Great news for our pal Tim Blair Down Under. Following the Australian "Human Rights" Commission's finding that Tim is officially not a racist, the Australian Press Council has now determined that he is officially not a misogynist. All he needs now is for the Australian Climate-Change Council to rule that he is officially not a greenhouse gas and Tim will have won the coveted Triple Crown.
Nevertheless, the ingrate Blair grumbles that the useless tossers at the Press Council took 217 days to investigate just 65 words of his. Yeah, cry me a river, you dilettante. My 270-word blog post has been in the hands of the lethargic jurists of the District of Columbia Superior Court for 1,487 days, and is no nearer resolution than it was on Day One.
~In the wake of Donald Trump's election triumph, what Kathy Shaidle calls the Great Re-Sorting continues. Among my old friends at The Spectator, there is no consensus on what the Trump victory means. Consider these contrasting pieces by two old Labour supporters, Nick Cohen and Rod Liddle. First, Mr Cohen, with a blunt warning to those conservatives willing to string along with the soi-disant Trumpy McHitler:
George Orwell provided the clearest warning against refusing to see the darkness in your midst. He said to the left intellectuals who went along with Stalin: 'Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don't imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the bootlicking propagandist of the Soviet regime and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.'
The same applies to the bootlicking apologists for Trump. You have to choose. Are you radical right or respectable right? For you surely can't be both.
Is that true? You can't be radical but respectable? In both the Brexit vote and the presidential election, millions of ordinary citizens of two of the oldest free nations on earth decided they'd like to give it a go: Large numbers of respectable people figured it was time for a radical solution - because another five years of business as usual would push their countries past the point of no return.
Trump is certainly a flawed vessel. Indeed, Peggy Noonan wrote an entire column bemoaning what Trump might have been had he only been sane. But the obvious answer is that a "sane Trump" would never have decided to mount a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by demolishing the weaselly evasive bipartisan consensus on illegal immigration and much else - and then playing smash-mouth with the media in a way no "sane" "respectable" linguini-spined GOP nominee would ever contemplate. In that sense, a "sane Trump" would not be Trump.
But his supporters don't care - because the hour is late. And cometh the late hour, cometh the imperfect man. While Nick Cohen obsesses on the man, the Speccie's Rod Liddle focuses on the hour:
They still don't quite get it, the liberals — don't get the full import of what Trump's victory, and this tumultuous year 2016 in general, means for us all. It presages an enormous paradigm shift to a post-liberal future. They are weighty, cumbersome things, paradigms, and take a lot of shifting. This one has been at least 20 years in the making. But once they turn, the course is set, and you can set fire to as many shoes as you like — it will do no good. In a sense, 2016 is 1968 in reverse.
Theresa May clearly gets this. Gets the change, the momentum behind the change. Even before Trump's astonishing and deserved victory she had grasped, post–Brexit, that patriotism, long considered a bit long in the tooth, had made a rather remarkable comeback: 'If you are a citizen of the world, then you are a citizen of nowhere,' she said, to derision from the Guardian.
The Davoisie of the transnational jet set are happy to be citoyens du monde and have the frequent-flyer miles to prove it, but most of their nominal compatriots are obliged to live within more circumscribed horizons. Compare Mrs May's view of citizenship and identity with Michael Ignatieff's. From my bestselling book After America:
Previously a professor at Harvard and a BBC late-night intellectual telly host, Mr Ignatieff returned to his native land of Canada in order to become Prime Minister, and to that end got himself elected as leader of the Liberal Party. And, as is the fashion nowadays, he cranked out a quickie tome laying out his political 'vision.' Having spent his entire adult life abroad, he was aware that some of the natives were uncertain about his commitment to the land of his birth. So he was careful to issue a sort of pledge of a kind of allegiance, explaining that writing a book about Canada had 'deepened my attachment to the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.'
My, that's awfully big of you. As John Robson commented in The Ottawa Citizen, 'I'm worried that a man so postmodern he doesn't need a home wants to lead my country. Why is it quaint? An interesting sociological experiment?'
For Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, there's no place like home. For Ignatieff, there's no home-like place. Which as an organizing principle for a functioning society is far more fantastical than the Land of Oz. Most people need a home. And the alternative - the "borderless world" - sounds too much like the Clinton Foundation writ large: a racket whereby unsavory thugs sluice millions to a few corrupt westerners to kiss up to them and sell out their own countries and citizens.
~Brexit. Trump. So what's next? In The Irish Times (of all unlikely places), Phelim McAleer, the man behind the forthcoming Kermit Gosnell movie and book, wonders if Ireland's referendum to amend the constitution and permit abortion might go down to defeat - and for the same reason, the indestructible condescension of the elites:
If you only read the quality newspapers, listen to RTÉ and follow the cultural "elites" and their hangers-on in Ireland, then it is clear what side all "right-thinking people" are supposed to come down on.
Just as it was in the recent US election.
The message is very clear that if you don't support the Repeal the Eighth campaign, you are, as Hillary Clinton would say, an "irredeemable deplorable..."
And just like the Clinton campaign, Hollywood has piled in.
Actor Liam Neeson has recorded a video lecturing Irish people that their reluctance to allow abortion is part of a "a different time we'd hoped we'd left behind." The abortion ban has us "chained to the past," he states.
Many years ago, on the late-night ferry from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead in Wales, I fell into conversation with a young colleen who, after breaking down in tears, revealed that she was en route to a Welsh hospital to get an abortion. She was evidently conflicted about it, and the more so because a friend of hers had recently made the same grim journey and returned to Dublin extremely distraught. I suggested that in that case she should not go through with it, although I have no idea whether she took my advice. On the other hand, the Irish Repealers would surely argue that I'm missing the point: there'd be a lot less shame over abortion if you didn't have to slink off to Wales or Northern Ireland in the dead of night to get it done.
Well, we shall see. But to return to Liam Neeson's remarks about "a different time we'd hoped we'd left behind". For a long period, Ireland's opposition to abortion was not something that "chained it to the past" but to its own sense of identity - ie, as not England. It was part of what made it, as Michael Ignatieff would say, "home".
~As SteynOnline readers may recall, I did not approve of the Nobel Academy's decision to make Bob Dylan the first songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature - on definitional grounds, I might add, rather than mere objection to a pathetic attempt to generate a bit more "buzz". I'm heartened to discover that Dylan himself appears to be entirely apathetic to the honor. After failing to get in touch with him in the weeks since the award, the Nobel guys have now been notified that, sadly, Bob will be unable to make the gala beano with the King of Sweden because he's washing his hair that night:
He explained that due to pre-existing commitments, he is unable to travel to Stockholm in December and therefore will not attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony.
The Nobel Academy adds, with a faint hint of menace:
We look forward to Bob Dylan's Nobel Lecture, which he must give – it is the only requirement – within six months counting from December 10, 2016.
Do they mean it? Or are they just blowin' in the wind? As for those "pre-existing commitments":
It is unclear what commitments Mr. Dylan might be referring to. His official website lists no tour dates after Nov. 23.
There's a "Golden Girls" rerun on Channel 173 he doesn't want to miss.
[UPDATE: Scaramouche wonders how does it feeeeeeeeel?]
~If they ever give my own humble musical contribution, Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats, a Nobel Prize, I hope I'm as cool as Dylan and send regrets, I've had a few. Notwithstanding its lack of Nobel, my cat album, featuring on the cover me and my own beloved cat Marvin in our favorite nightclub, has a four-and-a-half star rating over at iTunes - and I'm very touched by the way it continues to pile up five-star reviews at Amazon. This one from Robert C Garnsey is short and sweet:
Thank you for that, Mr Garnsey. It's for others to say whether it's great, but I certainly hope it's fun. Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats is available on CD, but, if you can't wait for the mailman, it can be yours in seconds via digital download from Amazon or iTunes.
~I'm not sure if we'll have anything from Feline Groovy on my new nightly television extravaganza, The Mark Steyn Show, but we will have live music - along with all the other fun stuff, like demography, war, terrorism, civilizational collapse. You can watch it from almost anywhere in the planet at any time of the day you like on whatever delivery system you so desire: TV or tablet, Apple or Amazon - and entirely commercial-free, for a full hour, five nights a week. We hope you'll join us - Monday to Friday, starting on December 5th. You can find out more about The Mark Steyn Show - and other great shows from Michelle Malkin, Steven Crowder and Mark Levin as part of the same package - by clicking here.