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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your vernally genial host John Derbyshire.
This podcast is being recorded on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. This is therefore an apt time to take a look at Ireland, to see how they're doing over there.
How are they doing? How are things in Glocca Morra? [Clip: Julie Andrews.] Let's take a look.
02 — How are things in Glocca Morra? Short answer: Not bad, far as I can tell. That is not, to be frank, very far. I'm out of touch with Irish affairs; just spent a half hour scanning the Irish newspapers online and looking up economic and social indicators.
On the latter, the Republic of Ireland looks like a healthy First World country, the economy growing nicely at three point something percent per annum and unemployment low. Per capita GDP is surprisingly high: Ireland ranks eleventh in the world, between Kuwait and Norway.
That's not all in the pockets of billionaires, either: the Gini index for Ireland — that's the standard measure of inequality in the wealth distribution — if not quite down at Scandinavian levels, is better than the U.K.'s or Canada's, way better than the U.S.A.'s.
Whatever the state of the nation, the Irish don't seem inclined to thank their politicians for it: The ruling coalition lost near half their seats in Parliament at last year's election. Those are the ups and downs of representative government, though. Main point: Ireland's a normal country, no longer the weird poverty-stricken Potato Republic of fifty years ago in which, as I once wrote, the national ideal was for citizens to sit around a peat fire discussing the Council of Trent in Gaelic.
Ireland is a small country, population the same as South Carolina's. In the grand scheme of things I think even the most patriotic Irishman, even on St. Paddy's day, would have to admit it's not a very important place.
For those of us who write about the National Question, though, it's a very interesting place. Our big theme of nationalism versus globalism plays out in Ireland in curious and perplexing ways.
Consider for example the two big news stories in Irish newspapers recently: the discovery of hundreds of infant corpses in a mass grave, and the future of Northern Ireland. I'll take them in turn.
The mass grave discovered in Tuam, County Galway, contains nearly eight hundred corpses of babies and toddlers interred there in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, in an underground structure that seems to have been a septic tank. The property belonged in those years to a so-called "mother and baby home" run by an order of Roman Catholic nuns. These were homes for unmarried women who got pregnant.
So there you are right there in that old priest-ridden Potato Republic, with unmarried mothers hustled off in shame to these institutions where standards of baby and child care were at rock bottom, if not lower.
That's how Ireland was through those middle decades of the twentieth century. Growing up in the country next door, we English high-schoolers used to debate whether Ireland should, in fact, be properly called a theocracy.
The paradox was that for all that religiosity, Ireland was notoriously corrupt. You could buy an Irish government minister for a few hundred pounds in the 1960s. I tell you, Ireland in the middle third of the twentieth century was a strange place.
Still, it was a democracy. That's what Irish people voted for, so presumably they liked it, or at worst didn't mind it. They had their nation back after many centuries of foreign rule, and they ran it to suit themselves. That's what nationalism means.
Then in 1973 the U.K. joined Europe, and the Irish thought they had better do so too. That threw the switch from nationalism to globalism. Soon, after a quarter century of openness and EU subsidies, we were reading about the Celtic Tiger. Say what you like about globalist economic liberalism, it did wonders for old Ireland.
It raised an echo from the collective Irish breast, too. The Irish have always had a hankering to belong to something big and international. The Roman Catholic Church served the purpose well enough for fifteen hundred years. In modern times there was also a secular dimension. The Irish were enthusiastic about the U.N. when at last they were allowed in, in 1955. My first tour of U.N. headquarters a few years later was conducted by an Irish employee of the place, and Irish troops have been prominent in U.N. peacekeeping missions.
A lot of this was the natural reaction of a small, weak country laboring under the misfortune of being located next to a big, strong one. Not all of it was, though: In the early Middle Ages, when there was little to choose between Britain and Ireland in strength, the medieval Irish were already busy globalists, establishing monasteries and schools all over Europe, from Iceland to the Ukraine. (Although I don't believe the story Irish people sometimes tell you, that the state of Brandenburg in Prussia was founded by an Irishman named Brendan.)
By 1973 the Church's influence was weakening. The European Union filled the globalist gap. Ireland has been enthusiastically pro-EU ever since … which leads us to the second big headliner of the past few weeks: the future of Northern Ireland.
I'll give this another segment if you don't mind. As I said, and with no offense to St. Patrick, Ireland is not important; but for National Question mavens, it's interesting.
Just look at what I've given you so far: The transformation of a poor, corrupt, introverted nationalist state into a sleek, busy, prosperous globalist one.
You don't hear much of that on VDARE.com. I should note in qualification that while the Irish like their prosperity, they are getting disgruntled with high levels of Third World immigration, especially Muslim immigration.
There is a point of balance between the benefits of international engagement and the preservation of national identity, and the Irish have not yet found that point in the present age, any more than we have.
OK, Northern Ireland's future.
03 — Answering the Irish Question. The issue of Northern Ireland's future is of course political. It is in fact as political as an issue can be: a matter of which nation the one point eight million people of Northern Ireland should belong to.
That is of course not a new question. It's been around since Ireland was partitioned in 1921. The people of Ireland back then were bitterly divided between those who wanted to be free of British rule and those who did not. The latter were concentrated as actual majorities in the six counties of Northeast Ireland; so those counties stayed British while the other twenty-six got self-rule, eventually becoming the present-day Republic of Ireland.
The most intensely nationalist of the Irish were unhappy with this partition, so much so that there was a brief but very nasty civil war between the more and the less intense factions of nationalists, between those who accepted partition and those who didn't. The less intense faction won and partition remained a fact; but diehards from the losing side — those of them who didn't flee to the U.S.A. — went undercover and continued making a nuisance of themselves down to the present, most sensationally in the British counties of Northern Ireland during the last thirty years of the twentieth century.
At last the British bought off the diehard leaders, flooded Northern Ireland with government jobs and government cash, and the place settled down to a wary peace.
That has held for twenty years; but last year's Brexit vote — the vote in the U.K. to leave the European Union — has brought the whole issue to the front of people's minds again. Northern Ireland is a part of the U.K., so if the U.K. leaves Europe, she'll take Northern Ireland with her. Unless …
Unless what? Northern Ireland voted against Brexit, 56 percent to 44. The U.K. as a whole voted for it 52 to 48. So if Northern Ireland leaves Europe with the U.K., it'll do so against the wishes of a majority of its people.
Hoo-kay, say the Irish nationalists: Now you see what a lousy idea this partition was, just as we've been telling you for 96 years. Just leave the Brits to themselves already, and come into a united Ireland with us. Why wouldn't you do that? Look, we're a prosperous modern country! Not priest-ridden any more!
There are die-hards on the other side in the North: the unionists, who'd prefer to stay British. They're not the force they were, though, especially since earlier this month, when the unionists for the first time lost their majority in Northern Ireland's regional assembly.
While the stronger Irish nationalists would of course love to have the North come in, to fulfill their long-time goal of a united Ireland, a lot of ordinary Irish people are not so sure. Northern Ireland could be somewhat of a millstone.
As I said, the Brits calmed the place down by smothering it with government jobs and money. Believe it or not, that hasn't been good for the North's economy, of which the best that can be said is that it's good enough for government work. In the U.K. as a whole, one worker in five has a government job; in Northern Ireland it's one in three. Per capita public spending is nearly double what it is in the southern counties of England.
The Brits dare not turn off the government cash-and-jobs spigot for fear the tribal violence would start up again. So, a millstone. And the Republic of Ireland, prosperous as it is per capita, has way less money to throw at the North than Britain has.
The place is a millstone for Britain, but at least it's one they can afford. They'll be less able to afford it after Brexit, as the region gets a lot of agricultural subsidies from the EU; but it'll still be manageable for the Brits.
United with Ireland, the North would remain in the EU, so there's that; but still it would be a millstone Ireland could no way afford.
There you have the sad truth about Northern Ireland: Nobody but the most passionate Irish nationalists really wants the place.
The logical solution would be independence for Northern Ireland. Small as it is, their population is bigger than that of Estonia or Swaziland. The Brits would heave a sigh of relief, having solved the Irish Problem at last. The Irish Republic would have spared themselves union with a millstone — a millstone with a high proportion of homicidal psychopaths.
That would be the logical solution. This is Ireland, though. Logical solutions don't have a great track record in Ireland.
04 — Checks and imbalances. Another week, another executive order on immigration, another effort by judges to block it.
Like a great many of our other problems, this one is a result of gross stupidity on the part of our federal government in the recent past.
Here I get to repeat one of my favorite apothegms: The most astonishing statistic of our age is that our country admitted more Muslims for settlement in the fifteen years after 2001 than we did in the fifteen years prior.
All settlement of Muslims should have been ended on September 12th, 2001, and Muslim non-citizens here should have been told to leave. Ann Coulter actually said this at the time, as I recall, and got dropped by some magazine or other for her trouble.
Now, by the miracle of chain migration, Muslim numbers have swollen beyond anything we can deal with. Further, the ideology of Hateism — the ideology, I mean, that says anything I or my government does that is disobliging to a nonwhite person is driven by hate, as opposed to other motives like prudence, patriotism, or a desire for demographic stability — the Hateism ideology has fixed its clammy grip on our judiciary.
Thus we heard on Thursday that a federal judge, name of Derrick Watson, had put a hold on the Trump administration's latest ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim nations.
Who is Derrick Watson? Well, that Anglo name notwithstanding, Judge Watson is of native Hawaiian descent, middle name Kahala. He's either fifty or fifty-one years old.
Judge Watson was appointed by Barack Obama five years ago. It was frankly and openly an affirmative-action appointment. Obama said at the time that his appointment would, quote, "ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves." You know, like all those Protestants on the U.S. Supreme Court. They don't even bother to hide this stuff now.
When in private practice, we're told, Judge Watson did pro bono work on behalf of, quote, "Mexican nationals," and, quote, "Hispanics." The default assumption has to be that those were illegal aliens. I can't find any record of him doing pro bono work on behalf of white Americans; but that may just be because his résumé is tilted anti-white for purposes of virtue signaling.
Whether he himself is anti-white or not, Judge Watson is at least a patriot of some kind: He served eight years in the Army Reserve.
In his 43-page ruling — yes, you heard that right: it took the judge forty-three pages to explain why the order should be halted, one more page than the Constitution takes up in my pocket edition from the Cato Institute — in his ruling he argued that President Trump's order was motivated by an animus against Muslims, and cited a Trump campaign document from last year calling for a shutdown of all Muslim immigration into the U.S.A.
The dictionary gives the primary meaning of "animus" as, quote, "strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity," end quote. None of Trump's campaign statements show dispositive evidence of that.
If I tell you that you may not come into my house, it may be because you have a contagious disease I don't want to catch; or because you are known to be a clumsy person and my house contains a collection of priceless Ming vases; or because you are known to have had epileptic fits in which you lash out at other people; or for a hundred other reasons that have nothing to do with "strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity." I may, in all those cases, feel pity, sympathy, or concern for you, but still be unwilling to let you into my house.
I don't in any case see religious animus, as defined, prohibited to the Executive by our Constitution. Many religions, for most of the existence of the human race, have included human sacrifice and sometimes cannibalism as sacraments. These kinds of practices are still current in remote places like the highlands of New Guinea. If the President were to ban entry of persons who adhere to those religions, would Judge Watson suspend that ban on the grounds it was motivated, as it probably would have been, by the President's "strong dislike" of such practices?
Later on Wednesday another federal judge, Theodore Chuang of Maryland, also an Obama appointee, enjoined the new travel ban. Judge Chuang is another affirmative-action hire. At any rate, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, at the judge's confirmation hearings, played the diversity card on Chuang's behalf, quote: "He is the son of immigrants from Taiwan who came to America seeking freedom and a better life for their family," end quote.
Why that is relevant to the confirmation of a judge, I don't understand. Nor do I understand why anyone would come to the U.S.A. from Taiwan "seeking freedom." I was in Taiwan last year; it is perfectly free. I was previously there in 1971, when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was running the place, and before Judge Chuang was born. I wouldn't describe Taiwan as perfectly free in 1971; but people said what they thought, lived pretty much as they pleased, and if you didn't go out of your way to annoy the authorities, the authorities left you alone.
Whether Judge Chuang is anti-white I don't know; but he is much more plainly partisan than Judge Watson. The latter was confirmed by the Senate 94 to zero, no Senators dissenting. Chuang was confirmed 53 to 42, every single Republican voting against confirmation, mainly because when he was a State Department attorney Chuang had played interference for Mrs Clinton in the Benghazi investigation.
These are the people we have interpreting our laws, and preaching to the President about the, quote from Judge Watson, "illogic" of his case.
Our constitutional system, as every schoolchild knows, depends on each of the three branches of the federal government checking and balancing the others. It seems to me that when the President is helpless to do his job because of the pettifogging obstructions of these licensed ideologues, the system is out of balance.
Federal judgeships are for life. The only restraint on them is impeachment; and that requires some sufficient number of congressmen to possess spines … so we can forget about impeachment. We're stuck with these buffoons, and there's nothing for the President to do but gird up his loins and fight them.
Go to it, Mr. President!
05 — The coming healthcare fiasco. As any mathematician will tell you: Given three objects A, B, and C, there are three ways to pair them off. There's your BC, your CA, and your AB.
There are thus three different one-on-one relations between the three branches of our federal government. There is executive-judiciary, the subject of my previous segment; there is judiciary-legislature, which I'll have some fun with when we get to the Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings; and there's the legislature-executive.
In that last zone we are heading for some serious imbalance — more serious than the issues between the executive and the judiciary I was just discussing.
I am speaking of course of the healthcare bill, the bill to repeal Obamacare that congressional Republicans presented last Monday. The Executive's role here is to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much better. The legislature's role is to work out the details, write it up as a bill, and get the darn thing through Congress.
So far things are not going well. The bill, as promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan on the TV talk shows, dwells in a cloud of procedural gobbledygook about reconciliation, the Byrd Rule, three-phase efforts, and other arcana that only a congressgeek could love.
The legend goes that when old Senate warhorse Bob Dole was running for President against Bill Clinton in 1996, Dole's handlers warned him that he'd lose ten thousand popular votes every time he uttered the word "cloture" in public. Someone needs to tell Paul Ryan about that legend.
So what about the substance of this bill? Hell, I don't know. I do my best with healthcare politics, but I confess my eyes glaze over after five minutes of reading about it, and I have to go put up some sheet rock.
For one thing, I have a strong temperamental attachment to the meaning of words. In the age I find myself in, that condemns me to a daily dose of pain. I feel like the Little Mermaid, who was granted a pair of legs at last, but at the price of constantly feeling she was walking on sharp knives.
Western Civ. at this point is just not strong on the meaning of words. We are told for example that a person who prefers his country to mine, or his religion to mine, or even his children to mine, must be motivated by "hate." That's not what the word "hate" means, but everybody nods along with this silly, illiterate idea none the less.
The same with "insurance" in the healthcare context. Insurance ought to be a hedge against something that might or might not happen; but in healthcare-speak you can buy the insurance after the thing has happened. This is true even in the Ryan bill, although he's going to make you pay thirty percent more in that case. I don't care, Mr. Speaker; that's still not insurance.
When I'm sounding off in conversation about this, someone at this point says: "What about life insurance? We're all going to die, aren't we?" To which my response is a call to restore the terms I first learned in this context: life insurance for a term policy, with no payout if you're still alive at expiration of the term, but life assurance for any other arrangement.
Is that just Brit-speech? I don't know; but it's a useful distinction. If it got lost crossing the Atlantic, that's an impoverishment of the general understanding.
In any case, my healthcare solution is to let insurance companies do insurance, and socialize the rest. There is no conceivable model for a private-enterprise healthcare system. It's not a thing capitalism can do. If it were, some capitalist society somewhere would be doing it. Where is that society?
We tacitly acknowledge this truth by letting our government run Medicare and Medicaid. If we can socialize healthcare for the old and the poor, why not for the rest? I agree with Peggy Noonan: Clean up Medicare, which currently leaks like a sieve, then just drop the over-65 eligibility requirement.
So far as I can tell, peering through the fog of Paul Ryan's blatherings, the current effort to rewrite our healthcare laws will founder on the same rocks of unreality as Obamacare itself. That brings us back to the imbalance between the executive and the legislature that I started from.
President Trump promised to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. If Congress fails to do that, and if Paul Ryan's is the best face the congressional GOP can put forward to explain the failure, the public will blame Congress, not the President. That will swing the balance of power in the executive-legislature relationship heavily toward the President.
For swamp-draining purposes, that will be good news. For healthcare, not so much.
We shall probably survive, with hasty legislative fixes to fill the sinkholes opening up in Obamacare. Then, later in this administration, or else in the next, we'll yield to the inevitable and adopt the Derbyshire-Noonan plan: a decent level of healthcare for all funded from general revenues, with a free insurance market for those who want more and can afford it.
06 — U.S., China, Korea: cutting the knot. Mrs Derbyshire left China at age 24, thirty years ago, but she keeps in touch with her college classmates, even some of her high-school friends, via WeChat, a Chinese social network.
With that in mind, I asked her how healthcare goes in China nowadays. What kind of system do they have?
She: "The thing everyone says is, if you've got any money, spend it! Otherwise you'll end up paying it all to the doctors and hospitals."
The "everybody" in that reply is of course my wife's coevals, middle-class Chinese citizens in their mid-fifties, so it's not a representative sample. It jibes with what you read in news reports, though. Pretty much everyone in China is insured at a rudimentary level, but for anything above that, you pay out of pocket, and costs are rising fast. It's now common for people with a serious illness to take out a mortgage to cover the cost.
Having thus engineered a neat segue to China, and with our new Secretary of State due in Peking this weekend, and with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping possibly dropping in on President Trump at Mar-a-lago next month, let's talk about our country's China policy.
There are a lot of pieces on the chessboard here: trade policy, China's military developments in those Pacific reefs and rocks, our relations and theirs with Taiwan. The big knot, though, is Korea.
Our main beef with China over Korea is that they aren't doing enough to help restrain North Korea's advancing missile and nuclear technologies. Their beef with us is our installation of a missile-defense system in South Korea, which the ChiComs say is a threat to them.
You might think it's a stretch to describe a missile-defense system as a threat. I'd actually agree with you; but the ChiCom case, though thin, is not altogether empty. If you assume the U.S.A. is an aggressive power, as the ChiComs officially do assume, then our South Korean ally having a missile-defense shield will make us bolder in our troop deployments there, and more willing to fire off our own missiles. Further, the radar and satellite systems supporting those defensive missiles can spy on ChiCom deployments in their own territory.
Those are their arguments, not mine. Whatever their intrinsic truth, they are easily countered by us saying: "Why are you letting your client state, North Korea, which would collapse overnight without your support, why are you letting them develop these First World military capabilities, while their people go hungry? Isn't it irresponsible, for a nation fond of lecturing others about, quote, 'adventurism'?"
And you have to wonder how sincere the ChiComs are in their claims to want us out of South Korea. I actually do want us out of South Korea. Quote from Radio Derb, February 17th: "It's bad enough that our defense bureaucrats are still gaming the Cold War after 26 years. That they are still gaming the Korean War after sixty-four years is sheer gibbering lunacy." End quote.
Why would the ChiComs want us out of South Korea, though? If we withdraw our troops from South Korea next Monday, by Friday South Korea would be a nuclear power. The same applies to Japan, although Japan would probably be nuclear by Wednesday lunchtime. I'd be fine with this personally, but I can't imagine the ChiComs would be. Why are they pretending to want this?
I thought President Trump was OK with it, too. On the campaign trail a year ago he actually said that Japan and South Korea should nuke up. Hey, I thought when I heard that: Hey, our hearts beat as one, Mr. Trump.
For goodness' sake: If we are OK with nuclear weapons in North Korea, whose dictator is crazy as a coot, and in Pakistan, whole portions of which are run by Muslim fanatics, why do we have a problem with stable, mild-mannered folk like the Japanese and South Koreans having them? If we weren't OK with those trashcan nations getting nukes, why didn't we stop it?
Personally I'm fine with everyone having nukes, just so long as we have way more than anyone else. Deterrence has worked my entire lifetime; let's keep it going. Sure, some fool might miscalculate. Stuff happens. The Sun might explode; Whoopi Goldberg might move in next door. It's a dangerous universe: there are no safe spaces.
Whatever: Korea is the big knot that has to be untied, or cut through, in our relations with China.
And actually the ChiComs could cut it through rather easily if they chose. I wouldn't be bowled over with surprise if they did so choose.
Note to Kim Jong Un: Don't buy any green bananas.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The 1973 novel Camp of the Saints by French writer Jean Raspail needs no introduction to VDARE.com readers. We've commented on it numerous times. In case you're completely new to us, and to patriotic immigration reform, the novel tells of a great fleet of poor Third Worlders coming ashore in France, and the French being overwhelmed by them.
The novel — once again, it dates from 1973, when very few people were thinking about these things — the novel is obviously prescient, given the flood of illegals crossing the Mediterranean this past two years, desperate to escape from their wretched lives under black and Muslim supremacy, dreaming of a good life under white supremacy.
One person who has said this obvious thing out loud is senior presidential advisor Steve Bannon. At least twice Bannon has publicly compared the present invasions of Europe to The Camp of the Saints.
The CultMarx mob has just discovered this. Someone named Paul Blumenthal, writing at the Huffington Post March 6th, tells his readers in shocked, breathless tones about the novel and Bannon's awareness of it. The book is racist, gasps Mr. Blumenthal. Quote:
The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority.
End quote. Outrageous, eh? Who could believe such absurdly preposterous things? Diversity is our strength!
And Steve Bannon remains a senior presidential advisor. Life is good.
Item: Here's a curious little story from the London Daily Mirror. Headline: Meet the "RoboThespian" — the robot playing a leading role alongside real actors in British theatre. Yes, the robot revolution has reached the theater.
Quote from the story:
Spillikin [that's the name of the play] features a "RoboThespian" who talks, displays facial expressions, blinks, moves its hands, turns its head, and has even been described as "affectionate."
End quote. Can't you just see the hashtag going round about ten years from now? "#OscarsTooHuman."
Joseph Molohon, a 37-year-old disabled white male, was eating at Texas Chicken and Burgers in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. He saw two young black males who came up short on cash to pay for their meal.
End quote. Several readers emailed that one in with reference to item (10h) in my infamous 2012 column "The Talk: Nonblack Version," wherein I advised readers not to act Good Samaritan to blacks in distress.
As I noted in my comments on the fuss about that column, it's rather easy to find news stories supporting my advice. This one, though, I'll agree, is one of the more forceful examples.
Item: Second anti-white story: Also in New York, borough of Manhattan this time, a 71-year-old woman with a cane was getting into a subway elevator when she was pushed aside by 24-year-old Breonna Turk and her son. The woman told Ms. Turk that she should teach her child some manners. Ms. Turk thereupon knocked her down, grabbed her cane, and beat her with it.
Ms. Turk, who is black, has been arrested. I have no data on the race of the victim, but I don't think it is outrageous to assume she is white.
In which case we have a small trend starting up: blacks beating old or disabled white folk with the white folks' own canes. I guess they got tired of the Knockout Game.
Item: Third anti-white story, this one with a political dimension. The agent of anti-whiteness here is the New York Times.
Representative Steve King of Iowa tweeted thus on March 12th in reference to the nationalist candidate Geert Wilders in this week's Dutch elections, quote:
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.
End quote. As obviously true as that is — truer even than Steve Bannon's comparison of the present invasion of Europe to Raspail's Camp of the Saints — that got Steve King denounced by, yes, the New York Times. Rep. King had, said the Gray Lady, unmasked himself as a "white nationalist" [scream].
So here's my suggestion for a new hashtag: "#SteveKingForSecretaryOfDemography."
What's that you say? The U.S.A. doesn't have a Department of Demography? Well, we darn well should have. Demography is destiny.
I didn't know this myself until I read the March 20th issue of The New Yorker. They have a long article by Rebecca Mead about a rising young theater director named Alex Timbers. Mr. Timbers' current project is a play titled Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, which is of course about the fifteenth-century French lady who led her country's armies into battle against Henry VI's English armies.
The play, says Ms. Mead, is a rock musical that speaks to the current political moment. Uh, how's that? Quote:
Timbers imbued the opening moments of the show with a sense of gloom and defeat. Ten male actors, dressed in contemporary work clothes, delivered a chorus of hopelessness in the face of the Hundred Years' War and, by implication, of the Trump Administration.
End quote. Hoo-kay.
Mind you, being Literally Henry VI isn't quite as bad as being Literally Hitler. Henry didn't have any Jews to persecute, his great-great-great-great-grandfather Edward Longshanks having expelled them all from England 141 years previously. Henry was in any case a poor ineffectual creature who was probably a mental defective.
Perhaps that's the point. Or perhaps the point is that if we don't rise up against the Trump Presidency we shall be burned at the stake, like crazy Joan. Who knows?
I don't think I'll be going to see Mr. Timbers' play. In the event I do want to see Joan of Arc on stage, I'll search out a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 1, where she is portrayed as a slutty witch. To the best of my recollection, Shakespeare doesn't mention President Trump at all.
Ah, those dead white males — what did they know about anything?
Item: Yes, I read The New Yorker magazine so you don't have to.
I actually read several magazines in that spirit. Here's another one: The Economist.
It makes Mrs. Derbyshire giggle to see me reading The Economist. Says she: "You're groaning and cursing and shaking your head when you read it. Why do you put yourself through that?" I reply: "Gotta know the enemy, honey."
That's not actually all of it, though. The Economist actually does some good reporting, when they're not harping on the joys of mass immigration.
Their companion bi-monthly glossy magazine titled 1843 likewise. The current issue of 1843 has a good piece on Chinese students at the University of Iowa. It's a nice follow-up to the segment in my February 17th podcast arguing "American schools for American citizens."
Executive summary: The Chinese students are so numerous now, they feel no need to engage with local Americans, they just hang out with each other. The rich ones are very rich, way richer than the rubes of Iowa City, and they flaunt it. Cheating is epidemic, with a whole industry in China supplying academic papers.
There's good news, though. The sheer number of degrees from American colleges — especially from Midwestern state universities — has decreased their value back home. So perhaps, with a few sensible tweaks to our immigration system, we shall end up with China educating their kids and we educating ours.
You could call it "academic nationalism" … although if you did, I bet The New York Times, and probably The Economist too, would denounce you as racist.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Given that this is being recorded on St. Patrick's Day, we'll be wanting some Irish music to play us out.
A month ago, in my February 17th podcast, I passed some comments on Chinese pop music, on what a noticably high proportion of it consists of laments for young sweethearts being parted when one of them goes abroad to study. Then I played a Chinese song on that theme.
Such partings have of course been a feature of human life for ever. This country of ours, the United States, was founded and populated by people who left their homes to cross an ocean, not knowing when or if they would return. Many of them left sweethearts behind. I'm sure every European country has songs about such partings.
Here's one of the best, for ever associated with Ireland. It is cast in an Irish diction; the very name of the song contains a word in the Irish language, a term of endearment; and the song, written in the 1830s and popular in the Civil War, was revived and made famous all over again early in the last century by the greatest of all Irish tenors, Count John McCormack. The fact that it was actually written by an Englishman has never, so far as I know, been held against it.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: John McCormack, "Kathleen Mavourneen."]