Further to yesterday's SteynPost on the Aussie schoolboy and the severed head he's holding, Sydney's Daily Telegraph calls out Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on his bizarre warning that Australians think twice before "using" that image.
The reason Mr Shorten feels he has to threaten his fellow citizens is because of the profound challenge that photograph poses to the multiculti delusions in which he and many others are so invested.
~On a related matter, Hawaii reader Gregory Hart writes:
I was watching a video of the August 8, 2014 New York Times interview of President Obama by Thomas L. Friedman when I experienced such a sense of deja vu (sorry, can't find the correct accent marks on this keyboard) that I thought I was experiencing a temporal lobe seizure. At approximately the 50:20 mark of the interview (I'll mercifully spare you from having to watch the whole interview), President Obama was lamenting the sad state of America's infrastructure and as an example compared it unfavorably to Singapore's airport. Like a trained seal, Friedman trumpeted out: "Like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones!"
Even by the standards of us columnists, Thomas L Friedman is a lazy old tosser. Even when he's interviewing the President of the United States, Friedman can't get beyond Jetsons and Flintstones. Here's page 313 of my New York Times bestseller After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc, etc):
In the early years of the century, in many columns filed from the VIP lounges of the world's airports, Thomas L Friedman, the in-house "thinker" at The New York Times, had an analogy to which he was especially partial. From December 2008:
'Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I've argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones.'
And it wasn't just space-age Hong Kong! From May 2008:
'In JFK's waiting lounge we could barely find a place to sit. Eighteen hours later, we landed at Singapore's ultramodern airport, with free Internet portals and children's play zones throughout. We felt, as we have before, like we had just flown from the Flintstones to the Jetsons.'
And it wasn't just stone-age JFK! From 2007:
'Fly from Zurich's ultramodern airport to La Guardia's dump. It is like flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones.'
I gather that "The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons" were two popular TV cartoon series of the mid-twentieth century. If you still have difficulty grasping Mr Friedman's point, here he is in 2010, bemoaning the "faded, cramped domestic terminal" in Los Angeles, yet another example of America's, er, terminal decline:
'Businesses prefer to invest with the Jetsons more than the Flintstones.'
More fool them... You'd have made a ton more money if you'd invested in "The Flintstones", which was a classic, instead of "The Jetsons", which was a stale knock-off with the veneer of modernity. But, if you were as invested in this theory of terminal decline as Friedman was, it would have helped to think it through a little. Here's one more from The New York Times' cartoon thinker, from January 2002, when Americans were, for once, the Jetsons:
'For all the talk about the vaunted Afghan fighters, this was a war between the Jetsons and the Flintstones - and the Jetsons won and the Flintstones know it.'
But they didn't, did they?
Friedman is the senior foreign-affairs voice at America's most influential newspaper, and he can't let go, as the years roll by, of a childish and inadequate analogy. What if the world isn't as simple or simple-minded as Friedman thinks? What if it's possible to have a foot in both camps - to have a stone-age sensibility with jet-age gizmos? To be, so to speak, a Jetstone.
That's what Isis and its cellphone jihadists represent. They've mastered the veneer of a Jetson society - "That's my boy!", as the proud father of the head-holding young tyke Tweeted - but underneath is a primal, unyielding, flinty Flintstone stoniness.
~On the same theme, last night, in a strange intersection of the day's top stories, Isis supporters began Tweeting about their fondness for Robin Williams movies. Ibn Fulaan:
Shame. I liked Jumanji.
Abdullah, who has the Twitter handle @mujahid4life, responded:
Good movie. Loved it as a kid.
When non-jihadists expressed bewilderment at this enthusiasm for Jumanji, Omar Shishani replied:
We are humans like u... Why we shouldnt see movie?!
Mr Shishani is right. It's perfectly possible to find Robin Williams funny and still want to saw your head off. It's always been like that: Saddam Hussein liked Frank Sinatra LPs and English "Quality Street" toffees. Hitler's favorite operetta - The Merry Widow - was the Cats of its day in London and New York, complete with merchandising boom.
Patsies like Bill Shorten think "assimilation" is about wearing baseball caps and listening to the same crappy pop songs as everybody else. It's not. It's not enough, and it never has been. A Robin Williams fan interrupting his decapitation of an Iraqi Christian to reminisce about Jumanji is both a tribute to pop-cultural imperialism and a reminder of its limitations.
~Other than that, I don't have much to say about Robin Williams that hasn't been said better elsewhere. The manner of his death is too sad, and it colors for me the celebrations of his life - because it seems clear that, to one degree or another, what people loved about him is also, ultimately, what drove him to do what he did. Minnie Driver, a fine actress, issued a tribute recalling a lunch break during the filming of Good Will Hunting:
"We sat around on the grass eating sandwiches," Driver said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "What began as a riff on something or other to make us and the crew laugh suddenly extended to office workers out on their lunch break, enjoying the sunshine, and pretty soon he stood up and his big beautiful voice, full of laughter, reached out to the people who were now hurrying down from the street and across the park to catch his impromptu stand-up. "There must have been 200 people listening and laughing by the time lunch was over. I just remember how broadly he smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said, 'There, now that was GOOD.'"
I know she means this to sound heartwarming and affectionate, but to me it rang rather bleak and empty: a man who seems to exist only when performing - even on a sandwich break. Very few friends and co-stars seem to have known that other Williams, the one alone on Sunday night, with no one to perform to.
Rest in peace. And so too Lauren Bacall.