Welcome to Part Fourteen of our audio adaptation of a favorite book among Steyn readers, Mark Steyn's Passing Parade. In this week's episode, we feature two woeful examples of the ruling class. First up is one of the most requested pieces of all the things I've ever written - my farewell to the Reverend Canaan Banana, a depraved monster who became the first president of independent Zimbabwe and thus made his country the first literal Banana republic:
In 1997, Jefta Dube, a former bodyguard of the Reverend Banana's, was on trial for murder and pleaded in mitigation that he'd only committed the crime after the victim repeatedly taunted Dube as "Banana's wife". He claimed that, at State House one night, the President had slipped a sleeping draught into his drink. Mr Dube came round to find himself on a duvet naked from the waist down, with a smiling President Banana hovering over him.
"While you were sleeping," said the President, "we helped ourselves" - not the words anyone wants to wake up to...
The Rev Banana denied the allegations but, within weeks several cooks, gardeners, policemen, air force officers, scores of students at the University of Zimbabwe, and most of the President's football team came forward with similar stories.
A dreadful cynicism among the imperial power's ruling class enabled the rise of the likes of Banana. Another manifestation of that was the privileged traitors of "the Cambridge spies":
The Thirties were the heyday of the Stalinist toff, the languid upper-middle-class Englishman for whom, after public (private) school, the rigors of Bolshevism were a breeze.
But did you know there was an American end of that treasonous spy ring? I tell the story of Michael Whitney Straight, NEA bureaucrat and Soviet agent.
If you're a member of The Mark Steyn Club you can hear my reading of Part Fourteen of our serialization of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here - so you can choose whether to listen each night twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, or save them up for a weekend binge-listen now that Netflix et al have exhausted all their pre-Covid stock of watchable telly.
~Later today we will have the conclusion of our latest Tale for Our Time - a schoolboy view of politics in Richmal Crompton's William, Prime Minister. This is the curtain raiser to some serious political satire that will be starting here in just a few days.
~As our fourth birthday month draws to a close, I thank all those 2017 early sign-ups of The Mark Steyn Club who've decided to re-up for a fifth year. David Taylor, a First Month Founding Member from California, says:
The Mark Steyn Club was my light in the haze of the Covid dusk. As long as the MSC exists I will be a member. Or at least until the Durham Report is released.
Let's hope that inspires John Durham to return from his Tahiti beach house and get to it, David. Alas, it seems more likely you're stuck with us for awhile yet.
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