo held a program of “educational” lectures on black history in the Royal Albert Hall. Here, captive schoolkids were treated to months of not-at-all partisan rants from Nelson Mandela’s then wife Winnie; anti-Semitic lunatic Yosef Ben-Jochannan, who preferred a policy of “one [white] settler, one bullet” over “one person, one vote” in any future South African elections; and the insane American “psychologist” Frances Cress-Welsing, who thought white people were genetically inferior albino mutants, mentally programmed to be secretly terrified of black men’s gigantic penises.
Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack
On 1 October 1987, BHM Britain was launched with a speech by Malauna Karenga, the violent black U.S. radical and inventor of the fake “Black Xmas” pseudo-festival of Kwanzaa, together with additional help from Sally Mugabe, first wife of killer Zimbabwean dictator Robert “Comrade Bob” Mugabe. Together, they determined to “do everything in their power to ensure that black children did not lose the fact of the genius of their African-ness.”
As for why October was chosen for BHM Britain rather than February as with BHM U.S., it was because this was harvest season in much of Africa, thus celebrating an ancient “time in history when Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia…were the cradle and breadbasket of civilization.” Ethiopia certainly wasn’t the continent’s “breadbasket” in 1987, thanks to the deliberate misrule of the black Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, but Zimbabwe still was—at least until Sally Mugabe’s husband stole all the successful farms from their white owners and handed them out to random black cronies with no idea how to run them, triggering mass famine. Apparently, October was “also a period of tolerance and reconciliation in Africa, when the chiefs would gather to settle all differences,” as with the Hutus and Tutsis soon to be seen harvesting one another’s heads using machetes in Rwanda.
But this wasn’t enough. Black people now lived in Britain as well as Africa, as the presence of Addai-Sebo in London sadly proved. Where was their history?
Compiling a Blacklist
In 2002, the BBC organized a public vote to see who were the 100 Greatest Britons, as their subsequent tie-in TV series was called. Won by Sir Winston Churchill, the poll was generally deemed a big success. The only non-white individual to appear, however, was Zanzibar-born Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, leading to predictable wails the list was “racist.”
In 2003 an alternative 100 Great Black Britons ballot was organized, intended to demonstrate blacks had “been here for a thousand years” so had “influenced and shaped Britain” just as much as whitey had. The results suggested otherwise. Prominent on the original BBC poll were immortal souls like Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Nelson, and Alfred the Great, a man so indisputably Great it was his actual surname.
The black alternative poll, however, featured such less-than titanic figures as the ephemeral R&B artists Ms. Dynamite and Jazzie B, avuncular newsreader Trevor McDonald, kids’-TV presenter Floella Benjamin, bald crooner Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate, terminally unfunny comedian Lenny Henry, self-confessed “burglar,” “car thief,” and “woman-beater” (and truly dire poet) Benjamin Zephaniah, and former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince. The vast majority of names on the list were either born or became famous from the 1950s onward—probably because there were virtually no black people in Britain prior to this date.
The White Queen
Hilariously, No. 5 on the blacklist was the 14th-century Queen of England Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III and an indisputably significant historical figure—but a white one. Her son Edward was known as “The Black Prince,” but this does not mean either he or his mother was black; the sobriquet probably refers to his black shield or armor. Fantasists are desperate to prove Meghan Markle was not Britain’s first non-white royal, though.
King Charles II, on the run during the English Civil War, was described on “WANTED” posters as “a tall, black man, more than two yards high.” Black men appearing on “WANTED” posters is hardly unknown, but in the 1600s this just meant Charles had black hair or eyes; “black man” in this context means the same as “blond man” might today. In other words, as there were basically no black men in England back then, the term “black man” didn’t even yet mean “black man”!
Viewers of supposedly “color-blind” Netflix shitfest Bridgerton, meanwhile, may labor under the misapprehension that Queen Charlotte, 18th-century German-born wife of George III, was black, which is an actual fringe revisionist theory. If so, this would mean all Charlotte’s royal descendants, from Queen Victoria to today’s King Charles III, were actually black, thus pushing Jazzie B and Paul Ince a bit further down the 100 Great Black Britons list.
The thing is, the main “evidence” Queen Charlotte was really Queen Meghan I is that she was persistently described by contemporaries as being “ugly” with “a true mulatto face,” and does indeed look distinctly simian in her painted portraits. The idea that a woman looking hideously apelike automatically equates to her being black seems a bit, um, racist, however; plus, there is the fact that, in all these portraits, Queen Kong’s pallid skin is blatantly white. Yet, it is suggested, maybe this was just the evil racist monarchy’s attempts to cover her race up. Hence, the existence of numerous paintings of a white woman looking white now somehow magically become evidence of her actually being black.
Black to the Future
Tiny numbers of blacks have genuinely lived in Britain from Roman times, when African legionnaires came over as part of a colonial occupying force—but, by this twisted logic, India and South Africa have always been white countries too. A much-hyped 2017 book, Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann, featured detailed biographies of an amazing ten such swarthy individuals, taken from the few hundred or so blacks who lived in England and Wales back then…from a total population of around 4 million whites by the end of the Tudor Era in 1603.
Hilariously, one of those hagiographically memorialized by Kaufmann is a 1620s black London prostitute, Anne Cobbie, who appeared able to charge clients four times extra on account of her soft and unusual skin—hence only proving the rarity of such people’s presence in the city at the time (she probably wasn’t even truly black but brown, being a North African “tawny Moor”).
It is obviously vital British schoolkids learn all about the fascinating tradition of Arab prostitutes handing out overpriced blowjobs in the Greater London area, but what if some of the brighter ones object that such “tawny Moors” were highly atypical British citizens of the time? Well, the media can always step in to intellectually groom them long before they even step inside a classroom. In 2016, Steven Moffat, then Chief Race Commissar of BBC sci-fi kids’ drama Doctor Who, explained why the titular time-traveler always seemed to be zooming back to vibrantly diverse versions of Victorian and Regency England that were strangely full of blacks, Muslims, and Pakistanis:
Sometimes the nature of a particular show—historical dramas, for instance—makes diversity more of a challenge, but Doctor Who has absolutely nowhere to hide on this. Young people watching have to know that they have a place in the future [unless they’re white]. That really matters. You have to care profoundly what children’s shows in particular say about where you’re going to be [demographically]. And we’ve kind of got to tell a lie: we’ll go back into history and there will be black people where, historically, there wouldn’t have been…. We’ll say, “To hell with it, this is the imaginary, better version of the world. By believing in it, we’ll summon it forth.”
In other words, “We’ll systematically mislead children.” And so will the leaders of BHM Britain. And so will their teachers. And so will their politicians. And then, eventually, one fine day, it will turn out even Churchill was a Jamaican too, thus finally explaining why he was called “Winston.”
One particular nonentity on the 100 Great Black Britons poll was current Labour Party MP David Lammy, a man so historically retarded that when asked which English monarch came after Henry the Eighth on a TV quiz show once answered, “Henry the Seventh.” In the current climate, he might be Britain’s next Education Secretary.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a property in the Swiss Alps is in no need of a house in New York City. With apologies to old Jane, I am seriously contemplating giving up living in the Big Bagel after close to seventy years. It’s elementary, dear readers, the place simply ain’t what it used to be; in fact it’s the lack of glamour and chic, the utter coarseness of everyday life, and the total lack of manners of its denizens that have driven me to contemplate leaving what used to be the most glamorous and exciting place on earth.
My first view of Manhattan was in 1948, being driven in from LaGuardia Airport by my father’s chauffeur and seeing the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings lording it over other skyscrapers. It was like a promise of great times to come. After so many years of war in Europe, those great towers of the city clustered on a narrow island glittered in the afternoon sun. The city looked untouched by war, colossal and imposing, and—compared with a world of loss and ruin back in Europe—majestic.
We moved into a large suite at the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue and 59th Street, and from my window I looked at a large RCA sign on the most imposing of all buildings, Rockefeller Center. Above it, an electric fox terrier moved its head and looked up at a sign that read “His Master’s Voice.” I didn’t sleep a wink that night. After four years of war and six months of a civil conflict between communist guerrillas and royalists, beautiful Athens had been torn to shreds, pockmarked by bullets and blown apart. Gotham was like walking into paradise.
The next day, on Fifth Avenue, I saw people as glamorously dressed as those I had seen in the movies. One could feel that 5th Avenue was the essence of America, its omnipotence and its promise that anyone could join. Men wore hats and suits, while women wore gloves with hats and high heels. Most people were fair-haired and Nordic-looking, as were the tall Irish cops—because of height rules, now abolished—who were everywhere. My honeymoon with the city didn’t last long; I was sent off to boarding school after three days. But New York remained always on my mind, a dreamlike obsession for its glamour and unsaid promise that anything was possible. Especially romance. After six years I was back in the city for good and with a vengeance to make up for lost time. I was 20 years old.
The city’s nothing-is-impossible promise was no white lie. My family had moved from the gigantic French chateau look-alike Plaza Hotel across the street to the steeple-topped Sherry Netherland, facing Central Park. This became the center of operations for me, or as my father put it, Operation Cherchez-les-Femmes. New York back then was a magnet for every pretty young woman, even more so than Hollywood, hence a well-off horny young man had no trouble finding dates. The two most glamorous nightclubs were the El Morocco and the Stork Club, and I became a regular at both places in no time.
Mind you, I suppose there was crime and dirt back during those halcyon days and nights, except ensconced on the Upper East Side, one never experienced it from up close. There were no-go areas in Harlem and in the Bronx where criminals killed and robbed other criminals, but throughout the years that I lived on Fifth and Park Avenues I remember only one murder. The party lasted until the late ’60s, when hippies and antiwar freaks, lionized by the media, took over the night scene. Both Morocco and the Stork closed and were replaced by large impersonal halls that catered to druggies, gays, and outrageously dressed show-offs. The WASP establishment moved out—literally—as it already had been replaced on Wall Street and in the banking sector. Elegance was out, as was restraint, not to mention good manners, and public showing off, swearing, and ugliness à la Andy Warhol and his freaks were in and on the front pages.
At this late stage, whenever I read about the suffocating confines of ’50s America, I want to reach for a you-know-what, but if I was caught carrying one, and being white with a clean record and all that, I’d most probably die in jail. Let’s face it: America today is not the same country I once encountered as a bright-eyed 12-year-old. Denunciation, once a communist custom, is now more American than apple pie, and mob rule almost an article of the Constitution.
The America of today gives me the impression it is resigned to its own decline and weary of its values—not least too much freedom for criminals to enjoy equal rights with the rest of us. While hundreds of thousands from Central America besiege the borders in order to enter the U.S., Americans believe they don’t deserve the nation’s success and deny their own virtues. Success is now seen as privilege that deliberately puts other groups at a disadvantage. There is something very wrong when a man can lose his job if he even hints that he finds a woman attractive, while 3-year-olds are being taught by teachers that they can change their sex and become girls or vice versa. Time to move to the Alps, and I’ll tell you all about that next time.
The Week’s Most Bent, Spent, and Given-Up-For-Lent Headlines
BROWNIE V. BOARD OF EDUCATION
The final week of Black History Month is upon us, and peanut butter inventors are going from smooth to crunchy in their forever-war against fast food.
Last Wednesday, two women were shot in a drive-by at a Louisiana Fried Chicken in South-Central L.A. As the sound of fingers bein’ licked was replaced by empty chambers bein’ clicked, the shooters sped off into the night. Their names are unknown, but as this was a South-Central fried chicken joint, it’s not hard to guess their race.
That same night, a McDonald’s in Philly’s Hunting Park (40% black) had its windows shattered by a barrage of bullets. No injuries; police say the shooting was meant to send a message (“Ronald McDonald sleeps with the fillet-o-fishes”).
Happy Ashy Wednesday.
Thursday night, Dickensian-named gentleman Kenzel Bones was gunned down during a dispute at an Indianapolis fast food establishment. His 19-year-old killer, Curtis Williams, said the murder was a preventative measure to ensure that nobody else got them good fries.
RIP Kenzel; now shake dem skeleton, Bones.
Also Thursday, a black Gulfport Burger King employee decided that a car full of customers “was talkin’ too loud at him” in the drive-through (which might have something to do with the fact they were yelling into an intercom), so he shot them.
Who better than a traffic light inventor to stop drive-through traffic?
And finally, in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Amari Bente Hendricks, whose mugshot looks like a tranny’s Photoshopped dating profile, demanded that a McDonald’s drive-through cashier give her a free dessert because of poor service. When she wasn’t given her crêpe-arations, she waved a gun. The manager gave her a free cookie, but Hendricks nevertheless entered the establishment, beating employees.
The worst part of the story? By the time she got back to her car, her fries were cold.
IT’S FUNNY ‘CAUSE IT’S GRUE
You’ll likely go your entire lifetime without seeing a shopworn joke played out in reality.
You’ll never see “a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar,” unless it’s “Jews drink free” night and the entertainment is an altar boy-band.
You’re equally unlikely to see “a black guy, a white guy, and a Mexican find a magic lamp,” unless one of Don Lemon’s antiquing excursions with his husband and houseboy takes an unexpected turn.
But last week, a well-known joke literally happened in real-life.
In Norm Macdonald’s 1990 debut on the David Letterman show, he told a joke about a guy who’s ordered by the Devil to murder his family. So the dude complies, carving up his family and presenting the remains to Satan as requested.
“Devil, I did as you instructed. I killed my family; I chopped ‘em up and put ‘em in a duffel bag, as you commanded, oh lord host of the hoary netherworld.”
Then the Devil pulls off his mask, “it’s me, Bob!’”
And the guy goes, “Oh, Bob! Ya got me! Score one for you!”
That actually occurred. Last week in Alaska, 22-year-old Denali Brehmer (an unattractive thing who looks like Ellen Barkin mated with one of the Kipper Kids) pleaded guilty to murdering her best friend because her online boyfriend, a Kansas millionaire named Tyler, said he’d give her $9 million if she killed someone in his name.
Then after she did the job and sent pics, Tyler was like “it’s me, Bob!”
“Tyler” was actually a broke 21-year-old Indianan named Darin Schilmiller, who’d been playing the role of millionaire just to see if he could dupe an idiot into killing someone based on nothing but his fake dating profile.
Now Brehmer and Schilmiller are looking at life sentences.
Two morons walk into the Alaska bar.
Because they need an attorney.
Speaking of priests…
It’s no surprise that Los Angeles, the unofficial capital of Mexico, contains the largest Catholic diocese in the U.S. It’s also not surprising that the L.A. Archdiocese has been demanding open borders for decades. Even in the 1980s, when much of California was still reliably red, the L.A. Archdiocese pushed for “sanctuary” and “amnesty.” Indeed, the Archdiocese assisted in passing Reagan’s 1987 amnesty scam.
Because after all, if you can’t trust a bunch of celibates with no skin in the game regarding descendants to decide the demographic fate of your nation, who can you trust?
To be sure, flooding L.A. with illegals has been a boon for the Archdiocese, especially as the brown tsunami has displaced blacks and their AME and Baptist “choiches.”
Take your fancy-dancin’ speaking-in-tongues voodoo elsewhere, Pastor DeMarcoolius. This is Popetown.
Last week, L.A. Bishop David O’Connell, who served the church for 45 years, learned a hard lesson about the demographic change he helped bring about. Born in Ireland 69 years ago, the pious O’Connell fled the Emerald Isle because there were too many white folks for his liking. And during his lengthy career as an L.A. priest, he devoted himself to browning the place up.
But last week he got into an argument over money with his handyman, Carlos Medina.
And Medina dealt with the parsimonious prelate cartel-style, giving O’Connell a life annulment in accordance with cannon law via papal guncio that turned the bishop into a hole-y sí.
RIP Father Ded.
In sending his condolences, Pope Francis remarked, “even with Medina in jail, thanks to our efforts, the people of L.A. have plenty of other cheap handymen to call!”
According to a rash of tweets from The Onion, there’s a “genocide” going on, an “annihilation” of a people.
But which people? Blacks? Jews? Midgets?
Nope – trannies (the word “rash” should’ve tipped you off; trannies and rashes just kinda go together).
Yes, trannies are being genocided. But it’s the damnedest kind of genocide. One in which the “victims” can do anything they want to their oppressors, while their oppressors are forbidden from fighting back.
A genocide in which the victims pay to be sliced into pieces by mad doctors; a genocide in which kindertransport has been shortened to “kindertrans.”
In this week’s genocide roundup:
“Daralyn” Madden, a tranny serving a life sentence for double-murder, confessed to the 1990 killing of gay porn star Billy London. Madden, a dude who now identifies as a “Jewish woman,” won’t be tried for the crime by L.A. DA George Gascón. With trannies being wiped out in the genocide, why bring more pain to that community?
In Mississippi, a tranny named “Lily Mestemacher,” who looks like Jack Black with blonde hair and rosacea, was arrested for plotting to blow up a town’s schools. The ABC affiliate reported on the case with stunning and brave verbiage: “A mugshot of Mestemacher shows that she has a beard and dyed-blonde hair with dark roots.”
“Mestemacher” is German for “I made myself into an unholy mess.”
Finally, in a real-life tranny version of the 1992 hit song “Detachable Penis,” Canadian teacher “Kayla” Lemieux, a shemale who wears exaggerated, anime-style Z-cup breasts to school, was photographed going about his daily life without the pornographic prosthetics. He just puts them on to frighten toddlers. The local school board told the press that it supports “her” choice to traumatize kids.
May we all be favored with such a tolerant genocide.
Remember CleanFlix? Unless you’re Dennis Prager, probably not. CleanFlix was the Utah-based “family values” company that rented popular films that had been edited to remove the sex and violence.
Their version of Goodfellas was two minutes long. It opened with Ray Liotta saying “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be” cut to Joe Pesci saying “a clown” cut to Spider dancing a jig to circus music cut to Billy Batts saying “shine” then De Niro saying “whacked” then back to Liotta “and now it’s all over.” Cue Layla.
To no one’s surprise, in 2002 the Director’s Guild sued CleanFlix, claiming that the edits violated the artistic integrity of the people who made the films. Even long-dead directors, the Guild argued, have a right to have their work kept intact.
What a difference 20 years makes. Last week, publishing company Puffin announced that it has rewritten the works of Roald Dahl to remove anything that might be offensive to woke sensibilities. This goes beyond removing epithets (Huck Finn: “Here’s m’best pal, Descendant of Kings Jim”). Puffin has completely rewritten entire passages to remove “fatphobia” and “transphobia.”
In James and the Giant Peach, for example,
Aunt Sponge was terrifically fat,
And tremendously flabby at that.
Aunt Spiker was thin as a wire,
And dry as a bone, only drier.
Aunt Sponge was a nasty old brute,
And deserved to be squashed by the fruit.
Aunt Spiker was much of the same,
And deserves half of the blame.
So, a total rewrite.
In Matilda, all references to “white” have been replaced with “pale,” because wokeness totally isn’t about erasing an entire race. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas are intersex. And a passage in The Witches about witches being “bald beneath their wigs” carries a disclaimer that bald men with wigs are women, too.
Those examples are 100% not satire.
Puffin partnered with a diversity grift syndicate called “Inclusive Minds,” which promises – for a hefty fee – to reedit classic texts so Joy Behar isn’t displeased.
“A wise man believes only in lies, trusts only in the absurd, and learns to expect the unexpected.” This was the opening narration of the 1970s/1980s TV series Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.
Nice sentiment, Roald. Except these days, the lies and absurdities are the expected.
GSTAAD—They’re whispering that it was the biggest haul since the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery of 1983. Others say that compared with the Graff swag of last week, the Great Train Robbery was a mere bagatelle. Nobody knows nuthin’, and while the fuzz remains schtum, the on-dit is that it was the greatest robbery since the Louisiana Purchase, the trouble being those who say such things think the Louisiana Purchase is a handbag sold by Dior.
One thing I love about the Swiss is the reluctance of the police to give out any information to nosy journalists, thus keeping their own embarrassment to a minimum and the criminals off-balance. When I called the local fuzz and asked about the Graff robbery, the answer was predictable: “What robbery?” I think I recognized the cop’s voice because he and I have a past. He once asked me if I knew what two minutes meant. (A grace period of two minutes is extended before a ticket is issued for illegal parking.) I told him that I could measure two minutes better than him because 120 seconds is a round in amateur boxing. I then shoved my face up to his ugly one and was issued a ticket for 100 Swiss francs for using the f-word in English. How was I supposed to know I was up against a polyglot? As a result, my love for the Swiss fuzz has slightly dimmed.
It gets worse. Back in 1973 Swiss men voted to give Swiss women the vote. The smallest canton in Switzerland, Appenzell, voted against the measure and—horror of horrors—Bern intervened, reversing the result and imposing its will on the freedom-loving male citizens. It was an outrage, and female voters in Appenzell who were not allowed to vote agreed with the men. But Bern insisted that women should have the right to vote, and it’s been downhill (according to male sources in the canton) ever since. Then came the greatest outrage of all: Pressured by successive gangster American administrations, the Swiss spilled the beans, giving up its most precious possession, banking secrecy. It was the equivalent of Italy giving up pasta, or France outlawing cheese, not to mention Greece forbidding olive oil. Banking secrecy made Switzerland rich, famous, and absolutely necessary; not even Hitler dared challenge it. But under constant Yankee pressure—they couldn’t win in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan—the Swiss caved in and Uncle Sam finally had a great victory. American slob civil servants celebrated by drinking rum and coke on the Treasury’s lawns in Washington, declaring to everyone within earshot that “We showed those Swiss peasants what we’re made of.”
I remember it well. I think it was the last time I openly cried—not for myself, of course, but for all the men and women who had made it honestly or otherwise, and had safely tucked it away in a Swiss bank while giving the finger to the bully Uncle Sam, who is obviously suffering from a mind-altering venereal disease. It was not Switzerland’s finest hour by a long shot. Here is a country that Mussolini picked to work in as a waiter and then a butcher’s assistant, a few years before becoming Duce. This is the same country that at the Yalta conference Uncle Joe Stalin proposed the invasion and occupation—ostensibly to foreclose the German option of using it to stage a final defense. And the nation that Hitler called “a pimple in the face of Europe that cannot be allowed to continue.”
What I’d like to know is how the Swiss can defy nice guys like Hitler and Stalin but give in to hamburger-chewing, Coca-Cola-guzzling American banker-slobs. I suspect it is the result of elitism, a fatal disease that has ruined America (Bezos, Zuckerberg, Soros, and their ilk) and is doing a good job in Britain, too. When a group of elites, Swiss or otherwise, used to discuss the Swiss system of referendums—in other words, direct democracy—it was with nervous contempt that it might spread. The E.U.’s and USA’s elite always refer to “the people” in order to couch their real intention when passing laws that benefit themselves and never “the people.” In good old Helvetia the people actually had a say.
It is no secret that in the West folks are expressing rage at the system’s immobility and the fact that democracy is unresponsive to their concerns and frustrations. Woke and BLM have turned white Americans into a frightened species of drug-addicted apologists, criticized daily by a leftist media that allows no dissenting opinion. I’ll give you two guesses how the Swiss would vote on the question of whether 10-year-olds have the right to decide their gender (as is the case in America). Or the fact that fringe radical groups of transgender activists claim any dissent is invalid.
Well, there’s still direct democracy in Switzerland, but it’s under attack at all times by the left that wants to control our lives. Even the robbery has now been politicized by so-called elites who claim Bern should be involved. I say to hell with Bern; Gstaad and the Saanenland can take care of themselves as long as the fuzz doesn’t take two hours for lunch. Next week I will tell you about two grand dinners and some rather disappointing results after kickboxing in the not-so-rich mode.
The London School of Economics has decided that it will not use dreadful words such as Christmas, Easter, Lent, and Michaelmas to designate its term times and holidays. Presumably, its management now congratulates itself that it has made a step toward true diversity, equity, and inclusion, the modern equivalent—irony of ironies—of faith, hope, and charity.
An article in The Daily Telegraph was headed “The LSE’s decision is not just drearily woke. It’s completely pointless.” Alas, if only this were true, if only the decision were merely pointless; but on the contrary, the decision was extremely pointed. It was part of a tendency—I won’t go so far as to say part of a conspiracy—to destroy all links of the present with tradition, particularly (but not only) with religious tradition.
Tradition and pride in institutions are obstacles to a managerial class who prefer people whom they manage to be birds of passage, or particles in Brownian motion in the ocean of time, who are completely fixated on the present moment. The managerial revolution, when it takes place, is very thorough, and nothing is too small to escape its destructive notice.
To give an example in the medical field: Hospitals in Britain have been prohibited from having their own distinctive shields or coats of arms printed on their headed notepaper, even those hospitals with a history going back hundreds of years, all such emblems replaced by a single logo. By this means, staff are reduced to mere pieces on a chessboard (to quote Prince Harry’s psychopathic manner of describing those whom he claimed to have killed in Afghanistan). Attachment of staff to place or institution complicates matters for managers.
That is why those who want to manage the whole of society love the kind of history that sees no grandeur, beauty, or achievement in it, but only a record of injustice and misery (which, of course, really existed, and all of which they, and only they, will put right). The real reason for the enthusiasm for pulling down statues is to destroy any idea of the past as having been anything other than a vast chamber of horrors, and since everyone has feet of clay, and the heroes of the past always had skeletons in their cupboard (to change the metaphor), reasons for destroying statues, even of the greatest men, can always be found.
But to return to the expunging of words with Christian connotations or meanings from the calendar of the London School of Economics. The Daily Telegraph said that it was insulting to Christians, but actually it was far more insulting to non-Christians, such as I, for it assumed that they are so sensitive and intolerant that they are offended by the slightest reference to the Christian religion or to any vestiges of the Christian past of the country in which they live, either permanently or temporarily. In other words, non-Christians are made of psychological eggshells and are so delicate constitutionally that they need the protection of the LSE apparatchik and nomenklatura class—which after all has to occupy itself with something (it held meetings to make this decision, no doubt under the mistaken impression that it was working, even working very hard).
No one wants to live under a theocracy, other, that is, than theocrats (and even they only want to live under a theocracy so long as they are the rulers), but the danger of that is vanishingly remote, at least until Islam becomes the majority religion. It is said that only a minority in Britain now claim to be Christian—about 44 percent—but the Christian past of the country can hardly be denied. The physical evidence is overwhelming, even if quite a number of churches in formerly industrial cities have now been converted either to nightclubs or mosques and the Protestant chapels of Wales into luxury apartments (as all poky dwellings in Britain are now called).
Perhaps one day, when decolonization is complete and Newton discovered to have been originally from Burkina Faso, attention will be turned to the triggering effects of so many Christian churches in countries such as Britain, edifices that so powerfully remind descendants of victims of Christian persecution of their ancestors’ traumatic experiences, which they are thereby forced to relive.
To this, of course, there is only one solution: pull them down, raze them to the ground. Likewise, cemeteries should be cleansed, crosses removed, religious inscriptions expunged.
Language, mon dieu, how it needs reforming! The place to start, of course, is schools, where the future of the nation is being developed. Any child who is heard exclaiming “God!” or anything like it should be told that he must in future use the good, solidly secular expletive “Fuck!” (this, of course, is happening spontaneously as well), under pain of punishment. The Bible should be made as illegal to bring into school as it is to bring it into Saudi Arabia, and expressions derived from that triggering work should be removed from common usage. Sufficient unto the day are the unjust social circumstances thereof.
I am hesitant to write in a satirical vein because, as I and others have remarked, satire is prophecy. A number of current policies would have been regarded as satirical exaggeration only a few years ago. Who would have thought, say a decade ago, that a serious, or at any rate a prominent and powerful female politician (I refer here to the First Minister of Scotland), would argue that a man convicted of rape was actually, that is to say in reality, in fact, in every sense, a woman? Such propositions now elicit only irritation, not laughter; and irritation declines before long to resignation. Absurdity is first discussed, then adopted by a vanguard of intellectuals in search of a cause, and finally becomes an orthodoxy that it is socially unacceptable to question. Intelligent people give up opposition because it is boring to argue against what is not worth entertaining in the first place.
The American journalist Lincoln Steffens famously (or infamously) said on his return from Bolshevik Russia, “I have seen the future, and it works!”
I have seen the future, and it is absurd—as well as nasty.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.
Nikki Haley’s announcement that she was running for president reminded me of my lifelong dream to move to India, so I can boss around Indians and tell them to stop worshipping cows and rats. That was the main point of what I said on the Mark Simone radio show last week, which was promptly chopped up, fed into a computer, translated into German, then into Urdu, back to English and finally came out in endless headlines, to sound like a MAGA moron: Go back to your own country, lady!
No, actually, I was making an obvious point I’ve been making for some time now. To wit: It’s bad enough when 11th-generation Americans disrespect our country, but enraging when recent arrivals do.
By “recent arrivals,” I mean anyone whose ancestors came to America after 1800.
At that point, America had already been around for two centuries. We had conquered a dangerous wilderness, battled savages, brought Christianity to the natives, divided ourselves into states, fought a revolution, drafted a constitution, built a capitol, established colleges and universities (including six of the seven Ivy Leagues), were about to fight a bloody Civil War to end slavery, and were well on our way to becoming the greatest nation on Earth.
Post-1800 immigrants just kind of showed up. True, many of them were better than the people who already lived here. (Especially the ones who arrived when our greeting was still, “Sink or swim!” instead of, “Here’s your welfare application.”)
Thus, a few years ago, I wrote:
“MSNBC’s smirking Chris Hayes can get weepy about some ancient Roman ruin, and Rachel Maddow about a building in Warsaw, but I care about my history. These savages are smashing and graffitiing my antiquities.”
No one minded that. That’s because only the most recent of recent arrivals, from the most dissonant cultures, are sacred beings to the left. (Sacred cows?) As Bill Clinton’s director of the census once said, maybe it’s about time the “Western majority” do “some assimilation of its own.”
One of those better-than-us recent arrivals was Louis Brandeis, born to Jewish immigrants from Central Europe. He went on to become a Supreme Court justice and have a university named after him.
This is what Brandeis said, in 1915, on “Americanization Day” [REPORTED TO THE AUTHORITIES] about the process of becoming an American:
“However great his outward conformity, the immigrant is not Americanized unless his interests and affections have become deeply rooted here. And we properly demand of the immigrant even more than this. He must be brought into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations and cooperate with us for their attainment. Only when this has been done, will he possess the national consciousness of an American.”
A big part of that “harmony” is understanding the amazing way this country dealt with the losers of our two major national conflicts: the war(s) with the Indians and the Civil War. We should be on our knees thanking God both those wars came out the way they did or, today, America would be a backward, third world hellhole.
Both the Indians and Confederates were part of a bygone culture, mostly illiterate, and unable to manufacture anything, much less feed and clothe a transcontinental nation of more than 300 million people. Thanks to the superior culture and technology of Protestant New England and the Midwest, the Confederates and Indians never really stood a chance.
But they fought like banshees [REPORTED!], and we honor them for their breathtaking courage and nobility.
Every macho thing in America is — or was, until about five minutes ago — named after either American Indians or Confederates — e.g., the Apache and Comanche attack helicopters, the Braves, the Redskins, the Indians, Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Fort Gordon, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Hood, Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, Fort Polk, Fort Rucker and on and on and on.
Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman got his middle name from a Shawnee warrior chief admired by his father. Paratroopers who jumped into Normandy cut their hair to look like Mohawks and shouted “Geronimo!” as they leapt.
Sometimes, it seems like everybody in America is boasting about Indian heritage — like Elizabeth Warren — or displaying the rebel flag. See, e.g., OutKast, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, and tiles in the Times Square subway station honoring former New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs — “a Southerner with strong ties to the Confederacy,” according to Civil War historian Dr. David Jackowe.
Sitting Bull became a celebrity, signing autographs and performing with Annie Oakley. (My direct ancestor was a stand-in for Oakley and may have performed with Sitting Bull.)
No other country’s internal wars have ever concluded this way. The usual method of ending a domestic conflict is with ceaseless guerrilla warfare and total humiliation of the defeated.
Yale professor David Blight sneers at the “Lost Cause” expression, calling it “an interpretation of the American Civil War viewed by most historians as a myth that attempts to preserve the honour of the South.”
Oh, how awful. We’d just ended a bloody Civil War with 600,000 dead … Job No. 1: Keep picking at the scab!
David Blight, marriage counselor: <em>Every day, discuss what you hate about each other</em>.
My ancestors were Union soldiers who fought the Confederates. My ancestors were killed by American Indians — and rescued by others! But I don’t go around whining that maybe I’d have more “generational wealth” or higher SAT scores if only we took down statues of Sitting Bull and Robert E. Lee.
Their history is my country’s history. And it’s a history to be proud of — precisely for how the losers were treated. If you don’t understand that, I don’t think you’re really trying to bring yourself into “complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations.”
Again, such ignorance is disgusting coming from Mayflower descendants. But it is beyond galling to have a second-generation immigrant like Haley sanctimoniously take down the Confederate flag, which she did as governor of South Carolina. How about going back and critiquing the Indian culture she’s constantly boasting of? You know, the country where a majority still revere cows, others worship rats, and which has more slaves today than any other nation on Earth
Whatever else possessing “the national consciousness of an American” entails, it surely includes not being sublimely ignorant of the total awesomeness of the country you’re currently living in.