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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, harpsichord'n'kazoo version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your puckishly genial host John Derbyshire.
There have been exciting developments in the saga of our new nation, Derbistan. Matters are still in progress, though, so I shall postpone a formal announcement until next week.
For now, let's just proceed directly to news of the hour, beginning with a commemoration.
02 — Remembering the Korean War. Thursday we were chatting idly over dinner out on the back patio in the cool evening breezes. I happened to mention that it was the seventieth anniversary of the opening of the Korean War, June 25th 1950.
That caught Mrs Derbyshire's interest. Her Dad, who passed away twelve years ago, had been a veteran of that war — on the other side, of course.
I ruminated briefly on what an exceptionally horrible war it had been. Nobody's surprised when, in a war, one side performs massacres against the other side. In the Korean War, not only did each side carry out massacres of the other side, both sides — North and South — also committed massacres against their own side.
My lady is a smart, thoughtful, well-educated person, but she has some gaps in her knowledge, as we all have, and modern Korean history was one. How, she asked, after all that destruction, how had South Korea become so rich and successful?
I gave her the story as best I could from my own limited stock of knowledge: The rebuilding in the fifties and sixties under brutal Latin-American-style dictatorships, rising middle-class discontent with the brutality, student demonstrations, the 1988 Olympics, the opening-up in the nineties, today's efficient (by Asian standards), non-corrupt (by Asian standards), prosperous and successful modern republic.
"Like Taiwan, then," said Mrs Derbyshire. I said yes, the stories went pretty much parallel.
She sighed. "Why can't China follow that path? Get rid of those stupid communists?"
I seconded the thought. Then we switched topics to our latest project: solar panels for the roof of Derb Mansion. The feds and New York State offer really good incentive deals. Should we go for it? We forgot about the Korean War.
Reflecting afterwards, having in the meantime watched some news clips about our own current cultural revolution, I got to pondering the near future — through to the middle of this so-far-disappointing century.
Might mainland China indeed follow the trail blazed by South Korea and Taiwan, from prosperity-generating but crude, brutal and corrupt dictatorship to open and consensual government? I know from previous conversations with my wife, who keeps in touch with friends and relatives over there via social media, that there is a lot of middle-class discontent under the surface in China.
Whether that transformation will happen or not, I can't say. Nor, I think, can anyone else. For all we can tell to the contrary, the Chinese communists might still be running things in the current manner thirty years from now. Or they might not: a Taiwan-style, South Korea-style political transformation may have occurred.
I will, though, say the following thing with high confidence.
If that transformation does occur, China will storm ahead as the world's dominant power through the middle decades of this century. We of the West European and Anglo-Saxon nations will be left in their dust, locked in our futile, unproductive squabbles about White Fragility and how much Black Lives Matter.
03 — "Karen shaming"? It's very handy to have well-known phrases for social phenomena. A well-crafted phrase can clarify our thinking about a phenomenon, help us see it as what it truly is.
A couple of the best such phrases to emerge in recent years are "virtue signalling" (except that we seem unable to agree on how to spell "signalling," one "l" or two) and "narrative collapse."
For listeners who've just wakened from a Rip Van Winkle-style twenty-year sleep, virtue signalling is a species of what used to be called "cheap grace," where you raise your moral standing in your peer groups by cost-free speech or actions. Narrative collapse is what happens at that point in the news cycle when the gentle black giant or winsome black teenager who suffered some misfortune at the hands of a white person turns out to be a low-life thug with a drug habit and a rap sheet.
Watching this week's clip of the lady in Seattle going into high hysterics after being confronted by a black guy over some kind of trivial negative encounter, I'm thinking we need a phrase for this. It is, after all, looking to be a thing.
[Clip: "Karen! You're not going to sit there and flip me off …" etc, etc.]
The business of Amy Cooper and her dog in New York City's Central Park four weeks ago was very similar. That was the episode that introduced the general public to the tag "Karen," indicating a white woman asserting her white privilege. So perhaps the phrase we're seeking here is something like "Karen abuse" or "Karen shaming."
These two incidents — that one in New York and this one in Seattle — are, I would guess, the tip of a very big iceberg. I can recall from private conversations across many decades, hearing stories from white women who have felt intimidated to the point of high nervousness, if not actually shrieking hysteria, by the behavior of black men in a one-on-one encounter.
In some of these episodes, as I've heard about them, the black guy is not at fault in any way. An office colleague, a young white female New Yorker of properly liberal sensibilities, once confessed to me that if she was alone in an elevator, and a large black guy got in, and the two of them rode a few floors together, she felt highly uncomfortable.
"What," I asked her, "in a way you wouldn't feel if it was a small Asian guy?" Yes, she admitted.
She was obviously wracked with guilt about what she had just confessed. Just as obviously, there is not necessarily any fault here on the part of the black guy.
You have to suspect, though, that blacks know about this; and that black men of a certain temperament have malicious fun with it. With the advent of the smartphone and the ability to make video recordings and post them, the temptation to stage a Karen-shaming incident must, to a certain personality type, be irresistible.
There is also the element of revenge. Black Americans are taught in our schools and colleges to be angry about slavery and Jim Crow. It's not surprising that some blacks, as adults, are looking for revenge against Whitey. (What's surprising is that most blacks aren't.)
White kids, undergoing that same education, are taught that they share responsibility somehow for all that cruelty and oppression, so a corresponging proportion of them arrive in adult life loaded with racial guilt.
The guilt is mixed with fear, though. Most whites, by the time they arrive at adulthood, know the Great Unmentionable of social life in our country: that blacks are, in the statistical generality, a whole order of magnitude more violent and dangerous than other races.
And there, with smartphone in hand, you have the ingredients for a perfect Karen-shaming.
Locate a Karen; get alone with her; pick a quarrel, all the while maintaining a cool middle-class non-ghetto demeanor with just the merest slight seasoning of aggression; press the quarrel to the point where her personality disintegrates; force her to a virtue-signalling punch line if possible — the Seattle lady started yelling that she has a black husband, although whether she actually does or not, I haven't been able to ascertain — then post the whole thing on social media. Hey, it's fun!
With any luck, the Karen will be identified and fired from her job — that's the real prize, the cherry on the revenge cookie. Even if she doesn't get fired, though, you've Karen-shamed her: made her look like a hysterical nitwit — and, best of all, a racist! — to millions of viewers. How sweet it is!
04 — Tucker and I. Do I watch Tucker Carlson's show? Yes I do. In his monologues he has a good forceful style of speaking that I like, and he hits a lot of nails right on the head.
I can pick nits if you like. At this point, I can't take altogether seriously anyone who denies the reality of race, as Tucker seems to. At least, he never gets any closer to race realism than the phrase "skin color," which he likes a lot. Yo, Tucker: google with the search string "african albino."
This may be just protective on Tucker's part, though: no-one openly race-realist is going to get an opinionating slot on prime-time TV. On race-related political topics — immigration, education, law-enforcement — Tucker is pretty sound.
I'll pick some lesser nits, too. That dorky doctor he has on, Marc Siegel, sets my teeth on edge, for reasons I find hard to articulate. And what's this obsession with UFOs? UFOs? Really? I was through that stage and out the other side by age twelve, having read the books of George Adamski.
By mass-media standards, though, Tucker is a gem. Sure, I know: I won't be seeing Jared Taylor on his show, or Peter Brimelow, or Steve Sailer. That's just Fox News attending to our common safety, though. If any of those names were to appear, there would at once be a nationwide outbreak of cross-burning, lynching, and church-bombing — we all know that. Gotta preserve the public peace!
And politically, Tucker is astute. I rarely find myself disagreeing with him. He is particularly good on the uselessness of the Republican Party and the weakness of President Trump.
The other evening he worked the theme that most of what we're seeing in the news right now has an electoral dimension. It's targeted at November's voters in one way or another: either directly, by the actors themselves, or indirectly, by people financing and supporting them, or just standing by quietly to let them do what they are doing.
As Tucker's pointed out, standing by quietly while the wreckers go around freely wrecking is just as much a policy of Trump's as it is of the left-radicals running the Democratic Party. Trump seems to be calculating that a few weeks of rioting, looting, and vandalism in Democrat-run big cities like Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle will show voters what they may expect if the left takes power over the federal government.
I suppose he may be right. It's at least as likely, though, that voters will just read all the disorder as another sign of weakness at the top, along with Trump's getting the middle finger from one of his Supreme Court appointees, and along also with the near-total failure to follow through on his 2016 campaign promises about immigration and foreign entanglements.
Taking stern law-enforcement action against disorderly citizen protests isn't exactly a new thing in the U.S.A. Like my colleague James Kirkpatrick, I've been reading Christopher Caldwell's splendid new book, The Age of Entitlement. Here's a short passage from Chapter Four. The topic here is the forced de-segregation of schools in Boston during the mid-1970s. Quote:
When the whites of South Boston and Charlestown protested, their neighborhoods were put under military occupation. "Southie" had a curfew and laws against public assembly, enforced by 1,600 police officers, 100 federal marshals, 50 FBI agents, and 600 National Guard troops.
That's a pretty forceful response. Could any government today come down on citizens with such force? Well, on white prole citizens, like those in Boston 45 years ago, maybe; but on the gentry liberals of Seattle, or the blacks of Minneapolis, perhaps not …
Still, that level of enforcement did stop the resistance, although with not quite the long-term result intended. Here is the next sentence in that paragraph from Caldwell's book, quote:
Whites made up 60 percent of the public school system on the eve of busing, less than 20 percent when it had finally done its work, little more than a decade later.
05 — It's the blecks (cont.) Returning to the matter of memorable phrases to describe social phenomena, another one of my favorites is our own Steve Sailer's phrase "Occam's Butterknife." That's a play on Occam's Razor, the philosophical principle that when a number of explanations are on offer, we should favor the one that requires fewest prior assumptions.
Occam's Butterknife is the contrary principle: When the simplest, most straightforward explanation is unacceptable to you for social or emotional reasons, look for something more complicated.
The phrase "Occam's Butterknife" is probably too recondite for general acceptance, but it is very handy when dealing with race denialism.
Seven years ago here at Radio Derb I had some fun with bigfoot Conservatism, Inc. commentators George Will and Peggy Noonan, who were applying Occam's Butterknife to the bankruptcy of Detroit, which had just been declared. Too much democracy, said George; corrupt public officials, said Peggy; over-empowered public-sector unions, said both.
I demolished these writers with a quick slash of the original Occam's Razor — not the Butterknife, the Razor. "It's the blecks," I said. Then I explained my peculiar turn of pronunciation. Quoting myself:
I recall a fine example of Occam's Razor — not the butterknife, now, the original razor — from thirty or so years ago when I was doing office work in London. I had a colleague, a white guy from South Africa, who spoke with those strange flattened vowels they use. He actually pronounced the name of his country as "S'thefriceh."
Well, the district of London I mentioned in that little anecdote was Brixton. Wednesday night this week, the inhabitants of Brixton were at it again. Twenty-two police officers were injured when they tried to shut down an unlicensed block party. Brixtonians — "Brixtoners"? "Brixtonoids"? I'm not sure of the correct demonym here — partygoers quickly got the upper hand. Video clips showed the police being chased out of Brixton by the jeering mob.
Community activists were on hand to explain the cause of the disturbances to BBC reporters. It shows that "local children need more support," said Community Activist A. Community Activist B agreed. She's been campaigning for a new youth centre, she said. Quote: "The kids don't have anywhere to go," end quote.
The head of London's police force, a 59-year-old lesbian who rejoices in the name Cressida Dick, blamed it on the heat and too much drinking.
May I practice my S'thefricen vowels again, please? Thank you: No, ladies, it's not the lack of youth facilities, not the heat, not the drink. It's the blecks.
Just as a footnote here, always trying to think of something constructive to offer: Watching that video of the peelers being chased out of Brixton by the mob I recalled a similar clip from four weeks ago, of bobbies on the run from a different mob in London's parliament district.
That got me thinking that perhaps this could be developed into a new Olympic event: the Bobby Dash. At the starting line you could have a couple of dozen coppers in full riot-control gear, then on another line twenty yards behind them, a crowd in street clothes armed with bottles and bricks of some regulation size. At the starter's pistol the police start running with the street people in pursuit. You could have a scoring system based on bobbies brought down by bottle, by brick, by physical tackle …
This could be a great team event. I must remember to bring it up next time I'm in conversation with Cressida Dick.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Before the Ever Trumpers get on my case for not having mentioned it, I shall mention this week's excellent news about the President's having shut down a big swathe of guest-worker visas through to the end of this year.
I would of course have preferred a bigger swathe, and "end of this century" would have been better than "end of this year," but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth.
This is a good sign of energy in the executive, and a welcome boost for American workers. Thank you, Mr President!
Let's erect an ironic statue of people tearing down a statue, and then double-ironically tear down that statue.
That goes into my mental file with the New Yorker cartoon published a few days after the 9/11 attack. A woman's standing in front of a bookstore window. Prominent in the window is some bestseller with a sticker on it saying: NOW WITH 50 PERCENT LESS IRONY!
That was Paul Robeson, of course, singing one of the most stirring of the old Negro Spirituals … or whatever we're supposed to call them nowadays. I remember it from my high-school years. It's well-known all over the world.
Especially to English fans of Rugby football. Rugby fans love to sing, and when England's team is on the field, especially when the odds are against them, this is the song you'll hear. There's a bit of sporting history behind that: You can explore it for yourselves on YouTube.
Of course, nothing as traditional as this — well, nothing belonging to white people — will be allowed to survive the present cultural revolution. The Rugby Football Union, which is the governing body for the sport in England, is pondering whether the singing of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by white people is a form of cultural appropriation and so should be banned.
This tiny controversy has brought forth great blasts of PC gibberish from Grievance Studies academics, the kind of thing that provides a handsome living to Ta-nehisi Coates and a legion of white hucksters like Tim Wise and Robin DeAngelo the White Fragility lady.
Here, for example, is Josephine Wright, billed here as a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Quote from her:
Such cross-cultural appropriations of U.S. slave songs betray a total lack of understanding of the historical context in which those songs were created by the American slave.
If you are still holding in your breakfast, here is Arthur Jones, a music history professor at the University of Denver, after being told about the rugby fans singing a spiritual, quote:
My first reaction is absolute shock — and I actually understand it when I think about it — but that's my first reaction. I feel kind of sad.
Poor guy! The move to ban the song may get help from on high, though. No less a personage than Prince Harry Windsor seems to be on board with a ban.
Given that Harry is the least popular member of the Royal Family, as well as the least intelligent, I'd advise him not to make any appearances at rugby matches. If he does, I think I know what song will greet him.
Item: In further news from the sceptered isle, a chap in Aberdeen, Scotland has been fined $350 for calling another man a leprechaun.
This was not without provocation. The perp, whose name is Terry Myers, had a girlfriend. This girlfriend left him and took up with another bloke, an Irishman. In a subsequent email exchange with the lady, Terry threatened to assault the new boyfriend, and referred to him using the L-word.
That, ruled the court after long and solemn deliberation, gave Terry's insults a racial motivation, aggravating the offense thereby.
Just pause, listeners, to envy the inhabitants of Aberdeen, whose police and courts have so little to do, they can spend their time soothing women whose feelings have been hurt by having their boyfriend likened to a small jolly fellow with a green hat.
I wonder what the tariff would have been if Terry had referred to his rival as a Papist bog-trotter who sleeps in his boots, keeps a pig in the parlor, and subsists entirely on potatoes and whiskey? It doesn't bear thinking about.
Item: Places whose names bear even the faintest trace of white privilege are hastening to rename themselves. The latest case here is the state of Rhode Island.
Which part is white supremacist? you may be asking. Is it the "Rhode," or the "Island"?
It surely can't be the "Island." That's just a dictionary word, meaning … you know: island. Was Rhode some early slave-owning, colonist, perhaps a forebear of notorious 19th-century imperialist Cecil Rhodes?
Well, possibly. According to Wikipedia, which is as deep as I can be bothered to research the matter, nobody knows the origin of the "Rhode" in "Rhode Island." It is entirely possible that Roger Williams, who named the place, just pulled "Rhode" out of his … left ear.
No, what's giving offense here is the state's full name, which is: the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. That word "plantations," to those sufficiently woke, conjures up images of helpless, half-starved darkies being whipped out into the fields before dawn by sadistic tobacco-chewing white overseers to pick cotton.
So those last three words in the name, "and Providence Plantations," have got to go. The fact that only eight people in the entire U.S.A. have ever heard Rhode Island referred to by its full name is of no importance.
Item: On the same beat — the matter, that is, of renaming places with white-supremacist connotations — here's one from Australia.
Australia is divided politically into six states and several territories. One of the states is named Victoria, for Queen Victoria, of course.
A lady named Lidia Thorpe has taken exception to this. Quote from her:
Anything that's named after someone who's caused harm or murdered people, then I think we should take their name down.
Ms Thorpe is an activist for the Aborigines of Australia, a race to which she herself belongs. She was in fact the first Aboriginal woman — "Aborigina"? "Aboriginette"? don't ask me — the first such to be elected to the Parliament of Victoria, back in 2017.
I'll confess I don't care whether or not the Australians rename the state of Victoria — well, so long as the new name doesn't include the word "Plantations." What caught my interest in this story was Ms Thorpe herself.
Her appearance, I mean: her skin is whiter than mine. She has long straight light-brown hair, a regular white-female jawline, eye-shaped eyes and a straight nose, … nothing aboriginal about her at all.
This seems to be a thing with self-consciously aboriginal Australians. Steve Sailer posted the other day on another one, also female, billed as "Australia's first Indigenous neurologist Angela Dos Santos." She looks, to borrow from one of Steve's commenters, like she came out of a Miss Alabama beauty pageant around 1955.
What's going on here? I turn to my trusted source on such matters, my 1965 edition of Carleton Coon's book The Living Races of Man. There in the photo section at the back are some pictures of, (a) and (b), front face and profile, "a blond aboriginal girl from the desert of central Australia," and (c) "a half-caste girl from South Australia," front face only. The latter, who indeed could pass as white, comes with a note that, quote: "Many half-castes are indistinguishable from Europeans."
Well, you learn something new every day. Is Rachel Dolezal still around? She could emigrate to Australia and start a whole new career down there.
07 — Signoff. That's all I have for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention; and let's hope that the upcoming July 4th holiday will turn the thoughts of our fellow citizens away from sectionalism and discord towards patriotism and co-operation. Yeah, yeah, I know … but let's hope. Dum spiramus, speramus.
For sign-out music, having started with the Korean War, I thought it would be nifty to use a clip from a Korean War song. I mean, a song that people who hear it instinctively associate with that war.
A significant war usually has some song associated with it like that in the popular imagination. When I was a kid in England, the oldest cohort of adults still around remembered the Boer War, whose song was "Goodbye, Dolly Gray." If you buy me a drink, I can sing you the chorus.
World War Two likewise; although an odd thing here was that up near the top of the song list is "Lili Marlene": a lovely song, but originally German, though the late great Dame Vera Lynn turned out a very nice English version.
But the Korean War … eh. Possibly I missed something, being in England at the time, although British units did fight over there. I'd be happy to hear from Korean War vets about this, but I don't believe there was any really characteristic song for that war.
In lieu thereof, I went scanning the Billboard charts for 1950. The big hit that summer was the old Leadbelly number "Goodnight Irene," recorded by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers; thirteen weeks at Number One, August through November. Listening to it now, I must say, I prefer Leadbelly's version.
I know, I know: We roll our eyes and shake our heads now at those damn stuck-up, self-obsessed, ungrateful Boomers and the way they sneered and scoffed at their parents' stodgy, unimaginative, whitebread suburban dullness.
As obnoxious as they were, though, the Boomers kind of had a point. Leadbelly had something the Weavers did not have, just as Little Richard [Clip] had something that Pat Boone [Clip] couldn't get within a mile of.
In all fairness, having said that, I should give you the Leadbelly version of "Goodnight, Irene." The Weavers were the ones topping the charts in 1950, though; it was their version that was humming in our guys' heads as they slogged off to fight my father-in-law; so I'm going to exercise my white privilege and give you their version of "Goodnight, Irene."
There will be more whitebread suburban dullness from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers, "Goodnight, Irene."]