[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your heteronormatively genial host John Derbyshire with a round-up of the week's news.
Spring is upon us, ladies and gentlemen, and we are having balmy weather here on our little island in the Aegean. The tranquil days slip by in sun-bathed sweetness, only interrupted occasionally by a boatload of refugees from Cyprus. The young men from the village go down to the shore and throw rocks at them; that soon sends them on their way.
I have been soaking in the atmosphere of this lovely place, imagining myself at one with the gods and heroes of antiquity, lying on the beach lulled by the gentle sussuration of the waves, listening to the distant call of the sea-birds, and of course reciting Byron's immortal verses:
The isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece!
[Voice of Candy: "Hey Mandy, where did you put the goddam sunblock?"]
[Voice of Mandy: "It's in the frickin' closet, dipwad …"]
Ah yes, the dulcet tones of my research assistants, reminding me that while their work for the week is done, mine is only beginning.
02 — Derbs make dash for freedom First off this week, a housekeeping note. I am sorry to say there will be no Radio Derb next week. I shall be back in the States with Mrs. Derb, and we shall be on the road. This weeks' Radio Derb will be extra long to compensate.
The precise road we are on will be the road to the fine state of Tennessee, where I shall be addressing the American Renaissance conference. We'll be going down a few days early for some sightseeing, though: visiting either Civil War battlefields, or shopping malls, depending on whether I or Mrs. Derb win the argument. That argument is getting heated and may end in violence, though I hope it won't be as bloody as Shiloh.
And here's a news item about the Volunteer State. This is from Investors Business Daily, March 28th, headline, quote: Americans Are Migrating To More Free Republican States. The article isn't specifically about Tennessee, it's about a study out of George Mason University on which states are free and which aren't.
The researchers looked at a big list of factors, among them tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, and education choice. Bottom line: the state with the most freedom is North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, and then at Number Three, yes, Tennessee! Far and away the least free state in the Union was New York, where the Derbyshire estates are located.
So our next week trip down to Tennessee will be a dash for freedom, away from the odious Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is now planning to levy fines on New Yorkers who fail to raise their pinkies when sipping tea, away too from the loathsome Andrew Cuomo, who, contrary to rumors you may have heard, did once see a tax he didn't like … but the reason he didn't like it was, it was too low.
Congratulations to North Dakota, anyway; although if you're thinking of heading up there to enjoy some of that top-ranked freedom, from what I've heard you'll have to get in line behind a couple hundred thousand healthy young men looking to make a bundle working in the oil fields … Probably followed closely by, unless my understanding of human nature is seriously in error, a couple hundred thousand healthy young women looking for husbands.
Jolly good luck to all of them, and may the spirit of American freedom live on!
03 — China's long game Speaking in Moscow last weekend, China's new Supreme Leader Xi Jinping scolded the U.S.A. for interfering in other countries' affairs. Quote:
We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Well, isn't that nice. Perhaps President Xi could try out that line on the unhappy people of Tibet, whose internal affairs have been under the ChiComs' iron heel since 1950.
My friend Randall Parker over at the ParaPundit blog observes that President Xi may be making a mistake. Long quote from Randall, quote:
If he wants to weaken the United States vis à vis China then he should encourage the US to engage in foreign wars with huge negative returns on investment. The Iraq war was a huge win for China because it cost the United States trillions of dollars. The negative-ROI wars that characterize US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War lower US living standards and saddle America with lots of long term debt. The Chinese should be trying to trick the US into believing assorted countries have awesome WMD development programs to lure the US into more follies.
End long quote. I think the ChiComs probably know that at some level, but their dislike of instability is at present overriding their desire to see the U.S.A. wade into another geostrategic tar pit.
I predict that that will continue to be their attitude up to the point at which they feel themselves strong enough to not have to bother what the U.S.A. does. Say another ten years.
04 — Sing-along-a-Peng Speaking of China's new Supreme Leader; we reported back in November last year that he is married to a lady, name of Peng Liyuan, famous in China for singing songs praising the Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. I actually sang along with her on one of those songs back then, you may recall.
Am I going to replay that little duet? You bet I am.
[Clip from 11/24/12 Radio Derb, "在希望的天野上"]
China's First Lady is back in the news this week. Someone in China dug out, and posted on the internet, a photograph of Ms. Peng back in 1989, singing congratulatory songs to the troops who put down the counter-revolutionary rebellion of that year, known to us imperialist running dogs as the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
The ChiCom internet censors quickly blocked the site, and some unfortunate blogger is having his fingernails pulled off in a secret police dungeon somewhere in China as I speak.
All sympathy to him, or her, but how is this news? Singing songs to the ChiCom soldiery has been Ms. Peng's living since way before the Tiananmen massacres — since 1982, at least. They are communists. This is what they're like.
If you're still not clear, go to Amazon.com and download my novel about the Tiananmen Square incident, Fire from the Sun. It explains everything.
What, you thought I'd let a mention of Tiananmen Square go by without promoting my book? Ha! Speaking of which, I have a new book coming out in a few days. I'll give you more news of that in the next Radio Derb.
05 — Microaggression A very handy word has come up in the last few weeks and been put into internet circulation: "microaggression."
I first saw it on Steve Sailer's blog at the beginning of March, in reference to the Oberlin College "hate" atrocity, when someone at that hyper-liberal college may or may not have seen what may or may not have been a person wearing what may or may not have been a sheet or blanket in the small hours of the morning, and assumed that Ku Klux Klan nightriders were about to torch the place — an assumption the mainstream media eagerly picked up and ran with.
Well, Steve discovered that Oberlin College actually runs a website named "Oberlin Microaggressions" which seems to be in dead earnest. I quote from their home page, quote:
If you see or hear racist, heterosexist/homophobic, anti-Semitic, classist, ableist, sexist/cissexist speech etc., please submit it to us so that we may demonstrate that these acts are not simply isolated incidents, but rather part of structural inequalities.
End quote. "Cissexist," eh? There's another neologism — it's getting hard to keep up. I'll leave you to look that one up for yourselves.
Anyway, here's the latest microaggression story.
Computers, as I'm sure you know, have programmers, and programmers use programming languages. One of those languages is called Python, and there was a conference for Python users in Santa Clara, California the week before last, two and a half thousand attending.
One of the attendees at that conference was a young mulatto or octoroon lady — I beg your pardon: I mean an age-challenged afro-gyno-American — named Adria Richards. Gyno-Americans are in a minority in the world of programming, and the afro variety is a minority within a minority. You see the opportunities for microaggression here.
This particular conference was 20 percent female. Most of the rest were geeky young white guys — sorry again: charisma-challenged age-challenged euro-andro-Americans.
Well, this Adria Richards bird was sitting in the conference hall March 17th with the other 2,499 nerds listening to some lecture on Python when she happened to overhear two of the guys behind her whispering between themseves. Apparently they were exchanging double-entendres based on the words "forking" and "dongle," both of which are technical terms in computer programming. You can find both terms defined on Wikipedia if you really want to know what they mean.
Our heroine at once felt herself to have been microaggressed. Instead of turning the other cheek, she turned both her cheeks round on her seat and photographed the hate-filled bigots behind her. Then she tweeted the incident, with the photo attached. Then she alerted hall security, who dragged the two offenders out and threatened to confiscate their pocket protectors and strap them to chairs in front of a TV showing nothing but pro football games. The two broke down and confessed.
One of them was fired from his job when his boss recognized him from the picture Ms. Richards had tweeted. He's a married man with three children; but hey, they're just rich white brats looking forward to an easy life of white privilege, so let's not worry about them.
What inevitably came to be called Donglegate soon went viral. Everyone in the tech world was talking about it. At that week's end we heard that Ms. Richards herself had been fired from her job, so now the Donglegate body count was two. Her boss told CBS News that, quote, "Richards put the company's business in danger, divided the developer community and could no longer be effective at the company," end quote.
("Developer" is what you're supposed to say nowadays instead of "programmer," like "sanitation engineer" instead of "garbageman," or "Republican" instead of "Chambers of Commerce P.R. flack.")
Microaggression. I can't see any reason to like it; but then, I'm not a lawyer …
06 — Born too soon Here's another story from the world of computer programming — software development, whatever.
This concerns a young Englishman, name of Nick D'Aloisio, 17 years old. Young Nick created a smartphone app in his bedroom, and he has just sold it to Yahoo for ten million pounds sterling, around $15 million. The app is called Summly.
What does it do? Well, according to the Daily Telegraph, it's, quote, "a news summarization application that shortens longer web articles into three concise paragraphs, making them easier to read on the screen of a smartphone," end quote.
Hmm. That sounds like what my research assistants do. Perhaps … no, unthinkable. I'd be lost without the girls. Who'd do the polishing and collating?
I'll admit to feeling a modicum of resentment here. I was a programmer for thirty years. I wrote thousands of lines of code that must have made scads of money for the big, rich companies I worked for — outfits like Marathon Oil and Credit Suisse. How come none of those firms ever offered me $15 million?
Born too soon, I guess.
07 — Ogooglebar All right, let's have a fire sale on infotech stories.
Here's one from Sweden, home of the meatball, the Vikings, and stunning blonde women who pee standing up.
The Swedes are one of those nationalities that guard the purity of their language very jealously. You remember those stories about Frenchmen being dragged off to the guillotine for saying "le weekend" or "faire du shopping." The Swedes are like that. In fact they have a Language Council that publishes an annual list of new words Swedish people may use without fear of Elin Nordegren coming after them with a nine-iron.
Well, this year's list of new words included he word "ungoogleable," defined to mean "something that cannot be found on the internet with any search engine." If you want to know the actual Swedish word that I've translated as "ungoogleable," it's "ogooglebar" — add your own Swedish accent, I can't do one.
The actual company Google objected. "Ungoogleable," they said, should only mean that the thing can't be found with Google, not that it can't be found with any search engine.
Sweden's Language Council has now backed down and removed the word from its list altogether, "to avoid a lengthy legal battle," says the BBC News website. Given the power and wealth of Google, Inc. at this point, they have probably also avoided drone strikes and ICBMs.
I'd like to commend to the attention of Sweden's Language Council a neologism of my own: underbable. A word is underbable if Google Advanced Search can't find it anywhere in my voluminous archives. The word "rutabaga," for example, is not underbable. Neither is "irrefrangible"; neither is "adscititious"; neither is "Tyrolean"; neither is "paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde." The word "ludic," on the other hand, is underbable … though once I have archived this transcript, it will no longer be.
08 — How to get the thigh of the grasshopper As Radio Derb listeners may have divined, we are keen viewers of the BBC News website. When making our daily visit to that august portal, we never fail to stop off at the pages of news from Africa to catch the African Proverb of the Day.
On Thursday the 28th of March the Proverb for the Day was especially pithy. It was taken from the Igbo people of Nigeria. Quote:
Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.
End quote. Now that bears meditating on. Just turn it over in your mind for a while, and you will see the wisdom in it.
Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.
Among other gems on the African Proverb of the Day website:
A dead donkey does not fear the hyena.
That's from Ghana. There was actually a British TV comedy show named Drop the Dead Donkey — don't believe me, look it up on IMDb — but I don't think it had anything to do with Ghana.
The chick that gets closer to its mother gets the thigh of the grasshopper.
Also from Ghana. A bit microaggressive against chicks who prefer white meat, if you ask me.
How about this one from the Yoruba people:
When you see an old man running in a thorn forest, if he is not running after something then something is running after him.
Wouldn't that be equally true whatever kind of forest he was running in? Or even if he was running in the open?
When an old woman falls down twice, people should check what is in her basket.
They definitely should. She might have been shoplifting; although if you check and she hasn't shoplifted, you'll be in trouble with Atlantic magazine.
What made the vulture bald is enough to kill the crow.
Right. And what made Milwaukee famous made a monkey out of me. I don't think that's African, though, nor even necessarily African American; just … American.
09 — Harry Reid's Believe It Or Not The United States Senate has passed a budget, the first in four years. [Applause.]
10 — No habla Inglés Congratulations to Pedro Quezada of Passaic, New Jersy, on his winning the Powerball lottery. He was the only winner, so he snaffled the entire $338 million payout.
I went to Fox News Latino for the report on Mr. Quezada's extraordinary stroke of good fortune. I figured they'd give me better information that Fox News Anglo, Fox News Chino, Fox News Indo, Fox News Koreao, Fox News Russo, Fox News Wino, or one of the other Fox News outlets.
Mr. Quezada showed up at New Jersey lottery headquarters Tuesday afternoon to officially claim his prize. There was a crowd of reporters there to ask him questions.
We learn that Mr. Quezada moved to the U.S.A. from the Dominican Republic when he was 19 years old. He has now been in the States for 26 years. His wife is Mexican. Married nine years, they have five children. He owns a modest bodega in Passaic.
Quote from Fox News Latino: "Quezada was initially asked questions in Spanish and answered in Spanish before they were translated."
This puzzled me. If this was just a presser for Fox News Latino, why did it need translating?
I checked around, and ran the TV clip of the event. No, it wasn't just for the Latino news, it was a general presser, with all the media represented. Some of the reporters' questions were in English; they had to be translated into Spanish for Mr. Quezada. Some others were in Spanish, which he answered right away, while people were calling out for translations.
I watched all 22m08s of that presser and I only heard Mr. Quezada say one word in English: "Yes," at 2m59s, in answer to the question, in English, "Is the bodega already closed?" So plainly he can understand a little English. Just as plainly, from the other 22m07s, not much.
Now Mr. Quezada, to judge from his demeanor at this press conference, is a very pleasant and modest man. He's been working hard a lot of years for very little remuneration. He seems to be pious: He thanked God several times for his good fortune. The thing that happened to Mr. Quezada couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow. His wife, who showed up for part of the presser, made an equally good impression. Good luck to them both.
Still I have to ask Mr. Quezada: The U.S.A. has been sensationally good to you. Could you not have spoken to us in our own language? After living in this country for 26 years, can it really be the case that you do not know enough of our national language even to say "Thank you"?
I also have to ask my own fellow citizens: What kind of country has we become, when you can live for 26 years in an American town, having arrived at age 19 when your mind is still nimble, and yet need to have simple English questions translated for you?
11 — Norks gone wild The Norks have been kicking over the traces again. The U.S.A. and South Korea have been conducting joint military exercises, and this has got the Norks riled up.
I'm just going to pause for a moment to note that these exercises have featured flights of B-52 bombers out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Let's hear it for the dear old B-52, now in its 59th year of service. The B-52 has been in service for over half the entire history of powered flight. A 25-year-old test pilot who flew the first prototypes in 1952 would now be 86 years old. Congratulations to the B-52 and thanks to all those who've served in this wonderful machine.
OK, back to the Norks. What are they up to? Well, they have a basket-case economy, that's not news to anybody. The political leadership needs goods coming in, though, to keep their military on-side. For the first four decades the state existed, they got what they needed from the U.S.S.R. When that show ended its run, they could still depend to some degree on the ChiComs, because (a) of sentimental memories of fighting side by side in the Korean War, and (b) the ChiComs look on the Norks as insurance against having a U.S. puppet state — that's how they see South Korea — on their borders.
The Norks aren't crazy about being dependent on China, though. These are Koreans, "the Irish of Asia." They're not keen about being dependent on anyone.
(Wait a minute there, Derb. Didn't you just imply that the South Koreans are dependent on Uncle Sam? Yes I did, and to a degree they are. Now check out a list of the nations of the world in order by the degree of anti-Americanism they display when polled. Take out the Muslims and the Russians, the Souks are way up there.)
So, given that, once the U.S.S.R. fell apart, the Norks needed another source of income. They duly found one: protection racketeering.
The game is, they fire off a few missiles, hold some scary maneuvers, test a nuke, make belligerent noises, sink a fishing boat perhaps, and wait for the diplomats to arrive bearing gifts. The rest of the world is glad to pay them off to behave themselves for a while, and in fact it is rational to do so. It doesn't cost much, and it's better than another Korean War.
That's Theory A about what's happening. Theory B is that the new leader, Kim Jong-un, really is as far out of touch with reality as he sounds, and really might pop off some missiles at our Far Eastern bases.
I'm going with Theory A right now, just because I can't believe those stone-faced old generals really hold Fatty Arbuckle in sufficiently high esteem to go to war when he tells them to. So Theory A … though I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
12 — SCOTUS and the gays The U.S. Supreme Court has been pondering homosexual marriage. I wrote a long piece for VDARE.com on the topic, to which I refer you should you want to know what I think of the business.
Here's something that came up in conversation after I'd posted that.
If we get homosexual marriage, the next thing we'll get is polygamy. Europe will probably get it first, as an accommodation to the swelling number of Muslims; but we won't be far behind.
So then we'll be in a situation where any number of people, of any combination of sexes, will be able to unite together in a "marriage" and claim the benefits thereof. You could advertise on Craigslist for anyone who cared to join in a marriage with you, no sex, or even affection or cohabitation, necessarily involved. How, exactly, would we maintain the distinction between "marriage" and "marriage of convenience"?
Marriage will then have completed its transformation from foundational unit of a civilized society to just another welfare scam.
Assuming, that is, we can still afford a welfare state at that point.
13 — Say rude words, lose your constitutional rights Outrage of the week occurred in the city of New York.
A little background here. New York City has a Fire Department, of course, the FDNY. Within the Fire Department is a bureau of Emergency Medical Services — basically an ambulance unit. This service employs paramedics and EMTs, Emergency Medical Technicians. You with me? OK.
Meet Mr. Timothy Dluhos, 34 years old, an EMT with twelve years' service and rank of Lieutenant. Mr. Dluhos likes to tweet. Here are some of his tweets.
Quote: "I'm going to give up racial insults for lent. Jesus that didn't last too long. F***ing Chinks can't drive." End quote.
There's more of the same, though that's a fair sample. The New York Post published these tweets, boasting smugly that they had, quote, "outed him as a racist."
Mr. Dluhos also tweeted pictures of his rifles. He owns two, both properly licensed and perfectly legal.
Owned two, I should say. Last Sunday, after the Post had published those tweets, New York City cops showed up at Mr. Dluhos' home and confiscated his two rifles — guns that were, I repeat, legally owned, Mr. Dluhos' lawful property, for which he had paid honest money.
A Fire Department spokesman told the New York Post that, quote, "The commissioner's deeply concerned, and he's suspended him without pay," end quote.
I don't normally have a lot of sympathy for New York City public employees, who have benefit and pension plans beyond the wildest dreams of anyone working in the private sector. I also have a general bias in favor of employers over employees, even in the public sector. So I'm not actually shedding any tears for Mr. Dluhos.
I would, though, like someone to tell me how posting politically incorrect material on social media is grounds for a citizen having his constitutional rights removed.
14 — Lessons of Cyprus The Cyprus crisis has reached some kind of resolution, though with a long tail of future problems hanging off it that will probably generate spin-off lesser crises in the future.
Resentment against the Germans, for example, who are seen in southern Europe as the bully of the piece, is getting ever more intense. The Germans are of course looking at it through the right end of the telescope, from the point of view of fiscal rectitude. They've been working hard, retiring late, and keeping their national economy in sound order while the Mediterraneans have been dodging taxes, retiring at 45, and laundering Russian mafia money.
And as the Daily Telegraph noted, quote: "If Brussels, Berlin and the International Monetary Fund find it quite so difficult to agree their strategy over a tiddler like Cyprus, how will they cope when it comes to a larger country such as Portugal, Italy or Spain?" End quote. I have a feeling we shall find out.
Put it another way: If little Cyprus was too big to fail from the point of view of keeping the Euro in play, then there can be no question of letting Ireland, or Spain, or Italy fail. But … how do you stop it? Who will bail out Italy?
One thing we should learn from the Cyprus fiasco is that the expression "the financial industry" is absurd. Banking is not an industry. It doesn't produce anything anyone wants to buy. You can no more organize an economy around banking than you can organize an economy around everyone doing each other's laundry.
Jurisdictions whose economy is founded on banking — like Cyprus, or Iceland until recently, or Britain and New York still — is founded on sand, and wet sloppy sand at that.
15 — One is the loneliest number Only children used to be something of a rarity. My best friend way back in my single digits was an only child: We all felt a bit sorry for him.
Well, that was then, this is now. China famously has a one child policy de jure; the rest of the developed world is getting to the same destination fast de facto. In the U.S.A., 22 percent of American families have only one child, and the proportion is rising fast. In Canada it's 43 percent; in Britain it's nudging 50 percent. Even in India the number is ten percent, and again, of course, rising fast.
There are zones of exception at the top and bottom of the economic range. Wealthy women who can afford a battalion of nannies go for more than one child; so do the feckless, jobless poor, who can depend on the state to support their brood. As always, it's the poor old middle class that gets the shaft. Someone should start a Middle Class Liberation Front … except of course that the middle classes would never join it. They're too polite, and too busy working to make the mortgage payments.
Things used to be a lot different. I had a sad reminder this week of how different.
In the small hours of Wednesday morning my Aunt Muriel died. She was 95 years old, born in 1917. Her father, who served on the Western Front in the First World War, used to say he brought her home from France.
Muriel was the thirteenth and last child in her family; my mother, Muriel's sister, was number eleven. Muriel was also the last to die; they are all gone now, all thirteen of them.
Their father, my Grandad, was a pick-and-shovel coal miner in the West Midlands of England. Their mother was, as we say nowadays, a homemaker. "How on earth did Granny cope?" I asked my mother once. "Oh," she replied, "the older ones took care of us younger ones."
Simple times. To have thirteen kids nowadays you have to be either (a) stinking rich, or (b) on welfare.
Muriel did factory work in her younger days, including all through World War Two. Later she became a teacher of deaf children, and by all accounts was a very good one, dedicated and popular.
Goodnight, Auntie Mu. It was a life well lived.
The point of great writers is, that when you don't know how to express your feelings, they step up to do it for you. The writer on duty in this case is William Shakespeare:
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
The stage direction following that reads: "Exeunt, with a dead march." I'll spare you the dead march, but I think it's high time I took my exeunt.
16 — Signoff. Well, that was an exceptionally long Radio Derb: mainly because, as I began by saying, there will be no broadcast next week.
Here's something a little out of the ordinary to see us out. There were a couple of references to China back there, and one to Chinese music. Well, here's some real Chinese music, classical Chinese music. This is from 月兒高, "The Moon is High."
More from Radio Derb the week after next.
[Music clip: From 月兒高]