A week before Christmas two young ladies from Scandinavia vacationing in Morocco - Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway - were brutally stabbed and decapitated and then had the final moments of their lives uploaded as triumphal snuff videos to Facebook, Twitter, 4Chan and Reddit, the Four Horsemen of the Social-Media Apocalypse.
Fortunately, if you were thinking of getting a little nervous about your next holiday in the Maghreb, this bloody double-murder was the work of merely another "lone wolf":
In a press conference in Rabat yesterday, police and domestic intelligence spokesman Boubker Sabik labelled the suspects "lone wolves"...
Wait a minute: "lone wolves" plural? You mean, the wolf wasn't lone? No, indeed:
What 'lone wolf' gang did before Scandinavian tourist beheadings
There's a whole gang of lone wolves?
A motley crew of "lone wolves", including two street vendors, a plumber and a carpenter, hunted backpackers to kill in the Moroccan mountains.
At last count, nineteen "lone wolves" have been arrested for the double-murder. That's a rugby team plus bridge four of lone wolves. They're the least lonesome lone wolves in town.
And are they really that "motley"? (See photo above for representative three-nineteenths of the lone wolf pack.)
For almost a decade, I have made mocking reference to Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves. But there's no point to jokes, is there? Because, as absurd as they are, you wait a year or two and everybody's doing them entirely straight-faced. The phrase "lone wolf" was created by the Pansy Media to ward off the suggestion that all these lone wolves might have something in common. Just as "all politics is local", all jihad is lone. And, if you use the phrase often enough, it has such a pleasing anesthetizing effect you don't even notice that you're sitting there typing, perfectly seriously, about a gang of nineteen lone wolves.
Same number as the 9/11 hijackers, by coincidence. But we hadn't yet taken refuge in such halfwit evasions.
Needless to say, the decapitation video went "viral". Among those who were "spammed" with pictures of the severed heads were the mums of the girls, whose first Christmas without their beloved daughters was further enlivened by social-media enthusiasts posting snaps of the decapitated women to their mothers' Facebook pages. But Big Social Brother knows its priorities: It was too busy banning Robert Spencer, whose Jihad Watch website is one of the few remaining outlets that doesn't take refuge in platitudinous drivel about "lone wolves".
~Elsewhere in Yuletide decapitation news, The Ilford Recorder brings us what would once have been a startling headline, but which these days is no reason to be late for lunch:
A nativity scene has been "destroyed by idiots" outside the Christmas tree in the High Road.
The statues were installed and paid for by the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) to remind residents about the real meaning of Christmas and while the Virgin Mary and Joseph were smashed, the infant Jesus got decapitated.
One resident, who is not religious, reported the crime to the Recorder and described the incident as "religious desecration".
"It is three days before Christmas and this happens," she said.
"Any other religion and there would be an outcry and it would have been fixed already..."
She reported the incident to Redbridge Town Hall but claims they refused to deal with it as it was not their nativity scene and were about to go to lunch.
Pontius Pilate washed his hands and ordered the soup of the day.
~My old friend Daniel Hannan writes today about why we all hate each other, and concludes it's because the western world's IQ gains of the twentieth century are being dramatically reversed:
The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.
You hadn't heard? I'm not surprised. Journalists and politicians won't go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as "older moms have dumb kids," which is not true. (My wife and I were 44 when our youngest child was born, and my own parents were also elderly, but that didn't make me too thick to grasp the concept of statistical distributions.)
Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.
But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.
Kids brought up with Facebook and Instagram are more politically bigoted, not because they don't hear alternative opinions, but because they don't learn the concentration necessary to listen to opponents — a difficult and unnatural skill.
Dan's column is well worth a read. I would add a couple of points: First, the viciousness is beyond mere politics. It took me a long while, for example, to get used to the ugliness of YouTube comments on whether Tweedledee's version of "Winter Wonderland" is as good as Tweedledum's. It's still all "What the f**k, douchebag?" "Eat a d**k, you closet case" - as if there's no need for Trump or Hillary, Bush or Bernie: this is now the only form of discourse left, for everything.
But, secondly, as you can tell from the decapitations of those flesh-and-blood Scandinavians and the representational Christ Child, a strange bland soporific equanimity sets in when it comes to one particular subject. It's almost as if, as busy as we are de-evolving to a moronized state of paradoxically knuckle-dragging snowflakes, we dimly discern in ways that we cannot quite articulate - or at any rate not articulate with the usual WTFs - that this particular subject, veiled as it is in the discreet code of "lone wolves", is somehow different. The Internet makes fecal-chocolate soldiers.
~On Thursday I'll be starting the day just after 8am Eastern on the curvy couch at "Fox & Friends", and then back on screen guest-hosting for Tucker for the full hour, coast to coast at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, with a rerun at midnight eastern. Hope you can join me.
We had a busy Christmas at SteynOnline. If you're not Yuled out for another eleven-and-a-half months, there's plenty of fun to be had in our traditional Christmas cornucopia, including an hour of songs and storytelling in The Mark Steyn Christmas Show, and our bicentennial celebration of "Silent Night".
That and other content at SteynOnline is made possible through the support of members of The Mark Steyn Club, for which we're very grateful. As I always say, membership of the Club isn't for everyone, but it does ensure that all our content remains available out there for everyone - in print, in audio, in video, all around the world. For more information on The Mark Steyn Club, see here.