Today's column is basically a mélange of news stories I've been asked to write about or telly-pontificate on even though I have not the slightest interest.
~First up: Is Pepe Le Pew, the horny French skunk of Looney Tunes fame, the ultimate root of rape culture? The role model for Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and Andrew Cuomo?
Bonus question: Is Pepe's Warner Bros stablemate Speedy Gonzales racist?
Charles M Blow, an unreadable columnist even by the standards of "America's newspaper of record", is steamed about it:
RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let's see.
1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will.
2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won't release her
3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.
My theory on the roots of police violence is that Daffy Duck is black and he keeps saying, "Shoot me now." Everything's very literal since the Internet came along, don't you think?
~What else is The New York Times' crack reporting team working on? Well, they're fearlessly exposing Deputy Assistant Under-Insurrectionist-in-Chief Josh Hawley. His prom date is speaking out against him:
"I've been very disappointed to see who he has become," said Kristen Ruehter-Thompson, a close friend growing up who was once Mr. Hawley's prom date.
Did Speedy Gonzalez have a prom date?
~Well, like Daffy said, shoot me now. To modify my old line, this is what we'll be talking about when the Chinese launch their EMP attack.
One reason why the ChiComs have snaffled the world out from under America's nose is that they're not obsessing on total crap all day, every day. Chairman Xi's regime is ugly yet functions as a conventional ethnonational state pursuing its strategic interests - and we're surprised to discover that apparently that works better than a 24/7 identity-politics grievance culture reduced to hunting down Looney Tunes Z-listers.
~What else could we be talking about? Well, how about the FAA's mask mandate for air traffic controllers that pilots say makes it hard to understand what they're saying? Follow the science ...as it nose-dives into the asphalt.
~Oh, speaking of Chairman Xi:
Homosexuality Can Be Called a Mental Disorder, Chinese Court Rules
Do you remember the way all the movie studios, sports leagues, etc, boycotted North Carolina over its so-called transphobic "bathroom bill"? I take it Disney, the NBA and all the other dictatorial suck-ups will now be doing the same to the People's Republic of China and foregoing all the big bucks ChiCom deals and the slave labor that comes along with it.
~Oh, okay, the big one: Meghan and Oprah? Sorry, didn't watch.
Somewhere in the course of the weekend, someone told me that the Queen had moved up this year's Commonwealth Day service as part of her "damage control" operation (along with reports that the Duchess of Sussex was a total bitch to her staff). So I watched the Westminster Abbey service for the first time in, golly, several decades. This year it was Covid-compliant, so no congregation, just exotic musical combos - African drummers and Maori choirs - punctuated by various Royal duchesses in somewhat earnest conversation with Malawian women's-groups organizers and Indian literacy-program teachers and a fellow from Bangladesh who started an ambulance service in rural areas.
The finale - the Lord's Prayer recited a line apiece by Commonwealth citizens from Nigeria, Belize, Singapore, etc - was rather moving in its universalist simplicity. Much of the rest had a reassuringly boring niceness: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (that's "Will 'n' Kate" to Oprah viewers) seemed genuinely fascinated by the Bangladeshi ambulance service; the Countess of Wessex (that's ...well, she's never gonna rate Oprah, so who cares?) said "Nice to see you again" to an enthusiastic young lady she'd met on a previous trip to Malawi. If the Royal Family is racist, as the despicable Harry and his malignant narcissist of a missus insist, they've got a funny way of showing it. They were less awkward and obvious in their "virtue-signaling" (and indeed less queenly) than, say, Nancy Pelosi. Her Majesty seems to have more black and brown people in her Rolodex than anyone on earth; if there was a white person in the show other than the duchesses and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, I missed him.
Among the tedious whines of Meghan is that nobody gave her a head's up that she'd have to curtsey to the Queen. Wow - and you think you've got problems? Even worse, it was left to Sarah, Duchess of York (Fergie of yore) to teach her how to curtsey - and, if that's not an insult, what is?
I don't get why this is a big deal. As readers of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn may recall, I've recounted my own faux pas at Buckingham Palace re bowing from the neck. I remembered belatedly and gave a spasmodic twitch as if I was having a stroke. But so what? Most people the Queen encounters - from Bloxwich to Belize - seem to pick it up without lessons from Fergie. And, indeed, as young persons in self-googling industries such as telly-acting would be aware, they now have these things called "search engines" in which one can find, in seconds, videos on curtseying. Furthermore, Meghan Markle is by profession an actress - and, although the company curtain-calls now tend toward dull unisex bows, I have never known a female thesp who does not know how to curtsey to the audience if she chooses to do so. Until this lousy whiner.
The curtseying and the racism and the other perceived slights isn't really the problem, is it? Will and Kate being rapt by the Bangladeshi ambulance guy is what being Royal is all about: It's not glamorous or exciting, not when it's year in, decade out. And one can see that, for a minor actress on a TV show that in its last few seasons pulled about a third of the viewers that a certain obscure Canadian does when he guest-hosts Tucker, pretending to be interested in an unending parade of Bangladeshi ambulance guys could be the very definition of Groundhog Day hell.
But it's what the job is. And Will and Kate do it pretty well. And it is impossible to imagine the spoilt self-obsessed bore revealed by Oprah ever being content to submerge herself within any such greater duty.
So here is a Prince of the Blood with no particular talents holed up in Malibu grubbing around on the fringes of showbusiness in hopes that being sixth in line to a foreign throne will be sufficient to keep generating invites from Hollywood A-listers. I'd be surprised. But God Almighty, what a pitiful existence - even by comparison with being fascinated by Bangladeshi ambulance guys.
~PS on the above: When the Markles married, Harry was raised to a dukedom. So their son is entitled to the courtesy title of earl - to be specific, Earl of Dumbarton. Yet, upon his birth, the Sussexes announced that he would be styled plain old "Archie". We now learn that this is because the lousy earl shtick wasn't good enough for Meghan. She complained to Oprah that even though he's the only "royal of color" the Queen refused to make him a prince.
Well, that's because he's not a prince, and never will be: The House of Windsor is not the House of Saud, where a new prince is born every twenty minutes. Per George V's Letters Patent of 1917, only grandchildren of the Sovereign are princes and princesses. Because of improved longevity (ie, more great-grandchildren), the Queen in 2012 amended this to accord princely style to the kids of a Prince of Wales' eldest son (ie, William), because they're in the immediate line of succession. But Archie isn't, and isn't ever gonna be. So the Duchess of Woke was demanding, as is her wont, special treatment.
As for the kid, he's gonna have to mooch along on some Hulu reality series about being the only ersatz "Royal" at Malibu Elementary School. Best of luck to the poor chap.
~It was a busy weekend at SteynOnline, beginning with the Friday edition of The Mark Steyn Show, with everything from Magellan's landing at Guam and Eric Swalwell suing Trump for "emotional distress" to a poem by John Donne and an earworm to last all week long. Our Saturday movie date looked back at Alan Rickman, and our marquee presentation was Part Two of our audio serialization of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade: the Queen Mum and President Reagan. And we rounded out the weekend with a Sunday song selection from my last antipodean foray.
If you were too busy practising your curtsey with Fergie all weekend long, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
The Mark Steyn Show and Mark Steyn's Passing Parade are made with the support of members of The Mark Steyn Club. You can find more details about our Club here - and we also have a great gift membership.