»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, June 2nd, 2006


•  Play the sound file


[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]

01 — Intro.     Now, I know all my listeners have been on tenterhooks this past few weeks. On tenterhooks … What are tenterhooks? … Well, I know that's where you've been waiting for Derb TV to begin broadcasting.

Alas, I am sorry to report that there will be further delays. You see, the 600-foot-high, two-megawatt broadcasting transmitter on the roof of Buckley Towers here in New York has had to come down because it didn't conform in precise pettifogging detail with the infinitely complicated building regulations here in Bloombergograd.

Curse these municipal despots and their legions of spies! Never fear, though. We shall be up and running just as soon as we have found the right City Hall official to bribe. In the meantime [Sings, Ethel Merman style] "let's go on with the show!"


02 — John Kerry's thin skin.     "As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly," says the Bible. And so John Kerry keeps coming back to the Swift boat episode.

Here he is in the May 28th New York Times still picking at that scab.

The Times quoted John-boy, speaking in an interview at his Senate office, saying of the Swift boat vets: "They lied and lied and lied about everything. How many lies do you get to tell before someone calls you a liar? How many times can you be exposed in America today?"

Well, reading that I had a sudden flashback to 1962. Remember those halcyon days when protest songs were the vogue and Bob Dylan wailed: "How many roads must a man walk down / Before you call him a man?"

Well, one thing led to another and before you could say "Peter, Paul and Mary" I had produced a song. Would you like to hear it? Of course you would.

[Sings, to the tune of Blowin' in the Wind.]

How many medals must one man have
Before he gets a stateside pass?
And how many Kennedy rear ends must he kiss
Before getting elected in Mass.
(That's Massachusetts, see?)
Yes, and how many rich broads must one man wed
To say, "Do you know who I am?"
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
For a pol who's just too thin skinned.


03 — Fortunes of war.     Take a unit of highly-trained, well-armed troops. Set them down in an urban area known to be infested with hostiles. Let them see one of their number blown to pieces by a roadside bomb. Feed them a tip that a big name hostile is in a certain building in a certain neighborhood. What happens?

Well, what precisely happened in Haditha last November is being investigated by just about everybody, including a lot of people with anti-American axes to grind.

For sure I don't know what happened. I could list off for you the spectrum of things that might have happened in a situation like that; all the way from nothing at all down at the infrared end of the spectrum, to the total annihilation of our unit in an ambush up at the ultraviolet end.

Do some of those possibilities involve dead women and kids? You bet. Is it inevitable that in a war made up of thousands of such incidents, the dead-civilian scenario is going to figure in a few? Absolutely inevitable.

The only thing that surprises me is that a Haditha didn't show up earlier. These things always happen in wars of this kind, and the enemy always milks them for all they're worth.

In the spread of possible responses to situations of extreme stress, there are responses that involve killings that, seen from the comfort of your armchair, are unjustified.

Statistics will win out sooner or later. Statistics always do.

If there is one sin characteristic of our civilization in the present age, it is the sin of expecting too much from people.


04 — Poor China!     凡是錯誤的思想, 凡是毒草, 凡是牛鬼蛇神, 都應該進行批判!

With those words, forty years ago, this May 16th, Mao Tse-tung launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. In the following ten years about a million people were murdered and an entire generation of Chinese people had their lives comprehensively wrecked.

I was studying Chinese in London in 1979 to 1980 just when China was trying to get back on its feet under the comparatively sane dictatorship of Deng Xiaoping. The college I studied at had an exchange arrangement with the Chinese authorities. China used to send postgraduate students over to English universities and my college gave them three-month crash courses in English so they could follow the lectures.

We in the Chinese Department played host to these newly-arrived postgrads. They were a sad sight. Their median age was around forty. Some were over sixty. To be ready for postgraduate study in 1979, a Chinese person would have needed a decent undergraduate education in the mid to late 1970s and a decent middle and high school education in the 1960s or early seventies.

Well, nobody had. The schools had been closed or given over to memorizing political propaganda in all those years. The people China sent us were those who'd finished undergraduate studies in or before the mid 1960s and had survived the Cultural Revolution with their will to study intact. And, as I said, they made a sad sight.

That was when I started to feel sorry for China. A lot of Americans are scared of China. Some admire China. A few hate China. Well, I've been involved with China one way or another for over 30 years, and my main feeling today is pity. I have other feelings, but that's the main one. Poor China; poor, poor China.

Of course, no mention of the Cultural Revolution's fortieth anniversary was heard in China's official media last month.


05 — Church stolen by gays.     Question: How many heterosexual Anglican ministers does it take to install a bishop? Answer: Both of them.

Well, that's an old joke, but the poor Anglican church — that's the Episcopal church to us Yanks — proceeds ever further along the path to becoming just a dating club for homosexuals.

Here's a bishop, the Bishop of Guildford, sent off on a mission to the Anglicans of East Africa to try to persuade them to some sort of compromise on the issue of homosexual clergy.

Unfortunately, the local media found out that the bish belongs to a group called Changing Attitude, whose website declares it to be, quote, "working for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender affirmation within the Anglican communion," end quote. This didn't go over well with the Africans, who have the absurd idea stuck in their heads that the Bible frowns on homosexual acts.

A different bishop, this one the Bishop of Oxford, would like to set them straight … I mean, right, not straight.

In an interview with a London newspaper, this bishop said that homosexual unions are, quote, "congruous with the deepest Biblical truths about faithfulness and stability," end quote.

Hey, look, let's be fair: Homosexuals need a church, too. I'm just a bit annoyed they had to take mine.


06 — Ed-biz follies.     Some snippets of news from the wonderful world of education.

Item One. Over in Michigan, the State Department of Education will no longer permit the use of the words "America" or "American" when referring to these United States. Those words, say the Michigan educrats, can only be properly applied to the entire Western hemisphere.

If we go and using them to refer to just our country, good folk in Canada or Bolivia or Mexico — assuming there is anyone left in Mexico — might have their feelings hurt, causing the mountains to crack open and the oceans to boil away.

There is no word on whether this ukase will apply to phrases like "American war crimes" or "American imperialism."

Item Two. Over to the West coast where the official website of Seattle's public school system declares that, quote, "having a future time orientation" is among the, quote. "aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and whiteness and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color," end quote.

Translation: Planning for your future is a thing that only racists do.

Furthermore, the Seattle website goes on, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology is another form of cultural racism.

So if you want to free yourself of all taint of racism in Seattle, you have to go for instant gratification while simultaneously shunning individualism. Got that?

You also have to be able to stick your left big toe in your right ear if you want to graduate in Seattle.

Item Three. Down we go to Los Angeles where a charter school named Academia Semillas del Pueblo has a principal named Marcos Aguilar. Principal Aguilar wears a do-rag and says things like this, quote: "Ultimately the white way, the American way, the neoliberal capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction." End quote.

Bear in mind please that this is a city charter school, funded in part by Los Angeles taxpayers. The school's student body is 91.3 percent Latino and 8.7 percent Native American — or "Native U.S.A.-nian, or whatever they're called in Michigan.

There is not a single white, black or Asian student in the school. Some of the lessons in the school are given in Nahuatl, the aboriginal language of Mexico, Spanish being just another one of those Ice People languages, you know; and the math is taught with a base-20 number system like the one the Aztecs used.

This, explains Mr Aguilar, is so that students, quote, "will be able to understand our own ancestral culture and our customs and traditions that are so imbued in the language." End quote.

Well, with a good grounding in Nahuatl and base-20 arithmetic, graduates of Academia Semillas del Pueblo should be well primed for the job market … at least for those jobs Americans won't do.

So there you are: three glimpses of the education scene here in the United States of something or other. As you can see, our children are in good hands.


07 — Paths to citizenship.     Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a baby in Namibia.

Namibia is a poor country in Southwest Africa — pretty much a total desert. Brad and Angelina more or less leased the whole nation for their happy event.

The Namibian government, responding to a snap of Angelina's fingers — or possibly Brad's, I don't know — kicked out some foreign journalists who had been bothering the proud parents. Then the government announced that the newborn infant would get honorary Namibian citizenship as recognition of the glory he had brought to Namibia by being born on its territory.

We do the same thing to the children of illegal immigrants here in America. In fact, if our President and the Senate have their way we'll be dishing out some honorary citizenship to around ten or twenty million, depending on how fast the fake document industry can get up to speed.

There you see the difference between a poor country and a rich one. To get honorary citizenship in a poor country, you just have to bring it some glamor and some tourist revenue.

To get honorary citizenship of a rich country you have to bring it … what? I forget. What do all these illegal immigrants bring to America?

Oh, right: diversity! And what's more important than that?


08 — Diversity is our discord.     Speaking of diversity; some eggheads over in England had been looking into how happy people are in different kinds of neighborhoods. They have concluded that people in more diverse neighborhoods are less happy.

A bloke called Trevor Phillips, who is in charge of the Commission for Racial Equality over there, had the following thing to say about some riots last summer, quote: "A tight-knit Asian community came into conflict with a tight-knit black community because the ethnicity that binds each community together is stronger than the links between them." End quote.

What a good thing we have all these clever academics to tell us things we could never possibly have figured out for ourselves!

In related news, also from the U.K., I'm getting a report coming in that a London man has been bitten by a dog.


09 — Art of the fart.     [Blows a loud raspberry.] That, ladies and gentlemen, was my latest work of art. I call it Sunrise over the Andes.

Of course, I don't claim it's anything like as good as Mr Martin Creed's exhibit named Work No. 401 which is now on display at the Tate Modern gallery in London. Mr Creed's piece is a nine-minute recording, played repeatedly on a tape loop, of the artist making flatulent sounds into a microphone.

It's not clear how Mr Creed generated his sounds. The New York Post seems to think that they are the real thing, though the London Times refers to, quote, "blowing raspberries," which is Brit-speak for a simulation done with the mouth, which I hastened to record is how I created my own work up there at the head of this segment.

Well, I'm sure we will get to the bottom of it in the end. Until then, I'm going to assume that Mr Creed used his armpit like any other naughty schoolboy.

And if it's silver linings you want, consider this: Patrons of London art galleries who are afflicted with uncontrollable flatulence now at least have a place they can go where they can let down their guard.


10 — Signoff.     That's all for this week, NRO readers. Tune in next week for more folly, futility and flatulence from your fearless commentator here at Radio Derb.

Here is another one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches to see us out. Be well, be safe, and don't take any wooden nickels, especially from politicians.


[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]