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

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For our Dutch readers...

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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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When Christians take the Christ out of Christmas

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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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