Sabha is a city in the south of what remains of Libya after Hillary ("We came, we saw, he died") Clinton was done with it. Last week, a pet monkey belonging to a shopkeeper from the Gaddadfa tribe pulled the head scarf off one of a group of passing schoolgirls from the Awlad Suleiman tribe. The outraged menfolk of the girls did not take it well. So far, sixteen people are dead plus the monkey.
~Tribalism is a subtler affair in the United States. Last week the fetching young gentlemen of the chorus from the Snowflake tribe discovered that a pet monkey belonging to the cruel and ruthless chieftain of the Deplorable tribe had penetrated the security perimeter of their sacred temple of native dancing and drumming every night at seven at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Upon discovering a non-believer in their midst, the elders of the al-Exander Hamilton tribe angrily denounced him from the tabernacle while their simple impoverished people - some of whom were only able to afford 1,500 bucks for a pair of restricted-view seats - bayed their approval of his public humiliation.
The headline at the London Speccie reads: "Insulting People Who Think Differently From You Isn't The Way To Engage People." Which rather misses the point: Inter-tribal engagement is for old-school plays, like Romeo And Juliet and Abie's Irish Rose. The new tribalists don't want to engage - they want to label, and ostracize, and de-normalize. Melanie McDonagh writes:
This spectacle of liberals drawing their garments closely about their persons to avoid contamination from the deplorables is, of course, evident in spades across the Atlantic. I was rather revolted, myself, at the behaviour by the cast and audience at Hamilton – history as Broadway musical – dissing the Vice-President-elect Pence when he appeared to see the play. It's going to be that bit less likely, isn't it, that he, or any other prominent member of the administration will go to plays or concerts that may challenge their world view, that may expose them to people and ideas other than their own. I think the Hamilton lot should have been delighted to have had him in the audience, to get the benefit for the message of the play. Instead, they've indicated that their kind of theatre is for their kind of people. And then they'll complain when the administration isn't receptive to their ideas.
Even worse, the Administration might not be receptive to their tax-breaks. Last year, Chuck Schumer managed to slip through some boondoggle making a losing theatrical investment tax-deductible for Broadway's angels. Given that Hamilton is the exception and that eighty per cent of theatrical endeavors close without recouping a dime of their costs, in effect Congress moved a branch of showbusiness into the same category as a charitable donation. But it was a temporary tax-break, and it requires renewal in the new session.
Incidentally, if you're tempted to separate the hardheaded avarice of the money men from the bighearted idealism of the artists, bear in mind that the Pence stunt was not an impromptu reaction to the presence of an interloper but a planned and calculated response organized by the producers - the same crowd who are demanding Congress extend their tax-breaks.
That presumes surely that there is some kind of public interest in keeping the theatre going. Is it then a "public accommodation"? And, if so, if it's okay for theatricals to single out individual customers for public excoriation, why can't, say, one of the apparent legions of homophobic bakers up and down the land do the same thing? We're told they have no right to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but, in the same spirit as the cast of Hamilton, don't they have the right to upbraid their clients and ice one of the sterner verses from Leviticus onto the top of it?
As I said, the new American tribalism is way more confusing than the relatively straightforward Libyan version.
~Meanwhile, Tim Sommer thinks the Deplorable tribe could have been defeated if only Bruce Springsteen had stalked Trump's rallies with his guitar and held impromptu concerts outside the gates to draw away all the Boss fans among the angry white haters. Like the Pied Piper of Jersey. Seriously.
Kathy Shaidle comments:
The fact is, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga and Green Day et al GOT TRUMP ELECTED.
They confirm Trump's thesis - that the present racket works for the elites, but not for you.
~Speaking of which, I was reading this story about Marine Le Pen's widening poll lead over Sarkozy in the upcoming French election. And next thing you know Sarko's out. The French center-right is trying to avoid the mistake of the Republican establishment in the crowded early primary season: every other consideration is subordinate to the need to find a viable non-Le Pen, who will surely make it into the final run-off of the presidential contest. Given that remarkable fact, it is sad to see Bernard-Henri Lévy get things so back to front:
"If Trump is possible, then everything is possible," Mr Levy told the Telegraph. "Nothing, from now on, is unimaginable.
"As for Le Pen it is unlikely that she wins but it is possible, and that is partly because the people have lost interest in policy, instead focusing on personality."
Like Trump, Marine Le Pen has a powerful personality. But, like Trump, she's leading precisely because the people have not lost interest in policy. Au contraire. It is the elites that have lost interest. Thus the Gallic shrug of Prime Minister Manuel Valls: if it's a choice between re-thinking immigration policy or getting used to Nice-scale terrorism, you schlubs better get used to it - because your betters can't rouse themselves to reconsider the world they've made. As with Trump, Marine Le Pen's supporters are rejecting the bipartisan policy consensus on this matter and demanding the right to discuss it.
~In these turbulent times, why not try a new source of information and entertainment? Two weeks from today, on December 5th, I'll be starting a new nightly telly extravaganza called, with stunning lack of imagination, The Mark Steyn Show. We'll be surveying the scene for an hour every night five days a week: you can watch it commercial-free from around the world whenever your heart desires, via TV or telephone, Amazon or Apple, or any other known delivery system. And it's not just the doom'n'gloom stuff: I can't promise we'll have the cast of Hamilton doing their toe-tapping Sic temper tyrannis Pence showstopper, but we will have movies and music and all the gaiety of life. For more details, and to subscribe at a low introductory rate that includes three other great shows, see here.