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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your supremely genial host John Derbyshire with some nuggets of indignation from the week's news.
The adverb there is an oblique hint that this week we're having a fire sale on race stories. You all know what race is: It's that thing that doesn't exist, that is a mere social construct, a fig newton of our collective imagination, but which nonetheless seems to occupy a prominent place in our news outlets and our public and private discourse.
Let's see what's happening in Barack Obama's postracial America.
First, though, let me apologize for the traffic noises, police sirens, and possibly the odd gunshot in the background. This week I am a prisoner of New York, recording the show in a makeshift studio in Battery Park City. The reason for this will be revealed in due course.
02 — Momma's got a brand new bag. The latest white supremacist outrage concerns shoppers, so far only in New York City, being stopped and questioned by store detectives on suspicion of shoplifting.
Before I continue, just a word here about the expression "white supremacist," which you've been hearing a lot lately. This is the replacement for the older term "racist," which has fallen out of favor. I'm not sure why "racist" has fallen out of favor; you'll have to ask a sociologist. My best guess would be that people were misusing the term, implying that nonwhite people can be racist, which of course is absurd and nonsensical.
Nor can I figure out why white supremacy is supposed to be a bad thing, when every day on the TV news I see boatloads of black Africans desperately trying to escape from Africa, where blacks are supreme, into Europe, where whites run the show. There are places all over the world — and indeed many jurisdictions in the United States — under non-white supremacy, and the main desire of people who live in those places seems to be to get out of them.
That's an aside, though, which I'll leave you to ruminate on by yourselves. Back to the shoplifting business.
It all started back in April when 19-year-old Trayon Christian, a black New Yorker, went into the Barneys store on Madison Avenue and purchased a $350 belt. Yeah, me too: $350 for a BELT? But hey, it was his money. Mr Christian is a student at a New York college, and he has a part-time job at the college to help pay his way. As soon as he got his paycheck that week, he headed down to Barneys for that belt.
How the expression "working your way through college" encompasses buying expensive fashion accessories, is one of those mysteries of modern life I find it best not to think about too much.
Mr Christian was asked to produce i.d. when he checked out the belt. Suspecting the i.d. to be false, the store called the police. They took him off to the local precinct house, called his bank to verify his debit card, and let him go.
It was 45 minutes out of the guy's life, and I've suffered worse indignities myself; but belonging as he does to a Designated Victim Group, Mr Christian gets to call "racism" … oops, sorry, I mean of course "white supremacy," and he's now suing both Barneys and the NYPD for unspecified damages. [Ker-ching!] Think how many designer belts he'll be able to buy!
That got a bandwagon rolling. Next up for the payout was 21-year-old Kayla Phillips. Ms Phillips is described in the papers as a nursing student. She'll certainly be doing some nursing pretty soon, as she's heavily pregnant with her second child, in spite of not, so far as I can ascertain, being married. Like Mr Christian, Ms Phillips is also working her way through college, in her case with a job at The Home Depot.
Well, back in February Ms Phillips got a tax refund. She did just what anyone else in her circumstances would do with such a windfall: She headed to Barneys on Madison Avenue and purchased a handbag costing $2,500. A handbag. $2,500. Well, it's a designer handbag, by designer Céline. Quote from her … no, not Céline, Ms Phillips, quote:
I had been looking for that purse in that color for a long time, and it was always out of stock.
Who doesn't know the feeling?
Same deal as with Mr Christian. There were doubts about Ms Phillips' debit card, she was questioned by police. As a side note here, quote from the newspaper story, "They also questioned her about the Chanel bag she was carrying," end quote. Chanel's a different high-priced designer brand. This lady really likes her bags. Perhaps she's been channeling James Brown. [Clip: James Brown, "Poppa's got a brand new bag …"].
[Added when archiving: Or possibly Bo Dudley.]
Now you might say that with a baby to feed, and another on the way, and so far as I can discover no husband around to support them, Ms Phillips ought to have something other on her mind when she gets a tax refund than buy $2,500 handbags.
On the other hand, you might say that it's her money and she has a right to do as she pleases with it. Which I absolutely agree with … so long as she's not receiving money from the public fisc, which is to say from you and me, in which case I would have a right to protest about the lady's priorities. But I'm sure that can't possibly be the case.
Well, Ms Phillips is suing the police for $5 million, which is two thousand designer handbags; or 342,700 12-packs of Gerber baby food in the 2½-ounce jars. [Ker-ching!]
[Note added 4/8/2020: If you clicked on that last link you will know that the website diapers.com no longer exists. There's a story behind that: see here.]
Now people from all over are climbing on the bandwagon. An "accomplished actor" named Rob Brown, who is so accomplished I never heard of him, but who is definitely brown, is suing the Macy's department store, as well as of course the NYPD, on similar grounds. [Ker-ching!] A fitness instructor named Art Palmer is doing the same, also with Macy's as his target. [Ker-ching!]
Oh, and wouldn't you know it, here comes the Very Reverend Professor Dr Al Sharpton, Jr. III, D. Phil, Ph.D. shaking the tree to see what he can get out of it — to be exact, meeting with the CEO of Barneys to say the race-hustle equivalent of: "Nice little clothing store you've got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it." [Ker-ching!] [Ker-ching!] [Ker-ching!]
Rev'm Al says these incidents are cases of "Shopping While Black." He's got the state Attorney General involved, and no doubt these "Shopping While Black" outrages will eventually be presented to some International Human Rights Tribunal.
Lawrence E. Thornton, an 87-year-old white Navy veteran of WW2 was standing in his driveway when four young blacks — two aged 18, two aged 19 — decided to rob him. According to the police report, they "pushed him down and stole his wallet." He died two days later after being airlifted to hospital.
And in an even more regrettable case of Teaching While White, in the little Massachusetts town of Danvers — population 26 thousand, 95.2 percent white, median household income $78 thousand (don't you love the internet?) — the body of a pretty young white math teacher named Colleen Ritzer was found stashed in a recycling bin in woods behind the town high school. Ms Ritzer had been slashed with a box cutter, then beaten to death. A fourteen-ear-old mulatto boy, Philip Chism, has been charged with the crime.
I should say that there are mitigating circumstances in this case. Ms Ritzer had kept Mr Chism back after class for playing music during Algebra 1, causing him to miss a soccer practice. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.
Down in Dallas, a most unfortunate case of working while white. Nancy Harris, a 76-year-old white grandmother, was working as a convenience store clerk when 38-year-old black Matthew Johnson came in and robbed the store. Apparently discontented with his loot, or for some other reason, Mr Johnson paused before departing, doused Ms Harris with lighter fluid, and set her on fire. The lady died from her burns. Mr Johnson has confessed to the crime and is on trial. This Monday jurors saw security camera footage of Ms Harris's death agonies. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Over to Anchorage, Alaska and an unhappy case of Leaf-Blowing While White. The victim here, if you'll excuse my using the word "victim" for a person who does not seem to belong to any Designated Victim Group, was 76-year-old white lawyer Joe Palmier. Mr Palmier was blowing leaves in his front yard when a party described by the police report as, quote, "three young light-skinned black males" asked him for money. Mr Palmier declined, and woke up in hospital, his head covered with staples and stitches.
In Brooklyn, New York, meanwhile, in a case of Driving While White, a group of ten black teenagers surrounded a white couple's car, viciously beating the husband and yanking the wife to the pavement by her hair …
04 — Wheels coming off Obamacare. Let's take a break from the race business for a few minutes, listeners. It's all a bit depressing, isn't it? What's happening in politics?
What's happening is, more wheels are coming off the Obamacare bus. In the ultra-liberal, Obama-swooning state of New York, only 23 percent of 400 doctors polled by the state Medical Society are taking patients who've signed up through Obamacare's health exchanges. Forty-four percent say they won't participate. The rest say they're not sure whether or not they will become Obamacare providers.
The administration official responsible for implementing Obamacare, HHS Secretary, lifetime pol, and private-sector virgin Kathleen Sebelius was up before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to explain what's gone wrong.
Note that word "responsible." In the old Imperial Court of Japan the Emperor and his inner circle spoke a special dialect among themselves. It was different enough from everyday Japanese that when the Emperor Hirohito went on the radio in 1945 to annnounce to his people that Japan had surrendered, they had trouble understanding him. Our own Imperial Court in Washington, D.C. likewise has its own special way with words.
The word "responsible," for example, when used by career politicians, doesn't have the everyday meaning of, "All right, I've done the crime, I'll do the time." No, no, no. It's more like the sort of empty, meaningless phrases we use for courtesy. When the drugstore clerk says she's so glad you found what you were looking for, there is in fact no gladness in her heart. She's just being polite.
Similarly, when Janet Reno — remember her? — told us she "accepted responsibility" for the 1993 Waco siege in which 76 people died, she didn't mean that she was going to resign, or that she thought her career should be impacted in any way. She was just being polite; then she went on for another eight years covering Bill Clinton's backside.
So when Sebelius told the congressional committee Wednesday that, quote: "Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible," end quote, she too was just making polite empty noises.
It's not quite the case that government work means never having to say you're sorry. You do have to say you're sorry, your sorrow just don't have to cost you anything.
Tackled by one of the congresspersons to say whether President Obama isn't ultimately responsible for the FUBAR situation, Madame Secretary gave a reply in the enigmatic affirmative, quote:
Whatever. Yes he is the President. Yes he is responsible for government programs.
The lady also told some little pork pies to the committee. Would she herself drop her federal-employee insurance plan and sign up at an Obamacare exchange? she was asked. Sebelius replied, under oath, that she couldn't, it would be illegal.
This is not in fact true, as many legal experts hastened to point out. Anyone legally resident in a state and not incarcerated can buy insurance through an exchange.
I'll confess that I'm fairly glowing with Schadenfreude watching this fool project implode. But then, I'm healthy and on Medicare. For a lot of Americans, this is really bad news. And we should all bear in mind that the $174 million that Secretary Sebelius said had been spent on the system is all our money, yours and mine, ripped from our pockets by force of law.
I'm going to give the last word here to commentator Thomas Sowell, who's been on a roll lately. Here he was in his Thursday column this week, edited quote:
There are now people in Washington whose entire adult lives have been spent in government, in one role or another. Some begin as aides to politicians or as part of the sprawling empires of the federal bureaucracy. From this they progress to high elective or appointed offices in government … This kind of government must constantly "do something" in order to keep incumbents' names in the news. In short, big government has every incentive to create bigger government.
Thank you, Dr Sowell. I've been preaching term limits for, according to my archives, at least twelve years. They can't come soon enough.
05 — Arming the enemy. It's been a while since I vented over our continuing, perfectly pointless presence in Afghanistan. The dreary, spirit-crushing news keeps coming in though.
Here's a story from Reuters, October 20th, quote:
An Afghan army special forces commander has defected to an insurgent group allied with the Taliban in a Humvee truck packed with his team's guns and high-tech equipment, officials in the eastern Kunar province said on Sunday.
So this wasn't just the Afghan National Army, which we've been equipping and training, it was a special forces unit in the Afghan National Army; and not just some random grunt defecting, but a unit commander; and not just decamping with his rifle and billy can, but with a few hundred thousand dollars worth of materiel.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in the officers' mess of one of our own units charged with Afghan National Army training and liaison. At this point, after all the countless defections and "green on blue" incidents where our so-called allies turn their weapons on our own guys, our commanders have to know that there's not a soul in the Afghan military they can turn their backs on. Yet for the politicians they have to keep up this pretense of working arm in arm with grateful, loyal allies.
Forgive me for dropping names here, but eight or nine years ago I was at a private dinner in New York with Henry Kissinger as an invited guest. Kissinger couldn't understand what we were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rough quote from him, from memory, quote:
I assumed we'd go in, break their stuff, kill their leaders, then pull out.
That's what I assumed too. All these years later, we're still there.
They say we'll be out of Afghanistan soon. I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime the Afghan National Army guys are taking us at our word and positioning themselves to be on the right side when we do leave and the Taliban takes over. Of course they are. What would you expect them to do?
06 — Kids say the darnedest things. OK, back to the main topic.
Microaggression of the week was actually committed two weeks ago, but has only just this week been significantly noticed. The actual microaggression happened on the show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which is a late-night TV talk show.
One recurring feature on the show is a "Kids' Table," which spoofs the solemn round-table discussions on weighty topics that you get on Sunday morning TV. Instead of credentialed bigfoot commentators, Kimmel has four second or third graders round the table with him. Here's a clip from the October 16th show:
I thought it was pretty funny. The race lobbies of course took a different view. Some fool actually posted a petition on the White House website protesting the show. Here is the wording of the petition, quote:
I was very disturbed by Jimmy Kimmel's "Kids Table" show. It was aired on ABC recently and talked about killing all the Chinese so that the states do not need to pay back their debts to China. The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC's management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people. Please immediately cut the show and issue a formal apology.
As Radio Derb goes to tape, that petition has 78,000 signatures. Need a drink yet?
An outfit called the 80-20 Initiative, a race lobbying group seeking special preferences and political favors for American residents of Chinese descent (with whom I've had some personal dealings in the past) also demanded an apology from ABC. They got it, of course. These big corporations always fold right away when the race hucksters start shrieking.
In San Francisco this Monday, the race creeps held a protest march. The marchers carried pictures showing funnyman Jimmy Kimmel's face with a Hitler mustache drawn above his lip and a swastika by his side. Hard to beat that for creativity and originality, eh?
As I have had occasion to remark before: If there is a prize awarded in Hell for killing Chinese people, the easy winner in the 20th-century division — and in fact, I am pretty sure, the all-time winner — would be Mao Tse-tung. Why not put his face on Jimmy Kimmel, you nitwits? Oh, but then you wouldn't be getting your checks from the Chinese Consulate, would you? Right.
Back in, oh Lord, the year 2000 I wrote a column titled "The Whining Minority," in reference to Chinese-Americans. That was at the time of the Wen Ho Lee case, which some listeners may remember.
Lee, who worked in a Department of Defense nuclear-weapons research lab, had been accused of spying for the ChiComs. In that column I said the following thing, quote:
A foretaste of the coming great Wen Ho Lee whine-o-rama was provided by novelist Gish Jen, who is of Chinese ancestry, in an Op-Ed in the 9/15/00 New York Times. How to restore faith in the American dream? Ms Jen whimpers. Well, I mix with Americans of Chinese origin every day — I am, in fact, married to one, and the father of two more — and they are living very well. None of them is poor; none of them is in jail; none of them is the victim of anything at all, so far as I can see. Like Ms Jen's ancestors, they have attained not only the American dream, but the Chinese dream, the great dream of all Chinese people throughout history: to escape from Chinese government.
Thirteen years on, the Whining Minority is still whining.
07 — White man speak with politically incorrect tongue. I confess I haven't really followed this flap about the Washington Redskins, which I understand is some kind of sports team. Having no interest in sports, and disliking political correctness, I couldn't care less what they call themselves.
I did, though, get a chuckle out of the joke going round among policy wonks during the government shutdown: The team is now so ashamed of their name they've changed it to "Maryland Redskins."
While the Indians were living their own way of life, the attitude of Americans to them varied with distance. People who had to actually deal with them, like Kit Carson and the young Theodore Roosevelt, disliked them rather strongly, describing them as larcenous, treacherous, and cruel. In the East Coast cities far from where the Indians actually were, sentimentality about the Noble Savage was normal, and they were thought of as fierce warriors stiff with dignity and pride, living a healthy outdoor life and worshiping the spirits of Nature.
Once the Indians had been subjugated and were no longer a threat to anyone, the Noble Savage view became universal. Now we're all supposed to feel terrible about having dispossessed them of their land and their happy, healthy, nature-respecting way of life.
I think that's ridiculous. For one thing, I refuse to feel guilty about something I had no part in.
For another, I'm of the opinion that civilization is better than barbarism. I'm of the further opinion that if you disagree with me on that point, you have made no effort to inform yourself about the nature of life under barbarism, or to enter imaginatively into the lives of uncivilized peoples. A good starting text would be Lawrence Keeley's book War Before Civilization.
While of course, like any reasonable person, I take individuals as I find them, the main thing that comes to mind about Indians as a group is that they are an object lesson Americans should reflect upon. The lesson is, that if great numbers of foreigners come to settle in your land, and you can't or won't do anything to stop them, then soon it's not your land any more. It's their land.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Lefty cluelessness of the week came from MSNBC commentator Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and some sperm donor bearing a striking resemblance to the late Frank Sinatra.
In a discussion of the Clintons, the 14-year-old Farrow extruded the following observation, quote:
They're nimble politicians. Also I think that they represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now.
Oh yeah; the American public are craving, yearning for some of that Clinton-style honesty and integrity. Come, Hillary, come! The hungry sheep look up and are not fed.
Item: The reason I am in New York is that I flew over here on Wednesday last to attend the Intelligence Squared debate that evening at the Kaufman Center. The motion for debate was, quote: "Let Anyone Take a Job Anywhere."
Yes, they were debating open borders. Principal speaker for the motion was loony economist — pardon my pleonasm — Bryan Caplan, who looked the audience straight in the eye and told us that if we don't let the entire population of Haiti come into the U.S.A. right now, we are no better than Nazis persecuting Jews.
I was keen to attend the debate because the principal speaker for the opposition was Ron Unz, a friend of mine. The way they score these debates is, the audience all votes on the motion before the thing starts, then they vote again after hearing all the arguments, and whichever side has swung the more votes their way is the winner.
I'm glad to report that while only 21 percent opposed the motion at the beginning, 49 did so at the end — a tribute to the eloquence of Ron and his second, Kathleen Newland.
Ron has just launched a new website, title The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection, subtitle "A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media." I urge you to check it out at www.unz.org. Congratulations again on the win, Ron.
Item: Just following up on my VDARE column of this week: The government of Niger, in West Africa, has told us that the bodies of 92 "migrants" — 52 children, 33 women and seven men — have been found in the northern desert area of that country. They were on their way to Algeria when their bus broke down, and I guess the Niger equivalent of triple-A weren't any help.
The word "migrant" there of course means sub-Saharan Africans heading to the Mediterranean coast in hopes of breaking into Europe.
Quote from my VDARE.com column, quote:
The U.N. estimates that the population of Niger … will increase from today's 18 million to 204 million by the end of the century.
Annual per capita GDP in Niger is $800. Fifty percent of residents are under 15. The total fertility rate is 7.58 children per woman, the highest in the world. Eight of the top ten on that list are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Brace yourselves for more of these stories. A lot more.
09 — Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen; another week on Starship Earth, rolling around the sun with its cargo of joy and sadness, virtue and vice, wisdom and folly.
I can't leave the flap over Barneys lynching blacks in the changing rooms without a genuflection — actually, for this keyboard warrior, more of a cubitoflexion — towards a great novelty song from back in the Harding administration, that golden age of American creativity and happiness.
Yes, here he is: Barney Google. Political-history buffs get extra points for knowing who "Mister Bryan" and "Mister Hughes" were.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, "Barney Google"