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01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air. Greetings, patient listeners, from your jocosely genial host John Derbyshire, here with some commentaries on the week's news.
This week's news was of course dominated by the Muslim terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. Radio Derb had just been committed to tape when the attacks happened, so we had no opportunity to cover them in last week's podcast.
Now, with the passing of an entire week, everybody's had their say about the attacks themselves, so I shall mainly restrict my commentary to the aftermath: the reactions of our politicians and pundits, the effects on public attitudes here and in Europe, the impact on international order.
Here we go. First, though, permit me to indulge myself in a brief spell of soul-searching.
02 — Stages of grief. It is of course natural to feel sympathy and sorrow for those murdered by the Muslims in Paris, and for the grieving relatives they have left behind, and for those wounded and maimed, and their loved ones.
Thinking about those bereavements put me in mind of the late Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the psychiatrist who introduced us to the Five Stages of Grief. Just to remind you, the five stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.
Then, watching the responses of our politicians and public — too many of them — and varying my news diet with the latest horror stories out of our college campuses, my thoughts took a dark turn. I sank into a sort of cold, affectless state.
It wasn't heartlessness, exactly: I am rather a soft-hearted person, easily moved to sympathy and charity. Nor was it by any means the jeering indifference that Ta-Nehisi Coates records himself as having felt towards the police and firefighters who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, quote:
They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.
End quote. I note in passing, though not without relevance to what I am saying, that Coates' disgusting book, the one I just quoted from, in which he tells us at length, without shame or embarrassment, how much he hates white people, although apparently not enough to go live in a black-run country — Coates' book has just won the National Book Award for nonfiction. Put that dismal fact together in the box with the Paris murders and our current campus disorders.
Hence the dark turn of my thoughts. What they turned to was this: Do I care about all this as much as, being someone who tries conscientiously to be a good citizen, as much as I should?
Honestly, no, I don't. There was a time when I would have; and it's the contrast between how I used to react to events like this and how I am now reacting that is preying on my mind.
This kind of thing used to stir me to righteous indignation. I remember how angry I was on 9/11. How dare they, how dare these filthy savages, do this to us? This latest horror doesn't stir me like that, even when I discount for it being more distant, with a lesser death toll. It barely stirs me at all. I know how I should feel about all this, and I want to feel it, but I just don't.
Hence my reference to Dr. Kübler-Ross and the Five Stages of Grief. What I'm grieving for here, though, is our civilization — the world I have lived in most of my life. And the question I'm asking myself is: In that grief, have I reached acceptance? Have I gone all the way through denying the coming death of our civilization, being angry about it, being depressed about it, and come out at the other end, into acceptance of it?
You have to admit: The signs that it's now too late to do anything about it are all around us. Contrary signs, signs that we may be able to recover our civilizational confidence, are hard to see. Frankly, I can't see any.
The Paris attacks, for example: What's an appropriate course of action for the French government? Well, they could send their army into Syria and Iraq and defeat ISIS in battle. Good luck with that; but even supposing they succeeded, this infestation, the Muslim terrorists, is all over: In Yemen, in Egypt, in North Africa, in Sudan, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria …
And, of course, in France and Britain and Germany, in Sweden and Denmark and Russia and America.
Random news story from Britain: Two Muslim brothers from Pakistan ran a welfare scam that got them half a million dollars of taxpayers' money. Brought to trial, they were found guilty. However, the British judge let them off with suspended sentences. Why? Out of concern for their children, who number … eleven.
So perhaps the appropriate course of action is mass expulsion of Muslims from our countries and really firm control of borders and visas.
None of that is going to happen, though. You see how far away from it we are. Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, and Justin Trudeau want us to bring in more Muslims. David Cameron and François Hollande may not want precisely that, but their weak brains are so addled with globalist propaganda they will do nothing to curtail Muslim immigration, while their national institutions are fiercely protective of Muslims and hostile to the native ancestral populations.
Permit me to give over a separate segment to that.
Here's just one illustration of that last point, about the power establishment in Western nations being protective of Muslims and hostile to their native ancestral populations. I've taken it from this week's news.
The owner of a beauty salon in the English town of Bicester announced via Twitter that following the Paris attacks she would no longer accept bookings from Muslims, whether British citizens or not. She added, quote: "Sorry but time to put my country first," end quote.
Police arrested the woman, whose name is April Major, under Britain's Public Order Act. She has been released on bail until November 30th. If she is dealt with as lightly as those Pakistani welfare scammers, I shall be very surprised.
By way of contrast, in June of 2013 Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, outspoken critics of the Islamification of the West, were banned from entering Britain by a written order from the Home Secretary (i.e. Attorney General). Britain's diversity-whipped police, meanwhile, were refusing to investigate reports of Muslim men kidnapping, raping, and trafficking young British girls.
It's like that all over the West, and seems to be getting worse.
Will events like last week's Paris attacks at least push us a bit closer towards appropriate action — mass expulsions and strict entry controls?
Possibly, but by no means necessarily. The 9/11 attacks were far, far worse than what happened in Paris, with twenty times the mortality. How did the United States react? We increased the mass immigration of Muslims! The rate of Immigration from Muslim countries has doubled since 9/11!
Similarly in Britain following the terrorist attacks of July 2005 in which 52 people were killed and hundreds maimed. That was ten years ago. A 2011 analysis projected Muslim immigration into the U.K. from 2010 to 2015 at 312,000.
When a petition with 200,000 signatures forced the British Establishment to address the issue in Parliament last month, they shunted the debate contemptuously into a committee room and steered it into a discussion about whether there should be controls on the wording of petitions in order to eliminate "bigotry." (You can see the whole "debate" here.)
The truly appropriate course of action, the one that would preserve our civilization and as much social harmony as we can hope for with a big native population of blacks, the truly appropriate course of action for all Western countries would be not to have permitted mass immigration of Muslims across the past fifty years.
Pending the invention of time machines, however, we can't undo what has so foolishly been done. So the thing we might have done, we did not do. The things we might now do — mass deportations and firm control of our borders and entry ports — we have no will to do. Hence my gloom.
At the worst times, in the long dark watches of the night, I wonder if it isn't all just as simple as this: They are poor, hard, and fertile, and they have a fierce masculine religion. We are rich, soft, and have stopped reproducing. Such religion as we have is feminized and submissive. It's an unequal contest.
Despair is an unhealthy and unattractive emotion, though. It's also contrary to the ethos here at VDARE.com. We did win the Cold War, Peter Brimelow reminds us when we feel this kind of mood coming on. He also reminds us that there's no market for despair — a thing I can verify from the royalty statements for my book We Are Doomed.
I shall therefore do my best to get back on board with the corporate mission statement and try to find some light in the gloom.
04 — Gestural politics on refugees. Here's a glimmer of light: As of Wednesday night, 30 state governors have expressed opposition to the settlement in their states of Syrians claiming to be refugees. Or perhaps I should say, "People claiming to be Syrians claiming to be refugees," as authentic Syrian passports can be purchased for a few hundred dollars in the bazaars of the Middle East. Thirteen state governors have said they are willing to take the refugee claimants; seven have made no statement.
Well, that's encouraging. Also encouraging was Thursday's vote in the House of Representatives to impose very strict rules on admission of so-called Syrian so-called refugees.
On closer inspection, both these glimmers of light faded somewhat. The declarations by those Governors may have no legal force; and that phrase "may have" of course conceals years of litigation. Thursday's House vote is unlikely to be copied by the Senate. In short, we're looking here at gestural politics. Congresscritters can go back to their districts — where millions of people are mad as hell about mass Muslim immigration — and say: "See? We passed a law! It's really strict!"
With any luck their constituents will go back to worrying about fantasy football and Charlie Sheen. Memories of the Paris atrocity will fade; something else will come up to distract our attention.
That's how the Congressreptiles look at things. You saw House of Cards, right?
Barack Obama, our Multiculturalist-in-Chief, has been scathing about these efforts to keep Muslim terrorists out of our country. Sample quote, from his news conference in the Philippines last Tuesday, quote:
When candidates say we should not admit 3-year-old orphans, that's political posturing.
Of course, no candidate has said that. If any candidate did, I'd vote for him. There are 49 Muslim-majority nations in the world, including some very rich ones. Can the President explain to me why they are not able to care for Muslim orphans?
An interesting idea I have seen floated somewhere is for Western countries to separate out all the military-aged men from the migrant hordes and put them under military discipline. Then, when they are sufficiently well trained, we could transport them back to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to fight the good fight. Meanwhile, we'd take the small numbers of women, children, and old folk.
Setting aside the fact that such a scheme is far beyond the will or imagination of any Western country, I wouldn't approve it anyway. As the British and French experiences show, incoming migrants are only a part of the problem, the smaller part. Many of them, perhaps even most of them, are glad to be here, having experienced the alternative.
Then come the second and third generations, who have never known anything but life in the West. The banlieus of Paris are not full of recent migrants; they are full of the children and grandchildren of African and Middle Eastern immigrants who came fifty years ago, when France wanted cheap labor. These are the people getting radicalized; these are the people filling French prisons.
Migrants are the camel's nose under the tent; the second and subsequent generations are the camel.
One more quote from Obama's Tuesday presser, quote:
When individuals say we should have religious tests, and only Christians, proven Christians, should be allowed, that's offensive and contrary to American values.
End quote. Is it, though? Was there no religious preference in play at all when we admitted hundreds of thousands of Jews from the U.S.S.R. in the 1970s and 1980s? Note I'm not interested here in the rights or wrongs of those admissions, though I'll be glad to discuss that offline. I'm just asking (a) was there preference? and (b) did anyone at the time say such preference was "contrary to our values"?
Quote from a paper about those admissions at the Center for Immigration Studies website, quote:
After 1980, Soviet emigrés had to prove to an immigration officer in Rome that they had a well founded fear of persecution. Most managed to do so. Until the late 1980s, United States policy accepted all Soviet Jews as refugees.
End quote. "Contrary to our values," Mr President?
The indefatigable and indispensable Ann Corcoran over at Refugee Resettlement Watch asks rhetorically why Obama is so keen on bringing in these so-called Syrian so-called refugees, and so angry at efforts to thwart him.
Most of the answer is in plain sight: Obama came into office promising to "fundamentally transform" the United States. Actual quote, Obama speaking in Columbia, Missouri, October 30th 2008, quote:
We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.
End quote. Clearly Obama didn't like America the way it was. What he most disliked about it, we can now deduce, was that it was too damn white and too Christian. What he had in mind was a demographic transformation.
What, after all, is more fundamental than demography? If you swapped out the population of Ireland for five million Arabs, or five million Nigerians, or five million Norwegians, would it still be Ireland? Of course not … although the Irish seem determined to try the experiment anyway.
That's most of the answer. The rest is Obama's instinctive globalism, manifested in this case by a reverence for, and submission to, the United Nations.
The U.N. is pushing the U.S.A. hard to take 65,000 so-called Syrian so-called refugees. Obama wants to comply, to secure his position as globalist Humanitarian of the Year, a title Angela Merkel is threatening to steal from him. As Ann Corcoran says, quote: "Obama looks exceedingly weak for not being able to deliver America." He hates to look weak. That's why he's so angry.
Let's be thankful for small mercies, though. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, Obama instructed John Kerry to go to Paris with aging folk-rock singer James Taylor, so Taylor could sing "You've Got a Friend" to the grieving Parisians.
There has been no comparable gesture this time around. For that, as I said, the French should be thankful; not for missing out on James Taylor, for whom I actually have a soft spot, but because when Obama declares himself your friend, it's time to crank up your hypocrisy-meter.
05 — Even cowgirls get the blues. One footnote to the Paris killings.
Even cowgirls get the blues. And sometimes it's worse than that; sometimes they go all to pieces.
Such was the fate of 26-year-old Hasna Aitboulahcen of Paris, a fun-loving young woman who according to friends and acquaintances interviewed by the newspapers, was nicknamed "the cowgirl" for her habit of wearing cowboy hats.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning local time Mlle. Aitboulahcen was in an apartment in the Saint Denis district of Paris, in company with her cousin, Abdel Hamid Aba'aoud, and some uncertain number of other persons. Aba'aoud is believed to have masterminded last week's terrorist attacks.
Police counter-terrorism units stormed the building. There was a gunfight. Soldiers arrived. People were evacuated from the building. Aba'aoud was killed by a police or military sniper.
Then, around nine o'clock, the cowgirl, Mlle. Aitboulahcen, detonated her suicide vest. It must have been some vest: there was major structural damage to the building, and the street outside was showered with the lady's body fragments.
Her head, as is usual with suicide-vest terminations, separated intact and landed in the street with the other bits and pieces. Israelis, who have lots of experience in this zone, tell you: "It just pops right off and lands on someone's roof." That would be something to find when you're cleaning out the gutters.
Well, our cowgirl's head landed in the street, perhaps obliging the gendarmes to put up one of those road signs saying Stop Ahead. [Boo, hiss.] Sorry, sorry.
The London Daily Telegraph memorialized Mlle. Aitboulahcen as having, quote, "earned the dubious distinction of becoming Europe's first woman suicide bomber," end quote. Her friends and acquaintances just shook their heads sadly and said: "That's Hasna all over." [Boo, hiss.] Sorry again.
And a footnote to the footnote here: Hasna Aitboulahcen's self-detonation also killed a police dog, name of Diesel — supply the French pronunciation for yourselves — who had been sent into the building to sniff for explosives.
Offering us a little window into the anfractuosities of human nature, a great many people were as outraged by the fate of Diesel as by the massacre of 130 Parisians. Pictures of Diesel are all over the internet. A Twitter hashtag has been started up: hashtag "JeSuisunChien", which is French for "I am a dog." Sample tweet, quote: "You can hurt our spirit, you can hurt our men, but when you hurt our animals then stuff gets serious! RIP Diesel." The author of that tweet is, I should say, female.
Speaking as a dog lover, I find all this rather endearing. Of course it's absurd and a tad insensitive to place the death of a dog on the same level as the deaths of human beings; but these tributes to Diesel express something not unattractive about human nature.
And let's not forget that it was a Frenchwoman, Madame de Staël, who is supposed to have said, quote: "The more I see of men, the more I love dogs."
The violence and chaos inside Syria, where Islamic State terrorists and other rebel groups control large portions of the country, is so dire that millions of people have fled and the U.N. has stopped trying to keep count of the dead. Yet Syria is just one of many places across the globe where warlords, separatists, drug cartels, or terror groups have seized territory within a sovereign nation, leaving the government with little or no power — and the people to fend for themselves.
End quote. The rest of the page is some graphics and brief texts describing these ungoverned regions, one by one — twenty altogether. Twenty big, nation-size regions under gangster or warlord rule.
The ones you'd expect to find there, are there. Syria, check. Congo, check. Yemen, check … There are some surprises, though; or, if not exactly surprises, places you vaguely know are messed up but never have much reason to think about. Thailand's border with Malaysia, for example. Quote:
The southern tip of Thailand is home to armed separatists who have committed bombings and other acts of violence that have killed more than 6,000 people since 2004. Attacks on government buildings and civilians occur "almost daily," according to the U.S. State Department …
End quote. The lawlessness isn't all on dry land, either. Singapore is about as civilized a place as you can find, but the seas around it are plagued by pirates. Quote:
According to the International Maritime Bureau, Southeast Asia was identified as the most pirate-infested region on Earth in 2014, with 141 reported acts of piracy. Most of the attacks were hit-and-run thefts on vessels by pirates armed with guns and long knives …
End quote. Likewise, we think of India as being a pretty well-controlled place. Not so. Quote:
Maoists in the state of Chhattisgarh have repeatedly staged successful ambushes on state security forces seeking to cleanse the area of rebels.
End quote. And then there are our continental neighbors to the South: Mexico, for example. Quote:
The government has little or no control over some areas of the country. Mexico's number of homicides more than tripled from 2007 to 2011 and its murder rate is the 20th highest in the world.
End quote. Yep, it's a jungle out there — a whole lot of jungles, actually. Tell me again the case for open borders?
07 — Black whines matter. Speaking of ungoverned regions in which authority has broken down, the cultural revolution on our college campses continues to spread.
At Princeton, black students and some white anarchist camp-followers staged a sit-in at the President's office demanding that Woodrow Wilson's name be removed from all buildings because he was a racist. They also demanded a, quote, "dedicated space on campus for black students that is clearly marked," end quote. One assumes it will have its own drinking fountains.
President Eisgruber, to his credit, refused to take down President Wilson's name, but agreed to change the title of residential facility supervisors from "master" to "head." Why that is not discriminatory against people who don't have heads, like the unfortunate Mlle. Aitboulahcen, I am not sure. And as many people have pointed out, there is a slippery slope here, ending perhaps with the awarding of Spinster of Arts degrees.
At Dartmouth on the evening of November 12th protestors of the Black Lives Matter movement did what barbarians generally do sooner or later: they invaded the college library. The name "Alexandria" mean anything? The Dartmouth blacks, however, stopped short of burning the library to the ground. They contented themselves with harassing students who were exercising their white privilege by studying for exams.
Quote from the Dartmouth Review, November 14th, quote:
Students who refused to listen to or join their outbursts were shouted down. "Stand the f*** up!" "You filthy racist white piece of s***!" Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group. "If we can't have it, shut it down!" they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting "filthy white b****!" in her face.
End quote. At Yale, meanwhile, site of the Halloween costume furore we reported on last week, the college President Peter Salovey has done the full multicultural cringe, sending out a slobbering email to faculty and students in which, among other things, he promises that, quote, "Yale will launch a five-year series of conferences on issues of race, gender, inequality, and inclusion," end quote. Aren't you just dying to sign up for that?
President Salovey in fact shows signs of never having met anyone who is not a fullbore multiculturalist, or engaged with the kinds of ideas we discuss here on the Dissident Right. At any rate, he has a tin ear for the mockery we've been dealing out to multiculti jargon for a couple of decades now. He writes for example of, quote, "the vibrancy of our university community." Vibrancy!
One of the demands by the blacks at Yale is for Calhoun College, one of the residential facilities, to be renamed. John C. Calhoun, you see, was not merely a slave owner; he argued for slavery as a positive good. Oh dear.
As it happens, I have just been writing about Calhoun, by way of reviewing Grantland Tucker's excellent new book Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, from Jefferson to Reagan. Calhoun is one of the fourteen. Quote from my review, which will appear in Chronicles magazine, quote: "The U.S.A. has not produced so many first-class political intellects that we can afford to forget one, whatever he thought about slavery," end quote.
And in the context of what has been happening, it is not altogether inapt to mention the other Calhoun, John B. Calhoun. This Calhoun was not a politician but an ethologist, which is to say an expert on animal behavior. His dates are 1917 to 1995. He is best known for his "mousetopia" experiments in the 1960s.
Calhoun's "mousetopia" was a city for mice, constructed at a research facility in Maryland. The city was a mouse utopia: a huge pen with little mouse apartments, public spaces, nesting boxes, food hoppers, and water dispensers. To quote from the Wikipedia article, quote: "There was no shortage of food or water or nesting material. There were no predators. The only adversity was the limit on space." End quote.
Some breeding pairs were introduced into the mousetopia and Calhoun watched the development of their society. At first there was a population boom; but soon social structure began to deteriorate. Further quote from Wikipedia, quote:
Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, increase in homosexual behavior, inability of dominant males to maintain the defense of their territory and females, aggressive behavior of females, passivity of non-dominant males with increased attacks on each other which were not defended against. After day 600, the social breakdown continued and the population declined toward extinction. During this period females ceased to reproduce. Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting.
End quote. At last all sexual activity ceased and the population died out.
As a footnote here, I see that the college cultural revolution may have drawn inspiration from my own alma mater, University College London. In June last year, UCL banned the college Nietzsche club from holding meetings on campus, on the grounds that, quote from the Daily Beast, "discussions about right-wing philosophers could encourage fascism and endanger the student body," end quote.
That's a shame. Still, intellectually curious students have many other figures they could discuss: John B. Calhoun, perhaps, and his mousetopia.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: News from the world of science; to be precise from the work of Professor Nicolas Guégen of the University of South Brittany, up in Northwestern France.
Professor Guégen is a social psychologist who investigates the influence of sights, sounds, and smells on people's behavior. Sample papers, from the publications list on his website:
It all sounds very French, doesn't it? Actually this is a profitable line of academic work. Corporate marketing departments beat a path to Professor Guégen's door.
Well, here's his latest paper. Title: Women's hairstyle and men's behavior: A field experiment. In this experiment, a lady walking in the street drops a glove when some member of the public is walking alone behind her. Did her hairstyle have any effect on how many people helped her?
They tried three hairstyles: ponytail, bun, and falling loose to the shoulders. Bottom line: for female passers-by, hairstyle made no difference. Men, however, were more helpful to loose-flowing hair.
So, ladies: Let your hair down. Dump the buns and ponytails. Although I must say, as the husband of a lady who not infrequently wears her hair in a plaited pigtail, I think Professor Guégen needs to broaden his investigative range somewhat.
Item: With my mind still on science, here's a little fantasy thought.
My fantasy is, that someone invents a machine to turn migration into speech. Then, when people make a permanent move from one place to another, we could fit them with the machine to declare their motivations out loud.
So black Africans crossing the Mediterranean into Europe from Libya would be squawking as they came: "We Africans are hopeless! There's no way we can ever build countries as nice as those up north! And they have white chicks!" Or Muslims coming in from Turkey: "That refugee camp really sucks! There's nothing to do! My cousin in Manchester has a wide-screen TV!"
If you read VDARE you know that we frequently kick around the phrase "revealed preference," which is economist's jargon for judging people's motivations not by what they say but by what they do. Well, my fantasy gadget, the migrato-voice-ometer, would be making the revealed preference known.
It might even have domestic uses. It might, for example, solve the age-old mystery of why liberal Goodwhites want to live among other liberal Goodwhites, as far as possible from concentrations of blacks and Hispanics …
Item: Here's another one from the science pages. By way of introducing the item, let me just ask you: Do you think, as I do, that invective is a vanishing art?
Invective, defined in dictionaries as insulting or abusive words or expressions, is, I believe, at a historical low point. We have descended considerably from when William F. Buckley, Jr. declared Gore Vidal to be, quote, "contemptible, a dogged liar, a foul human being"; and even further from Ernest Hemingway saying that Wyndham Lewis had the eyes of, quote, "an unsuccessful rapist"; and further yet from James Boswell's saying of Edward Gibbon that, quote, "I class him among infidel wasps and venomous insects."
If you want to lift vituperation up to its proper height once again, here's a suggestion: Following Boswell's example, look to the animal kingdom.
Did you know, for example, that there is a species of fish called the spiny lumpsucker? I quote from Discover magazine, November 18th, quote:
Eumicrotremus orbis is spiny, but it doesn't suck lumps so much as adhere itself to rocks using a suction device on its belly. The fish are poor swimmers …
Excuse me interrupting here, and I confess I know far too little about marine biology, but how does a fish get away with being a poor swimmer? I mean, it's a fish, isn't it? Are there birds that are poor fliers? Paging Professor Darwin, paging Professor Darwin …
Sorry; continuing the quote from Discovery, quote:
The fish are poor swimmers, partly owing to their perfectly round bodies and stubby fins. So they prefer to stay in one place. After a female spiny lumpsucker lays her eggs, the male that fertilizes them suctions himself onto a nearby surface and waves his fins over the eggs to keep them aerated.
End quote. Isn't Nature wonderful? That aside, I think "spiny lumpsucker" would be a great addition to one's arsenal of invective. I offer it free to presidential candidates for use in upcoming debates. "Listen to me, Senator Rubio, you spiny lumpsucker …"
Item: That segment about the exploding cowgirl may have reminded some listeners — listeners of the lower sort, I mean, whom regrettably I have no means of excluding from the Radio Derb audience — it may have reminded those listeners of a certain well-known limerick concerning a young lady from Dallas who had an unfortunate experience with a stick of dynamite.
Well, here is a somewhat related item about a young lady named Dallas. This is 21-year-old Dallas Archer of Kingsport, Tennessee, sentenced this Thursday for, quote, "introducing contraband into a penal facility."
What had happened was, that while Ms Archer was being booked in her local station house for driving with a suspended license, the routine body search turned up a small handgun, a .22 caliber mini-revolver, concealed in her vagina. It turned out the weapon had been stolen from the car of another Kingsport resident, 71-year-old John Souther. Apprised of the recent whereabouts of his missing property, Mr. Souther declared his eagerness to have, quote, "the little fellow" returned — "little fellow," hmmm — but swore it would need, quote, "a bath in bleach" before it would be serviceable again.
I apologize to male listeners for reporting this story. We've all had those nightmares about the vagina dentata, but Ms Archer has taken our fears to a whole new level.
Still, at least we now have a ready-made response to the old female line about: "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"
Yes, I'll admit, I stole that from the comment thread to the story. This is in fact one of those stories where most of the fun is in reading the comment thread. I leave this as an exercise for the listener.
09 — Signoff. On that note of characteristically good taste, ladies and gentlemen, I take my leave. Thank you for listening. May you and those you care about enjoy warmth, love, fellowship, and a thundering good meal this Thanksgiving.
OK, let's have some exit music here. I mentioned James Taylor back there somewhere and said I have a soft spot for the guy. I'm going to go the whole way here and confess that, yes, I am a James Taylor fan.
I know, I know: He's a terrible lefty, in spite of being a dead ringer for Charles Murray. That pretty much goes with the showbiz territory, though, certainly in the realm of folk rock. If you're going to let politics dictate your musical preferences, you'll be missing out on a lot of beautiful music.
For me there's a personal issue, too. I first landed in the U.S.A. in August 1973. After a few months disorientation, I settled at last in a rented room in Elmsford, New York and started getting acquainted with this vast, amazing country. I had a wee cassette player and subscribed to some album-a-month deal. They sent me James Taylor's album Walking Man when it just came out. I'd never heard of the guy, but the album got my attention.
I particularly liked the song titled "The Promised Land," Taylor's cover version of an old Chuck Berry number. It lived up to its title; it caught for me somehow the size, variety, and freedom of America, the opportunity and the excitement.
The U.S.A. really is a wonderful place, for which we should all give thanks. It seems to me it was somewhat more wonderful in 1974; but most likely that's just the crabbed, weary, cynical vision of old age talking. Yes, I'm sure it is … In 1974 I was still young, and so was James Taylor. Darn it, the whole country was seventeen percent younger than it is now …
Oh boy, I need a drink.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: James Taylor, "The Promised Land."]