Just ahead of Part Twenty-Four of our current Tale for Our Time, a reminder that we have a morning (North American Eastern Time) complement to our nocturnal audio adventures in the Wednesday edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Hope you'll want to check that out.
Fake news in 1909 as described so colorfully by Jack London with President Trump playing Burning Daylight. Another perfect Tale for our Time.
That's all true, Marc, but I confess I chose Burning Daylight not because of its similarities with today but because of the great gaping chasm between the nascent California of 1900 and the post-Golden State of today. At the time of Jack London's tale, it had a population of one-and-a-half million; now it's over forty million - a population bigger than Canada, for example, and all but thirty other countries. Its traffic-choked coastal cities, even the ones whose sidewalks aren't strewn with homeless encampments, needles and human feces, have a dispiriting Third World vibe; there are fires and power outages, hyper-regulation for a shrinking middle class and total license for illegal aliens. In my dreams I can still conjure the beautiful, glorious California of my youth, and I am surprised so few of those residents who knew it thirty, forty years ago cannot also see the decay and decline.
They might if they read Burning Daylight, but few do - and Jack London Square is just somewhere senators go to get mugged. In tonight's episode Daylight falls in love with the land:
The old wood-road led him to a clearing, where a dozen acres of grapes grew on wine-red soil. A cow-path, more trees and thickets, and he dropped down a hillside to the southeast exposure. Here, poised above a big forested canyon, and looking out upon Sonoma Valley, was a small farm-house. With its barn and outhouses it snuggled into a nook in the hillside, which protected it from west and north. It was the erosion from this hillside, he judged, that had formed the little level stretch of vegetable garden. The soil was fat and black, and there was water in plenty, for he saw several faucets running wide open...
He watched the antics of several broods of young chickens and the mother hens. A foottrail that led down the wall of the big canyon invited him, and he proceeded to follow it. A water-pipe, usually above ground, paralleled the trail, which he concluded led upstream to the bed of the creek. The wall of the canyon was several hundred feet from top to bottom, and magnificent were the untouched trees that the place was plunged in perpetual shade. He measured with his eye spruces five and six feet in diameter and redwoods even larger.
A paradise - and one you wouldn't want to lose.
See you back here tomorrow for Part Twenty-Five of Burning Daylight.