And on the broader question of freedom of expression see my Australia Day greeting.
~On Sunday afternoon I joined Tarek Fatah on 1010 CFRB Toronto to join the general lamentations and ululations for the late King Abdullah, and chew over a few other issues. Click below to listen. I turn up about halfway through - or approx 22 minutes in:
This was Tarek's last show, by the way, and you'll want to hang around for his closing monologue in which he sticks it to the Prince of Wales, House of Saud and other worthy targets.
~This evening I'll be with my fellow freespeecher Ezra Levant on Canada's Sun News Network. Details at top right.
~The Toronto event Tarek mentioned is at Indigo Books, at Bay & Bloor, this Wednesday at 7pm. More details here.
A Happy Australia Day to all our readers Down Under. Mark is honored to be part of a new book put together by the Aussie IPA called Climate Change: The Facts. It's available in Kindle at Amazon outlets worldwide, as well as in Kobo and in Nook at Barnes & Noble.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to Steyn:
The week began - as so often in the western world these days - with your Monday-morning Beheading of the Day.
~Also on Monday, Mark continued his Sinatra Century countdown with "After You've Gone".
~Tuesday was the State of the Union, in which Obama talked about community college and climate change as the world burned. Yemen, last year's SOTU foreign-policy success story, is now this year's first failed state of the New Year.
~On Thursday, Steyn discussed Hillary Clinton's visit to Saskatchewan, accompanied by 65 US Secret Service agents.
~It was a Billy Crystal week: The actor and comedian accidentally let slip that he was tired of having gay sex scenes shoved in his face, but he doesn't mind having Frank Sinatra shoved in his face, not when he's singing "It Had To Be You".
With Clint's American Sniper a big hit in theaters, Mark's Saturday movie date revisited an acclaimed Eastwood film from a decade ago, Mystic River.
Steyn ended the week with another rave review for his new book. He'll be discussing it live on stage in Toronto this Wednesday at 7pm, in conversation with Heather Reisman at Indigo's flagship bookstore at Bay and Bloor. Admission is free, but first come, first served. For more details on the event, see here.
A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.
Mark is a little under the weather this weekend, and resting up before his live appearance in Toronto this Wednesday. But his excruciating pain momentarily lessened when he read this review of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn by Charles C W Jang in The Dartmouth Review:
Mr Jang gives a lively overview of the book's themes, from the small-scale to the big picture:
Mr Jang says the theme of the book is "the man himself â€” the conservative, self-described 'nineteenth-century imperialist a hundred years past sell-by date' Canadian Rush Limbaugh Show guest host... But then again, that should be enough reason to pick up a copy." We hope you'll read the whole thing.
~If any Dartmouth Review readers are eager to hear more about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, Mark will be discussing it in conversation with Heather Reisman at the Bay & Bloor branch of Indigo Books in Toronto this Wednesday. Full details here. For any readers in the Dartmouth College region, it's a zippy 12-hour drive from Hanover, New Hampshire, so treat yourself to a priced-to-clear tank of gas and head on over.
The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is available at all branches of Indigo-Chapters north of the border. Down south you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and even Costco. And, wherever you are, you can be reading it within seconds - via Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. Or treat yourself to a personally autographed copy direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
On Thursday I kept my regular date on The Hugh Hewitt Show, where Hugh took me on a quick tour of a crumbling world:
Next up - "no-go zones" in Europe:
And finally the outrage of the week, speaking of Jews and "no-go zones": Israel's Prime Minister accepted an invitation to address Congress without running it by Obama first!!!!!! Horrors! So now Obama is letting it be known that the White House is one big no-go zone for Netanyahu:
You can find the full interview here.
~As to my appearance at what Hugh called "the Inigo Montoya Center" in Toronto, if you're having difficulty plugging that into your GPS, it's because it's actually Indigo, Manulife Centre - the Manulife Centre branch of Indigo Books at the corner of Bay and Bloor. I'll be there on Wednesday in conversation with my old chum Heather Reisman talking about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn and much more - 7pm January 28th. For more details, see here. I promise to rename the building the Inigo Montoya Center before the night is out.
The broker America gets, the longer its presidential motorcade gets. If you don't got it, flaunt it, baby! But President-in-Waiting Hillary Rodham Clinton is already giving out signals that a mere 40-car motorcade may no longer be enough. This week she gave a speech in Saskatoon, which is a town in Saskatchewan, which is a province of Canada. The speech was for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which is "under investigation from the United States for helping wealthy Americans offshore money in the bank's Caribbean accounts to avoid paying federal taxes". I'm on CIBC's side on that one: By comparison with other western nations, Americans labor under a regime of ever tighter banking constraints that are a disgrace to a supposedly free people.
So if she wants to cozy up to foreign banksters (as they say in Britain), you go, girl! Nevertheless:
Yeah, right. Even by the standards of the US political class, Bill and Hillary are in the fortunate position of rarely, if ever, having to write a personal check.
I wonder if anybody in the Canadian government could confirm to me whether the Queen, the Governor General or the Prime Minister has ever had a 65-man personal security detail. As I mentioned a while back, the last time I saw Her Majesty there was her car plus one behind with a couple of coppers.
~This is an American journalism professor in the 21st century:
His argument is the classic Heckler's Veto. Because a not insignificant proportion of young Muslim men are bananas, they killed a bunch of people in Niger over the last Charlie Hebdo cover. Whether they even saw the magazine is unclear, but at any rate we should rein in free speech just in case the crazies are minded to kill any more people.
If you're in DeWayne Wickham's class at Morgan State and you'd like to get an A, why not threaten to kill him? Indeed, it would be heartening if his entire class were to issue a mass death threat unless they're instantly upgraded to magna cum laude.
That's what Wickham's concessions on free speech do: Incentivize violence.
By contrast, here's my old pal Douglas Murray in cracking form on al-Jazeera:
Who would you bet on to defend civilization? Douglas or that J-school creep?
~Free speech, along with Canadian troops under fire from ISIS and the west's leadership vacuum in the age of Obama, were among the topics I discussed this afternoon with my old friend, radio host and piano-playing imam, Andrew Lawton. Click below to listen:
The Indigo event we were talking about takes place next Wednesday night, January 28th, at Indigo's flagship bookstore at Bay and Bloor in Toronto. I'll be talking about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, and much else - as well as taking your questions, and doing some heavy-duty autographing, too. For more details, see here. And, for that francophone Goldfinger track we were talking about, see here.
I was out and about on the Canadian airwaves today, promoting both The [Un]documented Mark Steyn and my appearance in Toronto next Wednesday night. You can hear me with John Oakley here, and later in the morning I joined Jerry Agar at 1010 CFRB.
We talked about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and free speech more generally, and I said to Jerry that the reason I'm so forthright about this issue is that I sincerely have no wish to live in the world these guys are building for us. And by "these guys" I mean not just the "Allahu Akbar!" crazies but a western left that thinks it can mediate relations between Islam and free societies if the rest of us just agree to let our liberties be a little more constrained. Nuts to that.
I was also generally scoffing of the pseudo-solidarity with the Charlie dead, referencing the pencil brooch worn by Helen Mirren to the Golden Globes on her "admittedly splendid bosom". If a splendid bosom is to your listening pleasure, click below. I show up, I believe, about 50 minutes in:
~Then it was on to Charles Adler at 680 CJOB where we explored political correctness and cultural relativism:
~I rounded things out with a return to The Dennis Miller Show, where the subject of James Taylor's diplomatic mission to Paris came up. Dennis was inclined to cut James some slack, but I was less willing.
~Tomorrow I'll be checking in with my old pal Andrew Lawton in London, Ontario, and later with Hugh Hewitt coast to coast.
~If you'd like to see me in Toronto, I'll be there next Wednesday night, January 28th, at Indigo's flagship bookstore at Bay and Bloor in conversation with Heather Reisman. I'll be talking about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, and much else - as well as taking your questions, and doing some heavy-duty autographing, too. It all starts at 7pm - free admission, but first come, first served. For more details, see here.
It always helps to flee the country when Barack Obama starts droning about turning the page on the shadow of crisis while doing that left-right prompter head-swivel that makes him look like a primitive animatronic version of a president rather than the real thing. So this morning I found myself discussing the State of the Union with Toronto's ace morning man John Oakley on AM640.
In last year's speech, Obama touted Yemen as an example of successful counter-terrorism: just fire up the old drone, and take out some guy as he's enjoying lunch in his favorite upcountry bistro. This year, he didn't mention Yemen, because it's about to join the ever swelling ranks of Failed States of the Obama Era: as he was speaking, some Iranian-backed chappies were overrunning the presidential palace and taking Washington's "key ally" hostage. He's the latest American friend to learn that, when the chips are down, John Kerry knows what song to sing:
Obama's strategy for the rest of the world is to "turn the page" on it. Libya, where he chose to go to war, is now a failed state. Syria, where he drew a red line, has some 200,000 dead. ISIS, which he dismissed as the junior varsity of jihad, controls half of Iraq and Syria and is executing US citizens live on camera and auctioning Japanese hostages for a fifth of a billion dollars. In West Africa, to whom his wife held up a pouty-faced cardboard hastag #BringBackOurGirls, the girls haven't been brought back and Boko Haram are setting up a local variant of an ISIS state. In Iran, where he claimed he'd halted their nuclear program, their stockpile of enriched uranium has increased since his so-called deal. Al-Qaeda, which he said for years was" on the run", has just pulled off a high-profile mass murder in Paris that struck at the heart of a core western value â€“ freedom of speech.
But so what? Obama's turned his page: This was the first State of the Union in 13 years not to mention al-Qaeda.
John and I also discussed alleged Canadian "mission creep" in Iraq, and Al Gore's Live Earth extravaganza. Click below to listen:
~We also found room to plug my return to Toronto next week. I'll be live at Indigo's flagship bookstore at Bay and Bloor in conversation with Indigo suprema Heather Reisman. I'll be talking about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, and much else - as well as taking your questions, and autographing your books, too. Well, not your books, but your copies of my books, if you see what I mean - I always hate it when Naomi Klein shows up and demands I autograph No Logo for her. Do swing by if you can. It's much more fun than standing in line for Hillary - you'll be allowed to make non-pre-screened remarks to me, snap a selfie, slip me your hotel key, etc, etc. It all starts at 7pm on Wednesday, January 28th. Admission is free, but first come, first served. For more details, see here.
The feasting on the dead of Charlie Hebdo continues. Just when you thought the State of the Union couldn't get any tackier comes news of the latest phony-baloney pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword pseudo-solidarity:
It would be hard to think of an institution more antithetical to freedom of expression than the modern Democratic Party and its constituent identity groups. Consider one of Charlie Hebdo's fellow funnymen, Billy Crystal. He's a big-time Oscar host and limousine liberal, but yesterday he made the mistake of wandering off-script:
The usual solipsistic dweebs of the LGBTQWERTY crowd didn't care for the cut of his jib. So the enforcers of Big Gay swung into action and in nothing flat Billy was forced to "clarify". Now it's sex "of any kind (gay or straight)" he doesn't want shoved in his face.
Maybe that'll be enough. It was certainly quick enough - less than 24 hours. So maybe they'll let him still appear in movies and TV shows occasionally. Or maybe the taint of "homophobe" will linger. Crystal knows what he meant, and so does Big Gay. And they don't care whether his "clarification" is sincere; they're teaching a lesson to the broader citizenry: You can be a big star, and a Democrat, and a supporter of gay marriage; you can have played one of the first gay characters on TV, a third of a century ago, back when that sort of thing took a measure of courage as opposed to being the lamest bandwagon in town. And none of it matters if you make one infelicitous remark.
I'm relatively relaxed about having gay sex shoved in my face. But I'm totally bored with having Big Gay compliance shoved down my throat. Why not just yell "Allahu Gaybar!" and get your scimitar out? Who the hell would want to be liked by bullies like that?
~I'll be keeping my fortnightly date with John Oakley on AM640 in Toronto, live at 8.30am Eastern on Wednesday, and I have the feeling he'll want to ask me about the State of the Union. So I must make a point of not watching it. Maybe one of those Democrats with pencils can take notes.
There has been much commentary on the undisputed all-time low of American foreign policy: the official dispatch of James Taylor to Paris to sing "You've Got A Friend" to the French. Many people have said, well, it could have been worse - it could have been Barney the Dinosaur, or the theme song from "The Golden Girls", or "That's What Friends Are For".
There is, in fact, one friendly song that would have been perfect - Cole Porter's "Friendship". These days, you can hear it in the current touring revival of Anything Goes, although you may prefer the rawer version by Ray Charles and Ricky Skaggs. Anyway, in "Friendship", Cole Porter manages to sum up Obama foreign policy in one couplet:
That's the US Government's commitment to Paris on Islamic fanatics... and to that doctor who fingered bin Laden to them and who now languishes in a Pakistani prison ...and to those girls kidnapped by Boko Haram whom Michelle Obama held up a piece of cardboard for ...and to those Iraqis who made the mistake of getting a little too close to the Americans ...and to the Israelis vis-Ã -vis the Iranian nuclear program ...and to the Kurds, and to the Ukrainians, and the Baltic States and Poland and the Czech Republic...
Here's Sutton Foster and Joel Grey doing the song on Oprah's channel. My daughter and I loved it on Broadway. Not sure it's quite the same on telly, but here goes...
~I've written previously about the mainstreaming of decapitation. Responding to today's Beheading of the Day - on a quiet residential street in West London - this Daily Mail reader from Leeds comments:
You can chop some people's heads off, and it wouldn't make any bloody difference, because there's nothing up there. The foolish assumption behind that comment helps explain why our civilization is sleepwalking off the cliff: Oh, my! How can beheading be "always in the news" if this is "really 2015"?
This reader assumes that societal development only goes in one direction: it advances.
But that's not true. If you're as careless with our inheritance as we are, society can go backwards, and get worse. Much worse.
Why is beheading in the news if it's really 2015?
Answer: It's because it's really 2015 that beheading's in the news. If this was Britain in 1975 or 1955 or 1925 or 1885 or 1835, it wouldn't be in the news. But it's 2015 and beheading's on the upswing.
Beheading was introduced to England by William the Conqueror after 1066, but was generally reserved for the highest of the high - men of noble birth, for whom execution by decapitation was felt to be the closest thing to death in battle - and for the lowest of the low - traitors. So the last person to be beheaded in Britain was Lord Lovat in 1747, and the last corpses to be beheaded were those of the Cato Street Conspirators in 1820, who had their heads severed posthumously by axe.
And that was it until the 21st century, when for the first time soldiers were beheaded on the London streets in broad daylight, and octogenarian widows in the privacy of their gardens, and now unfortunate ladies with intemperate husbands. Unless you're prepared to do something about your immigration policy, get used to more decapitation. It's 2015, and beheading is just one strand in the vibrant tapestry of the multicultural utopia.
~Speaking of commenters, over at Hot Air, B Gibbs complains:
Well, as I write in The [Un]documented Mark Ste... whoops, sorry... Anyway, the reason I hawk my books a little more heavy-handedly than I used to is because I'm being sued for something in the region of nine million dollars plus costs. You should try it, B Gibbs. It's bracing. In other jurisdictions, it would be a simple matter of winning or losing, and then getting on with your life. But in the non-functioning toilet of DC justice, it means one has to be liquid enough to fund a half-decade procedural folderol full of unexpected twists and turns before one even gets to the trial. Personally, I can't stand all those annoying ads that pop up with every click at National Review and seize up your laptop, so I've no desire to introduce them over here, and I can't really believe B Gibbs would prefer to have Mackeeper asking you whether you're really sure you want to close their window every ten minutes rather than putting up with the occasional plug for my new album. But I didn't choose this fight, and certainly I didn't choose to be stuck in it for the remainder of this decade, and so my only choices are:
or b) Flee jurisdiction.
I confess there are mornings when one wakes up to a motion for expedited ruling on clarification of ruling on eligibility for interlocutory appeal on court's denial of amended response to amended complaint that Option (b) seems the way to go.
If you like, we could take a poll.
~Oh, and one more: I'll be back in my hometown of Toronto to plug my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn in conversation with Indigo Books suprema Heather Reisman at their Bay and Bloor branch next week - 7pm Wednesday on January 28th, to be precise. Admission is free, but first come, first served. More details here - and I'll be happy to autograph your copy at the end of the evening.
~Oh, no, here's another: As you know, I'm honored to be a contributor to the new book Climate Change: The Facts, along with Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova, Ross McKitrick, Garth Paltridge, Donna Laframboise, Nigel Lawson, Ian Plimer, James Delingpole, Anthony Watts and many others. It's been available for a couple of days at Amazon.com and other Amazon sites (see below for your neighborhood branch), but I'm delighted to announce it's now also available in Nook format at Barnes & Noble and in Kobo via Indigo Chapters in Canada and Kobo outlets worldwide. So feel free to click away and you can be reading it within minutes.
Here's where to find the book at your local Amazon branch:
For Amazon US, click here.
For Amazon UK, click here.
For Amazon Canada, click here.
For Amazon Australia, click here.
For Amazon India, click here.
For Amazon Brazil, click here.
For Amazon France, click here.
For Amazon Germany, click here.
For Amazon Italy, click here.
For Amazon Japan, click here.
For Amazon Mexico, click here.
For Amazon Netherlands, click here.
For Amazon Spain, click here.
This week Mark launched a new book Climate Change: The Facts, featuring not only Steyn but some of the most eminent scientists and writers analyzing the state of the global-warming debate after the total failure of the climate models. The book is available in Kindle at Amazon outlets worldwide, as well as in Kobo and in Nook at Barnes & Noble. It's a great way to support Mark's pushback against the climate alarmists.
As to the rest of the news, here's how the last seven days looked to Steyn:
The week began with - what else? - ISIS taking over the Pentagon's social media accounts: "Allahu Hackbar!"
~Fraudulent Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann's global-warming "hockey sticks" are getting ever more desperate. On Tuesday, Mark noted the strange similarity between the latest version and his own prescient criticism of it 14 years ago. If you're as excited about the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century as Mark is, we hope you'll consider partaking of our exclusive range of DC Superior Court trial merchandise, or an autographed copy of Mark's free-speech book, or our SteynOnline gift certificates. Proceeds go to support his campaign against the climate mullahs.
~On Wednesday, as the first post-slaughter Charlie Hebdo hit French newsstands, Mark looked at all the supporters and marchers, and wondered: "Where's the lead in the pencil?"
~On Thursday, the great songwriter Ervin Drake died at the age of 95, just a few days after Mark selected his classic ballad "It Was A Very Good Year" as our very first Sinatra Song of the Century. Our series continued with Sinatra song #2 - "The Song Is You" - and #3 - "Home On The Range".
~On Friday, a week after the murder of another four Paris Jews, Steyn wondered if Europe is about to be Judenrein. Fortunately, the United States Government is on top of things: John Kerry flew in James Taylor to sing "You've Got A Friend" to France, and Mark hailed the dawn of clapped-out boomer-pop diplomacy.
In the wake of the Academy Award nominations, he ended the week with an Oscar nominee from 20 years ago, The Madness Of King George.
Mark will be live in Toronto on January 28th, in conversation with Heather Reisman at Indigo's flagship bookstore at Bay and Bloor. He'll be talking about and autographing his new book. Admission is free, but first come, first served. For more details on the event, see here.
A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.
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