YOUR AFTER AMERICA LETTER OF THE DAY: SIX-STRINGING ALONG
Mr Steyn, just a brief background and then my comment. I…
-suppose I'm a member of Generation X
- live in Robert C Byrdistan
- served in the USMC Reserve from '96 to '04 as a combat engineer
- hold a BS in mechanical engineering and I am a licensed engineer
- currently am employed, gainfully, and privately
- was laid off from 2008 to 2011 because GE dumped a great majority of its [US] contractors
- previously worked for WV Division of Air Quality as a permit writer
Now my comment. I saw on you on BookTV on September 4, 2011; I decided to buy your book to read while on vacation that week. I could not stop reading and the message I retained was that America is becoming less and less self-reliant and more and more dependent on a government incapable of caring for them. This is deeply disquieting and made my heart race.
I finished After America today; yesterday my friend asked if I heard about a government raid on Gibson guitars for "illegal wood" (which sounds more like a personal problem). Against the backdrop of your book I am not laughing, though I want to. I told my friend I'd finish the book and pass it on to him.
Great book, sir.
THE RAGE AND THE DECLINE
Perhaps my mind works in weird ways, but there seemed to be a strange conjunction this last week of differing threads. One thread, of course, is your great, dark book, After America. The second thread was your "remembering Oriana Fallaci" column. The third thread was the series of letters you received of the @#$%^-foreigner-weird-accent-how-dare-you-criticize-America-get-out-of-here variety.
The connection between these disparate streams is that, as I was reading After America, I detected some of the same crie-de-cour passion evident in Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and the Pride (I thank you for bringing her to my attention several years ago). As with Ms Fallaci, the letter writers and critics have completely misunderstood your motives. In your columns over the years, you have made it plain that you admire the USA as embodied in its founding ideals and great democratic institutions and that your admiration extended to moving there with your family from Trudeaupia. You went to "the land of the free, and the home of the brave", not "the land of the fee, and the home of the knave". You are not criticizing America, but trying to help save it.
Hopefully, your voice— and the voices of others who recognize the American decline— will prevail. Keep up the fight.
OF NEO-RACISTS AND COMMON RACISTS
I read Mr Mondon's article accusing you of "neo-racism" several times, finally defining that term as the belief that Western culture was too self-absorbed to allow other cultures a piece of the pie. Perhaps Mr Mondon would like the West to use Muslim culture as a template for diversity, inclusion, freedom of speech and other cultural norms. Perhaps Mr Mondon would like to find out just who's who and what's what by trying to build a nice little church somewhere in the Muslim world.
Jan Van Mir
MOMENTS OF GRAMMAR
Mark, for someone who hasn't taught English grammar for 35 years (as I have), you make very few mistakes. However, you might like to know that according to Warriner's English Grammar and Composition you have misused the verb in the following from "Moments of Glory": "I would have liked to have seen him." It should be, "I would like to have seen him."
My husband says I'm an annoying grammar nitpicker and that you should ignore me. Still, while I am about this, I mention (ever so lovingly and admiringly) that I found in After America three instances in which I could have served you well as grammar editor. My daughter has borrowed my book just now, or I'd do some serious nitpicking. I do recall lack of subject-verb agreement on page 222. If this hurts your feelings, you should know that I marked with pencil, not red ink. What's more, you can comfort yourself with my assurance that the book is so good I had the devil of a time finding any nits!
Mark, as regular visitor to your wonderful website, I am taking to heart your request for feedback on the new design.
I must say that any time one contemplates a change, one is advised to have an improvement in mind; otherwise why change? The new website design seems to have been implemented without regard to this wisdom. What once was familiar, easy to navigate, and pleasantly easy to read now becomes a confusing morass. And for what purpose?
Your website seems to have joined a growing number which feel they cannot survive without constant tinkering and revision. I fail to see how this "new and improved" design will make your website more enticing to new readers, but I can certainly see how many of us accustomed to visiting regularly might now look elsewhere for news and enlightenment.
Please continue writing, but for the love of God stop messing with things that work perfectly well as implemented.
Please sign me, "Peeved in the Palmetto State".
Columbia, South Carolina
TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE
Re the changes to your website:
I see you are deliberately and maliciously illustrating one of the main points of your recent book, After America— that the idea of permanence is an illusion and that if something can't continue on forever, it won't.
But Mark, I am entitled to read your writings in exactly the same format as I have always read them! I'm offended! My rights are being violated! There must be some tribunal or website I can complain to!
Surely, this must be another harbinger of impending societal collapse.
PS— Any chance that your book tour will bring you to Australia in the near future?