There has been much commentary on the undisputed all-time low of American foreign policy: the official dispatch of James Taylor to Paris to sing "You've Got A Friend" to the French. Many people have said, well, it could have been worse - it could have been Barney the Dinosaur, or the theme song from "The Golden Girls", or "That's What Friends Are For".
There is, in fact, one friendly song that would have been perfect - Cole Porter's "Friendship". These days, you can hear it in the current touring revival of Anything Goes, although you may prefer the rawer version by Ray Charles and Ricky Skaggs. Anyway, in "Friendship", Cole Porter manages to sum up Obama foreign policy in one couplet:
If they ever put a bullet in your brain
That's the US Government's commitment to Paris on Islamic fanatics... and to that doctor who fingered bin Laden to them and who now languishes in a Pakistani prison ...and to those girls kidnapped by Boko Haram whom Michelle Obama held up a piece of cardboard for ...and to those Iraqis who made the mistake of getting a little too close to the Americans ...and to the Israelis vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear program ...and to the Kurds, and to the Ukrainians, and the Baltic States and Poland and the Czech Republic...
Here's Sutton Foster and Joel Grey doing the song on Oprah's channel. My daughter and I loved it on Broadway. Not sure it's quite the same on telly, but here goes...
~I've written previously about the mainstreaming of decapitation. Responding to today's Beheading of the Day - on a quiet residential street in West London - this Daily Mail reader from Leeds comments:
Poor woman. Why is beheading always in the news, is this really 2015?
You can chop some people's heads off, and it wouldn't make any bloody difference, because there's nothing up there. The foolish assumption behind that comment helps explain why our civilization is sleepwalking off the cliff: Oh, my! How can beheading be "always in the news" if this is "really 2015"?
This reader assumes that societal development only goes in one direction: it advances.
But that's not true. If you're as careless with our inheritance as we are, society can go backwards, and get worse. Much worse.
Why is beheading in the news if it's really 2015?
Answer: It's because it's really 2015 that beheading's in the news. If this was Britain in 1975 or 1955 or 1925 or 1885 or 1835, it wouldn't be in the news. But it's 2015 and beheading's on the upswing.
Beheading was introduced to England by William the Conqueror after 1066, but was generally reserved for the highest of the high - men of noble birth, for whom execution by decapitation was felt to be the closest thing to death in battle - and for the lowest of the low - traitors. So the last person to be beheaded in Britain was Lord Lovat in 1747, and the last corpses to be beheaded were those of the Cato Street Conspirators in 1820, who had their heads severed posthumously by axe.
And that was it until the 21st century, when for the first time soldiers were beheaded on the London streets in broad daylight, and octogenarian widows in the privacy of their gardens, and now unfortunate ladies with intemperate husbands. Unless you're prepared to do something about your immigration policy, get used to more decapitation. It's 2015, and beheading is just one strand in the vibrant tapestry of the multicultural utopia.
~Speaking of commenters, over at Hot Air, B Gibbs complains:
I like Steyn a lot, I really do. Just wish he would quit hocking one his books in every one of his columns.
Well, as I write in The [Un]documented Mark Ste... whoops, sorry... Anyway, the reason I hawk my books a little more heavy-handedly than I used to is because I'm being sued for something in the region of nine million dollars plus costs. You should try it, B Gibbs. It's bracing. In other jurisdictions, it would be a simple matter of winning or losing, and then getting on with your life. But in the non-functioning toilet of DC justice, it means one has to be liquid enough to fund a half-decade procedural folderol full of unexpected twists and turns before one even gets to the trial. Personally, I can't stand all those annoying ads that pop up with every click at National Review and seize up your laptop, so I've no desire to introduce them over here, and I can't really believe B Gibbs would prefer to have Mackeeper asking you whether you're really sure you want to close their window every ten minutes rather than putting up with the occasional plug for my new album. But I didn't choose this fight, and certainly I didn't choose to be stuck in it for the remainder of this decade, and so my only choices are:
or b) Flee jurisdiction.
I confess there are mornings when one wakes up to a motion for expedited ruling on clarification of ruling on eligibility for interlocutory appeal on court's denial of amended response to amended complaint that Option (b) seems the way to go.
If you like, we could take a poll.
~Oh, and one more: I'll be back in my hometown of Toronto to plug my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn in conversation with Indigo Books suprema Heather Reisman at their Bay and Bloor branch next week - 7pm Wednesday on January 28th, to be precise. Admission is free, but first come, first served. More details here - and I'll be happy to autograph your copy at the end of the evening.
~Oh, no, here's another: As you know, I'm honored to be a contributor to the new book Climate Change: The Facts, along with Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova, Ross McKitrick, Garth Paltridge, Donna Laframboise, Nigel Lawson, Ian Plimer, James Delingpole, Anthony Watts and many others. It's been available for a couple of days at Amazon.com and other Amazon sites (see below for your neighborhood branch), but I'm delighted to announce it's now also available in Nook format at Barnes & Noble and in Kobo via Indigo Chapters in Canada and Kobo outlets worldwide. So feel free to click away and you can be reading it within minutes.
Here's where to find the book at your local Amazon branch:
For Amazon US, click here.
For Amazon UK, click here.
For Amazon Canada, click here.
For Amazon Australia, click here.
For Amazon India, click here.
For Amazon Brazil, click here.
For Amazon France, click here.
For Amazon Germany, click here.
For Amazon Italy, click here.
For Amazon Japan, click here.
For Amazon Mexico, click here.
For Amazon Netherlands, click here.
For Amazon Spain, click here.