»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, October 6th, 2006

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

01 — Intro.     After using the ineffable Georgia Brown for my intro last week, I got complaints from listeners about, quote, "wailing Frogs." Well, sweet Georgia may have been singing in Froggish, but she was herself a true-born Cockney.

Notwithstanding that, my complaining listeners have a point. A guy calling himself conservative should eschew capricious changes of format in his presentations. I have therefore reverted to Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches for my Radio Derb salutation and valediction.

I won't absolutely guarantee you that the urge to innovate won't strike me again; but for the time being the watch-word is stasis.

Now, on with the show.

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02 — The 300,000,000th American.     I'd like to extend my welcome to the three hundred millionth American, due to show up any day now.

Yes, folks, our population is surging ahead towards the half-billion mark. Let's raise a cheer for this sign of demographic vitality in an aging world! Let's all extend the hand of welcome to our three hundred millionth resident!

Bienvenido, compadre! Bienvenido a nuestra nación! Or should that be "su nación"? Whatever … I mean, no es importante.

Anyway, welcome José, Maria, Mohammed, whoever you are. Just remember you've come to a country where people have rights. So if anyone tries to find out whether you're here legally, or tries to deny you welfare, or questions your right to a driver's license, or demands that you learn some English — sue the shirt off their backs!

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03 — Silly old poof in Congress.     A stock figure in my own childhood and adolescence was the silly old poof. I'm advised that the equivalent American expression is C.O.G., which stands for "Creepy Old Guy," but I'll stick with the terminology I first heard.

The silly old poof — who was generally a clergyman or schoolmaster, and usually, but by no means always, a bachelor — made a fool of himself by fawning over good-looking young boys. The fawnees — I mean the lads being fawned over — responded mostly with mirth and derision, though they kept the mirth and derision among themselves for the most part.

The recent revelations about representative Mark Foley therefore left me neither shaken nor stirred. The world's full of such characters, or used to be. Adolescent boys can, I think, be depended on to deal with them in the right spirit, with the aforementioned mirth and derision.

The Capitol pages seem to have done this. One of them on the O'Reilly show the other night told us that he and his coevals referred to representative Foley among themselves by the code F-F-F. This stood for "Foley, the F from Florida," where that second "F" represents a common anti-gay epithet.

Of course if matters go beyond simpering and suggestive chat, then stern measures are called for. The law should definitely punish actual molestation. There doesn't seem to have been any in Representative Foley's case though, so I can't understand what all the fuss is about.

Something to do with politics, I suppose. Bor-ing.

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04 — Democracy is in the eye of the beholder.     Our Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is off on a tour of the Middle East. She went to Palestine — the Arab bit of Palestine, I mean — where she tried to persuade the Palestinian Arabs to call off the civil war they seem intent on having.

Why our Secretary of State took the trouble to do this baffles me. What exactly is the downside for the U.S.A. if Palestinian Arabs set about butchering each other?

Of course we might decide we prefer this side rather than the other side to win, and sneak a bit of support to the preferred side; but that's CIA stuff, not a matter for public diplomacy.

The Palestinian Arabs are no friends of ours and they have nothing we want. They danced in the streets on 9/11. Let them fight each other if that's what they want to do.

Then Madam Secretary went to Egypt where she told the President-for-Life of that country, quote:

Democracy is not something that is for Americans to impose abroad, and certainly democracy will take on different cultural tones, different forms, in every single country on Earth.

End quote.

So I guess a country's democratic if the leaders say it is. That should save us a lot of trouble in Iraq, which was Madame Secretary's next stop. American forces in Iraq are not, of course, trying to impose democracy. That would be wrong. They're just helping out with urban renewal.

Anyway, our Secretary of State got stuck in a half-hour holding pattern over Baghdad airport on her arrival because of, quote from her spokesman, "indirect fire at the airport complex."

Did that episode tell Madam Secretary anything about the current state of our Iraq policy, halfway through the fourth year and close to the half trillionth dollar of its implementation?

Probably not. She most likely just put it down to those different cultural tones that operate in the Mideast.

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05 — Not race riots in France and Britain.     Quiz time.

An official of which nation's police union said the following thing. Quote:

We are in a state of civil war orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence anymore. It is an intifada with stones and Molotov cocktails. You no longer see two or three youths confronting police. You see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their comrades free when they were arrested.

End quote.

So what do you think? Lebanon? Iraq? Palestine?

Nope. That was Michel Thoomis of the French police union talking about the state of affairs in those areas of Paris whose inhabitants are mostly African and North African immigrants and their offspring.

Now over to northwest England where, to quote from the local newspaper, "hundreds of people became involved in a battle on the streets of Preston."

Gosh, what was that about? Mets versus Yankees, perhaps? Guelphs versus Ghibellines? Big-Enders versus Little-Enders?

The newspaper is coy about telling us, but they do mention that the problem started when "local youths threw stones at cars belonging to people attending a mosque." This sparked a response from around two hundred people inside the mosque who came out to defend those under attack.

Oh, so it was a race riot, then? No, no, no, no! Nothing of the sort! Just, you know, some local youths versus some people who happened to be in a mosque, that's all.

I once in a book review referred to the twentieth century as "the age of bad ideas." What was the very worst of those bad ideas?

Well, it's an awfully crowded field, but Muslim immigration into Western countries is surely way up there near the top, along with fascism, string theory and Bermuda shorts.

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06 — Dems hate voter i.d. law.     Any of you listeners out there who still feel good about the state of our politics should note the following fact: All but four of the Democratic Party Representatives in the U.S. House are to the left of Jimmy Carter.

That's how they voted last week on the Federal Election Integrity Act, anyway. The main object of the act was to require voters to provide photo i.d. when voting in federal elections — you know, the way you do when you pay by check, board a plane, or buy a six pack of beer.

This requirement in the act was based on a recommendation of last year's Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chairman Jimmy Carter. So as I said, the 196 Democratic congresscritters who voted against it were placing themselves to the left of Ol' Peanut Head.

Some of them were quite worked up about the notion that a voter should be able to identify himself as being eligible to vote. Some character named … wait a minute, what's her name? … Nancy Pe-lo-si had this to say, quote: "It is not about integrity. It is about a tawdry attempt by Republicans to suppress the votes of millions of Americans."

You can't help but suspect that what the Democrats are really agitated about is the possibility that this Act might suppress the votes of millions of non-Americans — votes the Dems depend on in key electoral districts.

Those votes are illegal of course; but if you hadn't noticed, this country has moved far, far beyond the point at which illegality is a consideration when there's political profit to be made. What do you think the immigration debate is all about?

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07 — Mex govt opposes U.S. immigration control!     Speaking of the immigration issue, President Bush signed the annual Homeland Security spending bill into law last week. The bill includes 1.2 billion dollars to start building a fence along our nation's southern border. That'll get us about 150 miles of fence.

A different bill, which has not yet come to the President for signing, was passed through Congress last week, authorizing the construction of seven hundred miles of border fence. The southern border is nearly two thousand miles long, so we're still some way from the government actually showing enthusiasm for the enforcement of the people's laws, but it's a start.

The President still wants to throw out those laws and replace them with ones that are kinder and gentler to the six billion or so foreigners who'd like to come and live here. He took time out at the signing ceremony to press for, quote, "a broad immigration bill."

No, that's not an immigration bill for broads; that's the euphemism of the month for amnesty, the phrase "comprehensive immigration reform" having been worn out by ridicule.

To nobody's surprise, the Mexican government opposes both bills. Quote from that nation's Foreign Ministry:

These measures will harm the bilateral relationship. They are against the spirit of co-operation that is needed to guarantee security on the common border.

End Quote.

This statement glossed over a number of inconvenient facts — for example, the fact that Mexico has never, in all our history, cooperated with the United States on anything, and that includes both world wars.

Also that even as the statement was coming off the presses, a tunnel was discovered under the San Ysidro border crossing, dug from the Mexican side and extending well into U.S. territory. Among those detained in connection with this tunnel were two Mexican customs officials.

Now look: I have fences on both sides of my property and I actually like my neighbors.

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08 — Art ∩ Patriotism = ∅.     People who commission patriotic memorials are in a bit of a bind.

To design your patriotic memorial you need a patriotic artist or sculptor. That's the bind. Approximately 99.9 percent of working artists and sculptors worldwide hate the U.S.A. If you restrict yourself to American artists and sculptors, the proportion goes down a bit to only about 97 percent, but you're still bucking the odds.

The good people of Phoenix, Arizona found all this out just recently. They've commissioned a memorial to 9/11 to be erected in a city park and dedicated on the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

Well, here's the memorial. You can actually see pictures of it on www.kpho.com — click on "Slideshows."

The memorial is in the form of a circular concrete plaza fifty feet in diameter, fitted out with benches and partly roofed over by sheet metal around the circumference.

Stencil-cut into this ring of sheet metal are fifty-four brief phrases relating to the 9/11 attacks. Sunlight projects these phrases onto the concrete base, different phrases projecting at different times of day.

What do the phrases say? Well, one says: You Don't Win Battles of Terrorism with More Battles. Another one says: Congress Questions Why CIA and FBI Didn't Prevent Attacks. Yet another one says: Erroneous U.S. Air Strike Kills 46 Oruzgan Civilians. This refers to the accidental bombing of an Afghan wedding party in 2002.

The phrase Bush Lied, Men Died seems to have been left out, but that was obviously just an oversight on the part of the artist.

I suppose we should at least be glad the memorial wasn't in the shape of an Islamic crescent like that one in Pennsylvania.

Is there any chance the art academies of America might try turning out graduates who don't hate their country? No, of course not. No chance at all. Even the Ivy League has trouble doing that.

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09 — Opera notes.     The fuss over this German opera production pulls at the poor conservative from two sides.

This was a production of Mozart's Idomeneo in Berlin. The producer ended the opera with a scene, not in the original libretto, where a blood-spattered King Idomeneo places the four severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed on chairs.

Naturally this brought out the murderous, hate-crazed, fanatical adherents of Poseidon, Jesus Christ and Buddha with threats to burn down the Deutsche Oper building.

Now I'm just sick of these lunatics as you are. I would have continued the production; but with a couple of machine-gun nests and field mortar emplacements on the roof of the Opera House.

But then, on the other hand, the actual storyline of Idomeneo takes place shortly after the Trojan War of 1200 bc b.c. or so, which is to say around six hundred years prior to the appearance of Buddha, twelve hundred years before Jesus and eighteen hundred years before Mohammed. So isn't this scene nonsensically anachronistic?

Well, yes; but this is one of those creative modern stage productions, like Jonathan Miller setting the action of Troilus and Cressida on the surface of the Moon.

So who am I going to be mad at here? The crazy Buddhists, Christians and Poseidonists shutting down the production of a Mozart opera? Or the producer who made a total pig's ear of the opera in the first place by sticking gratuitously offensive material into it against all the intentions of the composer and librettist?

This is like having to stand up for Salman Rushdie and his unreadable lefty novels just because he got a death threat from … Who was it he got the death threat from? I forget. Buddhists, probably.

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10 — Radio Derb golden oldie: gay cowboys.     From time to time I replay a golden oldie Radio Derb segment from days past. Here is one from January this year, when that movie about gay cowboys was in the news.

[Clip.] 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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11 — Signoff.     That's all for this week, Radio Derb listeners. Let's see what's coming up next week.

We've got a party for the tenth anniversary of National Review Online. We've got another party for Mrs Derbyshire's Birthday. She tells me she's 24 and I'm certainly not going to argue with that. We have the Huntington Bulldogs fourth game of the football season.

And, oh, some less important stuff: the annual session of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, North Korea nuclear test, elections … stuff like that.

You can depend on Radio Derb to report them all faithfully to you in our next broadcast.

Until then, maintain a proper mood of stoical despair, keep your fallout shelter well provisioned, and don't take any wooden nickels.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]