»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, January 27th, 2006

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     Welcome to radio Derb, ladies and gentlemen. This is your genial commentator John Derbyshire, casting a cold Tory eye on the events of the day.

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02 — What Palestinian Arabs produce.     The choice offered to Palestinian Arabs in the recent elections was between an organization of cynical, amoral gangsters and a group of Islamofascist nutsos.

Naturally the Palestinian Arabs who never disappoint those of us with a low view of human nature and only a tepid faute de mieux enthusiasm for democracy, went for the nutsos is in a big way.

To be sure, terrorist gangs can turn into different kinds of things, especially when prodded by the need to win periodic elections. But Hamas has a good strong wind of madness behind it, the name of the wind being Iran, and these are Palestinian Arabs we're talking about. The Israelis are hastening to complete their border fence, which seems like a pretty good idea to me.

It used to be said of the Balkans that they produced more history than they could consume locally. The Palestinian Arabs haven't shown much aptitude for producing anything useful or for adding to the sum of human civilization in any way, but their history-making workshops are going at full capacity.

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03 — Why people oppose assisted suicide.     Oregon's assisted-suicide law survived a big court challenge, which is either a victory for the people and their legislators over judicial activism or a grisly triumph for the Culture of Death, depending on what kind of conservative you are.

Personally, I'm the first kind, and I don't mind the idea of assisted suicide at all. I'll tell you this though. If x is the number of people with principled objections to assisted suicide, and y is the number of people who, while having no principal objections, dislike and distrust the hospital and HMO bureaucracies too much to give them these kinds of powers, then y is much bigger than x.

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04 — Immigration: Enforce the law!     The ongoing project by U.S. corporations and leftist multiculti groups to turn the United States into Saudi Arabia continues apace.

The notion here is that U.S. citizens will become a leisured elite, like Arab Saudis, served and waited on by a vast helot class of guest workers. This, the leftist lobbies and the corporations tell us, will solve the problem of illegal immigration.

To a lot of us naive folk out here, it seems that the correct solution to a problem of widespread illegality is to enforce the law.

The open-borders Right tell us that would be impossible and economically harmful. The open-borders Left tell us it would be unkind and racist.

Well, maybe it would be one or other of those things. Maybe. Can we please just try it and find out?

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05 — How the West went gay.     The movie Brokeback Mountain has inspired cowboys all over the West to come out of the closet, according to People magazine.

There is even going to be a conference of gay and lesbian ranches and cowboys later this year at … Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

It would of course be mean-spirited, tasteless, and insensitive of me to poke a little fun at these gay cowpokes; so here I go.

Oh, give me a home
Where antique dealers roam,
Where designers and hair-stylists play.
Where seldom is heard
A heteronormative word,
And nobody minds if you're gay.

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06 — Beautiful bores.     You know how beauty pageants work nowadays.

You strut your assets in swimsuits and ballgowns, play the violin or sing some kind of classic aria, and field questions about your opinions and spare time activities with airy generalities about world peace and helping disadvantaged children. The right combination of good looks and political correctness gets you the tinsel crown.

Well, you may know this, but Crystal Wosik didn't. Ms Wosik, a charming 22-year-old blonde from Las Vegas entered the Miss America pageant, which as it happens was held in that very town.

In the interview segment she was asked about the Yucca mountain repository for spent nuclear fuel, a sore point for antinuclear activists in Nevada. Replied the winsome Ms Wosik, perhaps driven to error by an excessive pride in her home state, quote: "It has to go someplace and that was the best built facility in the country." End quote.

But what if people die? asked the flabbergasted judges. Replied the lady: "We just have to take one for the team."

Far as I'm concerned, Ms Wosik displayed admirable public spirit and patriotism here. She would have got my vote for sure. Pageant judges felt differently of course, and didn't even place her in the final ten.

The contest was won at last by Ms Oklahoma, a ballet dancer and anti-drunk driving activist. Bor-ing; but I guess beauty pageants are supposed to be boring. We wouldn't want any excitement bursting out when we celebrate American femininity, would we?

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07 — Remembering Challenger.     Saturday the 29th [sic — should be 8th] is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger disaster, one of those awful moments in history when, if you were around and sentient, you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.

I was at my desk on the 40th floor of Tower 49 in midtown Manhattan, cutting computer code for the First Boston Corporation and thinking about my upcoming marriage.

This was not actually a good place to be, as the news was hardly out before the beastly, cynical young bloods down on the trading floor were generating cruel jokes about the event, for which I hope they have since repented.

The human tragedy aside, the truly awful thing is that the damn Shuttle is still with us. The big contractor corporations, stupid congresscritters, and a widespread, carefully fostered public sentimentality about, oh, mankind's destiny and brave astronauts, keep this monstrous white elephant flying.

It's a disgrace. I don't deny the astronauts are brave, but you can be brave in a foolish or misguided course and they are.

The Shuttle should be sold for scrap and the manned exploration of space left to private enthusiasts and commercial interests. I'd be glad to invest if somebody came up with a modest and sensible business proposal, but I strongly object to having my tax dollars squirted into the stratosphere by a government bureaucracy.

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08 — Heights of hyperbole.     Is it just me or are there more gibbering lunatics in public life than there used to be?

Just this last few days we've heard New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin telling us that God is mad at the U.S.A and black people; we've had Al Gore thundering about how, quote, "America's Constitution is in grave danger"; we've had Mrs Clinton telling a black audience that the U.S. Congress is a plantation — which of course it isn't: plantations at least produced something useful — and we've had Harry Belafonte … oh dear. Well, I have to quote old Harry to give you the full flavor of his dementia. Qquote:

We've come to this dark time in which the new Gestapo of Homeland Security lurks here, where citizens are having their rights suspended.

End quote. I suppose this foam-flicked hyperbole all adds to the sum total of human gaiety; but I have an ugly feeling that every time one of these cranks lets fly, millions of heads all over the country are nodding in agreement. How would the crazy-talk people keep their jobs otherwise?

Perhaps we get the politicians and celebrity spokespeople we deserve. Now, there's a terrifying thought.

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09 — Werewolves and vampires beat PC sanctimony.     But here's a counter-thought.

If you wander down to your local movie theater, you'll see a typical bunch of PC tear-jerkers on show. There's The New World, in which wicked, avaricious English settlers despoil the pristine American wilderness and it's gentle inhabitants. Then there's Glory Road, showing how brave black athletes triumph over evil, racist white folk. And then of course there's Brokeback Mountain, that movie about how soulful, sensitive homosexuals suffer in a cold, homophobic society.

Or if moral equivalence is your thing, there is Steven Spielberg's Munich, in which terrorist murderers and the agents who struggle to thwart and kill them are shown to be really just the same under the skin.

Well, I happened to look at movie box office takings over the last weekend, and guess what? Not one of those liberal self-flagellationfests came close to the movie Underworld: Evolution, a message-free creature feature in which werewolves battle vampires and Kate Beckinsale shows skin.

So maybe America is sane, after all.

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10 — Signoff.     That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more news and views from Radio Derb, your infallible source for pessimism, cynicism, lust, avarice, and gluttony. Take it away, Franz Joseph!

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]