• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! John Derbyshire here with Radio Derb, the voice of the downtrodden masses groaning under the iron heel of oppression by arrogant elites like lawyers, educators, revenuers, union bosses and … movie stars.
Here's this week's look at the passing charivari.
|02 — Does Justice Roberts have a mean streak? You know, I don't have a good
feeling about Judge John Roberts.
When the news first came through, I smiled happily. Hey, W didn't go for a diversity hire! Our president has guts!
Then I got a good look at Roberts. Squeaky clean, or what? Looks like a male model; picture-book family; devout; unblemished career; wow.
Nothing wrong with any of that of course, but where's the mean streak? This guy is going to have to stand up to a lot of pressure to grow — you know, grow. Some stand up to that pressure better than others; but the ones who stand up best seem to be the ones with … well, not exactly a mean streak, but a streak of opinionated crankiness and contrariness, like Scalia.
Does J.R. have that? If he has, he's kept it pretty well hidden; but let's hope.
|03 — Stamp of authenticity. A few weeks ago our good friend Vicente Fox,
President of Mexico, got into a spot of bother for saying that, quote, "not even blacks," end quote, would take the jobs being done by
Mexican immigrants in the U.S.A.
Now Vinny is deep in the guacamole again with African Americans for letting his postal service issue with stamp honoring Memin Pinguin.
Memin Pinguin, for those scattered few of you who don't collect old Mexican comic books, is a cartoon character popular for fifty years in Mexico. He has thick lips, bulging eyes, ragged clothes, and speaks with a comical accent. Oh, did I mention that his skin is black?
A spokesman for the Bush administration scolded the Mexican government for its manifest bad taste and racial insensitivity. Jesse Jackson demanded an apology. Fox refused to give one, and the stamp of course sold out.
|04 — The stuttering Shuttle. We're go! to launch the Space Shuttle. No,
hold on a minute, we've spotted a problem.
Three weeks later: Okay, now we're definitely go! No, wait: a different problem.
Six weeks later: Okay, now we're definitely go! to launch … Hold on, getting something through the headset here. Uh, no, sorry — there's a glitch.
Three months later: Well, with all its problems sorted out at last, the Space Shuttle is ready to lift off this afternoon. Uh-oh, wait a minute … What's that? … Postponed indefinitely? … Okay. We are hearing that the shuttle will not launch today, after all. Stay tuned to NASA News for further information.
|05 — Tumbrils for Chirac? The French have an annual holiday called
Bastille Day. It
celebrates a riot that took place 216 years ago — a riot that precipitated decades of anarchy, mass murder, despotism, and war. That's the
kind of thing they celebrate in France.
Well, the president of France always gives a press interview on Bastille Day just to let the French people know what's happening with the nation: who they should be preparing to surrender to, that sort of thing.
The highlight of this year's interview came when the president, Jacques Chirac — notice how that rhymes with "Iraq"? ever notice that? — um, yes, Jacques Chirac unburdened himself of some opinions about the superiority of his nation to the uncouth and perfidious Anglo-Saxons. Clearly, opined Jack, in really important things like public health and relief for the poor, the French were better off than the British.
When his interviewer gently pointed out that Britain's economy is growing faster than France's, with half the French unemployment rate, Happy Jack volleyed back with some carefully-memorized statistics about government spending on scientific research and and the like.
The key to understanding here is Dr Johnson's remark that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Jack, who is of course a scoundrel of the deepest hue, desperately needs a refuge from recent misfortunes: his countrymen's rejection of the EU constitution, the loss of the 2012 Olympics to London, France's continuing slide into stagnation and irrelevance, and so on.
A storming of the Élysée Palace doesn't seem to be in prospect, but it's hard not to suspect from his recent remarks that in the privacy of his own chambers, Chirac is starting to get that Louis the Sixteenth feeling.
|06 — Diversity in the newsroom. The Guardian, which is Britain's
leading left-wing newspaper, has a policy of diversity in hiring newsroom staff. Of course they have! Alas, as so often happens, this policy has
brought embarrassment down on the newspaper's head.
One of their recent diversity hires was a bright 22 year old lad named Dilpazier Aslam, a British-born person of the Muslim persuasion. A few days after the London bombings, Mr Aslam wrote a nasty little column taking a moral-equivalence line on the attacks with lots of indignant references to Fallujah and the weeping mothers of Iraq.
Young British Muslims, Mr Aslan exalted, are much more willing to rock the boat — I presume that is a euphemism for "blow up the bus" — then their whipped, compromising elders.
A few days later we learned from an internet blogger — and The Guardian confirmed it — that Mr Aslam belongs to Hizb ut-Tahrir — that means "party of liberation" — a jihadist faction seeking to establish a world Islamic state under Sharia law. Hizb ut-Tahrir is illegal in several European countries, but not in Britain.
The Guardian is refusing to fire Mr Aslam. If they fired him, you see, that would be a step backward from their treasured diversity.
Unthinkable! Diversity must be preserved at all costs, even when it embraces lunatics who dream of a world as undiverse as it could possibly be, and who see nothing wrong with terrorism as a means to advance their cause.
|07 — Abbas calls for intelligent terrorism. Mahmoud Abbas, who
probably has a couple of other names that I can't be bothered to look up, is the President of Palestine, which is to say of those bits of Jordan and
Egypt that the Jordanians and Egyptians wisely decided they didn't want, being full as they are with terrorists and lunatics.
A few days ago some of those terrorists blew up a shopping mall in Israel. What do you think President Abbas had to say about that? Did he say it was terrible? Wicked? Criminal? Despicable? Evil? No, he said it was "stupid." That was the adjective, "stupid."
Blowing up Israeli civilians is just fine, you see, but it has to be done intelligently.
|08 — Goodnight, Ksissy. Ted Heath died last Sunday. He was Prime Minister
of Britain from 1970 to 1974. I was still British at that point, but mostly living in the Far East, trying to learn Chinese.
Every day I'd get as far as I could with reading one of the Hong Kong newspapers — of which, by the way, there were dozens: Hong Kongers are, or were, the world's keenest newspaper readers. Well, the name "Heath" comes through in Chinese as Xisi, spelled X-i-s-i [pronounced Shee-sz]. I knew to say Xisi, of course; but once I'd figured out the pinyin spelling, it was hard not to think of him as Ksissy.
Ksissy liked the ChiComs and they liked him. After the student movement was crushed in 1989 he put out a statement saying, if I remember right, that he would have done the same himself. There you have pretty much all you need to know about Ksissy's politics.
The obituaries are all ending with the words, "he never married." You can usually take that to mean that the fellow was gay, but he wasn't. He just had no interest in sex of any kind. What he was mainly interested in was bossing people around and trying to cure them of their stupid, irrational, reactionary attachments to absurd fictions like "nation."
For reasons it would take much too long to explain. Ksissy was the leader of a party called the Conservative Party. Ksissy's brand of conservatism is pretty much dead now, and we should all go down on our knees and give thanks for that.
|09 — Pig sperm in space. Newspaper and wire service subeditors —
is, the people who write the headlines and the photo captions — live a dull and thankless existence for the most part. Once in a while,
however, the humble sub is allowed to strut his stuff.
I saw an example the other day, a very arresting headline on the BBC news website, reading China to Send Pig Sperm into Space. The story is something about Chinese scientists seeking to improve the sperm motility of China's pigs via microgravity; but compared with the force of the headline, the story is pretty inconsequential.
Or is it? The Chinese have a cheerfully pragmatic approach to the biological and human sciences unencumbered by the ethical issues that vex Judeo-Christian cultures. Breeding pigs, breeding humans, what's the difference? You and I are inclined to think that there's a whole world of difference, but this opinion is not universally held, certainly not in ChiCom circles.
In the years to come we should expect to see more headlines about the biological sciences in China. They won't all be as funny as that one.
|10 — Signoff. That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more
outrageous reactionary ranting from Radio Derb.
And thanks, by the way, to all the many people who emailed into me after the London bombings to hope my friends and relatives were not among the bond. They weren't. The Devil looks after his own, as my Dad would have said; but thanks again to all for the thoughtful inquiries.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]