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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from the frozen wastes of the far north — precisely, from Long Island. This is your cryophobically genial host John Derbyshire with another edition of Radio Derb.
This week's podcast will of course examine the week's political events — at least, the ones I can be bothered with — but it will also offer some speculations about the future, and some guidance to the perplexed in interpreting a certain category of news stories. We shall wind up with a birthday greeting, a respectful nod towards religious believers, and a geezerish lament.
Finally, we shall emulate your favorite children's book. Yes, listeners, there is a monster at the end of the podcast!
Let the bloviating begin!
02 — GOP to white English-speaking Andro-Americans: Please don't vote for us, we don't like you. I have vented so much spleen on the State of the Union address over the years, I have no spleen left. I am in fact on a waiting list for a spleen transplant from someone who has no use for his spleen — Ben Carson, perhaps — after which I shall resume my attacks on what, in my spacetime-warping bestseller We Are Doomed, I called "this Stalinesque extravaganza."
Splenetically challenged as I thus am, I can offer only the most feeble and tangential commentary on this year's State of the Union address, along with a heartfelt plea to Donald Trump to ensure, when he becomes President, that the State of the Union message will thenceforth be delivered to Congress in writing, as it was for most of the nation's history.
I did not of course sit through the President's speech. The human frame can only bear so much. My entire concession to journalistic due diligence was to Ctrl-F through the transcript next day to see how many times Obama said "That's Not Who We Are."
Answer: Incredibly, he didn't say it once, at least according to the transcript. Not once, in 59 minutes of lofty moralizing!
I would naturally like to conclude that the President, or his advisers, have at last paid attention to Radio Derb's repeated complaints about the use of this threadbare phrase as a way of affirming Cultural Marxist pieties. However, some further Ctrl-F-ing cast doubt on this happy supposition.
The President may not have said "That's Not Who We Are" but he did make two references to, quote, "Who We Are."
[Clip: Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?]
[Clip: When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.]
So perhaps the President has not, after all, been heeding the groans of Radio Derb. Or perhaps he just wants to take a more affirmative line. Instead of banging on about this or that being Not Who We Are, Obama is turning towards telling us Who We Are Are … as it were.
[Brief clip: Louis Jordan, "Is you is or is you ain't my baby?"]
Well, who are we? Here's my stock answer. You've heard it before, but it won't hurt you to hear it again. It's lifted from that splendid 2004 book by the late Prof. Samuel Huntington titled, of course, Who Are We? Quote:
The [American philosophical-Constitutional] Creed is unlikely to retain its salience if Americans abandon the Anglo-Protestant culture in which it has been rooted. A multicultural America will, in time, become a multicreedal America, with groups with different cultures espousing distinctive political values and principles rooted in their particular cultures.
End sapient quote.
As insufferable as the President's speech was, the Republican counter-speech was of course even worse. It displayed the Stupid Party in all its moon-booted stupidity.
One version of the speech was delivered by a nonwhite female GOP politician: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, née Nimrata Randhawa, whose parents are immigrant Sikhs from India. Everybody watching was of course instantly reminded of the ancient joke:
Q: What do you call the one black guy at a Republican gathering?
Governor Haley not only did not say "That's Not Who We Are," I couldn't even find the phrase "Who We Are" in the transcript of her address. Surely this is the influence of Radio Derb. I deduce that the Governor pays more attention to my organ than do the President and his advisors.
Plainly feeling that Governor Haley's speech still left them with some pandering to do, the GOP establishment broadcast a second speech in Spanish, delivered by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, who is of Cuban exile parentage. As numerous commentators noticed, and as we covered here on VDARE.com, Rep. Diaz-Balart's speech differed significantly from Governor Haley's in its references to immigration. Where Governor Haley merely suggested amnesty and open borders, Rep. Diaz-Balart promised them.
And Rep. Diaz-Balart did say "That's Not Who We Are," although of course he said it in Spanish: [Clip: "No es quien somos …"] Apparently the Congressman has not been heeding Radio Derb's complaints. Note to self: Lean on the technical staff to speed up the launch of our Spanish-language podcast.
Rep. Diaz-Balart is male and white: very white — he is in fact a dead ringer for our own Steve Sailer, as Steve himself has noted more than once. The thinking of the GOP strategists seems to be: Diversity for the Gringos; but for Latinos, a confident-looking white guy. These people are geniuses, aren't they?
The GOP could in fact have spared themselves the trouble and expense of writing up these speeches and broadcasting them by just showing still screens of a placard inscribed with the words: White English-speaking Andro-Americans: Please don't vote for us, we don't like you.
03 — I for one welcome our new macho white-Hispanic overlords. Just a footnote to that last segment.
Mentioning Steve Sailer back there reminds me of a meme that's been going round, that surfaced in one of Steve's comment threads the other day.
The main idea is that the future of our country belongs to white Latino elites. For one thing, there are millions of them. For another, they have centuries of experience of getting themselves to the top of multiracial societies and keeping themselves there.
In the matter of getting to the top and staying there, white Latinos are not hindered by any sentimental qualms. They will push aside us Anglos rather easily, leaving us mumbling to each other about how ashamed we are of our white privilege. They'll keep white gentiles around, along with Asians, to do technical drudge work, but they'll probably push out the Jews, whom they regard as real competitors for power.
Muslims of course they won't tolerate. Their Spanish ancestors spent a couple of centuries clearing Spain of Muslims; they don't want to go through that again. Blacks and Indios, whom they despise, they'll corral into favelas and leave to fight each other for scraps.
I don't say this will happen. It's just a possible future scenario people are discussing. My own opinion is that on a scale of possibility, it's way more likely than the harmonious multicultural paradise our politicians have been promising for fifty years, but which never seems to get any closer.
There'd be some downsides, of course. We'd end up with an economy like Argentina's, undergoing periodic spells of twelve thousand percent inflation; and you would of course have to flush the U.S. Constitution down la taza; but hey, you can't make huevos rancheros without breaking eggs.
I for one shall welcome our new macho white-Hispanic overlords.
04 — Propaganda stunt of the week. You know, sometimes you wonder what the heck is going on. You know?
Like this week. Tuesday we heard that two U.S. Navy patrol boats and the ten sailors aboard them had been captured by Iran in the Persian Gulf. Quote from the Associated Press report, quote:
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told The Associated Press that the Riverine boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them.
Standard procedure at Radio Derb, when there shows up a story like this that calls for comment, is first to get the ascertainable facts in line. So off I went to Google Maps for a quick reminder of the geopolitical layout around the Persian Gulf.
It's not that complicated. The main body of the Gulf goes very roughly north-south, with Iran on the east side and Saudi Arabia on the west side, separated by 120 miles or so of open sea — the width of the Gulf. Up at the top on the Saudi side is Kuwait. Halfway down on that same side is Bahrain, an offshore island.
So here came my first question. These American patrol boats that were captured are riverine craft, not made for the open sea. You can get from Kuwait to Bahrain by hugging the Saudi coast, which in a riverine craft you should definitely do. There is no reason ever to be closer to the coast of Iran than a hundred miles. So, question: How did they get into Iran's territorial waters, as the Pentagon says they did?
Ah, but the AP report quotes the Pentagon saying the boats were captured, quote, "near Farsi Island in the middle of the Gulf." So back to Google Maps to look for Farsi Island. Google Maps never heard of it.
I pull down my trusty Times Atlas of the World, 1975 edition. No entry for Farsi Island. Off to regular Google. Yep, got it, smack dab in the middle of the Gulf, sixty miles from either shore. So again I ask: What were these riverine craft doing sixty miles out in the open sea?
Back to the Pentagon statement. " … some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats caused them to drift into Iranian territorial waters near the island …"
Say what? Absent strong winds or currents, a boat on the open sea drifts at around walking pace — maximum four or five miles an hour. To drift from close to the Saudi shore to close to Farsi Island — fifty miles minimum — would take at least ten hours. Video of the capture, which I'll get to in a minute, shows windless weather. Currents in the gulf go up and down it, not across it, as they'd have to to get you from the Saudi shore to Farsi Island.
And there were two boats, of which, by the Pentagon account, only one had mechanical trouble. Why couldn't the other one just tow it?
From there things just got weirder, and not in a good way. Wednesday Iran issued video of the actual capture of the two boats. The video showed the ten U.S. crew members kneeling on the deck of one boat with their hands on their heads. No large ships can be seen in the video; it looks as though it was patrol boats versus patrol boats, although it's hard to be sure.
Later we got video footage of the captain of one of the U.S. vessels, sitting with his fellow crew members, in Iranian captivity, being interrogated by Iranians.
Why had they penetrated Iran's territorial waters? he was asked. The captain replied that it was a mistake, for which he apologized.
He was asked how many Iranian patrol boats captured him, and how the capture proceeded. The captain replied that the Iranian patrol boat — so I guess there was only one — came out, quote, "when we were having engine issues," end quote.
So it wasn't U.S. patrol boats versus Iranian patrol boats, let alone U.S. patrol boats versus Iranian capital ships; it was two of our patrol boats versus one of theirs. The Iranian boat had weapons drawn, said the captain, so, quote, "We tried to talk to them until more boats came out and took us in," end quote.
The captain was asked how the Iranians had behaved towards him and his crew members. Replied the captain, quote, "The Iranian behavior was fantastic … We thank you very much for your hospitality."
While these exchanges were taking place the Iranian cameraman panned across at the other U.S. crew members. One was a female. She had been given a rather fetching blue and white shawl to cover her head with. The servicewoman's hands were free and she could have pulled the shawl off, but she didn't.
That interview takes the whole thing from weird to radically weird. The interview itself violates both the Geneva Convention and the U.S. military Code of Conduct. Precise quote from the latter, quote:
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability.
Come to think of it, the Code of Conduct also says, quote:
I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
Those U.S. patrol boats are well armed, as the Iranian video of the capture was at pains to show, laying out all the weapons to be seen. Shouldn't our guys have made a fight of it?
On the other side, our military personnel are under the orders of their superiors. We haven't heard of any communication problems, so presumably our sailors had time to communicate the situation to their commanders. If they had orders from their commanders, possibly even from the Pentagon, to yield without a fight, to kneel, and to apologize, then they would have been under strong psychological pressure to obey those orders, whatever they might have felt about them.
So I'm not second-guessing our servicemen here. I'm too intimately close to the U.S. military to want to do that, anyway. I'm just pointing out that the whole affair was highly peculiar, and the facts as presented don't add up.
Of one thing at least there can be no doubt: This incident was a huge propaganda coup for the Iranians, and for Islamia in general. See the infidels kneel! Hear them apologize! See the kaffir woman forced to cover her shameless naked hair!
It's not the first such show they've put on, either. We tend to forget these things, but nine years ago there was a very similar incident involving the British Navy. Fifteen British sailors were seized by Iran while searching a cargo ship. They were held for two weeks. The one woman among them was made to wear a headscarf. They apologized and thanked their captors on Iranian TV. They even used the same word for the Iranian treatment of them as our patrol-boat captain used: "fantastic." You might almost think the Iranians have this scripted.
Again, I'm loth to second-guess our servicemen, or even our diplomats — not even our shallow, vain, and foolish Secretary of State. Given the number of open questions here, it's possible all was done for the best.
Still, it would be really satisfying if, the next time some third-rate towel-head despotism decides to humiliate our service personnel for propaganda purposes, we made them pay a price for it. A couple of capital ships would be a fair price, I think; bows under, screws in the air, slipping gently below the waters of the Persian Gulf.
05 — Rape, no rape. I perceive from reading opinion pieces, blogs, and comment threads that many people are confused about rape. What, precisely, is it? How do we distinguish false charges from true ones? When is skepticism justified?
As a public service, Radio Derb will clear things up for you. I'm going to proceed by way of illustrative case studies. When a new rape story appears in the news, just see which of the following case studies it most closely matches, and draw the corresponding conclusion, OK? Here we go.
That's the end of our case studies on rape and alleged rape, listeners. I hope you will find them helpful in forming your attitude when the next rape story makes the news.
06 — Practicing disappointment. I find the Donald Trump phenomenon exciting and cheering, and I'll vote for Trump with a bounce in my step any time I get the chance. The guy has an authenticity that's been sorely missing in our politics.
Mark Steyn caught this very well, I thought, in his piece about attending the Trump rally in Vermont last week. Sample quotes:
Trump is very lightly staffed, and entirely unmanaged. Twenty minutes before the event, backstage is usually a whirl of activity with minions pretending to look busy and frantically tippy-tapping away on their phones over some vital matter or other … There's none of that around Trump. He's meandering around back there shooting the breeze, posing for pics, totally relaxed …
End quotes. It sure is. Steyn's backstage glimpses confirm what we've suspected: Trump is just one person, on or off-stage. He's like one of those actors who just play themselves, not really acting at all.
I've been reading the reviews of Burt Reynolds' memoirs. At one point, apparently, Burt writes, quote: "I may not be the best actor in the world, but I'm the best Burt Reynolds in the world."
Whether Donald Trump will turn out to be a great politician or not, we're going to find out. In the meantime, he sure is a great Donald Trump.
The pessimist in me won't lie down, though. Could this be another false dawn? Goodness knows, we've had plenty of those. Remember the Tea Party, just six years ago? Remember them? Right.
How about Pat Buchanan back in 1996 telling New Hampshire voters that, quote, "the peasants are coming with pitchforks," and then going on to win the Republican primary in that state? Remember that? And who did the GOP end up with as their candidate for President that year? Bob Dole, who might as well have had Establishment Republican tattooed across his forehead.
That of course followed the Gingrich Revolution and the Contract with America in 1994. Remember that? Ri-i-ight.
So many false dawns! Could this be another one? Yes, it could.
I've been performing this wet blanket routine for quite a while now. Here is a thing I wrote for American Conservative magazine back in the Spring of 2010, when the Tea Party movement was fresh and newsy, before the GOP managers got their cold, clammy hands on it. Quote from myself:
Perhaps it is just as simple as this: a meritocratic elite is, by definition, smarter than the rest of us. It can always "control the discourse," planting shame and doubt in the minds of those who seek to challenge it, manipulating their sensibilities, feeding them a steady diet of soma through media and educational outlets, bewildering and outfoxing them with bogus appeals to the higher emotions. Perhaps it is all an unequal contest.
Six years of Tea Partying later, here we are with twenty trillion dollars national debt, a humongous budget bill hosing money at every special interest in sight, pushed through the House of Representatives by Republican leader Paul Ryan, and swelling floods of immigrants, legal and illegal, clamping themselves to the welfare teat or putting Americans out of their jobs, or both. Looks like I was right.
But hey, don't mind me. The philosopher Diogenes was once spotted by a friend in the public square, begging from a statue. Asked the friend: "Why are you begging from that statue?" Replied Diogenes: "I am practicing disappointment."
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Michael Moore — you know Michael Moore: the fat socialist goodwhite guy who makes movies about how unspeakably bad white capitalists are — Michael Moore has taken Donald Trump to task for proposing a ban on giving visas to Muslims.
Taking a break from listening to his Woody Guthrie LPs, Moore posted a long open letter to Trump on his Facebook page, decorated with a picture of him, Moore, standing outside Trump Tower in Manhattan holding a big sign saying We are all Muslim
Trump's proposed ban is, says Moore, quote, "desperate and insane." Further quote:
I was raised to believe that we are all each other's brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me.
End quote. I don't know about you, listener, but that leaves me liking Trump's proposal even more than I did before.
Item: Our nation's Attorney General has come out for Donald Trump. Headline from Inquisitr.com, January 14th: Loretta Lynn Shocks with Choice for President.
Given that Ms Lynn was appointed Attorney General by the President himself just last year, this is surely the most sensational news story of the week. I can't understand why it isn't on front pages all over.
You see how unwise it is to depend on the mainstream media for your news? Radio Derb is the only source you can trust for error-free, thoroughly fact-checked news coverage!
Item: Wikipedia, the fake encyclopedia, turns fifteen this weekend.
In common, I feel sure, with most conservative commentators, I can never mention Wikipedia without a twinge of guilt. Having had a few exchanges with Wikipedia editors, I can confirm what you probably suspect: the median Wikipedia editor is out there in left-wing La-la-land with Michael Moore, Bernie Sanders, Bill De Blasio, British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the astounding number of other people who haven't noticed anything that's happened since 1935.
And yet — here comes the spasm of guilt — I use the filthy thing. When I need to do a quick reference on one of the tiny number of topics I don't already know and can't find in my reference books, I bring up Wikipedia.
In my defence, let me add that I never rely on it. If it tells me something I want to use, I first cross-check with other sources. I very rarely post a link to Wikipedia, never on anything that might contradict the CultMarx Narrative.
I have support here in my skepticism from Time magazine, an article by Chris Wilson dated January 14th, headline: Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble. Sample quote:
The number of dedicated editors has been in decline since 2007. This means a large proportion of articles contain some sort of warning that they are incomplete, poorly written or inadequately researched.
End quote. Actually, it's the articles that don't contain warnings you should be most wary of.
All that's by way of a back-handed "Happy Birthday!" to Wikipedia. I'll go on using you, but I'll never trust you — not the way I do my precious, wonderful 1911 Britannica.
Item: Finally, congratulations to Mr Andrey Sergeyevich Filin of Moscow in Russia. Mr Filin is a devout congregant of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. After a long twilight struggle with the Russian authorities, he has finally won the right to wear a kitchen colander on his head, as his religion demands, when sitting for his driver's license photograph.
Mr Filin is the first person in Russia to be given this dispensation, and only the fifth in the world.
The deputy head of the Moscow State Traffic Inspectorate told Russian media that if Mr Filin is ever stopped by traffic police he must have a colander on his head or, quote, "His license will be taken from him."
Mr Filin would only say that the long battle to win recognition of his rights as a believer has left him feeling … strained. [Boo, hiss.]
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time, and may you enjoy a healthful and relaxing weekend.
With of course no disprespect intended whatever to the Pastafarian faithful, talk of the Flying Spaghetti Monster always brings to my mind a certain novelty song from my early teen years. Tagging along right behind the recollection comes the plaintive, albeit geezerish, query: Whatever happened to novelty songs? We're all so laced up nowadays. Nobody wants to be silly any more.
To remind you, or inform you, of how silly we once knew how to be, here is the song. According to its Youtube web page, it was released as a 45 rpm single in July 1958, was number one on the Hit Parade within two weeks, and remained there for six further weeks. Boy, we were silly, weren't we?
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Sheb Wooley, "The Purple People Eater."]