I had intended to take the same attitude to Cecil the Lion as every US newspaper takes to Cecile the lyin' Planned Parenthood honcho and her factory outlets of slightly used baby parts. The mawkish sob-sister drivel of the one story versus the utter indifference to the second is too dismal to contemplate. Never mind the inability of the legions of traumatized Americans, in the midst of their tears, even to get the deceased lion's name right (for reasons we'll discuss below), that's no reason not to turn on the most evil dentist since Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man.
After all the complete twaddle in the Anglo-American press about the psycho dentist offing the most beloved lion in Africa, it is somewhat heartening to turn to the comparatively sane coverage in the Zimbabwean media. Kennedy Mavhumashava in The Bulawayo Chronicle:
I find the western outrage over the demise of Cecil, which is only a lion to may of us, suspicious. This was a simple hunt and Zimbabwe wants more of them to generate revenue for our tourism sector.
It is not an overstatement that almost 99.99 percent of Zimbabweans didn't know about this animal until Monday. Now we have just learnt, thanks to the British media, that we had Africa's most famous lion all along, an icon!
...But the Western media's obsession with Cecil gets us thinking. Why only him? What's going on?
The Bulawayo Chronicle is in no doubt as to the answer to those questions. Unlike other lions, Cecil is named after Cecil Rhodes, as indeed was Zimbabwe back when it was Rhodesia. Mr Mavhumashava looks at Jimmy Kimmel and the other bleating white ninnies weeping for Cecil and knows neo-colonialism when he smells it:
Why such an outpouring of grief in the West over one lion..? The name Cecil perhaps, given its historical significance for white monopoly capital in Southern Africa and the West? Many believe the lion was named after Cecil John Rhodes, the celebrated forerunner of British colonialism in Southern Africa, explaining the saturation coverage on the demise of his namesake.
Those who believe the interest is bigger than a mere lion could be justified as Cecil, who roamed the Hwange National Park, was the focal point of a research project by Oxford University, Cecil the colonialist's alma mater.
Speaking of Oxford, Rhodes is also the guy who gave us Rhodes Scholars, including such notorious imperialist racist neo-colonialists as Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Rachel Maddow and Ronan Farrow. American telly hosts artfully amending Sessil's name to Seeeeessil the Lion can't disguise their colonialist agenda.
~Americans sometimes ask me what are the advantages of the Canadian political system over the US. Exhibit One: This weekend dance-off between Toronto Mayor John Tory and the Dominion's defence minister, the great Jason Kenney. This would be the perfect qualifying round for this week's Republican debate. But I expect the boring old consultants have nixed it.
~Courtesy of The Daily Mail, a story for our times, with something for almost everyone:
Two white gay men have their mixed-race adoptive child taken away and given to a black aunt the kid's never met.
I would be surprised if Big Gay took this lying down. Everyone seems to accept that Muslims are atop the diversity totem pole, but the rest of the batting order is still up for grabs.
~Breaking news! Steyn is not just racist but sexist: The racism is upfront and in-your-face, but the sexism is devious and insidious. Fortunately, Jonathan MacLeod is on the case...
I am perplexed at the bad reviews you have received from viewers and listeners.
It is my guilty pleasure to hear your voice come over the airwaves at Rush's appointed time, and has been for years.
I make a point of catching your appearances on FNC, and I have even stayed up to catch rebroadcasts of you on C-SPAN in the wee hours.
As for your singing, as a transplant to south Florida from the frigid climes of the Kansan Steppe, it is fun and enjoyable to hear whilst decorating the palm tree.
As a long time avid fan of all your work, your poor reception has me wondering: Do I have bad taste?
Oh, God. This'll be a new medical condition by the end of the week. America's silent killer.
~I shall miss Cilla Black, whom I hadn't seen in a long time but who was one of those comforting features of Britain's cultural landscape you assume will always be there. A Sixties pop star who became the mumsy colossus of weekend telly in later life, she died in Marbella over the weekend. She was a natural telly performer and I'm ...well, see above. But we did have one thing in common, in that we both sang Carl Sigman: If you've listened to our Sigman centenary podcast, you'll know that he wrote not only my (ahem) "Marshmallow World" but also one of Cilla's early hits, "You're My World".
She was never a star in America, but she had fans in every corner of the Commonwealth - here's Russell Crowe mourning her passing. Paul Simon, before his own success with Garfunkel, spent some time tootling around the folk clubs of northern England in the Sixties, and ran across her. Many years later, we were out in the garden at his pad in Montauk on the far end of Long Island, trying to avoid catching Lyme disease while he pointed out celebrity neighbors like Dick Cavett. And out of the blue he said to me, "What's Cilla Black doing these days?"
And I explained that she was a bigger star than she'd ever been and was now hosting the British version of "Blind Date". "That's what I love about England," he said sadly. "In America, no one would ever ask me to host 'Blind Date'."
A toothy redhead (although I always preferred her original nose) Cilla was the hat-check girl at the Cavern Club, which is how she got to know the Beatles and how Brian Epstein, their manager, became her manager. She remained a lifelong professional Liverpudlian who, as she said, thought Urdu was a shampoo and set. But she sang in Liverpudlian, too, which was unusual and rather charming. Here she is with the song Paul McCartney wrote for her telly theme: Not the full orchestral version, but the demo, in a lower key and with Paul on guitar.
That's George Martin on the studio feedback right at the end.
By way of contrast, here's something it took me a while to track down. But I know she had fond memories of it because she told me so a zillion years ago. Cilla on "The Morecambe & Wise Show", being given the signal honor of joining in on their theme song "Bring Me Sunshine" - it starts about 20 minutes in, and stick around for Cilla's solo turn on "Close To You":
A great Sixties survivor, and a very warm and solicitous person. Step inside, Cilla.