• Play the sound file (duration 59m44s).
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your dispassionately genial host John Derbyshire, here with our last podcast of Black History Month — or, as it's known around the studio here, White Guilt Month.
Before proceeding this week I want to thank the many listeners and readers — twenty-eight at last count — who took up the challenge to explain to me why our political elites hate Russia so much.
As I said when posing the question last week, quote:
They have no claims on our territory. They're not a commercial rival. They're not flooding us with cheap workers to depress our own people's wages and burden our welfare services. They haven't sent any terrorists to fly planes into our skyscrapers.
End quote. So why are we supposed to consider the Russians an enemy?
I offered some candidate explanations of my own, while admitting that I didn't find any of them very persuasive. Most respondents fixed on one or other of those, and tried to make it persuasive to me.
Leading candidates here were (1) sheer Cold War inertia, and (2) Jews nursing folk memories of the Tsar and his pogroms. I had objected to both on grounds of continuity failure. Why is Cold War inertia so much more of a force 25 years after the Cold War ended than it was in, say, 2007? Why are Jews angrier about the pogroms now than they were then?
The best counter-explanations from respondents were that the 2001 shock and subsequent wars diverted our hostility for a while; but that when the dust settled and the futility of those wars became plain, we fell back on more familiar antagonisms. On the Jew thing, a couple of readers argued that Putin's rough handling of some of the Jewish oligarchs was a contributing factor.
One possibility I didn't think of myself was the Obama factor. Former neoreaction blogger Whiskey, who now seems to confine himself to comment threads, elaborated on this and its genetic roots at great length, sample quote:
The elites HATE HATE HATE Putin because he did not bow and scrape before their God-King Obama; and worse, he inspired their real enemy, ordinary White men (and women) … This hate is operating at a deep, genetic level. Of course, that Obama has been organizing and stirring things up is obvious.
End quote. Well, I wouldn't be surprised.
I shall return to this theme in future podcasts, assuming the elites don't engineer a nuclear exchange with Russia that destroys human life in North America. In the meantime, your responses are still welcome, and I shall continue to ponder. Oh, and check out Fred Reed's pithy take on this topic over at the Unz Review.
Now to the news.
02 — The arc of history bends towards mass stupidity. This week's most notable skirmish in the Cold Civil War was the defenestration of homosexual conservative gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos.
Even after several minutes practice, I still have to stop and think before I can pronounce … "Yiannopoulos," so I'm going to substitute for it the surname of the only other Milo I ever heard of, Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22.
I guess I've betrayed the fact, right there, that I'm not taking this very seriously. A few reasons.
First, I have only the vaguest notion of who Milo is. On a word-association test against his name, all I can come up with is "homosexual conservative gadfly." He seems to be famous for being famous — the political equivalent of a Kim Kardashian … who I can tell you about: She's famous and has a huge arse.
As you get older, the world seems increasingly to be populated with these types. In the spirit of journalistic due diligence, I had a go — not very successful, I'm afraid — at informing myself about Milo via a site search at Breitbart.com, for whom he wrote columns until last week. Boy, it was dull stuff — mostly about himself, and some other people about whom my knowledge extends no further than their names. Who is Lena Dunham? I honestly have no clue.
Second, whatever Milo Minderbinder is, I am pretty sure about what he's not: He's not one of my people.
Let me clarify that. No, I don't mean "my people" in the sense of senior white male citizens with math degrees and collections of opera recordings. What I mean is, people on my wavelength — people interested in human nature the way I'm interested in it: Human nature in all its biological variety, as perceived via common observation, careful scientific enquiry, and the insights of poets, novelists, and religious teachers.
Put it another way, Milo isn't someone I follow. Nor, based on the due-diligence inquiry just alluded to, is he someone I believe I should have been following. I follow Steve Sailer; I follow my other colleagues at VDARE.com; I follow Jared Taylor; I follow Jayman and hbd chick; I follow Steve Hsu and Greg Cochran; I follow Razib Khan and James Thompson; the Lion and the Chateau.
Those are my people: literate and numerate, not afraid of statistics, well acquainted with the controversies in evolutionary biology this past century or so, not in thrall to any feelgood social cults. "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing," said the old song. Well, if you can't discuss standard deviations, I don't want to hear your online bloviations.
Milo Minderbinder, I'm pretty sure, wouldn't know a standard deviation if it sashayed up and invited him into the hot tub. I can't see any intellectual depth there. If he's an intellectual at all, he's a literary intellectual, with no math or science. Sorry, pal: life's short, time limited. No offense, really.
And then — I think this is third, isn't it? — OK, third reason I'm not taking it very seriously, there's the homosexuality thing.
I scandalized goodthinking readers ten years ago by describing myself in an online interview as, quote, "a mild and tolerant homophobe." It was the word "homophobe" that scandalized, of course. Nobody paid attention to the "mild and tolerant" bit.
So I'll say it again: I'm mild and tolerant, live and let live. I fiercely and angrily resist the idea that there is no possible attitude to any style of human behavior in between enthusiastic approval at one end and seething hatred at the other.
You can disapprove of some person's lifestyle — strongly, mildly, or just barely — without wanting to beat him up or put him in jail. You can even care so little about it one way or the other as to be cheerfully indifferent. Really; I'm not kidding; it's possible!
People used to understand this. More and more, people don't. The arc of history bends towards mass stupidity.
My attitude to homosexuality is the one typical of my age, class, and birthplace. In a nutshell: I think male homosexuality is kind of icky, and female homosexuality is kind of comical. That's my opinion. I wish no harm to anyone.
And then there's the Brit thing, which Milo Minderbinder himself brought up in one of his recent self-defence pronouncements. George Bernard Shaw said Britain and America are divided by a common language. He didn't say the half of it.
There is more transatlantic uniformity now than when I was growing up over there. Political correctness is in fact more of a blight in Britain today than it is here. You can be arrested and fined now, and I think even jailed, for saying unkind things about homosexuals in London, Liverpool, or Leeds.
It's still the case, though, that rhetorical figures like irony, sarcasm, and hyperbole fall differently on American than on British ears.
The seventeenth century is still with us. The spirit of the Puritan schoolmarm still waxes strong in America; the spirit of Restoration licentiousness still has some currency in Britain. This causes no end of minor troubles. It's caused me a few.
So that's me and Milo, Milo and me. I didn't even get to the Cold Civil War skirmish that's been in the news, that was meant to be the point of this segment. Another segment.
03 — Bill Maher, heretic. So what was this skirmish all about?
Well, some months ago Milo Minderbinder, in a recorded video conversation, said the following things:
We get hung up on this child abuse stuff … This is one of the reasons why I hate the left, the one size fits all policing of culture, this arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent …
When someone said he was promoting pedophilia, Milo replied that, quote:
Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody who is 13 years old and sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty, who do not have functioning sex organs yet, who have not gone through puberty.
All right, what about the content of that?
First off, Milo is right on a couple of points. First such point: If the object of sexual interest is sexually mature, we are not talking about pedophilia. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to people who are not sexually mature. That's the bright line. Practically all people, including me — and, it sounds like, Milo — think that sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children is a shameful perversion.
Once you cross the line, though — the bright line of puberty — things get more complicated. Our laws try to iron out the complexity by establishing an age of consent. Given the variations of human biology, that age is bound to be arbitrary.
On the internet you can find tables showing the age of consent in different jurisdictions around the world. For heterosexual couplings, the age of consent ranges from 12 to at least 18 — possibly 21: the statutes aren't always clear. For homosexuals, not counting the many countries where all homosexual congress is illegal, there's a similar range, with 13 the lower boundary.
As with space, so with time. Age of consent has been a moving target in Western Civ. Shakespeare's Juliet was only thirteen; Tatyana's nanny, in Eugene Onegin, tells Tatyana she was only 13 when she married, "And my Vanya was younger than me."
So Milo is on to something in calling consent "arbitrary," at least in the legal zone. I'll put you a case. Person X is 19 years old, but has not yet gone through puberty. (This happens.) Person Y, who is sexually mature, seduces person X. On the strict definition, Y has committed an act of pedophilia — he's crossed the bright line. The law in most jurisdictions disagrees. Should we? Make up your own mind.
On the homosexual side, what Milo was talking about is ephebophilia: sexual attraction on the part of an adult male towards sexually mature young adolescent males. This has been rather common down through history — a lot commoner, actually, than "egalitarian," adult-to-adult, homosexuality. It has even been institutionalized in some significant societies, most famously Ancient Greece. Different opinions about it are possible — as the father of a boy, I strongly disapprove — but it's not pedophilia.
Another point on which Milo is right, although in this case I think unintentionally, is that, quote, "We get hung up on this child abuse stuff." We sure do. We did big-time, in the 1980s and 1990s, when child-abuse hysteria led to many terrible injustices, written up by Dorothy Rabinowitz in her 2003 book No Crueler Tyrannies.
A rational society ought to be able to restrain pedophilia and punish offenders without locking up harmless people for years on fantastically preposterous charges. Alas, we are not always a rational society.
So on the Milo comments, put me down as "Meh."
So why did they cause such a fuss? The guy lost a big book contract and felt obliged — or pressured, it's not clear — to quit his job as an editor at Breitbart.com.
The clue I think is in the timing. Note that the offending videos of Milo's remarks are months old, and have been on the internet all the while. When something's been dormant for that long, then suddenly gets inflated to a scandal, you may be sure there was a triggering event that got the inflation started.
The triggering event here was undoubtedly Milo's appearance on Bill Maher's TV show last Friday, February 17th. The pedophilia business blew up right after that.
Why would an appearance with Maher send the CultMarx miners off digging for anti-Milo material? To take down Bill Maher, that's why.
Maher's one of the TV smirkers, along with the Colbert fellow, Seth Meyers, Jon Stewart, and the Saturday Night Live crew. They smirk and roll their eyes and shake their heads in mock despair at the stupidity of their political enemies. We are the smart people, is the message. We are on the right side of history. These gap-toothed fools from the backwoods — look at them! Laugh at them along with me.
Problem is, Bill Maher has trouble sticking to the Party line. He shows dangerous, disturbing signs of independent thinking. Totalitarians hate that.
They hate it, in fact, more than they hate their actual enemies. CultMarx, as I keep telling you, is fundamentally a religious cult; and nothing excites religious passions like heresy. It's much worse than unbelief. Our religious ancestors four hundred years ago were not burning Buddhists and hanging Muslims: they were burning Protestants and hanging Quakers.
Bill Maher is a militant atheist. His strongest theme is his hatred of religion. The trouble with that is, being immune to religious feeling makes him a poor Party member. From the CultMarx point of view, the guy's a heretic, and must be destroyed. One article about Milo's appearance on Maher's show, at CultMarx website Jezebel.com, actually carried the headline: Bill Maher is a Monster. You can't have it any plainer than that.
Ritual pollution is also on display, I think. By last weekend all Goodwhites had internalized the fact that Milo Minderbinder is one of the enemy, a limb of Satan. The idea of sitting still and listening to what such a person has to say is simply unthinkable to the zealots. It would be like sitting still in a mosque — or kneeling still, whatever they do in mosques, don't ask me — while someone walked around carrying a big Christian cross and singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
Ritual pollution, see? It's the same reason there have been such strenuous efforts to keep Milo Minderbinder out of our colleges. Colleges are Goodwhite territory. Just to have this person on campus is defilement of the holy space.
For all his deviations, Bill Maher runs a show that Goodwhites consider part of their territory. To allow Milo Minderbinder on that show — and not to screech at him or humiliate him, but to chat amiably — is ritual pollution. CultMarx believes strongly in the Brezhnev Doctrine: "What we have, we hold."
As for chatting amiably with the enemy: Well, Social Justice Warriors live a million miles away from that. This is not the zone of reasoned discourse and polite argumentation; this is the zone of religious passion. Burn the witch! Or, if you can't actually get your hands on the witch, burn something in the street outside.
Well, that's my theory. Given the level of violence we've seen from the Goodwhite stormtroopers this past few weeks, my advice to Bill Maher would be: Get yourself a good security detail.
04 — CPAC purges Spencer. Meanwhile, there has been some ritual pollution over at CPAC, the annual conference of orthodox conservatives.
The polluter here was Alt Right figurehead Richard Spencer. Richard's been showing up at CPAC for years. As I recall, he was on-scene when I made my one and only CPAC presentation five years ago.
Well, here's a quote from the Washington Post, Thursday this week, quote:
"There is a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks," said Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. [Further quote from him:] "We must not be deceived by [a] hateful, left-wing fascist group," [end further quote].
End quote from the Washington Post.
Let's do a little unpacking on that. First off, I don't think this rises to the level of totalitarian witch-burning. I don't see the screeching, hissing hatred here that you get from Social Justice Warriors. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was set on fire at all in CPAC. Dan Schneider was just playing cop, like William F. Buckley expelling the Birchers. You may think he was swinging his nightstick in the wrong direction, but that's all he was doing, policing his conference.
Nor was there the conformism you see on the Left. The Post reports, in fact, that, quote, "a few listeners walked out" from the conference's main ballroom. I think I would have, too. Democrats — not even radical Democrats, just Democrats at large — have no problem accommodating ethnocentric blacks and Latinos; why should conservatives mind an ethnocentric white guy?
But, no, no parallel to the preceding segment. Bill Maher should be very worried about finding himself alone in a dark street surrounded by Black Lives Matter radicals. Richard Spencer should feel no such fear at running into a pack of American Conservative Union functionaries on his way to the subway.
Dan Schneider's ideological contortions are interesting, though. The ChiComs during their Cultural Revolution declared that extreme leftism was a rightist deviation. Schneider seems to be reading from the same playbook.
He is of course wrong to assert that conservatism is a doctrine in which the individual is sovereign. That would be libertarianism. Conservatism has always been, and should always continue to be, hospitable to group solidarity. Group solidarity can of course get out of hand, but so can anything else. Romantic love can get out of hand: buy a ticket to Carmen. Family affection can get out of hand: it's called the Mafia. Religious feeling can get out of hand; we all know about that. You need some sensible restraints, that's all.
Libertarianism, too. Check out the critiques of Murray Rothbard's proposal to privatize light-houses, the light-house-keeper rowing out to passing ships to collect a fee before turning the light on. Society needs sensible accommodations and agreed restraints, not ideological purity.
Sovereignty of the individual has, in fact, a serious flaw that disqualifies it as a basis for any useful political system. The flaw is, that it doesn't scale up.
Let's take two human populations: Afghan Muslims, say, and Swedish Lutherans. Pick one individual at random from each population: call them Mohammed and Sven. Might it be the case that Mohammed is smarter, better behaved, better socialized, more capable of making a useful contribution to a modern society, than Sven? Of course it might. Sven might be an idle, dull-witted sociopath while Mohammed is a brilliant engineer and a loving husband and father.
Now take a million from each population, plant them in a modern society, and follow their fortunes through the years. Will their outcomes be the same? Of course not. The overall differences between the two founding groups are too great; and being among multitudes of their own kind will perpetuate and magnify those differences.
And those are groups that are not even racially very different. Try the experiment with, say, Australian aborigines and, say, Koreans.
Individualism doesn't scale up. It's obvious.
Individualism doesn't scale up. Someone should print that on T-shirts and hand them out at the next CPAC conference.
05 — The President's brain-to-tongue issues. Speaking of Sweden takes us to Fake News story of the week, and also to some insights into just how insulated from reality our Goodwhites are.
This started with President Trump telling a rally in Florida last Saturday that:
[Clip: You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! — Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible …]
The problem here is that the President is a careless speaker, with a loose grasp of sentence structure and syntax. I don't mind this, personally. There are many worse things a President might be: He might be an affirmative-action mediocrity obsessed with proving how black he is, or he might be an evangelical romantic with a mission to convert the Heathen to Jeffersonian democracy, or he might be a slick sociopath who boffs interns across the desk in the Oval Office, or … Well, you get the idea. Poor speaking skills are not, for me, a deal-breaker.
This weakness sure does leave the President open to his enemies, though. Announcing his candidacy a year and a half ago, he famously observed that, quote:
When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
There are at least three lapses of sense in that, which is a lot to get into 48 words. That "with us," for example, in the fourth sentence, should be either "to us" or "with them." "They're bringing those problems with us" makes no sense.
And then, "they're rapists." It always gets printed in the media as t-h-e-y-apostrophe-r-e "they're." It could just as easily be t-h-e-i-r "their," keying to "their best" in the first sentence. That actually makes better sense. If he meant "they are rapists," what was he doing in the next sentence saying that some of them are good people?
My best guess is that Trump's brain got the two meanings of [ðɛə] tangled in his mind because of their occurrence close together in his first sentence, "they're not sending their best." I've caught myself hitting the same speed bump occasionally — a lot more than occasionally when trying to speak foreign languages. So the President's underlying idea was: "They are not sending their best, they are sending their rapists."
See, there might be only seven rapists in all of Mexico, but those are the kinds of people we're getting: their rapists, t-h-e-i-r. I seriously doubt the President believed that all Mexicans are rapists, or even all illegal immigrant Mexicans. That would be nuts; and you don't have a business career as successful as his if you're nuts.
That's y-o-u-apostrophe-r-e "you're," not y-o-u-r "your," y-o-r-e "yore," or y-a-w "yaw."
Language is a minefield, and English is by no means the worst case. Last week I signed you out with a pop song in Cantonese, a language in which any syllable can be pronounced in seven different tones, each with a different meaning. Let's give thanks our President doesn't have to address us in Cantonese.
These homophones — "there/their/they're," "your/you're," — are in fact massively confused by writers of English. Read a few comment threads, even at august outlets like the New York Times. It's plain that half the population, or at any rate half the comment-posting population, can't distinguish between y-o-u-apostrophe-r-e "you're" and y-o-u-r "your." How that half of the population breaks down by voting preferences, I'll leave to the psephologists to research.
So, forward to last Saturday and the President saying that, "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden." It happened that Tucker Carlson over at Fox News, which the President is known to watch, had done a segment the evening before about crime among Muslim immigrants in Sweden. Plainly the President meant to say: "You look at what's happening in Sweden, as I saw last night." That sentence is syntactically more complex, though, so his mind fed his tongue something simpler.
It can happen to anybody. I've had embarrassing experiences, and so have you.
When it happens to a politician who is loathed by a ninety-five-percent-hostile media, though — a media who are relentlessly vigilant for the tiniest infractions on the President's part, we have a news story.
The real news story here, it seems to me, is what a bubble our media elites live in. I don't have a column in a broadsheet newspaper, or a smirk-o-rama TV show to whip up blue-state metrosexuals into gales of laughter against redneck hillbilly Badwhites. I'm just a guy who browses the internet every morning looking for interesting news stories to pass comment on. Still I've been aware for years of the horrible disaster that mass Muslim immigration has brought to Sweden.
Why wouldn't I be? It's been all over the European papers, and they're all on the internet. For years.
I'm not just talking about garish populist tabloids, either. In thirty seconds of searching I found this story from the London Guardian, which is a serious heavyweight newspaper with an editorial line to the left of Walter Ulbricht. Date: May 23rd, 2013 — almost four years ago. Headline: Swedish riots rage for fourth night. Opener, quote:
Hundreds of youths burnt down a restaurant, set fire to more than 30 cars and attacked police during a fourth night of rioting in the suburbs of Stockholm, shocking a country that dodged the worst of the financial crisis but failed to solve youth unemployment and resentment among asylum seekers.
End quote. Yes, it's all "youths" and "teens" in the first few paragraphs. This is a broadsheet newspaper, though, so eventually they have to name names. The first person they name, other than a police spokesperson in paragraph five, is one Selcuk Ceken in paragraph six. That's a Turkish name, not a Swedish one. The next is Rami Al-Khamisi in paragraph nine.
Mr Al-Khamisi tells the Guardian that the problem is, wait for it … "institutional racism."
Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. One thing, however, is surely beyond dispute: No amount of "institutional racism" would have led to riots and the burning of restaurants in Sweden if the Swedes hadn't been such damn fools as to open their borders to hundreds of thousands of unassimilable Third Worlders.
Those 2013 riots weren't a one-off, either. Rioting Muslims are a regular feature of Swedish life nowadays. I read the newspapers, including the European ones, every day. I could have told the American media folk about it, if they'd asked. Or they could have tried reading the papers themselves … No, I guess that would be too much to expect.
In fact there was another Muslim riot last weekend, even as the TV smirkers were smirking at how dumb our President is. I'd like to tell you that Colbert and crew were embarrassed; but these guys don't embarrass easy. They just ignored the riot. See, if our media elites don't talk about something, it didn't happen.
Going back to the President's speech issues at last, my suggestion to him would be to play the victim card. He should start putting it out that he's suffered from dyslexia since childhood. Then our media watchdogs of the press are making fun of a disabled person [klaxon alarm], just as they have accused Trump of doing — falsely, of course.
That should get Meryl Streep choked up at the next awards ceremony.
I was an occasional guest on Alan's radio show, and knew him quite well. After an appearance in September 2015 I recorded some thoughts about it, and about Alan — who was then, so far as anyone knew, perfectly healthy — in my VDARE.com monthly diary.
I started out that diary entry by telling the reader what a lousy radio performer I am, mainly because I don't think fast enough. I'm a writer, not a talker. Then I wrote the following, longish quote from September 2015, quote.
So why do I do it? Well, there's vanity, of course. I like having that Fox News limo pull up outside the house to take me to Manhattan. It impresses the neighbors.
End longish quote. I can't think of anything I want to add to or subtract from that; so I'll just let it stand as my parting tribute to a good man — a decent lefty.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I was remiss last week in failing to report the election results for Turkmenistan.
Yes, Turkmens went to the polls February 12th. I am glad to report that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov won a sweeping victory over the other eight candidates, capturing 98 percent of votes cast on a 97 percent turnout.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is a longstanding friend of Radio Derb. These election results, which a handful of saboteurs and misfits are criticizing as implausible, show that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is also first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his people.
Our heartfelt congratulations to the noble people of Turkmenistan on their having President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov as their leader for another seven years! [Turkmen national anthem.]
Item: Meanwhile in these United States, supporters of Mrs Clinton in last year's election continue to struggle with their grief.
Some of them have taken consolation in an alternate-reality website, www.hillarybeattrump.org. The premise of this website is that Mrs Clinton actually won last November. So by visiting the site you can imagine yourself in an alternate universe where the United States is in the safe, responsible hands of a real leader, one who might almost bear comparison with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan.
Sample headlines from today's edition:
Clinton signs executive order mandating gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools, NASA spacecraft, and video games
You get the idea. This inspires me to wonder whether, after a couple more election cycles and corresponding improvements in Virtual Reality devices, we might be able to equip all the losing candidate's voters with full-world simulations in which their candidate won.
They could then live out, virtually of course, the kinds of things posted at www.hillarybeattrump.org. There at last would be an end to political rancor and division. The loser demographic could sink peacefully into their virtual-reality dreams, while the winning party got on with running the country.
The more I think about this, the more enthusiastic I get. We just need a major source of funding to speed up virtual-reality development. The ideal would be some national leader with an interest in innovative political approaches. Who comes to mind? Aha! [Turkmen national anthem.]
Item: My comments back there about President Trump's regrettably careless way with words and grammar may get me visited by a SWAT team from PC Central.
Correct grammar, you see, is racist. I knew this, of course — we've been hearing it for years — but I keep forgetting it. Fortunately here's a reminder from the University of Washington, no less.
Last week the Writing Center at that university put out a press release titled: " Putting Writing at the Center of Inclusivity. Sample quote:
With its new antiracism and social justice statement, the Center starts a conversation on the discrimination and alienation that often go unnoticed in academia. As the statement urges, "there is no inherent 'standard' of English," and with this in mind, the Center aims to ensure that through compassion and careful consideration, staff do not inadvertently embrace racist practices.
End quote. I'm sure you noticed, as I did, that those two sentences, with all their subordinate clauses, are impeccably well structured according to the rules of standard American English. So in fact is the entire 750-word press release.
What's going on there? Or perhaps I should say, to avoid accusations that I am microaggressing by expressing myself with conventional grammar, What up wid DAT?
Item: Finally, a top NASA scientist, Alan Stern, who led the New Horizons project that sent a robot spacecraft to Pluto, has proposed that the Moon be reclassifed as a planet.
His arguments for this sound a bit thin. Quote:
In keeping with both sound scientific classification and people's intuition, we propose a geophysically based definition of planet that emphasises a body's intrinsic physical properties over its extrinsic orbital properties.
End quote. Say what? I think President Trump could have expressed it better. And in fact the orbital properties make a better case for the reclassification than the intrinsic ones. The Moon does not, for example, orbit the Earth: both bodies orbit around their common center of mass … which, as it happens, is a thousand miles below the Earth's surface … but still …
I think I know what's going on here. I think I'm on to Dr Stern's strategy. This reclassification talk is all a smokescreen to hide the fact that the Pluto probe was only made possible by the efforts of female black mathematicians.
The good ol' boys at NASA don't want to give credit where it's due. They want to keep the colored people down! It's racism, I tell you, racism!
[Clip: "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" …]
Let's have some poetry to see us out for a change. In the podcast two weeks ago, in relation to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, I wondered aloud whether perhaps my heart had been too soon made glad.
That's a phrase from a fine cynical poem by Robert Browning, title "My Last Duchess." Here's a reading of the poem in abbreviated form by a great British actor, the late Richard Griffiths.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Richard Griffiths reading Browning's "My Last Duchess."]