To the Eternal City for the saddest of occasions, the funeral of the mother of Taki, 17, and Maria, 15, two of my four grandchildren. Assia was of noble birth and met my son John Taki at the Rosey school in Switzerland, where they both studied skiing and other such useful pursuits. They had a grand wedding at her ancestral home near Rome and went off on their honeymoon on my boat with twelve of their friends. After the two children were born they separated but remained closer than they ever were while married. She fought for two years the ghastly leukemia that finally killed her at 41 years of age. Their friends from school were all there, some having flown over from America in order to say their last goodbyes. The death of someone so young and attractive is hard to put into words without sounding doleful, suffice it to say we Greeks had it right long ago when we preached that whom the gods love they take early.
The beautiful old church, the Catholic ceremony, and a perceptive speech by a very learned man of God helped ease the pain one feels over the unfairness of it all. My boy asked me not to dwell on it, hence I will not. But I will say how much I love the Catholic Church—its rituals and its ceremony. Hymns sung by a small choir were of heartbreaking grace and beauty, leaving no dry eyes anywhere.
Rome is one vast museum, desecrated by long lines of tourists marching up and down its narrow sidewalks while looking at their mobiles and speaking mostly in Chinese and American. To describe the city as eternal and beautiful is a crude cliché, like calling Lily James enchanting, because Rome is Rome, unique but no illusion. It is without order or propriety, a lazy beauty that doesn’t take care of itself, a city fixated on romance and broken hearts.
Rome is the voice and spirit of Italy, a place where unspeakable crimes and cruelties have taken place throughout the ages, where unimagined splendors have been constructed, and where Catholicism reigns supreme. Rome is seductive and mesmerizing; its spirit is Eros. She’s not fragile like Florence and Venice, and not raw and carnal like Naples.
I walked down the Via del Corso early in the morning, then turned right on Via Condotti to the Piazza di Spagna. All the old shops I used to know are gone, replaced by multinational stores and labels. The historic piazza and the Spanish steps were already packed with tourists by 9 a.m., bringing to mind the late ’50s when we’d stop for coffee in the empty square on our way to the Foro Italico and the tennis tournament. History and culture now take second place to giant Dior and Prada signs that overshadow and in a way desecrate the surroundings. As if subliminally acknowledging this vulgarism, Keats’ house is empty of visitors and its windows only half open. I stood there for about ten minutes and not a single person looked at the poet’s last dwelling, in fact the crowds seemed to see the place but not take it in.
Never mind, the huge ads for Dior served their purpose and impressed the mob, some even taking pics of the horror with their telephones. I walked back to the Piazza Venezia, where the Austrian embassy was located back in 1914, and where my father-in-law was born in the very same edifice where Mussolini used to address the mob. Yes, those were the days.
My daughter gave a lunch after the burial at a wonderful restaurant with the quaint name of the Due Ladrone (the two thieves). We were about twenty and I sat with my friend Leopoldo, a Neapolitan nobleman whose father was a good friend of Galeazzo Ciano, the Duce’s son-in-law and foreign minister. History has not been kind to Ciano, and I find that puzzling. He did not want Italy to blindly follow Hitler, and he paid for it with his life. Two women in particular, Suni Agnelli and Caroline Moorhead, wrote about him in their books and made him out to be a vain and silly man. I found Moorehead’s book about Edda Ciano uneven and not really history but gossip, while Agnelli’s—We Always Wore Sailor Suits—was unreadable. Suni’s book came out something like fifty years ago, and I remember her brother Gianni was not best pleased. But he said nothing, just a raised eyebrow to show displeasure. Fiat, after all, was a major contributor to the war effort, so why go and dig up a lot of old gossip about Ciano’s womanizing? Today, if I had stopped 1,000, even 10,000 tourists in Rome, not a single one would have heard of Galeazzo Ciano.
But then very few would have heard of Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bernini, Caravaggio, and others of their kind. They would have heard of Mark Antony because Richard Burton played him in the movie back in 1963, although they would be confused about the Greek Queen Cleopatra because the crude Americans now show her to have been black, whereas Elizabeth Taylor’s agents claim that the actress was white. See how confusing it all gets? And yet, when I asked some gawkers if they had heard of Hadrian and Antinous, they had encyclopedic knowledge of the Roman emperor and his catamite. Ironically, the last time I used the word “catamite” it cost me a couple of hundred thousand pounds because the person I had called that took umbrage and sued. Antinous drowned in the Nile a couple of thousand years ago, so this time no cigar.
If there is hope for America — and I’m doubtful — it came at 10 a.m. Monday in Eagle Pass, Texas, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled his immigration plan.
Much of the document is strikingly similar to Donald Trump’s immigration plan from waaaaay back in 2016, the only minor exceptions being that DeSantis understands what it says and fully intends to carry it out.
QUESTION: Why is it still possible to run on all of Trump’s immigration promises? If broken promises were bricks, we’d have a wall.
On the wall, DeSantis says: “The left tries to make fun of a border wall, but walls work. Israel built a 152-mile-long fence along its border with Egypt. Once completed, illegal crossings dropped by more than 99% year-over-year.”(You’d think with Jared Kushner running the country, someone would’ve remembered that.)
It’s also clear that DeSantis, since he actually served in the military and didn’t evade the draft with a serious case of “bone spurs,” knows that the words “wage WAR on the drug cartels” is not just claptrap to fool the rubes. He promises to confront drug smugglers at the border “with the use of force,” and further “reserves the right to operate across the border to secure our territory from Mexican cartel activities.”
Then there is Heavy D’s magnificent section on anchor babies.
The crackpot idea that children born to illegals are automatically “U.S. citizens” first appeared in the idle musings of Justice William Brennan as dicta — i.e., not part of the court’s holding — in a footnote of a 1982 case. That’s all the authority it took to wreck our country. No court ruling or law passed by Congress has ever conferred citizenship on the kids of illegals. It’s a total con.
Speaking of cons, Trump won the hearts of voters — and the eternal enmity of the media — by promising to torpedo anchor babies (“The anchor baby, it’s over, not going to happen”). But once he became president, he completely forgot about them. That is, until Oct. 30, 2018 — one week before the midterm elections — when he made the grand announcement that he intended to sign an executive order ending the anchor baby scam.
It took more time to say he was going to do it than to just do it. Nonetheless, Trump’s allegation about his future intention was BIG NEWS:
— Exclusive: Trump targeting birthright citizenship with executive order — Axios, Oct. 30, 2018
— Trump eyes ending birthright citizenship with executive order — The Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2018
— President Wants To Use Executive Order To End Birthright Citizenship — The New York Times, Oct. 30, 2018
— Trump announces plan to end birthright citizenship by executive order — Politico, Oct. 30, 2018
And hundreds more in that vein.
Midterms over, the promised executive order went the way of the wall.
Until now. He’s running for president, so guess what he’s promising?
— Trump vows to end birthright citizenship for children of immigrants in U.S. illegally — Reuters, May 30, 2023
Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us 350 times …
The idea that the 14th Amendment had anything to do with illegal aliens is insane. As the Supreme Court has affirmed over and over and over again, the sole purpose of the 14th Amendment — adopted in the wake of the Civil War — was to guarantee the citizenship of former slaves — not future cartel mules.
DeSantis: “This idea that you can come across the border and two days later have a child, and somehow that’s an American citizen? That was not the original understanding of the 14th Amendment.”
MSNBC host and student of the Constitution (It’s racist!) Joy Reid: “Yeah it was.”
In fact, the 14th Amendment didn’t even grant citizenship to American Indians! In Elk v. Wilkins — decided 16 years after ratification of the 14th Amendment — the Supreme Court rejected Elk’s claimed citizenship, finding: “[A]n Indian cannot make himself a citizen of the United States, without the consent and cooperation of the government.”
But now we’re supposed to believe a Mexican can make himself a citizen of the United States without the consent and cooperation of the government, PROVIDED his mother ran across the border when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant.
It’s crazy enough to imagine that the country decided to adopt an amendment granting citizenship to the kids of illegal aliens. But now that we have become a gigantic welfare state, the promise of FREE MONEY to any fleet-footed, pregnant foreigner is a suicide pact.
In 2006 — or about 5 million anchor babies ago — the Los Angeles Times‘ star investigative reporter Sam Quinones (more recently, author of The Least of Us) previewed the new country our politicians were designing for us in a story about a Mexican illegal immigrant, Angela Magdaleno, who had just given birth to quadruplets.
That made it 10 anchor babies for Angela and her husband, Alfredo Anzaldo, also an illegal, who had three additional children with two other women.
Shockingly, Alfredo was unable to support his wife and 13 children on a maximum salary of $400 a week as a carpet installer. Nonetheless, before the quadruplets, Angela had given birth to triplets, at age 36, after undergoing an operation to reverse her tubal ligation and taking gargantuan amounts of fertility drugs — because her husband wanted a son.
The U.S. taxpayer was on the hook for her fertility treatments and multiple pregnancies. Also the free school lunches, subsidized housing and $700 a month in Social Security payments. Not to mention 100% of the health care needs of this very pricey family.
Four of Angela’s anchor babies were born underweight, one with hydrocephalus. The hydrocephalic kid had already undergone three taxpayer-funded brain operations “and will require several more,” Angela observed.
Neither Angela nor Alfredo spoke English, despite having lived in this country for 22 and 28 years, respectively. Nor did their teenage children.
Two of Angela’s illegal alien sisters — out of 10 siblings in the country illegally — had already fled California for Lexington, Kentucky, because, as one of them said, there were “fewer Mexicans there.” The sister raved about Kentucky, saying, “We’re in a state where there’s nothing but Americans,” citing the clean streets, police presence and lack of gang activity.
She’s right! Doesn’t it sound lovely? But unless DeSantis is our next president, soon she won’t be able to find a place like that anywhere on Planet Earth.
Now that Robert F. Kennedy has declared his candidacy for America’s highest office, I can spill some beans about his family, having known many of them since before JFK became president in 1960. The late president was the first Kennedy I met, at a party given by Alice Topping, recently divorced from Dan Topping, heir to a platinum fortune and then majority owner of the New York Yankees baseball team.
Needless to say, Alice was swimming in it, and had invited a rather excited young Taki to a very chic New York dinner party. That was the night I met JFK, the very attractive young senator who asked me where I went to school. When he heard it was the University of Virginia he laughed out loud and said, “But that’s a party school.” I remember Jackie telling him to take it easy on “this young man.”
Both Kennedys could not have been nicer, if somewhat looking at us de haut en bas. The summer after the assassination I met and began a long friendship with Jackie’s sister, Lee Radziwill, and after a night of wild drinking and dancing, Lee took me up to Jackie’s apartment on Fifth Avenue. That is when trouble between the most famous widow in the world and poor little me began. Lee had said that I danced like a whirling dervish, and Jackie asked for a demonstration. I politely turned that suggestion down, explaining that what one does on the dance floor of a nightclub while intoxicated cannot be repeated in the cold light of day in a stranger’s house while cold sober. Jackie said I was a great disappointment to her, while I muttered something about not being in the entertainment business.
After Jackie became Madame Onassis our paths crossed at times, but she was cold and rather distant. Her sister and she were not on the best of terms because of the Golden Greek (she had snatched him from Lee), and that didn’t help matters. Pat Lawford and Jean Smith, sisters of the two slain Kennedys, were a different matter altogether. I had met them in Paris, and they were very keen to party and make new friends. After the Greek junta collapsed in 1974, the sisters suggested to their brother Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had been invited to visit Athens and the new democratic government, that he make sure to get in touch with me. When Kennedy rang me in Athens he did not pull his punches: “I’m told you know every beautiful woman in Athens…” “And I am aware of the long homosexual history of the Kennedys,” I replied. He laughed uproariously.
Anita was a very pretty American girl spending a year in the American College of Athens, and I was going out with her friend Sarah, making it a natural for what Americans used to call a double date: The evening did not end well. After Sarah and I left them at Teddy’s hotel, the inebriated senator from Massachusetts inhaled something and made a clumsy pass at Anita. He did not touch her but frightened her. Already a drama queen, the next day she rang her father in Connecticut, and he arrived in Athens in Orlando Furioso mood. By this time Teddy had gone off to visit the Pope in Rome, and as I clumsily explained to Clifford père, I introduced his daughter to a United States senator, not some gangster.
I was working at UPI at the time, but the bureau chief did not want to touch the story, Kennedy being American royalty and all that. Plus Anita herself admitted he had not laid a hand on her. I finally published it in a British scandal rag and my name’s been mud among the Kennedys ever since. Never mind. The present candidate, Robert Kennedy Jr., once invited me to shoot the rapids with him somewhere out west, and it was more of a challenge than an invite. It took place in a London club and he was a bit out of it. I’ve never seen him since, and that was a good forty years ago. I was friendly with his first wife, Mary Richardson, whom he treated badly and who killed herself. He’s now happily married to actress Cheryl Hines. One of his brothers, Max, is a hell of a fellow, and we went out clubbing together quite recently.
Now RFK Jr. is running for president, and some of his messages I totally approve of: He would seal the border, would stop wildly printing money, and is against lockdowns. Others are conspiracy theories that he is known for. They are mostly anti-science and anti–Big Pharma—not a bad thing at all—but the only thing that worries me about him is the fact that his own large brood of brothers and cousins are not out canvassing like mad for him.
Recently I met Joe Driscoll, an old friend who had lost a close election for Congress in Pennsylvania some time ago. Joe’s a Democrat and a close friend of the Kennedys. “Why haven’t you written about Bobby?” he asked me. “You two have a lot in common.” “Yes,” I answered, “we both like dictators.” I think that’s why the family is not knocking down doors for a Kennedy. He has the mind of a dictator. But if I were Biden, I wouldn’t write him off. Personally, I’d take him over any Democrat, especially Biden and Harris. Not to mention Gavin Newsom.
One of the more fascinating scholarly oeuvres of the 21st century is economic historian Gregory Clark’s planned trilogy of books with bad Hemingway puns for titles.
Seven years later saw Clark’s The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, in which Clark pointed out that even 700 years after their invention, surnames continue to suggest statistically significant things about social status. For example, among the 25 most common last names in Britain, people named “Hamilton” are twice as likely to graduate from Oxford or Cambridge as people named “Smith” or “Jones.”
My grandparents came from Ireland to work in the coal mines and steel mills of the Clyde Valley, as part of the great diaspora of the Irish triggered by Ireland’s failure to industrialize in the nineteenth century.
But his rise to tenure at UC Davis was slightly predetermined by his last name: Folks named “Clark” tend to be descended in the male line from somebody who was a clerk (i.e., a literate white-collar worker) when surnames were chosen around 1300. As Clark’s predecessor in surname research Nathaniel Weyl pointed out, “Clarks” remain overrepresented in high-end jobs.
Note that Clark’s goofy titles are applied to works of serious scholarship. Clark realized that the English system of wills and property titles represents a massive database for a quantitatively oriented economic historian. Unlike countries where all the existing property records were burned by invaders or revolutionaries, England has had continuity of legal protection of property rights going back roughly to the Domesday Book of 1086. With the exception of records accidentally destroyed by fire, flood, or rodents, wills from hundreds of years ago are still on file in case they are relevant to a lawsuit. Therefore, so many of the relatively limited number of hard facts we know about Shakespeare’s life come from his will and other legal documents.
On the other hand, Clark’s puns do suggest his lively mind. Nine years ago, I speculated that these two books were likely leading up a third to be titled For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls. And indeed, Clark has confirmed that was his plan.
Of course, 2014, back at the beginning of the Great Awokening, was a more easygoing, less hysterical era, so we’ll see if that will be his title when his third volume is finally published. In 2021 Clark was scheduled to deliver a lecture at Glasgow University under the titled “For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls,” but it was canceled by outraged undergrads. (Who knew in 1969 that we would someday live in an era when students are stuffier than professors?)
So far, there’s no listing for his third book on Amazon, but on Monday Clark published a major article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: “The inheritance of social status: England, 1600 to 2022.”
Clark has a genealogical database of 422,000 English individuals with unusual surnames going back to Shakespeare’s time. Clark writes:
…the lineages used here are mainly those constructed by the members of the Guild of One-Name Studies. Guild members aim to include all persons with a chosen rare surname––Argall, Errey, Byatt, etc.—in their lineages.
For men born since 1780, he has assembled nine measures of status, such as their occupations, educational attainment, and literacy.
What he’s discovered are very high correlations in status (not even counting wealth, which is of course heavily inherited, although perhaps not as much as French economist Thomas Piketty has argued) with distant extended family members:
…status persists strongly across even very distant relatives, across all measures of status. Even fourth cousins, who shared a common ancestor only five generations earlier, typically show statistically significant correlations in status.
As you move outward in a family tree from an individual to his brother to his first cousin to second then third then fourth cousins, each correlation remains surprisingly strong compared to the previous relationship.
The second is that the decline in status correlations with each step outward in the lineage is a constant 0.79, for different measures of status, and for different epochs from 1600 to 2022. The vast social changes in England since the Industrial Revolution, including mass public schooling, have not increased, in any way, underlying rates of social mobility.
These extended family similarities would hardly be surprising among, say, the Bedouin. But keep in mind that the English are among the least clannish people on earth. Heck, the English upper class don’t even seem to like their own small children all that much, traditionally packing them off to boarding school at as early of an age as 7.
The English are, of course, highly sociable. Their great ambition often is to form a band with their schoolmates, like Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards. For example, when the novelist Martin Amis died recently, his famous friendships with other writers such as Christopher Hitchens were recalled, as were his novelist father Kingsley Amis being pals with poet Philip Larkin and historian Robert Conquest. But father and son didn’t spend all that much time together.
While Clark’s latest findings fit with a model in which genes are highly significant, it doesn’t completely resolve the conundrum of nature vs. nurture because there aren’t many detectable adoptions or cuckoo’s eggs in his database to help distinguish between the effects of genes and environment. He does, though, have about 40,000 sons who were orphaned before turning 14. Their adult status is very slightly less correlated with their fathers than that of sons whose fathers survived into their adulthoods.
But strikingly, these extended family correlations discovered by Clark are also much higher than genetics would predict, if you assume random mating:
With no assortment, the expected correlation of a trait, even with a heritability of 0.7, for fourth cousins, would be 0.001. Even for second cousins, it would be only 0.02.
This implies that English marriages were highly assortative for whatever it is—nature and/or nurture—that contributes to social status.
In his influential 1971 article “I.Q.,” Richard Herrnstein, coauthor of The Bell Curve, speculated that assortative mating couldn’t have been all that strong before the rise of standardized testing.
But Clark’s paper suggests otherwise. Clark’s article was edited by Dalton Conley, a left-leaning sociologist who, impressively, earned a second doctorate in biology in order to better understand the impact of genes on society. In recent years, Conley has been methodically attempting to test Herrnstein’s hypotheses using newly available data.
But yes, a high degree of assortative mating is about what you’d expect from reading English literature. After all, the English class system is extremely well documented by the best writers in the language.
Indeed, I probably know more about the English class system than the American class system (to my detriment). The American class system tends to be downplayed because of our Jeffersonian roots. For instance, last week’s U.S. Open golf championship was held at Southern California’s bastion of old money, the Los Angeles Country Club, which, despite adjoining the world capital of publicity-seeking, Beverly Hills (with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion being alongside its 14th hole), is a black hole of privacy.
But the English know no such shame when it comes to exposing their class system. They love writing about it.
The English class system endures because it is voluntary, rather than legally imposed, and finely gradated. For example, there are certain legal distinctions privileging the 806 hereditary peers of the realm. If I recall correctly from Kind Hearts and Coronets, a duke accused of murder has the right to be tried by the House of Lords and, if found guilty, to be hanged with a rope made of silk. (Note: The famous silk rope may be apocryphal.)
But the vast majority of English were commoners. For example, Winston Churchill was the first son of the second son of a duke, so he benefited politically by being a member of the more powerful House of Commons. That’s why Churchill, rather than Lord Halifax, became prime minister on the ominous day of May 10, 1940.
But this hardly means that England was a utopia of egalitarianism. Instead, the lack of clear legal distinctions among the vast majority of the population meant that most people held their own strong (if not always congruent) opinions about why they were higher-class than certain other people.
The class system of course affected who married whom. Thus, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice famously begins:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
But it’s not just class. Note that the English class system has coexisted since the Middle Ages with the unruly institution of the love match. Loveless arranged marriages faded out centuries ago at all but the highest levels of society. When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, he knew his audience would be rooting for the young lovers. Thus, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are cut out for each other because they are smarter, braver, and more strong-willed than the other characters.
A familiarity with English literature will also point out another aspect relevant to Clark’s thesis: English authors tend to be closely related to other authors. (In contrast, famous American writers like Hemingway seem less likely to emerge from literary dynasties.)
For instance, one of the rare names traced by the Guild of One-Name Studies, genealogists who specialize in the relationships of everybody with the same name, related or not, is “Byatt.” The best known Byatt is A.S. Byatt, the author of the outstanding novel Possession, who was married to economist Sir Ian Byatt. Ms. Byatt has published sixteen works of fiction, while her sister Margaret Drabble has published 22. In the grand English tradition, they don’t get along.
Or consider that Olivia Wilde is rare among movie actresses in becoming a screenwriter. But that’s less surprising because her father Andrew Cockburn, and his brothers Patrick and Alexander Cockburn, were all famous left-wing journalists in their time. And her grandfather Claud Cockburn was a well-known communist propagandist and screenwriter (Beat the Devil with Humphrey Bogart). Claud was the first cousin of the novelist Evelyn Waugh, the greatest of the many writing Waughs, some of whom continue to be around today.
Waugh’s father was a leading publisher and essayist, while his older brother Alec had written a best-selling novel at age 17. Evelyn wished to forge his own path into some career other than writing, but that was not to be. As he wrote in his memoirs:
Dickens held it against his parents that they tried to force him into a blacking [shoe polish] factory instead of letting him write. The last firm at which I solicited a job was engaged, among other things, in the manufacture of blacking. I pleaded desperately. If I wasn’t employed there I should be driven to Literature. But the manager was relentless. It was no use my thinking of blacking. That was not for the likes of me.
Readers often ask, “Dave, why you always pickin’ on the right?” Nick Land, a rather well-known bloke, commented back in January: “Cole’s basic, consistent thesis is that the Left is just way better at politics than the Right. It’s not that he’s wrong, but if he’s right, can incessantly scolding the Right for being a bunch of dysfunctional losers actually be that helpful?”
Well, the thing is, I’m not trying to be “helpful.”
I am, after all, a villainous historian. And that’s what historians (villainous or virtuous) do. I suspect that in a future America, long after I’m gone, white kids in public schools taking classes in “Trans-Liberation Science: how removing healthy breasts frees women (who don’t exist) from womanhood (an oppressive social construct)” and “White Apologetics (no, not the religious kind, the literal one: white people apologizing)” will ask, “How’d things get this bad?”
From the 1990s to the early 2010s, America went from seeing even the bluest states ban gay marriage (as California voters did twice in 2000 and 2008) to finding itself under the heel of a cult that redefines not just gender but humanity itself (human children, alone among all life-forms on earth, can only live in their “normal” state via the surgical removal of healthy organs and the medicinal blocking of puberty). Likewise, in the 1990s every Democrat was law-and-order, with even the worst of them, like Hitlery Killton (or is it Killary Hitlerton?) and Joe Biden, talking about black “superpredators,” and then all of a sudden everything changed and even our MAGA president and some of our “reddest” governors released black criminals because imprisoning them is racist.
And these futuristic young people are gonna wonder, “The literal fuck? How’d that happen?”
Well, I’m here for those fictional future children (the only kind of children I can stomach).
While other writers labeled, accurately or otherwise, as “far right” prefer to obsess over hidden-hand perpetrators (“the reason things went to hell is because Baron Illuminous von Rothschild IV teamed with the Deep State and hypmotized everybody”), I’m more interested in chronicling how the opposition blew it.
And by studying the right’s response to the Titan submersible disaster, we get a good case study of just that.
The Titan story, which at its core is “self-promoting maverick does risky shit that ends poorly,” reminds me of the Jessica Dubroff debacle. She was the 7-year-old girl who, in April 1996, sparked a media circus by attempting to pilot a plane across the U.S. to prove girl power or child power or whatever point her self-promoting adult handlers were trying to make, and even though everyone kinda knew she’d crash, people supported her and she got tons of attention because, you know, girl power child power etc., and then she crashed on April 11, killing everyone on board.
And because there was no social media, Dubroff’s death was not exploited as Dubroff’s life had been. Because guess what? On April 11, 1996—the very day of the crash—Israel launched Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon. If Twitter had existed back then, morons would’ve screamed, “There are no coincidences!” while claiming that Dubroff’s crash—which was the lead network news story that night—was an engineered distraction from a story of international importance!
See, back when nutcase conspiracy idiots were confined to hard-copy newsletters, an incident like Dubroff’s could come, be understood for what it was (“it was a dumb idea to have a child that young fly a plane and parents shouldn’t push their kids into doing risky things for cheap headlines”), and go.
Did you know that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank on the same day the U.N. passed the “Zionism equals racism” resolution? How suspicious that in a world populated by billions of people, more than one thing happened on the same day. And cui bono? Gordon Lightfoot, the Larry Silverstein of the Edmund Fitzgerald. So he must’ve sabotaged the ship himself!
This crap is laughable and should’ve remained so, but now we have Steve Bannon, who podcasts with a giant placard behind him blaring “There are no coincidences.” And we have “rightist Twitter,” a pathetic group of amateur (and remarkably inept) sleuths for whom “There are no coincidences” is their one and only crime detection tool.
Back in 2017 I wrote about how “There are no coincidences” is a friend of the state, not a weapon against it, but because I didn’t steal money from you like Bannon did (which his cohorts have admitted in open court, but you don’t seem to care), the piece faded into obscurity.
Next time I wanna make a point about coincidences, I’ll rob your grandma. Because apparently that’s how today’s rightists gauge trustworthiness.
Rightist: “Hey, Steve, we donated millions of dollars to your Build the Wall campaign, and immediately afterward you bought a new luxury superyacht.”
Bannon: “Well, that’s just a coincidence. Holy shit, I actually found one!”
The wreckage of the Titan sub was discovered on the same day that IRS whistleblowers gave damning testimony about Hunter Biden.
And “no coincidences” rightist Twitter went nuts:
The WSJ is reporting the US Navy detected the Titan implosion on Sunday but Biden held the news until today’s whistleblower testimony on Hunter. The entire thing was a distraction op. —Jack Posobiec
The Biden administration knew the Titan submarine imploded Sunday. But waited until today to make it public. Convenient smokescreen for today’s House Ways & Means release of IRS whistleblower testimony of DOJ sabotage of the Hunter Biden investigation. —Miranda “Malibu and Beverly Hills are the same place” Devine (NY Post)
For all we know, Hunter may have needed that extra time to threaten their families that they’d be left to die if the big guy didn’t get a check immediately. —Sean Davis (The Federalist)
The Biden regime knew the submarine imploded Sunday – but used their media propagandists to push the “they’re running out of oxygen” story all week to deflect from Hunter’s crimes? God save us from these scumbags and lowlifes. Sickening. —“Catturd”
If the Navy knew the sub exploded within hours of the vessel losing contact, & they told the Coast Guard what they heard, why did they wait until Thursday to say anything? Hint: That’s when the IRS revealed that Biden’s “independent DOJ” was interfering in the Hunter Biden probe. —Libby Emmons (The Post Millennial)
Wait. If the submarine exploded on Sunday and the Navy knew about it the whole time that means the entire “US Military picked up a banging noise on the sea floor!” news cycle was a lazy psy-op to keep the story going. They lied. This was all a distraction. God help us. Evil. —Benny Johnson (TPUSA)
So basically the 5 people on board died days ago, but Biden allowed for the story to dominate all news cycles as a way to distract from the news about Hunter Biden this week. They knew days ago that the sub exploded but kept it going as a tool of distraction to cover for Biden’s crack head son. —Laura “Ashkenazi IQ exception to the rule” Loomer
There are a thousand tweets like this from rightist influencers. The claim is, the Navy heard a “boom” on Sunday, suggesting an implosion. But Biden, or should I say DIEden, intervened to bury the news so that a futile search could be conducted in order to distract from the IRS whistleblower testimony.
Okay, let’s break that down.
Number one, the Sunday “boom” was inconclusive. Search-and-rescue personnel have said it could’ve just as easily been the sub hitting the Titanic wreckage or the ocean floor. There’s no way the search would’ve, or should’ve, been called off because of the boom. Searchers needed to conclusively determine the sub’s fate. The Navy was right to not speculate until that happened.
I mean, what are these rightist tards suggesting? That Biden should’ve forcibly ended the search before the crew’s fate was known?
Something tells me he would’ve been mercilessly attacked had he done so.
There are a million legitimate reasons to dislike Biden. Why do you have to invent one?
Number two, most folks were only interested in the sub because of the mystery. It’s like that Malaysian plane; the story only had legs because it’s a cliff-hanger. Once the Titan mystery ended, the interest ended. And the mystery ended the day of the whistleblower testimony, meaning that Biden (or should I say GENOCIDE-en) killed public interest in the Titan story the day of the whistleblower testimony.
Wait, what? He made people uninterested in the story in order to use it as a distraction? You know that makes no sense, right?
And also, where do you guys get the idea that one news story actively prevents people from following others? Do you really think the sub story had Americans so transfixed that they lost the ability to focus on anything else?
“Honey, what’s for dinner?”
“SHUT UP! I’m watching the SUB STORY!”
“Babe, the house is on fire.”
“GO AWAY! The SUB! I can’t take my eyes off the SUB!”
Only the family members of the sub victims had that level of concern. For everyone else, it was a matter of peripheral interest. People absolutely can pay attention to two things in the same day.
The rightist retreat into conspiratorial paranoia is end-stage cancer. Nobody goes to a Filipino faith healer unless the standard medical treatments have failed. As I’ve stated time and again, rightist “sleuthing” is surrender. Unable to win elections or leverage power, rightists have resorted to “We can’t beat Cthulhu, but we can identify him!”
For those of you thinking, “But Dave, the left is loony too,” let’s go back to the Titan. Yes, rightists and leftists exploited the tragedy. The leftist talking point was “Everyone’s worried about five billionaires at the bottom of the sea, but nobody cares about the five hundred migrants-of-color who drowned that same week in a ‘refugee’ boat in the Mediterranean.”
Now, can you spot the difference between the right and left talking points?
The rightist take was masturbatory. True believers massaging other true believers. Alex Jonesians writing for people already in the cult. No new ground gained, just ideologues affirming each other.
But the leftist take—“Oh, the drowned baby-wabies! The poor soggy-woggies! We must save these sweethearts!”—was geared toward appealing to that stubbornly idiotic and sentimental demographic—suburban white women—thus helping to build electoral support for open borders.
Yes, “both sides” exploit tragedies, but only one side does it as a strategy to win new adherents. The other side just whacks off, because when you’ve lost all hope of scoring with real women, what else is there to do?
And that’s why I highlight these things. I can’t stop the idiocy, but I can document it.
It might not be “helpful” now, but it might be for future teens trying to understand why their world’s as screwed up as it is.
In 2019 Christian satire site The Babylon Bee ran a story, “Moloch Announces Forcing Your Kids To Become Transgender Is Acceptable Form Of Sacrifice.”
Here, the bloodthirsty, cattle-headed ancient Middle Eastern god of the Ammonites held a press conference, informing modern-day liberal-voting acolytes that “in lieu of the actual blood-sacrifice of your children, you can now simply force your kids to become transgender” as a more convenient alternative to burning them alive in Moloch’s name, as reputedly took place in days of yore.
Just an absurdist joke. But, as so often, is once-unthinkable satire now literally coming true? No, but that doesn’t stop some weirdos from thinking so.
Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter
In 2012, former Fox News presenter Glenn Beck had a strange dream; a dream that, Beck informed his radio listeners in 2022, was really more of a visionary nightmare. Entering the Obama-era White House, a sinister figure told the dreaming Beck that “You really have no idea who you’re dealing with,” implying Obama was not the nation’s true ruler. Then, in a real reverse–Scooby Doo moment, he ripped off his human mask to reveal that “He was a demon. Okay?”
Okay, Glenn. But which particular demon?
As listeners became increasingly disturbed (as, arguably, did Glenn himself), Beck began discussing “this pedophilia stuff that is going around,” revealing certain dodgy images online were being produced by a Twitter user using the handle…#Moloch.
Beck wrote a Dan Brown-style airport thriller, The Eye of Moloch, exposing what the Molochite pedos in Washington were up to. By encouraging the genital mutilation of kids, the governing Demoncrats were “demanding our children as a sacrifice” to remain in power. Thus, when it came to future U.S. elections, “we’re no longer talking about issues of, you know, tax policies,” but about whether or not leftists should really be allowed to brainwash your teenage daughter into chopping her tits off and serving them up to Moloch on a silver platter, like they did with Ellen Page’s.
In the Bible, God had three main pagan rivals for public worship, a trio of (Lily) Savage gods indeed:
(1) Moloch, cow-headed botherer of children.
(2) Baal (later Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies), who also loved seeing babies butchered.
(3) Ishtar, a divine whore whose cross-dressing priest/esses operated as sacred prostitutes in her name, making the crops grow via fertility-boosting sex magic.
If this original Unholy Trinity have each returned, humanity really is in trouble: Extreme acts of underage homosexuality will soon be compulsory for all, like at Eton. Fortunately, Jehovah Himself has once again sent us down a favored Son to save us all from sin—not Jesus of Nazareth this time, but St. Donald of Trump Tower.
This is the opinion of Minister/Rabbi Jonathan David Cahn, a Messianic Jewish-Christian whose 2017 book of prophecy The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times claimed Trump’s rise to the Oval Office had been foretold by the Holy Bible.
Born to a family of New York Jews, Cahn underwent a Near-Death Experience at age 20, converting him to Christianity…sort of. Accepting Jesus as the Messiah, but a Jewish one, he established the Beth Israel Worship Center in New Jersey, aided by “a mysterious American Indian” named Wahoo who gave him $150,000 at the behest of God Himself—Wahoo! indeed. On some days the Worship Center calls itself a church, on others a synagogue, the very building being bi-religious.
For Cahn, Bill and Hillary Clinton are the current incarnations of Ahab and Jezebel, a wicked king and queen of Israel who worshipped Baal. Jezebel was such a notorious makeup-caked slapper, the very phrase “painted Jezebel” was born from her name. Essentially, she was an avatar of Ishtar, as trans-friendly Hillary must also be today (“Hillary” can be either a man’s or a woman’s name, do note).
However, the land was saved by the brave Hebrew warrior-king Jehu, who drove the diabolical political power-couple out and so set Israel free from idolatry. This hero was an earlier embodiment of Donald J(ehu) Trump.
What Jehu did for Israelites back then, Donald would do for Americans today, said Cahn. When Trump famously promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, he really meant he would cast out Ahab and Jezebel’s contemporary rainbow-flagged idols of Baal, Ishtar, and Moloch.
From YHWH to YMCA
Cahn’s basic thesis, revealed in his 2022 book The Return of the Gods, is as follows. Until the end of the 1950s, the still-Judeo-Christian USA was a benign, God-fearing land of men with penises, women with vaginas, and priests and nuns with neither.
Then the degenerate 1960s were born, as Baal suddenly reappeared on Earth, exploiting postwar material prosperity to lead complacent Apple Pie Americans astray. Baal was god of apostasy, the Dark Deity who opened the spiritual door for his fellow Old Ones to follow him in through, like Yog-Sothoth in H.P. Lovecraft.
First through the Hell-Mouth was Ishtar, the gay goddess, who ushered in the sexual revolution, step by slutty step. First she facilitated feminism, tempting women out from the kitchen and making them want to be like men with their own independent careers, thereby breaking up families and homes and ruining the social structure.
Meanwhile, men were systematically feminized, their rough edges softened away to dispel so-called “toxic masculinity,” resulting in a weedy race of long-haired Walter the Softies, easy prey for future conversion to homosexuality. Cahn says Ishtar stole away men’s swords and replaced them with mirrors, all the better for them to apply lipstick with.
1960s counterculture promoted public drunkenness, drug addiction, pornography, sex outside marriage, and prostitution, leading to a tidal wave of unwanted pregnancies—thus enticing Moloch back from his slumber too.
After so long away, Moloch was hungry, so Ishtar had cooked him up a tasty feast fit for Trimalchio: plateful after plateful of delicious aborted fetuses, bred irresponsibly by 1960s acid casualties outside of holy wedlock. Slowly, America degenerated from a Christian nation into a pagan one, a gigantic orgy of Caligula.
Where and when did Ishtar first flounce fabulously back onto our Earth-plane? At New York’s Stonewall Inn in 1969, where a historic riot famously occurred when the gay bar in question was raided by policemen hoping to arrest themselves some deviants.
However, at the instigation of a rabble-rousing female hooker named Stormé—Ishtar, also goddess of storms, in disguise—the gays rebelled, suddenly performing bizarre ritual dances in Ishtar’s honor, acting all girly and singing camp improvised lyrics like “We’re the Stonewall Girls/We wear our hair in curls!” Then, like many a testosterone-fueled TERF-beater today, the “girls” abruptly became more classically mannish, beating up the cops and demanding their right to wield their own pink truncheons as they pleased.
The gays had become possessed by the ancient spirits of the kezertu, or “lovely-locks,” dancing girls who served in Ishtar’s temples, singing, playing music, and selling themselves to all-comers. Stonewall was an inn, so served alcohol, and Ishtar was also goddess of wine and taverns, so it made sense she would return in a gay bar—especially the Stonewall Inn, an alleged front for prostitution and drag queens (Cahn suggests “Drag Queen Story Hour” is itself a mere front for “Ishtar Story Hour”).
Ishtar was furthermore goddess of gates (like her own hellish vagina), hence Babylon’s celebrated Gate of Ishtar, and New York, as the nation’s main Atlantic port, was known as the gateway to America. She is also associated with walls: in the ancient text The Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar stands on the protective wall of the Sumerian city of Uruk, calling down destruction upon it. In 1969, she mounted a different type of Stonewall, summoning gay doom upon New York likewise. Uncannily, Cahn speculates, the wall of Uruk may have been made of bricks—and so was the Stonewall Inn!
Equally eerie, in the Epic, the hero Gilgamesh insults Ishtar by comparing her to a misshapen stone “that buckles out the stone wall.” Furthermore, Ishtar, in her gender-bending masculine guise as goddess of war, was sometimes dubbed “The Lioness,” explaining not only why the England women’s soccer team is so full of lesbians, but why the rival bar next to Stonewall was named The Lion’s Head. When riding into battle, Ishtar would raise a sword bearing just such a leonine motif to indicate the fight was now underway—as was the 1960s fight to queer America’s soul.
After Stonewall, shameless sodomites got together to organize gay parades every June, marking the anniversary of the riot. Cahn points out that June (generally) marked the ancient month of Tammuz, when Ishtar’s armies would likewise march in big gay glory through the streets, putting their privates on parade in displays of public perversion and open cross-dressing. Even the gays’ chosen rainbow flag was stolen from Ishtar, goddess of rainbows, who could transform into one to travel across the sky in super-quick fashion to smite her foes.
Bummer of Love
Furthermore, Cahn discovered the police warrant to raid the Stonewall Inn was issued on 26 June 1969, which corresponded to the tenth day of Tammuz, when a spell sacred to Ishtar was traditionally recited intended to cause “a man to love a man.”
The Stonewall Riots were thus a gigantic disguised ritual of Ishtar, designed to magically summon Elton John into our unsuspecting world. When gay marriage was fully legalized across America in 2015 by the Supreme Court of Satan, it also occurred on 26 June—the very date this article too is being published, to mark the end of Annual Excessive Gay Pride Month. So, there you have it: Gay Pride is literally satanic, the historical FACTS prove it.
I can’t say I literally believe Pastor/Rabbi Cahn’s demonic thesis (Takimag recently provided a more plausible interpretation of all matters Moloch here), but it functions perfectly well as a metaphor for the homo insanity going on around us at present, just like the 2019 Babylon Bee story about Moloch did. It’s no more mental than the idea women can have penises, is it?
Anyway, I’m already on record personally as saying the true ancient androgynous god behind today’s transgenderism is actually the Greek Hermes…
The Week’s Most Prissy, Hissy, and Solstice-y Headlines
POSTHOLIDAY BLUES (AND BLACKS)
Juneteenth occupies a unique place among holidays and celebrations. With Halloween, for example, the decorations go up a month before October 31st. And on November 1st, everything’s forgotten, as folks move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas, which, likewise, leave the public consciousness once they’ve come and gone.
Generally with any festivity or observance, attention decreases the day after.
But with Juneteenth, most of the attention occurs on the day after, as Americans tally the corpses and mourn the dead and tend to the wounded from the commemoration of when Major General Gordon Granger brought a deep fryer to Galveston and the freed slaves cried, “Fries at last, fries at last.”
Ever since Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, signing the proclamation using Lizzo’s ass as a desk (don’t ask where he put the pen), Juneteenth has been more of an exercise in black genocide than a celebration of black freedom.
And this year, the More-gun Freemen really outdid themselves.
67 revelers shot—11 fatally—in Chicago, as young emancipees held gunfights Wild West-style.
St. Louis: Eleven injured and one killed at a Juneteenth party. The deceased was only 17 years old.
Washington State: A partygoer at a Juneteenth music festival fired randomly into the crowd, killing two. Then the coward fled.
Milwaukee: Six teens were shot at a Juneteenth celebration. The gunman is described as a light-skinned black.
A hundred other blacks were gunned down by fellow revelers at Juneteenth events in Philly, San Francisco, NYC, Atlanta, Carson, Memphis, Houston, and Baltimore.
Indeed, there were Juneteenth shootings in every state.
Except South Dakota.
Happy John Thuneteenth.
With stray Juneteenth bullets flying everywhere last week, four billionaires managed to find the one spot on earth immune from the menace: the bottom of the North Atlantic.
Water: 100 percent guaranteed Juneteenth-proof.
But there are other hazards.
Four elites with nothing better to do paid $250,000 per person to take a submarine to visit the Titanic on the ocean floor. Well, “submarine” is misleading. It was an experimental submersible the size of a sewer pipe, and speaking of sewers, the only window in the craft was a tiny porthole next to the box used as a bathroom. So the entire twelve-hour voyage consisted of people hunched over in a tube, watching the Titanic on monitors like anyone could do at home not hunched over in a tube, and if you wanted to look out the one little window, you had to sit on the poop box.
There wasn’t even an in-trip movie. Although to be fair, staring at a box of human excrement is pretty much the same as watching any current Hollywood film.
When the sub went missing, snake oil salesmen the world over mourned the loss of the most easily gulled wealthy idiots on earth.
The company that runs the tours is called Oceangate. And c’mon, are you really gonna trust an outfit with the scandal suffix in its name? “Oceangate” is tailor-made for a Twitter hashtag, which indeed it became as the world waited breathlessly (though not as breathlessly as those in the murdertube) for word on the fate of ocean floora the explora.
THE DEI-VING BELL AND THE COSTCUTTERFLY
Terrible as the submersible story is, there’s an irony that can’t be ignored: The five passengers (well, four passengers and the company’s CEO, who’ll likely go down in history for the most creative murder-suicide ever) chose to spend Juneteenth at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the long-decomposed corpses of upper-class British and American twits and lower-class Irish steerage ballast.
You literally can’t get less black than that. If one were asked, “How can I spend Juneteenth in the least black way possible?” that would be answer No. 2 (No. 1 would be “In Antarctica eating cold fries”).
Sadly, you can run from Juneteenth, but you can’t hide. That homicidal CEO, Stockton Rush, previously bragged about eschewing the employment of “50-year-old white guys” because they aren’t “inspirational.”
And now Rush is no longer aspiration-al.
“Equity” in hiring is so commonplace, it’s reached the ocean floor…and blacks will still claim it hasn’t gone far enough.
Enter Rod Serling:
Submitted for your approval…August 29, 1863. Five men board the CSS Hunley, an experimental submersible designed to aid the Confederacy during the Civil War. One idiot steps on the wrong lever and the sub sinks, costing all five men their lives. In trying to prevent Juneteenth from ever happening, five men lie dead at the bottom of the ocean. One hundred and sixty years later almost to the month, five men board an experimental submersible to escape the Juneteenth caused by the failure of the Hunley, only to meet a similar fate…a fate they wouldn’t have met had they stayed on shore and partied with Juneteenth celebrants.
Well, okay, they probably would’ve been shot if they’d done that. So I guess they would’ve died anyway. Maybe the lesson is, you can’t avoid fate. Or maybe it’s “Thanks, Biden, for making this stupid thing a federal holiday.” Or hell, maybe it’s “Don’t go to the bottom of the ocean in an untested asphyxiation chamber shaped like a suppository.” Look, what do you want from me? I’ve been dead for fifty years.
ALL THE LATEST MEDICAL POOP
As Hollywood celebrates the fictional tale of the Mexican janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (in reality, it’s the tale of a Mexican janitor who invented a story about inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos), there’s a different tale, and a different Frito-Lay product, that deserves remembering.
Frito-Lay released them in 1998, to great fanfare. Made with a substance called Olestra, WOWs were advertised as the first potato chips you could eat without gaining weight. Eat one bag, or two, or twenty…no extra pounds.
But there was a catch. Olestra caused massive “anal leakage.” Yep, WOW Chips turned everyone’s anus into a leaky faucet. So many Super Bowl parties ruined. You can blame a fart on the dog, but when you get up after eating a bowl of chips and the cushion upon which you were sitting looks like an Exxon Valdez docking station, there’s no escaping the embarrassment.
In a way, WOW Chips were a progressive tool for fat acceptance. Because when the choice is to be fat with an anus that stays closed versus being thin with a fudge-fountain laying a choco-trail like Hansel and Gretel for fecal fetishists, people with fat friends declared, “We prefer you fat!”
Even though WOW Chips were eventually discontinued, fatties continue their quest to not just indent couch cushions but blacken them. Unable to lose weight via “patience taught by nature,” fat people are once again Elizabeth Barrett Browning their pants thanks to another “miracle cure” for obesity: the drug Semaglutide, sold as Ozempic and Wegovy (isn’t that a polling firm?).
Semaglutide users are losing weight, to be sure, while doing their best Mr. Mackey from South Park impression. Along with violent diarrhea, users are reporting “Ozempic butt,” a bizarre condition in which butt cheeks become deflated and saggy, which is arguably the worst present a woman could give her black boyfriend for Juneteenth.
“I wanted a woman with class like Snoop Dogg. Now I got a woman with ass like Droop Dog.”
Also, Ozempic is giving people pancreatitis and kidney failure. So there’s that, too.
Maybe it’s time to bring back WOW Chips. Or at least make a movie about them, especially as Hollywood is so committed to centering brownness.
Affirmative action may be coming to an end, and SCOTUS is certainly building up the suspense. Any day now the court will issue its ruling in a case that could forever scuttle collegiate race favoritism in the U.S.
And Americans are sitting on pins and needles awaiting the decision.
Well, except for Ishani Chokshi. What he’s sitting on, you don’t wanna know. Chokshi is a self-described Indian-American transgender schizophrenic cannabis-addicted woman of color. When applying to Northwestern Law School, Chokshi checked so many boxes on the affirmative-action list, Northwestern grabbed him up before Harvard and Yale could.
And Chokshi has spent his time at the university harassing and terrorizing female faculty and students alike, bullying the school’s law journal into publishing his rants about dildos, sex toys, and anal intercourse, and spamming the student body with threats and demands for money.
Tragic to think that a SCOTUS decision against affirmative action might deprive us of such enrichment.
Plus, without affirmative action, who’ll build our imploding murder-subs?
And yet for some odd reason colleges across the nation are closing down. Perhaps because parents have grown tired of paying inflated tuition so their kids can be threatened with a dildo by Ma’amhatma Gandhi.
And while Northwestern endures the tyranny of Oliver Wendell Homo, the rest of the nation waits with gay-ted breath for SCOTUS to make the final call on race-based admissions. With a 6–3 conservative majority, the outcome seems certain. But don’t be too sure! SCOTUS conservatives have been unpredictable on issues of race this term.
But fear not, says Dinesh D’Souza! Biden’s sole appointee, Ubangi Brown Jackson, has rebelled against the president!
Yeah, by siding with conservatives in a case involving gun charges against a nonwhite drug-trafficking murderous thug…a case that united the conservatives’ hatred of burdensome gun laws and the liberals’ love of nonwhite drug-trafficking murderous thugs. To claim that this temporary union means Jumanji is “rebelling” against Biden is dumb enough to beg the question: Has anyone ever seen Dinesh D’Souza and Ishani Chokshi in the same place at the same time?
“I was 12 when I first got laid.” “Where was that?” “In Middlesbrough.” “How the hell did you get lucky at 12 in Middlesbrough, when I only managed it at 15 and on my father’s boat off Cannes in 1952?” “It was a dark and stormy night.”
This was no tortured confession by some doomed poet or a gender-confused feminist, just party banter between the great Rod Liddle—who went Bulwer-Lytton on me—and the poor little Greek boy. The setting: the Old Queen Street garden where The Spectator is located and where we celebrated the sainted editor’s 50th anniversary. Before I get to that, what about Middlesbrough? Is it the water, the climate, or the girls that helped Rod lose his virginity so early? “I know who she is,” was all he said when I pumped him for more details. Never mind, his wife soon joined us and Rod changed the conversation to economics: Who will be the next lucky winner to own us?
Now, that’s the million-dollar question, if only it cost just a million to own the oldest and best magazine the world has ever known. When I first joined The Speccie, it was passed around from one owner to the next for nothing, as it cost a lot to own because it didn’t make a profit. Now that it does, it’s a whole different ballgame, as they say down in Louisiana.
Needless to say, the party was wonderful. Both Fraser and our executive editor Andrew Neil gave reassuring speeches and ordered the troops to stop speculating and start celebrating. Fraser Nelson has a very beautiful family, which as an ancient Greek I take to be a very good sign. Zeus and the rest of the gods created heroes with great looks, whereas they made the baddies look like crap. I spent most of the evening talking with Will Moore and his wonderful wife, Hannah, as well as Rod and Alicia, and drinking white wine nonstop until the end. Andrew Neil took one look at me and decided to cancel our planned post-party drink at Robin’s.
Here’s a tiny detail about what drink does to one: I wore a blazer with a Pugs Club insignia but ended up holding a leather jacket with some punk signs on it. I’ve never worn a leather jacket in my life but ended up holding it as if it were the Holy Grail. Go figure, as they never say in Middlesbrough.
Rod Liddle consistently hits the jackpot with his punchy prose and ironic truths, and so we sat in the dark talking about writers we knew and some who are still with us. I just loved the matter-of-fact manner with which he recounted what happened when he was 12, like the guy at the stadium gate repeating, “Tickets, please.” The other thing I noticed while still sober was that no one I spoke with had anything to say about the defenestration of our ex-editor Boris, the very same Boris of tax hikes and net-zero shame, yet still the working man’s Brexit hero. The great Maggie had Heseltine’s dagger firmly stuck between her shoulders, just as Boris has Harriet and Sunak’s scimitar between his. So what else is new about the Conservative Party? But as I said, the on-dit on that particular night was about The Telegraph and The Spectator, c’est tout.
I don’t know why, but Boris reminds me a bit of Don Giovanni, not that he even comes anywhere close to what Mozart’s hero managed where the fair sex is concerned; only the fact that the original title of the great opera was Il Dissoluto Punito (the dissolute punished). Da Ponte, the librettist, insisted on changing it, perhaps because Wolfie and he saw the opera as a yearning for forgiveness. The seducer, of course, cannot help himself and assaults Donna Anna and seduces Donna Elvira, and we know that he ends up in hell, but still, the Don is Mozart and vice versa, and the composer never assaulted anyone in his short life. Maybe Wolfie secretly wished he had had 1,003 conquests in Spain alone, as Don Giovanni’s faithful servant Leporello’s catalog lands twice on that refrain.
Nah, Boris doesn’t even reach 1 percent of those numbers, yet he still reminds me a bit of the Don, by far my favorite operatic character of them all. Another ne’er-do-well, Count Almaviva, pulls aristocratic entitlement on Susanna, this one in The Marriage of Figaro, yet Susie-baby manages to escape, and true love wins out, as it always does with Wolfie and Lorenzo. Does it with Boris? I am only a poor little Greek boy and don’t know much about such matters, but me no think so.
The one thing I know is that back in the early 2000s, when the then proprietor Conrad Black, a good friend, decided that what I had written about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands was anti-Semitic to the extreme, Boris stuck by me and coolly pointed out that it was fair comment. Boris played fair and showed courage. Unlike these lousy parliamentarians who brought him down, I do not forget good deeds done to me, nor bad ones. Certain people spreading malice will hear from me once the matter of a Big Lie is settled in court. In the meantime, I’m off to Middlesbrough. I cannot write like Rod, but I’ve got more experience than a 12-year-old. Good things are sure to happen.
Sigmund Freud’s notion of a death instinct always seemed preposterous to me, but now I am not so sure. At any rate, there seems to exist a death wish, and in the Western world it has become almost a matter of mass hysteria. It takes various forms, each with its own rationalization. Man, after all, is not the rational animal, but the rationalizing animal.
One of the most obvious forms of the death wish is the belief that it is morally wrong to have children. This supposed wrongness is not conditional, for example, on a person’s ability or otherwise to support a child or children economically, or because conditions are now simply too difficult for parents, what with both of them having to go out to work to make ends meet, the price of child care, and so forth. No; even if conditions were optimal, with no financial or other obstacles, it would be wrong to bring children into the world because they would consume resources and make it even more difficult for the birds and the bees.
I do not wish by this to deny that there are great environmental problems. I am by no means a keen naturalist or observer of nature, but even I have noticed that, since my childhood, the number of songbirds has declined enormously in my country, and I regret it. It is quite a number of years since I have seen a song thrush, though in my childhood they were common enough even in city gardens. In the past couple of decades, the number of cuckoos has declined by 65 percent, and it is possible that one of the first poems in the recognizably English language, “The Cuckoo Song,” will be meaningless to people in a generation or two. The cuckoo—what on earth is that?
The cuckoo has declined in numbers because the birds it parasitizes by laying its eggs in their nest has also declined, each cuckoo specializing genetically in parasitizing a particular species of bird, and therefore not being adaptable to a decline in that species of bird. And the reason the number of the parasitized birds has declined is that the numbers of insects that are their food have declined. The numbers of insects have declined because of the use of insecticides.
It seems to me, then, that there is a genuine and serious problem here, and not merely an aesthetic one, given the importance to human life of pollinating insects.
This is not quite the same, however, as saying that one must do one’s bit for the extinction of humanity in order to save the cuckoo or the pollinating insects. Maybe it is unduly anthropocentric of me, but I don’t care very much about the survival of cuckoos in a world in which there would be no humans to hear them.
Of course, those who think it is immoral for them to have any children because that is the only way they can think of saving the insects might reply that they do not demand that everyone should have no children, that is to say that no one should have any children. In fact, they are aware that some people will continue to have children whatever they say or do. They might even say that their children, were they ever to have them, would consume a disproportionate share of the world’s resources and therefore add more to the pollution of the world than, say, a baby, or many babies, born in Southern Sudan.
This seems to me a very dismal attitude, and underlying it is a dislike of human life as he who holds this attitude has lived it. He has been born into a civilization, he thinks, in which he sees nothing good, worth continuing, or contributing toward. For him, it would have been better if it had never existed. And this amounts to a death wish, not merely personal but civilizational.
Is this a sincere belief, or is it rationalization for something else, perhaps an egocentric obsession with his own life, pleasures, and activities, that he sees a child as an unwelcome obstacle to its continuation, a child being to him like an irritatingly prolonged telephone call while he is trying to concentrate on something else?
It scarcely matters whether it is a sincerely held belief or moral exhibitionism. If it is acted upon, the result will be the same.
There are other manifestations of the civilizational death wish, indeed there are hundreds of them, large and small. The pulling down of statues, the revamping or even destruction of museums, the rewriting of history (not in the sense that it is always rewritten in the light of new research, but in the desire to reach and impose a politically useful conclusion), the censoring of literature, the denigration of cultural achievements, and so forth, are all signs of a death wish. No civilization can long survive a complete loss of confidence, all the less so if there are external enemies and real dangers threatening it.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make Woke. We have countries facing severe economic and other problems, several of them conceivably catastrophic in outcome, whose intelligentsia and an increasing proportion of whose political class concern themselves with pseudo-questions such as whether—to put it graphically—it is right for a male boxer to claim to change his sex to female and subsequently beat the living daylights out of a woman. Only people who hate civilization in general, and their own in particular, could possibly think this a real question, or answer in the affirmative.
Mr. Charles Norman, of this august publication, kindly drew my attention to a case in France (usually somewhat in the rear guard of Anglo-American stupidity), in which a school’s teaching staff decided that, henceforth, there would be no Mother’s or Father’s Day—bogus celebrations, actually—but only Loved Ones’ Day, in essence because one, or at least teachers, can’t tell these days how babies are made. The staff must have known that they were stirring up a hornets’ nest, I think to distract from the fact that education standards have fallen drastically in the past few decades, itself due to the death wish of Western civilization.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.
Disinformation, misinformation and fake news are real problems in a world that is now mainly online. However, this shouldn’t blind us to the very real risk that comes from a government that aggressively polices information or becomes an arbitrator of the truth. It’s simply too easy to use this power to silence political opponents or people who hold unpopular opinions. Caution on this front is more, not less, important now that America is so politically polarized.
The consensus in favor of genuine free speech is eroding as the focus shifts towards fighting “disinformation.” Separating truth from fiction has become more difficult in certain respects, but does that mean we should target speech that merely makes some people uncomfortable? If we interpret this speech as a form of violence — as many people now do — then a politically opportunistic government might well be tempted to classify those guilty of nothing more than being politically out of favor as dangerous.
This is why a Department of Homeland Security “anti-terrorism” program, which distributed approximately $40 million to groups with a tendency to demonize their political opponents, is worrisome. For instance, the agency has funded a program that has produced material classifying mainstream conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, Fox News and the GOP as only a few steps removed from neo-Nazis and far-right terrorists in terms of the threat of radicalization they represent.
I sometimes criticize conservative political rhetoric, but it’s far-fetched to believe that simply watching Fox News puts one on the road to radicalization any more than watching MSNBC does. People are always entitled to their opinions. A government that forgets this could end up normalizing censorship while rendering us all less alert to real threats of radicalization.
Also problematic is government support for the so-called Global Disinformation Index (GDI), a United Kingdom-based group reportedly funded through State Department-backed entities. The group was the recent target of a multipart investigation by the Washington Examiner for building questionable and secret advertiser “exclusion lists” targeting conservative and libertarian media.
According to GDI’s assessment, among the highest-risk sites were the New York Post, RealClearPolitics and Reason. I not only write for Reason, but it employs many of my friends. Simply suggesting that a lab leak was to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic, a position which has now become relatively mainstream, was reason enough to be blacklisted.
Meanwhile, the outlets deemed “least risky” are all considered left-of-center with the exception of The Wall Street Journal. Supposedly low-risk for disinformation was the now-defunct BuzzFeed News, infamous for publishing the falsehood-laden Steele dossier.
Methodological problems, such as arbitrary and ideological distinctions between acceptable criticism and “negative targeting” of people and institutions, account for part of the ranking. But simple sloppiness is also on display: GDI falsely justified Reason’s poor ranking by claiming “the site publishes no information regarding authorship attribution, pre-publication fact-checking or post-publication corrections processes, or policies to prevent disinformation in its comments section.”
A quick look at Reason’s website is all it takes to rebut these claims. The authorship of articles is clearly communicated to readers and corrections are issued when needed, as with The New York Times and other respectable publications. Contrary to GDI’s belief, the fact that Reason doesn’t police its comment section isn’t based on its desire to spread disinformation but rather its belief in “free minds and free markets.”
The people behind GDI are entitled to their own opinions and methodology, and advertisers are free to direct their dollars wherever they want, including for ideological reasons. Condoning this with taxpayer dollars is the problem, even if political demonization is not the government’s intent.
Government involvement, direct or indirect, sends a signal that the recipient is trustworthy and neutral. Hence, some CEOs fell for the labelling. Xandr, a Microsoft-owned advertising firm, informed clients last year that it would no longer advertise on platforms with content considered by GDI to be “morally reprehensible” or “offensive.” Following the reporting by the Examiner (a publication which was itself blacklisted), Xandr suspended its relationship with GDI pending review.
The government involvement also exacerbates suspicions that public institutions have been corrupted, especially among those whose favorite outlets were targeted. It could also incite some conservatives, whenever they regain power, to intensify their own efforts to use government against progressive adversaries. That in turn creates even more polarization.
While not a unique occurrence, it is a good reminder that a government that sits in judgment of what is proper or improper information is inconsistent with the values of a free society.