On Thursday, I returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show for our weekly chew through the headlines. We got to the big news eventually, but this time Hugh began with a musical offering:
HUGH HEWITT: And the dulcet tones you hear behind me are those of Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World on his brand new CD, Goldfinger. Don't let him in. He does get let into the Hugh Hewitt Show on Thursday. Hello, Mark, how are you?
MARK STEYN: Hey, good to be with you, Hugh. I take that at a slightly faster clip than Shirley Bassey does, and I'm hanging on for dear life for much of that track.
HH: Congratulations on Goldfinger. It's a lot of fun. I hope it's flying off the virtual shelves at www.steynonline.com.
MS: Yeah, it seems to be... I love John Barry, who's the composer of Goldfinger - he basically invented the sound of spy music. I mean, very few people can claim to have invented an entire genre of music. But when people think of spy music, they think of that John Barry sound that he invented when he was sharing a flat with Michael Caine in London in the 1960s. And it's a song I love. It's actually quite tricky. It's got that thing that musical types call the Devil's Interval in it, which is kind of hard to get right, especially when you're doing it at that speed. But I gave it my best shot.
HH: Oh, it's a great shot, and in fact, I'm so inspired, the only other columnist/talking head/pundit that I know who sings well besides you is Eric Metaxas. And so I was looking around, and at Paris Las Vegas, there's a room called La Cabaret. And I think that a Metaxas-Steyn, Steyn-Metaxas act - of course I'll be happy to emcee it -would be just a smash. I think they would sell that out weeks at a time. Are you available?
MS: Well, I like Eric a lot. I quote from his book on William Wilberforce in my most recent book, and so I have tremendous admiration for him on the William Wilberforce front. I'm not, I don't think I've ever heard him do Diamonds Are Forever or Thunderball. But I'm willing to wait and see what he has.
HH: I heard him do Fly Me To The Moon. It was terrific. I'm telling you, Vegas, if you're listening right now, Steyn and Metaxas.
MS: You're telling me Eric Metaxas did Fly Me To The Moon?
HH: Oh, yes, in front of 500 people in Santa Barbara in a room including Cathy Ireland and many other showbiz types that were there. They were blown away by him.
MS: Really? ...because that's, that's one of those songs, as Judy Garland - I'm getting just fabulously camp now, but as Judy Garland used to say, that song has been sung. That's one I would never go anywhere near, just because I don't, I feel, I don't feel I've got anything to add to it. But if he can stand up and do Fly Me To The Moon, let's go for it.
HH: There you go.
Hugh moved on to the somewhat less congenial topic of the Republican Congress, and then the racist gags flying between two Hollywood A-listers re Obama:
MS: As much as I have no use for Hollywood liberals, I think they should be allowed to send racist emails to each other. I'm a free speech absolutist... Go for it, you guys. If you want to be racist buffoons, every Hollywood liberal should have the right to be a racist buffoon.
HH: They should. I'm just underscoring what you've already articulated, which is if I came on this show and began saying I wonder what the President would nominate for the Golden Globes, and ran down a list of black-only movies, that would be the last show I did.
MS: No, no, I know. I mean, it's basically, it's basically one step above watermelon gags. But they're bigshot liberals. And liberalism, modern American liberalism is not about principle. It's about power... You think about the things that Jesse Jackson has said. You think about Al Sharpton, for example: the guy who's now complaining about Scott Rudin's remark is the guy who said Africans invented everything years before 'all them Greek homos' did. And Al Sharpton gets invited to the White House despite his homophobia and despite all the President's bleating about everybody should have the right to love who they love. Al Sharpton can do his Greek homo gags and still get invited to the White House.
After that, it was on to Hillary Rodham Clinton's observations about "smart power" and "empathizing" with your enemies. In Goldfinger terms, she's the woman, the woman with the non-Midas touch - everything she says turns to sludge:
MS: This is someone who has not thought about what's gone wrong in the last four years. You know, Chris Stevens, who died in Benghazi - in part because of the negligence of Mrs. Clinton's State Department - empathized with the Libyan people to an extraordinary degree, and he's dead, and his body was dragged through the streets of Benghazi. In the streets of Cairo, in Tahrir Square, we called it the Facebook Revolution, and thought that somehow they all wanted, all the big, bearded men wanted to be like nice little Obama pajama boys, and all the covered women wanted to be like Sandra Fluke. And it turned out they wanted something entirely different. She's got a tin ear when it comes to empathy... She's not actually capable of getting inside the head of Iranian mullahs who seriously believe in Islamic imperialism, and exporting their nuclear technology around the world. She's seriously incapable of getting inside the head of Czar Putin in the Kremlin who wants to reconstitute the Russian Empire and a Russian protective umbrella over Eastern Europe - and you'd be surprised how far west his definition of Eastern Europe goes.
Hugh put it this way:
HH: Well, she's got the family business to protect. It's really about Bill's third term and making the way for Chelsea in the world, isn't it?
MS: Yeah... one of the advantages of a monarchy is that at least it means your political class is non-hereditary. You know, in Ottawa, Stephen Harper's wife, who is a delightful lady and very smart, has got no plans to become prime minister. In London, Cherie Blair is not interested in becoming prime minister. And in Canberra, John Howard's wife does not feel entitled to be prime minister as Hillary feels.
For the full interview, see here. As for Goldfinger, it's available on disc or digital download via the Steyn store, or as part of a Christmas special double-bill with my new book - one of many Yuletide special offers from SteynOnline. It's also on sale at Amazon and CD Baby.