'Tis the season at SteynOnline: we have plenty of Yuletide delights over at the Steyn Store, including my latest book. And, if you really want to treat your beloved this Christmas, there's always a stateroom on the Mark Steyn Caribbean Cruise, with Eva Vlaardingerbroek, Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, Bo Snerdley, Leilani Dowding, Tal Bachman and more.
~We like Christmas at SteynOnline, so, every day in this season of Advent, we'll be offering some special programming. We might as well get the darker side of things out of the way first. For families in Crépol and Dublin, not to mention all those of multiple nationalities whose loved ones are still being held hostage by Hamas, there will be empty seats at the festive table this year. And the Yuletide jihadists aren't done with us yet:
French mayor threatened with 'decapitation' for speaking out about sections of her community who refuse to integrate
Oh, and speaking of Christmas:
German Police Arrest Islamist Teens Planning Attack on Christmas Market, Synagogue
I remember, seven years ago, writing about two young women I'd met, from opposite ends of Germany, who told me they'd decided not to sing with their caroling groups at Christmas markets any more because, as one put it, "Christmas is now a target". And I also recall how many friends on the so-called "right" suggested I was exaggerating the threat. This was the headline on Ed West's Spectator column the following year:
Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past
And so the first sign of the holidays in Europe, and indeed in New York, is watching the Christmas bollards get installed in preparation for the season of goodwill to all men - if you can afford all those security barriers. From longtime reader Robert Strauss six years ago:
There's something so disheartening and depressing about the closing of the Lyons Christmas market due to the cost of security concerns that it makes a person just plain tired. Christmas markets are such wonderful traditions: fun and kitsch (in the most wonderful way) and beautiful and singularly atmospheric. I love walking through them. It's where a kid's face lights up and a grandparent can escape back into kid-like memories.
And now it's going away. I can't help but think of the hashtag-"not-going-to-let-it-affect-our-daily-lives" mantra coming from the likes of Obama, Sadiq Khan, Theresa, and soda-tax enthusiast Jim Kenney. Hey, the gift-packaged barriers really look nice and Christmasy, don't they? Nothing abnormal there, people. Just pretend there still is a Christmas market when you look at the cute, packaged barriers and enjoy the carols in your earbuds.
What a sad, heartbreaking crock.
As I received the above, came news of the 2017 vehicular jihad in a thoroughly bollardized Melbourne. That last one I wrote about, but you can't write about them all - because you'd go mad writing the same column over and over while the western world's political class sticks its fingers in its ears and says, "Nya-nya, can't hear you!" No amount of death or destruction will persuade them to address the issue. And so once open, shared traditions become throttled by bollards and security. And in meekly agreeing to surrender our future we lose our past, too.
So instead I woke up early one morning and wrote up my feelings on this madness as a short story, which we offer this first weekend of December as a seasonal Tale for Our Time. Mark Steyn Club members can hear our tale by clicking here and logging-in.
I don't claim it's in the same league as our classic Christmas offerings from Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, but it is a postscript to those tales of a society that, whatever its faults, was bound by shared customs and traditions. As ours no longer is.
If you're not yet a member of The Mark Steyn Club, we've a veritable library of audio adventures waiting for you - by Conan Doyle, H G Wells, Conrad, Kipling, Scott Fitzgerald. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who'd appreciate these Tales for Our Time, check out our Gift Membership.
If you enjoy Episode One, please join us for the conclusion of Plum Duff tomorrow evening, Saturday, and for some more seasonal diversions as the month proceeds.