Steyn on Culture
All this week we're marking the tenth anniversary of my book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. You can find the first part of this series here, the second part here, and the third here. A decade ago, the book opened big and hit the New York Times Top Ten bestsellers, and Number One in Canada. It was never Harry Potter boffo, but it kept selling year on year, and picking up new fans en route, some from the most unlikely places. Step forward, Richard Dreyfuss, star of Jaws, Mr Holland's Opus and (one of my favorites) American Graffiti:
That's an unusually robust formulation from today's Hollywood. I will leave it to Mr Dreyfuss to expand on what he means by "civic virtue". For my part, I explain in America Alone that what's needed is more civilizational or cultural confidence:
Or as a reader emailed earlier today:
Just so. As I continue in the book:
One of the book's sections is called "The Gelded Age": I use the term in two senses, to refer not only to western peoples' disinclination to breed but also to their broader emasculation and docility. "The Gelded Age" was also the headline The Claremont Review of Books chose for their own essay on the book. The reviewer was my old Spectator comrade Theodore Dalrymple, and it was a somewhat mixed notice:
I wish Dr Dalrymple were right about jokes. Whether "brilliant" or not, they are a more fraught subject than they were a decade ago - as we'll come back to. The good doctor also disagreed with me about the comparative strength of a resurgent Islam:
Dr Dalrymple is correct on President Bush's and other leaders' response to the Danish cartoons, but wrong on Charlie Hebdo: "There was no possible rejoinder to it." Oh, yes, there was. I spoke in Copenhagen on the fifth anniversary of the Danish cartoons: since then most of those I shared the stage with have been shot at or otherwise forced out of public life. When I returned to Copenhagen for the tenth anniversary, not only would the original publication not reprint its cartoons but those of us who spoke in the Danish parliament that day could not even secure a restaurant booking afterwards - because it's apparently dangerous not just to draw the cartoons but to be seen serving crappy pasta dishes to persons known to support the right of cartoonists to draw what they like. Richard Dreyfuss is right to wonder in this new future "if we have the right to speak at all": This decade has seen a remorseless retreat for freedom of expression.
Dr Dalrymple may well be right that Islam's intolerance is a sign of underlying insecurity. But he was a prison doctor for long enough to know that insecurity and violence often go hand in hand. As I wrote in my book Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West:
If you'd rather just kill your opponents, it's irrelevant.
~All this anniversary week, we've been reprising Michelle Malkin's ten-year-old interview with me re America Alone. Here's the final instalment:
~For a musical accompaniment to our anniversary observances, don't forget to swing by our Song of the Week department.
If you haven't read America Alone during its first ten years, well, you're missing a treat. It's still in print in hardback and paperback, and personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore.
from America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, October 13, 2016
Islamophobia, deluded parochialism, and the setting sun
Frank 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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Islam is playing for tomorrow, whereas the west has given up on the future
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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...
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 ...
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...
Two resignations, and very different reactions
This is not your father's sex change
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...
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.
Why are media feminists more agitated over fake rape than real rape?
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
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...
America's federal-motorcade hooker-culture is depraved
A superpower unmatched at everything - except winning
The courage of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the cowardice of Brandeis University
Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American TV...
From two years ago, here's Mark's first thoughts on the Kermit Gosnell case
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'..."
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.
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...
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...
(VIDEO) "'Celebrate diversity' â€” the great bumper sticker â€” 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...
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...
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****?"
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...
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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For our Dutch readers...
VIDEO: Italy's Costa Concordia disaster has Mark Steyn mulling the "women and children first!" idea with Michael Coren on The Arena.
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.
When Christians take the Christ out of Christmas
Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions â€“ 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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