Today a Pittsburgh synagogue was shot up, eleven of its congregants killed, and many others wounded, by a man who yelled, "All Jews must die." I shall have more to say about the worst act of slaughter in the history of American Jewry tomorrow afternoon - 3pm Sunday - when I'll be speaking to CJUI (Christians and Jews United for Israel) at the Boston Marriott in Newton, Massacusetts.
~In the meantime, welcome to Part Two of Metamorphosis, The Mark Steyn Club's latest Tale for Our Time and a classic story by a great Jewish writer, Franz Kafka. In tonight's episode, Gregor permits his family and the chief clerk of his firm their first glimpse of him as a gigantic beetle. He still assumes his new insect form is merely a slight inconvenience - and that the chief clerk's hostility is due to the fact that he is a traveling salesman rather than an enormous beetle:
"Well," said Gregor, knowing perfectly that he was the only one who had retained any composure, "I'll put my clothes on at once, pack up my samples and start off. Will you only let me go? You see, sir, I'm not obstinate, and I'm willing to work; traveling is a hard life, but I couldn't live without it. Where are you going, sir? To the office? Yes? Will you give a true account of all this? One can be temporarily incapacitated, but that's just the moment for remembering former services and bearing in mind that later on, when the incapacity has been got over, one will certainly work with all the more industry and concentration. I'm loyally bound to serve the chief, you know that very well. Besides, I have to provide for my parents and my sister. I'm in great difficulties, but I'll get out of them again. Don't make things any worse for me than they are. Stand up for me in the firm. Travelers are not popular there, I know. People think they earn sacks of money and just have a good time..."
But at Gregor's very first words the chief clerk had already backed away and only stared at him with parted lips over one twitching shoulder. And while Gregor was speaking he did not stand still one moment but stole away towards the door, without taking his eyes off Gregor, yet only an inch at a time, as if obeying some secret injunction to leave the room... Once in the hall he stretched his right arm before him towards the staircase, as if some supernatural power were waiting there to deliver him.
Gregor perceived that the chief clerk must on no account be allowed to go away in this frame of mind if his position in the firm were not to be endangered to the utmost.
~We were delighted to receive this letter from Marylou and Larry in Florida, who joined The Mark Steyn Club just before this month's Steyn cruise and had a grand old time:
Only been meaning to contact you ever since we got back and thank you for ALL you did and for how wonderful the cruise was. It was a pleasure to meet you and sit at your table also. It seemed to us that the all the Mark Steyn cruisers loved the cruise and I just wanted to personally let you know and thank you... I know you have the surveys we all should have filled out. However, apart from that, I wanted to tell you that the choices you made all around were great, from speakers to destination and cruise ship.
We hope you feel that it went well, too and that it was not just all work for you. It was an awesome idea and we sure hope we can come on the next one, if you are able to manage that. If we don't, it won't be for lack of wanting.
Thank you for that, Marylou and Larry. We look forward to seeing you on our next cruise, details of which we'll be announcing very soon.
Tales for Our Time is an experimental feature we introduced as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, as you know, I said if it was a total stinkeroo, we'd eighty-six the thing and speak no more of it. But I'm thrilled to say it's proving very popular, and looks like it'll be around a while. If you're a Club member and you incline more to the stinkeroo side of things, give it your best in the Comments Section below.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club just over a year ago, and I'm overwhelmed by all those members across the globe who signed up to be a part of it and then enthusiastically re-subscribed for a second year - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands. As I said at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone. None of it's going behind a paywall, because I want it out there in the world, being read and being heard and being viewed, and maybe changing an occasional mind somewhere along the way.
However, we are offering our Club members a few extras, including these nightly radio serials. I did do a little professional story-reading a zillion years ago, so, if these fancies tickle you, we may release them as audio books on CD or Audible a ways down the road. But for the moment it's an exclusive bonus for members. If you've enjoyed our monthly Steyn Club radio adventures and you're looking for a present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. However, aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, SteynPosts, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Priority booking for the second Mark Steyn Club Cruise (following this month's sell-out inaugural cruise);
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, including my upcoming tour with Dennis Miller;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to Metamorphosis but to all the other audio adventures listed below.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you like my reading of this seventeenth Tale for Our Time or are minded to crush me like a bug, then feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for Part Three of Metamorphosis.