Programming note: Tonight, Monday, I'll be live with Tucker Carlson, coast to coast across America on Fox News at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, with a rerun at midnight Eastern. Hope you'll tune in.
The fallout from the presidential s***hole continues. On the one hand, Republican senator Lindsay Graham pushes back against Trump:
I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.
On the other hand, most of us don't get to live in an "idea", but in something rather less abstract called "reality", which is for better or worse "defined by its people":
Not far from where I'm writing this, the kosher butcher shop is long gone; across the street, the church that once stood tall is now boarded up.
But next to it stands a mosque newly built and freshly painted. English in the neighborhood is a foreign tongue and nobody knows Frank Sinatra.
The boys don't play stickball. The girls in their veils don't play hopscotch and all the cabs are driven by men from Somalia and Afghanistan.
Strangers are not greeted warmly.
That's a snapshot of what troubles President Trump...not the mosque, but the culture shift.
The novelist Martin Amis once described me as "a great sayer of the unsayable". Since then, a lot more has gotten unsayable. So saying it becomes a revolutionary act: That's what Donald Trump did in June 2015 when he came down the escalator and started talking about Mexico "not sending us their best". "S***hole countries" is going down better with his supporters than almost anything he's said since. At this stage, there would be disappointment if it turned out he hadn't said it; the lack of s**t would hit the fans, badly.
The soft totalitarianism of our time - as manifested by CNN, Lindsay Graham et al having the vapors over Trump - requires that ever more should go unsaid other than the self-flattering sentimentalism of the Official Lie. When you discuss immigration, you're supposed to say, "Well, my Guatemalan pool-boy is the hardest-working fellow I know" - or start yakking about your Moldovan grandfather. That's it, that's all. The notion that it's public policy, not a heartwarming Hallmark Channel movie of the week, and that those public-policy needs might have changed since the days of Tsarist pogroms, must never be allowed to take hold.
The great question is whether the romance of Senator Graham's "idea' is so seductive it will utterly overwhelm reality - as it has in the scene from Paris at top right. The City of Light is becoming, as an Irish Trump would say, the City of Sh*te.
~Some countries are full of s**t, other countries are full of shorts. From The Derby Telegraph:
Derby terrorist Munir Mohammed was strict Muslim who told his neighbour off for wearing shorts
The neighbor pushed back:
There is nothing wrong with shorts.
Mr Mohammed is "a Sudanese asylum seeker who arrived in the back of a lorry in February 2014", having been misinformed as to the prevalence of shorts in the United Kingdom. Seeking an accomplice to help him blow up his adopted but short-ridden country, he went to the online dating website SingleMuslim.com and was instantly smitten by Rowaida el-Hassan:
He sent her gory videos of IS executions, including some carried out by children.
She asked him to "send more" and helped guide him to the right chemicals for his bomb.
That's some serious sexual chemistry.
Also among our Monday Mohammeds:
Mohammed Kamal Hussain is alleged to have branded himself "Captain the illiterate" and planned to kill "smart people" in a bomb attack.
Hussain reportedly said to a female contact: "I'm a simple man... I hate the smart people.
"Inshallah [God willing], I will be smart after I go to Paradise... before I die, wanna punish some kuffar [non believers]."
The 28-year-old downloaded bomb-making recipes and a picture of the Queen, Kingston crown court heard.
If you're thinking, "Captain the illiterate? What the hell does that even mean?", Mr Hussain unfortunately made a typing error:
Using the name "Captain the illiterate", which he told police was missing the word "of"...
Don't you hate it when that happens? Inshallah, in Paradise Mr Hussain will have a beautiful virgin stenographer to catch his omissions.
~From the culturally-sensitive crime blotter: As readers of the first issue of The Clubbable Steyn know, I spent some time in Rotherham, where the "grooming" gangs plied their grim trade for years on end, while the coppers looked the other way. After the conviction of yet another grooming gang in Newcastle, some commenters to Northumbria Police made remarks about the race and religion of the eighteen perpetrators. As with similar activity in towns all around Britain, you can't help but notice the perps have certain things in common.
Unfortunately, you're not supposed to notice. So Northumbria Police swung into action:
As a result of a complaint, we can confirm we looked into a number of comments posted on the force's Facebook page.
Following an investigation, which has now concluded, we spoke to two males as voluntary attenders and visited a further four people in their homes, and provided them with words of advice.
All expressed their remorse and stated that the intention of their comments was not to cause concern or to be offensive and have acknowledged the words of advice provided.
As I concluded in my report on Rotherham, the sexual exploitation of children is still going on in that town - and assuredly with the connivance of authorities. It's good to know the British police have their priorities right.
Meanwhile, from twenty miles south:
A POLICE officer is to go on trial charged with a string of sex offences, including four counts of child rape.
Mohammed Perwaze, 45, from Hury, Teesdale, appeared at Durham Crown Court... Mr Perwaze is a currently police sergeant with Durham Constabulary.
He should say he's just working as an undercover operative in a grooming sting.
~On July 14th 1940 the BBC Forces Programme aired the very first "Sunday Half-Hour" from the church of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. A programme of beloved hymns punctuated by a short prayer service, it was intended as a morale-booster for British troops overseas. Broadcast from a different church each week, "Sunday Half-Hour" proved popular on the home front too, and, as the war ended and the Forces Programme became the Light Programme and the Light Programme became Radio 2, the show survived to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2010. I've heard it many times over the years, and regarded it as one of the props of what Douglas Murray would regard as cultural Christianity: the splendid Anglican hymns that everyone in Britain once knew and that (believer or not) most enjoyed - the literal "mystic chords" of shared memory.
In 2013 Radio 2 doubled its length but moved the renamed "Sunday Hour" to six in the morning - by which point it was one of two remaining "Christian" shows on the BBC's most listened-to radio network. This month, after seventy-seven-and-a-half years, it gets the axe. The lone religious show, "Good Morning Sunday", is to be relaunched under a new pair of co-presenters - an English vicar, the Reverend Kate Bottley, and a Welsh Muslim, Jason Mohammad.
~An S-oteric note. When Ann Coulter went on UK telly, she very thoughtfully modified Trump's "s***hole" to the more discreet "s-hole". Unfortunately, her London hosts heard "s-hole" as "asshole", and accused her of swearing. Ann is mystified as to how anyone could confuse "s-hole" with "asshole" - which isn't even a word in the UK. In British English, the word is "arsehole", which one hears on Brit telly routinely.
Still, one sees how the confusion might arise. If a certain type of Englishman were minded to say "asshole", it might well come out as a Coulteresque "esshole". I'm thinking of, say, Lord Home, the former prime minister, or the dean of Wimbledon commentators, Dan Maskell. In the Seventies, when McEnroe would be stomping around Centre Court hurling obscenities at the umpire and snapping his racket in two, Dan could always be relied on to confine himself to a few murmured technical critiques: "In this next set McEnroe will really have to work on his beckhend." Had Dan ever felt the need to move beyond the deficiencies of McEnroe's beckhend to his conduct more generally, he would undoubtedly have murmured, "McEnroe needs to cease behaving like a complete esshole."
Alas, the great Maskell belongs to that lost England of "Sunday Half-Hour". So the Mishearing of Coulter is less understandable. I've discussed this vital distinction in posterior vernacular before, in the pages of Canada's National Post on April 29th 1999:
On the letters page of The Guardian, Britain's most distinguished playwright, Harold Pinter, denounced U.S. foreign policy as 'Kiss my arse or I'll kick your head in.' After three further references to arse-kissing, he concluded: 'The U.S. is now a highly dangerous force, totally out of control.'
The great American mouth-organist - that's Larry Adler, not Monica - wrote back to protest this slur on his country: U.S. foreign policy is, of course, 'Kiss my ass or I'll kick your head in.'
But that's just the sort of Yankee cultural imperialism Harold's been railing against all his life: an 'ass' is some ghastly Disneyfied airbrushed depilated silicone-pumped pert DiCaprionic thing bobbing along the beach on 'Baywatch', quite different from the good old sagging, pasty, pimply British arse.
In the heyday of Lord Reith's BBC, no self-respecting presenter would have known what an "asshole" is.
~For more from me and the late Larry Adler, see here.
We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, including a bit of Bundy morning quarterbacking on a court judgment that shames the federal justice system. In light of the President's observation about "s***hole countries", we looked at what happens when it hits the fan in Hotel Rwanda. And I tipped my hat to Mel Tillis and his greatest song "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town". For a brand new Tale for Our Time, I read Jack London's classic To Build a Fire. If you were busy over the weekend, we hope you'll start your week by checking out one or more of the above, whether on films or fire, corruption or country music. And, for the second half of our double-bill of frosty fiction, please join me on Friday.
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