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Mark Steyn

Steyn on Culture

The Fabric's Fading Dye

I'll be coming down from the hills on Monday all the way to the big city to guest-host "Hannity" for Christmas week at Fox News. I hope you'll find time to join me, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific.

~Several Canadian readers have asked me what I think of this piece in The Winnipeg Free Press:

Anti-Islamic hysteria, spread by media, feeds violence

The author is Stuart Chambers, who is apparently a "media ethics" professor, whatever that is, at the University of Ottawa. Professor Chambers doesn't really find much evidence of "anti-Islamic hysteria, spread by media" except for, er, me. So it's apparently all my fault:

Yet Steyn has not changed his mindset. Apparently, 69 children being pulled from a Norwegian lake is not enough proof of the impact of Islamophobia. After the Nov. 13 shootings in France, Steyn took the opportunity to say "I told you so."

We can all play this game. For Chambers, 130 corpses being pulled from the streets of Paris isn't enough, and 14 corpses being pulled from a Christmas party in San Bernardino isn't enough, and 224 corpses being pulled from a Russian airliner and 15 corpses from a mobile phone market in Nigeria... On the same day as the Paris bloodbath, for example, here are a few of the minor routine Islamic body counts that didn't make the news that day: a 16-year-old shepherd beheaded in Tunisia, with his head delivered to his family; an Israeli father and son murdered in Otniel en route to a wedding; 15 Somalis in Kismayo killed by al-Shabaab; 21 mourners at a Shia funeral in Baghdad killed by a suicide bomber; the discovery of a mass grave of 78 elderly women murdered by ISIS... This is Islam, drenched in blood, day in, day out. I could go on: The day before Paris: four Thais killed by jihadists in Pattani, a Haredi Jew stabbed by a masked Muslim in Milan, five villagers in Bossa killed by Boko Haram...

So, if Professor Chambers wants to play stupid games of body counts, that paragraph above is 509 dead, just from a few random atrocities of the last few weeks vs his 69 children from four-and-a-half years ago. The latter is an aberration, the former is business as usual.

Chambers is at his laziest when he writes:

Steyn simply ignores the fact the Middle East -- the cradle of civilization -- was instrumental in influencing western culture, technology and education.

Mesopotamia was "the cradle of civilization" before Islam. After Islam, not so much.

To question the expansion of Islam in the west is not "hysteria" but a civilizational survival instinct, at least for those who don't want to live like those poor Niger villagers do. Fortunately, not all my fellow Canadians are as witless as Ottawa "media ethics" professors. On the same day his column appeared, I attended a small book launch for a new anthology of poetry by George Jonas. He is a profoundly cultured and civilized man, and so for example he is capable of imagining what poem Gabriele D'Annunzio might have written for Oriana Fallaci. An excerpt:

A cricket chorus of the Left that frets
unceasingly about nuclear threats
goes on to view with exquisite aplomb
the Muslim population bomb.
The word is imprecise: there's no explosion,
at least not literally, from the Islamic womb,
the process throughout Europe is erosion.
A puzzled population, getting older,
feebly looks on as Mesopotamia,
seeps through the soil, the air, the blood,
a trickle yesterday, today a flood,
mixes with Tunis, Algeria,
till those who go to sleep in France or Spain,
wake in Eurabia.

There follows a free translation by Jonas of a George Faludy poem on Ibn Ammar al-Andalusi. It concludes:

He was cheerful and happier than I,
for when on Spanish domes the arabesque
loosened and fell, he never questioned why,
or why people grew flabby and grotesque,
and did not sense the fabric's fading dye
or in his own tunic the broken thread,
the fountains of the city running dry,
he did not taste the filth inside his bread
or see the boys who knew his poems die
or view the burning library with dread.
Brave and clever, he failed to note the fact
that faith's no help, nor wit, courage, nor dagger,
that no philosophy will resurrect
a culture: collapsing is forever.

Likewise, too many in today's west cannot "sense the fabric's fading dye".

Selected Poems 1967-2011 by George Jonas is published by Cormorant Books.

~From Ibn Ammar al-Andalusi to my cat album, Feline Groovy: There are a bunch of five-star reviews at Amazon, but over at iTunes not so much:

Garbage... Absolute garbage....
by Jason4986

If you like trash, I mean really love trash, then this is the best 10$ you could spend...

Longtime antipodean reader Peter Holtham wonders if it's time for an intervention:

Hi Mark

Have read your columns for years, he says sipping from his Steyn & the Hockey Stick coffee mug, but I am becoming very worried.

This cat business, you sound like a teenager in love, mooning about your new moggy. Remember it is just that, another moggy decimating the native fauna. Also remember about toxoplasmosis, a parasite of cats, makes mice behave in a strange way and effectively commit suicide in front of cats. It is rumoured to be what makes cat ladies cat ladies, they exist just to serve their cats. I hope you don't go that way!

My theory is that the leftists have all been infected with something like that that divorces them from reality.

Going, going, gondii?

Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats is available from Amazon via CD and download, and also from iTunes and CD Baby. And for great gifts for the non-cat lover in your family, please see our SteynOnline Christmas specials.

December 19, 2015

 

Sinatra Centenary Weekend at SteynOnline

ImageFrank Sinatra was born 100 years ago - December 12th 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey - and we're celebrating all weekend long. Click on the links below for a cornucopia of print and audio delights...

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Croquembouche Lie, People Die

For John Oliver, to say anything other than "f**k" might offend someone...

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Cool Civilizational Death Wish Goes Viral!

'Why do they hate us?' was never the right question. 'Why do they despise us?' is a better one...

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Meeting Mr Bond

Back to where it all began, with 007 on the page - and his creator, Ian Fleming...

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Cross Purposes

Islam is playing for tomorrow, whereas the west has given up on the future

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Bakin' Baby Syndrome

A uniquely American evil: the billion-dollar baby-parts conglomerate

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I've Got A Crush On You, Baby

If abortion were the respectable medical procedure its proponents insist it is, there would be no such thing as "Planned Parenthood", anymore than there is a Planned Hernia megacorp...

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The Stupidity of Sophisticates

Last week, I swung by the Bill Bennett show to chew over the news of the hour. A few minutes before my grand entrance, one of Bill's listeners had taken issue with the idea that these Supreme Court decisions weren't the end and, if you just got on with your life and tended to your garden, things wouldn't be so bad: Claudine came on and said that's what Germans reckoned in the 1930s: just keep your head down and the storm will pass. How'd that work out? David Kelsey writes from the University of ...

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Going with the Flow

I started the day on Bill Bennett's radio show, which is always fun. Jonah Goldberg was on before me, and advanced the proposition, after the Supreme Court's almighty constitutional bender, that it wasn't so bad; conservatives who just pottered around in their own world and tended to their families could still lead lives largely unbattered by the forces of "progress". A few minutes later...

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The New Minstrelsy

Two resignations, and very different reactions

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Birth of the New

This is not your father's sex change

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Boy Meets Girl

In my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, way up front, a couple of pages into the introduction, I write of the political choice in most western societies - where the left supports various causes, and so does the right, but a couple of decades late to the party. And I wonder what else "conservatives" will be playing catch-up to in another 20 years...

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Ooze You Can Use

As we announced earlier, SteynOnline is marking the official launch of Hillary 2016! by rerunning some favorites of mine since I first started writing about Mrs Clinton back in the Nineties. So, as we pitch base camp on the Hill to die on, here's my review of her memoirs, Living History, from Britain's Sunday Telegraph of June 16th 2003.

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A Tale of Two Rapes

Why are media feminists more agitated over fake rape than real rape?

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Shepard and Sheep

The murder of Matthew Shepard 17 years ago - is the clearest example of what happens when a favored lobby group inserts itself between the news coverage and reality

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Allahu Hackbar!

So, just as President Obama is giving a big speech on cyber-security, the jihackists of the Islamic State manage to take over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Pentagon's Central Command...

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The Return of the Cartagena Hooker

America's federal-motorcade hooker-culture is depraved

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The Unmaking of the American World

A superpower unmatched at everything - except winning

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Degrees of Separation

The courage of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the cowardice of Brandeis University

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Live Brie or Die!

On the radio with Michael Graham this afternoon (about one hour and fifty minutes in, I gather), I brought up what Time magazine calls "Europe's War On American Cheese"...

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The Age of Intolerance

Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American TV...

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Big Government's Back Alley

From two years ago, here's Mark's first thoughts on the Kermit Gosnell case

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Tiptoeing on ever-thinner eggshells

He who controls the language shapes the debate: In the same week the Associated Press announced that it would no longer describe illegal immigrants as "illegal immigrants," the star columnist of The New York Times fretted that the Supreme Court seemed to have misplaced the style book on another fashionable minority. "I am worried," wrote Maureen Dowd, "about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don't even seem to realize that most Americans use the word 'gay' now instead of 'homosexual'..."

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Don't cross the forces of tolerance

To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, but aldermanic power corrupts all der more manically. Proco "Joe" Moreno is Alderman of the First Ward of Chicago, and last week, in a city with an Aurora-size body count every weekend, his priority was to take the municipal tire-iron to the owners of a chain of fast-food restaurants. "Because of this man's ignorance," said Alderman Moreno, "I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward." "This man's ignorance"? You mean, of the City of Chicago permit process? Zoning regulations? Health and safety ordinances? No, Alderman Moreno means "this man's ignorance" of the approved position on same-sex marriage.

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This youth movement has women covered

Media types like to talk about "the narrative": News is just another form of storytelling, and certain plot lines grab you more than others. The easiest narrative of all is anything involving young people. "I believe that children are our future," as the late Whitney Houston once asserted. And, even if Whitney hadn't believed it, it would still, as a point of fact, be true. Any media narrative involving young people presupposes that they are the forces of progress, wresting the world from the grasping clutches of mean, vengeful old men and making it a better place...

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Hookers bring Secret Service to its knees

Unlike the government of the United States, I can't claim any hands-on experience with Colombian hookers. But I was impressed by the rates charged by Miss Dania Suarez, and even more impressed by the U.S. Secret Service's response to them...

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Liberals 'conformity enforcers,' 'stupefyingly intolerant'

(VIDEO) "'Celebrate diversity' — the great bumper sticker — actually means 'celebrate stultifying homogeneity,'" Canadian best-selling author and columnist Mark Steyn told The Daily Caller. In an exclusive interview this week with TheDC's Ginni Thomas, Steyn railed against liberal "diversity"-speak and the lack of tolerance for traditional values...

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Who's Obama sneering at?

Our lesson for today comes from George and Ira Gershwin: "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus When he said the world was round They all laughed when Edison recorded sound They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother When they said that man could fly They told Marconi wireless was a phony..." Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sang it in the film "Shall We Dance?" (1937) Seventy-five years on, the president revived it to tap-dance around his rising gas prices and falling approval numbers. Delivering his big speech on energy at Prince George's Community College, he insisted the American economy will be going gangbusters again just as soon as we start running it on algae and windmills. He noted that, as with Wilbur and his brother, there were those inclined to titter...

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Miss Fluke goes to Washington

I'm writing this from Australia, so, if I'm not quite up to speed on recent events in the United States, bear with me – the telegraph updates are a bit slow here in the bush. As I understand it, Sandra Fluke is a young coed who attends Georgetown Law and recently testified before Congress. Oh, wait, no. Update: It wasn't a congressional hearing; the Democrats just got it up to look like one, like summer stock, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid doing the show right here in the barn and providing a cardboard set for the world premiere of "Miss Fluke Goes To Washington," with full supporting cast led by Chuck Schumer strolling in through the French windows in tennis whites and drawling, "Anyone for bull****?"

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Handing out condoms on the Titanic

Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call "A Responsible Budget"? My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on Page 58 of their 500-page appendix on "Analytical Perspectives." This is entitled "Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections." It's a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt's space colony on the moon circa 2100...

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Obama goes Henry VIII on the Church

Announcing his support for Commissar Sebelius' edicts on contraception, sterilization, and pharmacological abortion, that noted theologian the Most Reverend Al Sharpton explained: "If we are going to have a separation of church and state, we're going to have a separation of church and state." Thanks for clarifying that. The church model the young American state wished to separate from was that of the British monarch, who remains to this day Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This convenient arrangement dates from the 1534 Act of Supremacy. The title of the law gives you the general upshot, but, just in case you're a bit slow on the uptake, the text proclaims "the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England." That's to say, the sovereign is "the only supreme head on earth of the Church" and he shall enjoy "all honors, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits and commodities to the said dignity," not to mention His Majesty "shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities, whatsoever they be." Welcome to Obamacare.

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Komen has its awareness raised

This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity. The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else...

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'Vrouwen en kinderen eerst gold nog wel op de Titanic, maar niet op de Concordia'

For our Dutch readers...

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Who's Off First?

VIDEO: Italy's Costa Concordia disaster has Mark Steyn mulling the "women and children first!" idea with Michael Coren on The Arena.

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No More 'Women and Children First'

Abe Greenwald of Commentary magazine tweets: "Is there any chance that Mark Steyn won't use the Italian captain fleeing the sinking ship as the lead metaphor in a column on EU collapse?" Oh, dear. You've got to get up early in the morning to beat me to civilizational-collapse metaphors. Been there, done that.

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YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A DEAD, HANGING SANTA CLAUS

When Christians take the Christ out of Christmas

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YES, VIRGINIA,THERE IS A DEAD, HANGING SANTA CLAUS

Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions – the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular "holiday" tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist's "war on Christmas" column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing "Winter Wonderland"... This ...

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