Wednesday was my third day guest-hosting America's Number One radio show, dominated by the news that ESPN cannot tell the difference between an Asian-American sportscaster called "Robert Lee" and a Confederate general with a similar name. Michael Miller writes:
For the next few days, I suggest that you change your name to Robert E Steyn. I will change my name to Robert E. Miller. All your callers should identify themselves Robert E. Smith or Jones or whatever.
Like the scene in the movie where everyone claims to be Spartacus, we should all be Robert E. Everyman, during this period of madness.
Later I checked in with Fox News and Tucker Carl... whoops, I mean Robert E Carlson to discuss the first released excerpts of Hillary's latest unreadable memoir. narcissism. Click below to watch:
Speaking of TV, we'll have a brand new episode of The Mark Steyn Show for you tomorrow, Thursday.
~Last month I crossed a grim Rubicon: The beginning of the second half-decade of climate mullah Michael E Mann's defamation suit against me. So here we are in my sixth year in the hell of the DC court system - all over a 270-word blog post about fraudulent global-warming "hockey stick", the most influential and deeply damaging scientific graph of the 21st century. That works out to a year of legal folderol for every 54 words. Don't ask me to calculate the billable hours per syllable.
Nevertheless, Mann vs Steyn is the most consequential American free-speech case in half-a-century. Which is not a small thing at a time when millions of people around the western world are not just antipathetic but ever more explicitly hostile to free expression - and regard it as either subordinate or inimical to the needs of identity politics. If Mann wins his case against me, the First Amendment will be profoundly damaged, which is why my side has attracted the support of such unlikely allies as the ACLU and The Washington Post. It has, however, been procedurally bollocksed by an incompetent DC judge, so it will be a few years yet, and is now almost certain (alas) to wind up at the Supreme Court. So I'll need considerable resources to stay in the game for most of the coming decade. I have no choice - because defeat for me would be a huge victory for the criminalization of scientific disagreement and for broader restraints on freedom of expression
My new TV show was intended to keep me sufficiently liquid for that battle. But that didn't exactly work out as planned, and in fact has now resulted in another protracted and expensive round of legal hell. As with the Mann suit, the process is the punishment: any eventual verdict will be irrelevant because by the time it comes you'll be ruined and over. But I'm still here, and I've been buoyed by the many kind notes from those who enjoyed aspects of the show and have suggested what elements might be retained in the months ahead.
One aspect of that model I was never comfortable with was the subscription-only aspect. It was never meant to be part of the plan for The Mark Steyn Show. Indeed, the honcho who pitched me the show said that "Mark needs to be on TV at this critical time in history." It's a weird thing to be told that you need to be out there saving western civilization ...but only for premium subscribers. Anybody in the ideas business wants their ideas out in the world, available to all and tested by all.
So I'm heartened to see that our recent TV shows with Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray have between them, merely on YouTube, stacked up a combined audience of well over 400,000. That's not exactly viral, as the young 'uns say, and it's not like the millions and millions of listeners I have on Rush. It's also surprisingly competitive with most US cable networks - at 8pm last Thursday night, for example, CNN's Ashleigh Banfield on HLN had a total audience of under 250,000. So our viewership isn't bad for a couple of substantive long-form big-picture interviews with serious persons arguing their corners in a compelling and persuasive manner.
That's the key word: persuasion. And you can't persuade people over to your side if you're holed up behind a subscription paywall talking only to those who already agree with you.
So I'm not interested in walling up our content and limiting its reach.
That's by way of explaining what The Mark Steyn Club isn't. The content at SteynOnline will always be free and available to all. What we're trying to do is keep it going at the highest-quality level. Many of you, for example, have said how much you enjoy the full-length interviews with the likes of Lionel Chetwynd on the stories Hollywood won't tell; James E Mitchell on what it's like to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; and Amity Shlaes on the history of the Forgotten Man, from the 19th century to the 2016 election. In-depth interviews can't be done on Skype, because that's kind of hard to watch for a full hour: It requires you and the guest being in the same place, knee-to-knee across the sofa, professionally lit and shot, etc. So that's a major commitment, but one worth doing and one we intend to keep going. Likewise, my live appearances - like the recent Phoenix and Ottawa events - reach a far greater audience than those in the theatre if they can be filmed and distributed. (And we intend to place some of this content on a real TV station, too.)
So, if you're a longtime supporter of SteynOnline, I'd like to invite you to become a member of our new Mark Steyn Club. You can sign up for a full year - or, if you think this is some dodgy malodorous scheme cooked up by a fly-by-night Canadian shyster, you can opt to be more lightly scammed and sign up for a mere quarter. Membership of The Mark Steyn Club isn't for everyone, but it does ensure that all our content will be for everyone, and out there in the world - from my essay on Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind to my interview with Christopher Caldwell on Europe's Islamization, from my columns on the latest terrorist attack to my SteynPost on America's white-male epidemic of "death by despair" to my Last Call on the malign House of Saud...and, on a cheerier note, our celebrations of the late actor Martin Landau, our recent Elvis observances, and all our other cultural diversions. Members of The Mark Steyn Club help to support all this content.
In return, The Mark Steyn Club does come with a few benefits:
*Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, CDs and other products.
*The opportunity to engage in regular Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly: We've experimented with print, audio and video formats while we figure out what model readers/listeners/viewers like best, and we'll be doing it again next week live around the planet.
*An exclusive new series of audio adaptations: Tales for Our Time. We started with my serialization of Conan Doyle's timelier than ever Tragedy of the Korosko and continued with H G Wells' prescient view of a bifurcated humanity The Time Machine. You can either listen to an episode per night, as we aired them originally, or you can binge-listen to the lot on a long car journey. Our new book begins in a few days' time, and it's a corker with great relevance to our perilous age.
*Transcript and audio versions of our video content: For those who find it less stressful not to have to look at me, we're making The Mark Steyn Show available in non-visual form. If you go here, you'll find that we've already posted audio episodes of every single SteynPost all the way back to the very first one, plus some of our long-form shows, which we're also working our way through.
*Comment Club membership: you get to frolic and gambol through our comments section and take issue with me and my columns and radio shows and TV appearances. I weigh in there myself from time to time, but it's essentially your turf where you get to take the rhetorical baseball bat to any cut of my jib that happens to rankle. There's a lot of good stuff in there.
*My new quarterly newsletter, The Clubbable Steyn: The first issue is full of fun, including climate-change "adjustments", the first "known wolf" with the "mysterious motive", the anniversaries of Benghazi and Diana, Canada's all-time greatest flag design, and my visit to Rotherham to talk to the victims of Britain's Muslim "grooming" gangs.
*Our new video series of pertinent verse.
*Advance booking for my live appearances around the world.
*Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest (arts, politics, culture, or the whole shebang).
*and, most importantly, the opportunity to support all our content, from the Big Picture stuff on Islam and climate change and civilizational collapse to the small pleasures of good conversation, great movies and live music.
So I'm not into paywalled echo chambers, we're back in the world, full of ideas, and growing. When I was guest-hosting for Rush recently, I took a call from Natalie from Montana who said she was saving up from her summer job for a Steyn Club membership. I was surprised and humbled by a fifteen-year-old's interest in my work, so I decided to give her a Club membership for her 16th birthday a few week ago. It got me thinking that other listeners might also have friends or family members who'd appreciate a Steyn Club gift membership. So here it is.
You can order it now and have it delivered instantly or on a special day, such as a birthday or anniversary. Or you can print out our personalized welcome message - perfect for tucking inside a greeting card. If you're a current Steyn Club member yourself, don't forget to log-in first to enjoy special Club pricing on our gift memberships.
For more on The Mark Steyn Club, please click here.