On Wednesday, I'll be enjoying a little light radio work on America's Number One radio show, details at right. It starts at 12 noon Eastern/9am Pacific. If you're in possession of the necessary receiving apparatus, I hope you'll dial us up, either on one of 600 radio stations across the US or via iHeartRadio livestream.
~Should hockey-stick huckster Michael Mann's interminable lawsuit against me succeed, it would be the worst setback for the First Amendment in half-a-century. Such unlikely Steyn allies as NBC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc, all agree on that - in their amicus briefs. But actual editorials on this case have been far thinner on the ground. Indeed, the biggest difference between the hockey-stick huckster's suit and the Canadian Islamic Congress' attempt to criminalize my writing north of the border is that (by comparison with the CBC, The Globe & Mail et al) mainstream US media editorialists have been entirely silent. So I was pleased to see this piece from the editors of The New York Post, headlined "DC Court of Appeals' Global Warming Decision Threatens First Amendment":
As Americans were preparing to trade Christmas presents last week, the DC Court of Appeals was moving to take a gift away: Americans' right to free speech.
The court ruled that Penn State climatologist Michael Mann's defamation suit against National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute can go to trial. That should send shivers down the spines of anyone who cares about open debate and challenges to scientific findings.
Mann's suit claims bloggers Mark Steyn, on NR's site, and Rand Simberg, on CEI's, defamed him when they slammed his global warming research, particularly his famous hockey stick graph...
The Post notes that both Mr Simberg and I were making "statements of opinion" and that, "under the First Amendment, Americans can express their opinion". That's true - or it was until Judge Vanessa Ruiz and her colleagues came along. Her ladyship's view that, once an "expert" body has ruled on a subject, freeborn citizens are obliged to accept that ruling and shut the hell up is perverse and repugnant.
But the Post also adds:
And, after all, who's to say the authors are wrong?
Which is my position. I believe the hockey stick is fraudulent - which is why I stated that it's fraudulent. I've said it's fraudulent in major publications in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, inter alia, since the end of the 20th century - without any slapdash jurists in those countries presuming to say that I had no right to do so.
For the record, I did not write that Mann himself is a fraud, although I'm happy to prove that in court. As that is what the sclerotic and diseased husk of DC justice apparently requires of me, I wish they'd get on with it - as I've been petitioning for over three years. The Post concludes:
The First Amendment, NR notes, is designed specifically to safeguard the right "to express caustic criticism of scientific theories that purport to resolve hot-button political controversies on matters as sweepingly consequential as the extent and cause of global warming."
By opening the door to curbs on that right, the court does the nation a huge disservice.
I thank all those readers committed to ensuring that a malodorous ideologue doesn't get away with hijacking the First Amendment. If you're interested in keeping me in the game until this outrageous case comes to trial, well, I wrote a whole book on this subject.
~My farewell to Debbie Reynolds included a casual aside on the new and extravagantly praised motion picture La La Land. Mark Shere responds:
I love love love just about everything you write, and I am an early subscriber to your TV show, which I am sure I will also love if my subscription is ever rewarded with an actual show. I have even given your Broadway Babies book as a well-received gift to friends. That's why I have my fingers in my ears going "la la la I can't hear you" at your brief and rather snobbish put down of La La Land.
So you declare it "lumpy and earthbound'? I know a certain Christmas special that I quite enjoyed, which featured some older performers, slow pacing, and a lumpy and earthbound host who is a delightful singer, as long as you are not expecting too much. One of the nice things about your Christmas special is that no one has been making Christmas shows like that for some decades. So too, I can't think of a La La-type movie in the past 30 years, maybe a lot more.
Gentle love stories set to some lovely songs, and paying careful respect to the look and sound and feel of decades past... it's rather a small category, no? And how about that brief scene where a multi-prop plane travels around a little plastic globe? Worth the price of admission right there.
Meanwhile, I've been listening happily to the music since seeing the movie, and the tunes stick firmly in the mind. In fact, I tried listening to the On the Town soundtrack after La La, only to find the former a serious disappointment and not nearly as good as I remembered it. Yes, we all know that you are the Grand Wizard of musicology, and poor La La can't be expected to meet your discerning standards. But you should really lighten up on this one.
Oh, dear. I had hoped I had a few more years before my views on this or that were put down to senescence and obsolescence. But, since the Age Card of "slow pacing" has been played, I ought to say that I saw La La Land with my kids at Merrill's Roxy in Burlington - the only cinema in northern Vermont or NH that was showing it - and, when we walked in, my daughter looked around at the crowd and said, "Hey, Dad, this is weird. Next to us, you're the youngest one here." Which wasn't strictly true: There was a callow millennial or two in attendance. But it was certainly an audience that skewed way older than Iron Man 9 or Cardboard Man 12.
As for my kids, their biggest disappointment was that it wasn't a musical, only a half-hearted semi-musical. There was an opening number, then a second number, and then, gradually, the songs petered out, until in the second half there were barely any at all. As my beloved daughter observed, "They didn't commit to the concept."
We may discuss this further on The Mark Steyn Show later this week. Meanwhile, see you on the radio.