• Play the sound file (duration 14m47s).
[Music clip: John McCormack singing "Adeste Fidelis"]
01 — Intro. I thought Radio Derb should come in with a seasonal touch this week, so there was one of the greatest voices ever to come out of the British Isles — greater by far than mine, that's for sure. That was John McCormack singing "Adeste Fidelis," and this is John Derbyshire, offering you season's greetings from Radio Derb.
I'll just add a sentimental note to the name of John McCormack. His rendition of the fine old Murray and Lockton song "I'll Walk Beside You" was a favorite of my father's, and the tune was one of those played at my parents' wedding.
There now. If there is still a dry eye in the house, we'll proceed with the show.
02 — Happy Nutcracker season! Wait a minute. Did I just say "Season's greetings"? Where does that put Radio Derb on the Great Christmas Wars now raging all across the nation, with citizen armies screaming "Merry Christmas!" and "Happy holidays!" at each other across the barricades?
I think it's all got a bit out of hand, to tell you the truth. When I offer a greeting at this time of year I default to "Merry Christmas," unless the person I'm greeting is wearing payos and a yarmulke, or a chador, or a saffron robe.
Speaking as the parent of a dance-crazy preteen female, though: This time of year is neither Christmas time nor holiday time for me. It's Nutcracker time. Take it away, Pyotr Ilyich!
My little princess has been doing Nutcracker for five or six years now, rising up through the ranks from White Mouse and Toy Soldier to Polichinelle and Party Scene Maid. We hope that one day she will be a flower, perhaps even a snowflake. At any rate, it's not old Saint Nick who dominates our Christmas, it's Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
So: Happy Nutcracker season!
03 — Racism down under, Over in France the guardians of politically correct thinking seem to have regained their control following the riots there last month.
The official line is that the riots were nothing to do with religion, ethnicity, or — heaven forbid! — race, but were caused by poverty and discrimination. All the major media sources are now on board with this. Those commentators who had the temerity to notice that the rioters were all of North or West African origin, and mainly Muslim, have been rounded up and shipped off to re-education camps.
Reality has a way of asserting itself, though. Last week there was vicious rioting in Australia. Here is the way The Economist described the events in its news roundup, quote:
Cronulla, a beach suburb of Sydney, experienced two nights of violence after a group of young Lebanese men attacked lifeguards. Thousands of white Australians then went on a racist rampage.
If the thought crossed your mind that the initial attacks by the Lebanese on the white lifeguards might also have been racist; or if you happen to recall news stories stretching back several years about Lebanese men harassing and gang-raping Australian girls; or if you find yourself wondering whther perhaps mass immigration from Muslim regions into non-Muslim nations is a really, really bad idea all around, then you had better pack a bag … to be ready when the Thought Police come knocking to haul you off to that re-education camp.
04 — Prettying up the unprettyuppable. After 24 years on Death Row, Tookie Williams, founder of the Crips street gang, and convicted multiple murderer, finally got his ticket punched in San Quentin prison.
Personally I have no problem with capital punishment and I'm glad Williams got his just deserts at last. I do. however, deplore the spreading use of lethal injection as a means of dispatch. I don't see why we should hide from ourselves the fact that we are doing an act of violence to one of society's enemies.
It has always seemed to me that the firing squad is an ideal way to kill these people. It gets ordinary citizens involved; and it has a Second Amendment cachet that should appeal to all conservatives.
Lethal injection is just an insult to the medical profession. I think it was George Carlin who wondered aloud whether they swab the injection site with antiseptic before inserting the needle.
Tookie, according to news reports, actually had to help them find a vein.
This lethal injection business is just prettying up something that not only can't be made pretty, but shouldn't be.
05 — Pimp of the year. Still on the crime beat: Meet 35-year-old Matthew Tompkins of Galloway Township, New Jersey.
Mr Tompkins was arrested in Manhattan last week while driving his white Hummer. Mr Tompkins was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, but that was just his day job — you know, for the health benefits and stuff. By night he was a pimp, and a sensationally successful one, with prostitutes stashed away in seven different houses, from New York to Las Vegas. Some of these girls were as young as 14.
Here's the thing that caught my eye, though. When New Jersey state police detectives raided the Galloway house they found two trophies naming Tompkins Pimp of the Year.
One of these trophies stood about four feet tall, topped with a figure in a crown and a cape, holding a scepter.
Quote from one of the detectives: "I think he actually won it twice. I don't know who votes on it, though."
This confirms what I've been saying for years: This whole awards business is out of control.
06 — Joe does the right thing. Joe Lieberman, the junior senator for Connecticut, paid his fourth visit to Iraq, and came away with the impression that we might be doing things right there, and might have a fair chance of getting out of the thing without too much egg on our faces.
That's an impression I've been getting recently, too. I can afford to get it, though. I'm a conservative Republican. Poor old Joe is a Democrat, who favors gun control and raising taxes. So what's he doing so far off the Democratic reservation on Iraq? Telling the truth as he sees it, that's what.
Joe is wrong about a lot of things, but he's supporting the President on Iraq not from any hope of personal advantage or for reasons of deep, calculated strategy (try to figure out who I have in mind there) but because he thinks it's the right thing to do.
Now that really is off the Democrat reservation.
07 — Fences, neighbors. President Vicente Fox of Mexico has complained about the proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Said Fox, quote:
By building these walls the United States is forcing us to deal with the problems of our failed economy. Unable any longer to export our poorest citizens to the U.S., we in Mexico's ruling classes will have to take our thumbs off Mexico's windpipe and free our people to live productive lives under a fair rule of law and economic liberty. We shall also lose the billions of dollars in remittances sent back every year by Mexicans working illegally in the U.S. — one of the major financial props holding up our rotten and unjust social system. This is a gross assault on the human rights of corrupt oligarchs everywhere.
End quote. Well, no, he didn't really say that. I made it up. If he had said that, he would have been speaking the truth; and that really would be news.
08 — Barbie torture. In all the hot air about torture recently, one egregious form of torture has gone unnoticed by everyone except the indefatigable reporters of the London Daily Telegraph.
This is Barbie torture. The Telegraph reports on a study carried out by one of those outfits that carry out studies, to ascertain how advertising influences children. Along the way the researchers discovered a plague of Barbie torturing going on behind the privet hedges and lace curtains of Old England. Quote:
The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity. They see the torture as a cool activity, the researchers said. The mutilation ranged from cutting off hair to decapitating and putting the dolls in microwaves.
End quote. This is beyond awful. Poor Barbie! What does Senator McCain have to say about this? Where is the outrage? And where is Ken?
09 — Santarchy. Down in the Antipodes, of course Christmas comes in the middle of summer. Perhaps that goes som way to explain the following rather peculiar story from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city.
I'm just going to quote the first few lines from the BBC News report.
About 40 men in ill-fitting Father Christmas costumes ran around Auckland vandalizing or stealing property and throwing bottles, police say. Two security guards were injured, and three of the men were arrested. A police spokesman described it as "fairly average behavior from an organized group of idiots."
End long quote. Well, "Santarchy," eh? It puts a whole new complexion on "Santa Claus is coming to town," doesn't it? Although personally, I'm just glad to hear a law-enforcement story from New Zealand that doesn't involve sheep. Ho ho ho!
10 — Signoff. Well, folks, that's another year on its way out. It had its ups and downs, as they all do, but we're still here, no thanks to Zarqawi, bin Laden, and their legions of lunatics; and many, many thanks to the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces. God bless then every one, and the rest of us too.
Here is the Chapter House Choir of York Minster to sing us out. Merry Christmas, everybody!
[Music clip: "Away in a Manger."]