When the jihadists slaughtered the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, I worried that they had killed satire.
But Charlie Hebdo produced this week's issue on schedule.
Alas, however, satire is now officially dead. Earlier today, the US Secretary of State flew James Taylor into Paris to sing "You've Got A Friend" to the French nation. Seriously. Under Bush, extrajudicial rendition meant the CIA shipping you overseas to be tortured by the Saudis and Pakistanis. Under Obama, an extrajudicial rendition means shipping fey old folkies to Europe to torture the natives:
I'm in Europe myself at the moment and I was shocked when someone said to me, "Did you hear about the huge bomb in Paris?" It took me a couple of minutes to realize she was talking about Kerry's press conference.
But, as I said, satire is dead.
It was the French who dubbed America l'hyperpuissance - the hyperpower. But now the hyperpower is the hippiepower - and who doesn't love that? Following his rendition of "You've Got A Friend", James Taylor saluted the visiting mullahs from Qom with the Ayatollah Khomeini's favorite song, "How Sweet It Is (to be loved by ewes)".
Barack Obama then joined John Kerry on stage for a moving duet of "I'm So Vain (I prob'ly think this song is about me)", after which Secretary Kerry updated us on the latest talks with Teheran with a highly nuanced version of Joni Mitchell's "(I've looked at Iranian mushroom clouds from) Both Sides Now".
His lovely wife Teresa then delighted the French audience with a riveting selection of slides of the Kerrys' home in Boston as she and John sang Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Our House (is a very very very fine house)." Mahmoud Abbas got into the spirit and serenaded the Secretary of State with the Beatles' "Hey, Jew!", but Mr Kerry explained that was just one great-grandfather and it was a long time ago back in the Hapsburg Empire.
Asked about excitable young men who talk about avenging the Prophet and open fire while yelling "Allahu Akbar!", Secretary Kerry responded that he and President Hollande had disagreed on whether to call them "radical extremists" or "extremist radicals" before compromising with a performance of "A Force With No Name". Two decapitated heads that had been through the desert with Islamic terrori ...I mean, a force with no name then entertained the crowd with a Cat Stevens medley of "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and "Another Saturday Night (and I ain't got no body)".
The recital was brought to an end with Secretary Kerry's performance of the first line of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move (under my feet)", at which point ISIS blew the US Embassy sky high.
But, as I said, satire is dead.
~Speaking of music, who says you can't learn anything from SteynOnline? Even if it proves totally useless. Jonathan Owen writes:
This past Tuesday evening I was sitting in a classroom at the University of Central Florida engaged in a rather lively discussion about valuing assets. A big part of the debate was about times when it is more appropriate to value assets using historical cost than using current fair market value. As an example of when the historical value is not appropriate, the professor decided to use an example of a railroad with ownership of highly coveted real estate purchased a century ago and still being valued on the books at that 100-year-old price. To introduce this example, the professor asked the class, "Who hear has heard of the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe?" Thanks to the audio programs available at SteynOnline, I knew this one. I raised my hand and said, "Johnny Mercer wrote that, I believe."
The class just sat there. The professor blinked a few times before my answer registered, and then he did a half grin and said, "No, I'm don't mean the song, I'm talking about the actual railroad."
I was glad no one asked me any follow-up questions, because I couldn't remember any of the lyrics.
~Very few books feature both Mercer and Mohammed, but The [Un]documented Mark Steyn does. I'll be talking about the book and many other matters in conversation with Heather Reisman at Indigo Books on the corner of Bay and Bloor in Toronto later this month - 7pm Wednesday on January 28th. Admission is free, but first come, first served. You can find more details here. And Canadian readers can buy the book here - and I'll be happy to autograph it for you at the end of the evening.