There was almost too much news these last 24 hours:
~As listeners to yesterday's Q&A well know, my view is that mass transformative immigration is an existential threat to western civilization. That's why Trump caught my eye two-and-a-half years ago, and that's why I re-emphasized the point a week-and-a-half ago: his presidency will stand or fall on immigration. There's no market for a Trump who suddenly decides, whaddayaknow, Mexico is sending us its best.
Was yesterday the Humpty-Trumpty Falls Off The Wall moment? The soi-disant immigration hardliners at VDare are oddly relaxed about it; Ann Coulter (the "lowest day" of Trump's presidency) and Tucker Carlson ("What was the point of running for president?") are not. As an unassimilated foreigner, I'm not sure I'm 100 per cent on top of Tucker's Chicago Cubs/World Series analogy, but, if I get the gist of it, I think it's a sportier version of my immigration-is-all point. That said, I spent much of yesterday talking about the subject in a European context, so I'll save my extended thoughts for later in the week.
Nonetheless, in the scheme of things, President Trump's ability to crush Steve Bannon like a bug and piss all over a three-day teacup-storm like Michael Wolff is less important than whether or not he still has the determination or inclination to crush like a bug the open-borders loons in both parties and extinguish apparently indestructible bipartisan euphemisms like "comprehensive immigration reform". That last evasion leads to the Californication of the entire electoral map. In 2016, a Republican year, the supposed GOP bastion of Orange County voted for the Democrat presidential candidate for the first time since 1936. Why do you think such healthy middle-aged Republican congressmen as Darrell Issa are deciding to "retire"?
~No man is a superhero to his valet: The latest sex-fiend swept up in the ongoing Pervnado is Marvel Comics supremo Stan Lee, who, unlike his creations, likes to get out of the long underwear. I met the great man when I was covering the Democrat Convention in 2000, so yes, put another one in the Dem column. For those of us a-wearying of Spider-Man reboots every fortnight (see my closing paragraph here), the question is:
a) Will they simply do as they've done to Garrison Keillor on NPR, Charlie Rose on PBS and Jonathan Schwartz on WNYC and vaporize the guy's entire oeuvre, including all those godawful Reboot-Man vs the Fantastic Franchisers post-origin pre-sequels? In which case, there'll be nothing at the multiplex except The Emoji Movie, The Lego Movie, The Lego Emoji Movie and The Lego Darkest Hour in 3D.
b) Or will they, as with Kevin Spacey, simply edit out all Stan Lee's cameos in those Marvel movies and replace him with Christopher Plummer?
PS What if Christopher Plummer gets similarly swept up in the Pervnado? Maybe they should just edit in that CGI Peter Cushing they stuck in the last-but-one Star Wars movie. Then again the real Peter Cushing died in 1994, so that may be too recent. Maybe we should just use film stars sufficiently deceased not to have hit on anyone still in a position to take it to HR - a CGI Rudolph Valentino for Wolverine and a CGI John Gilbert for the Mighty Thor perhaps...
~Last call for Sir John A Macdonald: The establishment at top right is a small trivial example of a profound sickness. Sir John's Public House is a Scottish pub in Kingston, Ontario located in the building where Canada's first Prime Minister once had his law office. On Tuesday, the publican changed the name and replaced the signs. It is no longer "Sir John's Public House", merely "The Public House":
"Some of our customers and some of the native organizations in the Kingston area said that they could no longer do business with us. They said that it was no longer a safe place for them, and that the name 'Sir John's' just brought back too many unhappy memories for their communities," Fortier said.
What sort of ninny goes to a Scots pub looking for "a safe place"? I had an agreeable lunch there a couple of years back when passing through Kingston, but can't say I'd be minded to return now it's joined the ranks of the culturally craven. Instead of "The Public House", why not something catchier like "Omar Khadr's Public House"?
Pub names, unlike those of most other retail outlets, are explicitly internded to be a) distinctive and b) rooted in history. I don't just mean all the familiar English ones like the George & Dragon and the Saracen's Head, which are assuredly on the way out as Islamophobia-hate-crimes-in-waiting, but I'm also thinking of rarer coinages like the Hielan Jessie on the Gallowgate in Glasgow, named for Jessie Brown, wife of a corporal in the 17th Highland Regiment, who in the Indian Mutiny, after her husband was killed, rallied his surviving comrades to fight on by claiming to hear the approaching bagpipes of the 78th Highlanders. As a predecessor of mine at The Spectator reported in 1857:
Suddenly I was aroused by a wild unearthly scream close to my ear; my companion stood upright beside me, her arms raised and her head bent forward in the attitude of listening. A look of intense delight broke over her coun- tenance, she grasped my hand, drew me towards her and exclaimed 'Dinna ye hear 'it? Ay, I'm no dreamin', it's the slogan o' the Highlanders! We're saved!' Then flinging herself on her knees she thanked God with passionate fervour.
Isn't that a bit triggering for all those descendants of mutinous sepoys now running Glasgow corner shops?
The owner of Sir John's Public House is like a lot of Canadians. He thinks it's easy and painless to surrender the past. He doesn't realize that, when you surrender the past, you're also surrendering the future.
~See you on the telly tomorrow evening with the aforementioned Tucker Carlson, live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific - with a rerun at midnight Eastern. We hope you'll tune in. If you prefer me in non-visual form, on Friday we'll be airing some frosty fiction in my monthly series of audio adventures Tales for Our Time - one of our bonus features for Mark Steyn Club members. So, if you've a chum who's into classic fiction, you might like to sign him or her up for a Steyn Club Gift Membership (and choose a personally autographed welcome gift - either one of two handsome hardback books or a couple of CDs).
Speaking of our audio entertainments, thank you for the kind words about our Twelfth Night special, in which I rounded up some of the best live music from various iterations of our show over the years. The performers included Loudon Wainwright III, Liza Minnelli, Paul Simon and various other bestselling recording artists, but, even so, Steyn Club member Emily was kind enough to put in a word for my own modest contribution:
"The Very Thought of You" has always been one of my favorite songs and now even more so. Great performance!
Thank you for that, Emily. A lot of the credit goes to Eric Harding on piano and Jon Gearey on guitar. If you've yet to hear our special, it's fun to curl up with on a chilly night, and you can find it here.