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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your parenthetically genial host John Derbyshire.
I mentioned in last week's podcast, followed by a more detailed account in my monthly diary, that I was vexed by furniture-moving issues. Listeners and readers rallied round to help. Thank you for all your emails of advice and instruction!
Among Radio Derb listeners, though, there is a gentleman who lives a couple of states away who is an experienced professional furniture mover. He emailed in vowing that he could move anything, and offered to help me with that dresser for the sheer satisfaction of supporting our efforts here at VDARE.com.
How could I refuse? I couldn't; so Thursday this week that gentleman took the long drive over to us and, sure enough, moved that Beast up into our bedroom with an artful arrangement of ladders and straps, assisted by the muscle power of my son and a friend.
We are infinitely grateful to him, and we are warmed and cheered by the spirit of neighborly help and co-operation that he embodies — a very American spirit, I believe. Thank you, Sir. Thank you, thank you.
02 — Messing with the president. Our president was down in Florida on Wednesday, looking at the damage from last week's hurricane.
The headliner here was nothing to do with the hurricane or federal disaster relief. It was an exchange between the president and Ray Murphy, who is the mayor of Fort Myers. The mayor is, like the president, a Democrat. He is also of Irish ancestry, as is the president on his mother's side.
So these were two kindred spirits exchanging bro talk. Not much of what they said was audible on the video, but we did catch the mayor telling the president to, quote "keep the faith," end quote. The president responded with something unintelligible, followed by, quote: "No-one messes with a Biden," end quote.
Well, he didn't actually say "messes." He used a different verb. This is a family podcast, though, so I've cleaned it up there.
The mayor chuckled and said, quote, "You're goddamn right," end quote. The two exchanged a couple more sentences, and then parted.
Thinking about that through the second half of the week, it seems to me that what the president said is both true and false.
In matters of domestic policies, it is true. You really don't want to mess with a guy who has the U.S. Attorney General, the FBI, the CIA, well-nigh all the media along with the billionaires who own and supervise the social media — you really don't want to mess with a guy who has all those power centers covering for him.
That's not even to mention the record number of federal judges Joe Biden has appointed — the biggest number at this point in a presidential term since John F. Kennedy. These judges all have lifetime tenure, and you may be sure they are all in lockstep with the Biden administration's gentry-progressive values.
This president is better protected than Britain's crown jewels. No, you'd really really better not mess with him.
Not domestically. Foreign policy is another matter. Foreign leaders, who don't have to worry about FBI SWAT teams kicking down their front doors, or being hauled into federal court on cooked-up charges, are finding Joe Biden rather easy to mess with.
The ChiComs know they can embarrass our president any time they want to by flying a couple of fighter planes into Taiwan's airspace. Biden will put on his angry face and tell the world that the U.S.A. is committed to go to war to defend Taiwan's sovereignty. Then Biden's handlers will put out a counter-statement saying that Biden mis-spoke, that there is no such commitment and we all totally agree there is only one China.
The Russians messed with Joe in their own sly way when, having got the measure of him just one year into his presidency, they invaded Ukraine, a thing that everyone and his parakeet knows they would never have done under Trump, or any other chief executive playing with a full deck. The invasion isn't going exactly as the Russians planned; but we all know it wouldn't be going at all except for the fact that Putin saw a president he could mess with.
And now, this week, here were the big Persian Gulf oil producers, Saudi Arabia in the lead, messing with a Biden big-time.
You'll recall that back in July Joe Biden paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia. He didn't precisely grovel to that country's leader, the guy everyone calls MBS, but he did offer him a big smile and a fist-bump.
The visit was officially something to do with shoring up America's influence in that region; but there was not much doubt in anyone's mind that a big part of the reason for the trip, likely the biggest part, was to beg the Saudis to increase oil production so that Joe Biden's party, the Democratic Party, wouldn't go into the midterm elections with gas at ten dollars a gallon.
It worked. The Saudis increased oil production, and urged other OPEC members to do the same. Gas prices stopped rising — actually fell in some places.
That was July, though. Wednesday this week the Saudis announced, jointly with the Russians and other oil producers, that they will cut production. Or rather, as they phrased it diplomatically in the memo, quote:
Adjust downward the overall production by 2 mb/d from the August 2022 required production levels, starting November 2022 for OPEC and non-OPEC Participating Countries.
The administration is furious and the Russians are rolling around on the floor laughing. Whether Joe Biden knows that he's been messed with is open to question, that question being: How much does he know about anything that's going on? Regardless: we've had an unmistakably clear illustration of the fact that in the international arena, anyone can mess with a Biden.
The infuriating thing about this week's messing — infuriating, I mean, for American patriots — is that it is a direct consequence of Joe Biden having, immediately on taking office in January 2021, declared war on our domestic oil and gas industries to appease the Green New Deal fanatics in his party.
With Biden in the White House we went from being a net exporter of fossil fuels — one of the greatest achievements of the Trump administration — to being a net importer; and that, as we saw this week, has opened up broad new opportunities for unfriendly foreign powers to mess with a Biden.
03 — The poison in minoritarianism. The late Auberon Waugh defined opinion journalism to be, quote, "the vituperative arts," end quote. As a definition, I think that's a bit too narrow. It was colored by Bron's own approach to his trade: he was a grandmaster of vituperation, and took obvious pleasure in dishing it out.
Personally I believe that the opinion journalist has some obligation to inform, instruct, and amuse, as well as vituperate — a verb which Webster's Third defines as, quote:
to abuse in words; censure severely or abusively
Call me a squishy old compromiser if you like, but that's what I believe. There is certainly, though, a place for vituperation in what we do; and when done well, vituperation can be highly entertaining.
That is by way of commending to your attention Jim Goad's October 6th piece at Counter-Currents. The topic of the piece is this new homosexual romantic comedy movie Bros. The target of Jim's vituperation is not so much the movie as actor-screenwriter Billy Eichner, who plays the lead role and co-wrote the script. I'd never heard of Billy Eichner; but I wasn't surprised to learn that he is himself a homosexual.
In a little over two minutes, unsuspecting movie audiences were treated to a brief glimpse of a gay foursome, the phrase [inner quote] "getting butt-fucked by Jason Momoa," [end inner quote] a scene where a fat dad mentions the "bottom dance" and his entire family — including toddlers — starts twerking, and the endlessly predictable potshots at "straight people."
The movie has been a major flop. Universal Studios shelled out a reported $52 million on production and promotion, but in its opening weekend it didn't bring in even one-tenth of that.
Jim Goad has an unrestrained gloat about the movie's box-office failure, and an even less restrained gloat about Billy Eichner's fury at that failure, which of course Eichner claims is due to homophobia.
That claim is rather undermined by the fact that Bros didn't just flop with straight people, it flopped with homosexuals, too. As Jim Goad writes, quote:
He's blaming "homophobic weirdos" and "certain parts of the country" for the demonstrable fact that hardly any homos in Greenwich Village or the Castro district went to see his dumb gay movie, either.
Commentator Douglas Murray makes the same point in his New York Post column today. He's not as vituperative as Jim, but he does say, after telling us he hasn't watched the movie, that, quote:
I did watch the trailer and thought it a looked like a wincingly unfunny, cutesy, clichéd big gay bore.
The idea that all this negativity is just "homophobia," is particularly misplaced in Douglas Murray's case: Murray is himself homosexual.
So no, it's not that huge numbers of us — including some homosexuals — don't like homosexuals. Some of them we like a lot.
Twentieth-century comedians and other stage performers who we all knew were homosexual enjoyed great popularity even back when homosexual acts were illegal. Jim Goad cites Paul Lynde and Liberace: I'd add British comedians Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams. These guys were homosexual and everyone knew it, but they were widely popular with straight people who didn't care about the private lives of people who entertained them.
What we don't like — what we really don't like — is not homosexuality, it's angry, spitting, foaming, rabid, contempt and loathing for heterosexuality: those "endlessly predictable potshots at straight people" that Jim Goad objected to in the movie's trailer.
This is the unwelcome, poisonous downside of minoritarianism. There is a parallel here, which of course Jim Goad points out, with race. Actual generalized dislike of blacks is not common among white people. What is common is dislike of the anti-whitism that's taken over so much of our culture.
Why would you expect people to like constantly hearing their own race, their own ancestors, their own brothers and sisters, parents and children, belittled and insulted? Why would you expect people to like constantly hearing their own most intimate, most endearing attachments scoffed and jeered at as varieties of "hate"?
Most of us don't mind human differences, but we don't want to be banged over the head 24/7 with propaganda about them.
As you can see from the popularity of those homosexual stage performers I just mentioned, we used to be more sensible about such things.
Fifty years ago we could even make thoughtful, intelligent plays and movies about homosexuality that didn't leave normal people feeling grossed out. The 1970 movie version of Matt Crowley's play The Boys in the Band did decently well at the box office, and rightly so: it had depth and sensitivity.
I'll leave the final vituperative word here to Jim Goad, referring to aggressive homosexualists like Billy Eichner, quote:
These militantly unfunny neo-gays have it all ass-backwards.
04 — New York's mayor goes cruising for a bruising. It's been two years now since I offered my advice to the British government about what to do with the thousands of illegals aliens they had acquired, courtesy of people-smugglers shipping them across the English Channel in rubber dinghies. My advice was: hulks.
… hulks. No, not green-skinned mutants with over-developed musculature. I mean hulks as in prison ships: vessels retired from the Royal Navy, permanently anchored along the banks of the River Thames and at seaports like Plymouth. From the 1770s to the 1850s hulks were used in place of jails. One of my great-great-grandfathers served seven years on the hulks back in the 1840s "for stealing 3 hen fowls & 20 chickens."
I've referred to hulks a couple of times since then, I see, but both times in the British context. Last week, however, I saw that my suggestion has been taken up by New York City's mayor Eric Adams. Quote from The New York Post, September 30th:
Mayor Eric Adams is finalizing a deal with the Norwegian Cruise Line to house migrants on one of its massive cruise ships and dock it at Staten Island's Homeport, The Post has learned.
Mayor Adams doesn't seem fully to have grasped the hulk concept, though. A luxury liner? Those 19th-century prison hulks were old, rusty, leaky, smelly ships that were no use for any other purpose. The cabins were even less comfortable than the average prison cell; and they were serving as prison cells, the inmates locked in.
By contrast, The Post tells us in regard to Mayor Adams' plan, quote:
The migrants would be allowed to come and go while staying on the ship.
Perhaps they'll also be treated to concerts, movies, and dances. Deck games too, perhaps.
That's not the proper hulk ethos, not at all.
In any case the idea of docking the ship at Staten Island's Homeport has not met with the approval of Staten Islanders.
I should explain to listeners unfamiliar with the socio-geography of New York City that Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of the city, and it is the one with the smallest density of woke urban gentry liberals.
Staten Islanders are, if not exactly horny-handed sons of toil, definitely more based on average than residents of the other four boroughs. If you ask me to conjure up an image of the average Staten Island homeowner, I think of a cop or firefighter.
Once Eric Adams' idea of using a luxury cruise ship as a hulk for illegal aliens had been aired, Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella — and yes, he's a Republican — Vito Fossella stepped up to throw some cold, smelly, New York harbor water on the plan. Edited quote from him:
How is this becoming a Staten Island problem? This is a federal problem … I am not for this cruise. Let's avoid cruising for a bruising. What's next? RVs on the street?
Staten Island's congresscritter, U.S. Representative Nicole Malliotakis, was even more outspoken — downright vituperative, in fact. Edited quote from her:
This is a ludicrous idea that could only come out of an incompetent administration … Both Biden and Adams refuse to address the root of the problem and, instead, continue to incentivize illegal immigration. Secure our borders, reinstate "Remain in Mexico" and add judges to hear legitimate asylum cases quickly. Democrats have abdicated their responsibility but when Republicans take the House we will put an end to this nonsense.
I wish I could believe that last bit; but what the lady said was well said none the less. Thank you, Ma'am.
All that notwithstanding, I can't suppress a frisson of pride at seeing my suggestion taken up on this side of the Atlantic. Ah, the power of Radio Derb!
05 — A difference between Putin's speech and Biden's. Last Friday Vladimir Putin gave a long speech to his country's legislators. This was to affirm the annexation of four districts in Eastern Ukraine, following referendums that Putin had carried out in those districts.
The referendums were openly and even embarrassingly bogus; there seems to be no-one outside Russia who thinks otherwise.
Putin, however, does not embarrass easily. He now claims those districts as parts of Russia, gratefully returning to the warm bosom of the Motherland.
The speech itself was a long victimological whine. Poor Russia: poor, poor Russia! Oppressed for centuries by the, quote, "undisguised malice of these Western elites," end quote.
And then in 1991, when Russians had finally attained full sovereignty as the great and glorious Soviet Union, traitors and fools in the party elite let the whole thing fall apart. That was, to quote Putin precisely, "the tragedy of the collapse of the Soviet Union."
"We poor Russians! We poor, poor Russians!"
And so on and so on. It was all wearily familiar to me from my Chinese experiences, from listening to representatives of the ChiCom regime take the same whimpering line. "Poor us! Poor us! We are noble and brave, never did anything wrong; but those evil Westerners took advantage of our goodness and innocence, tried to enslave and colonize us …" I've heard it all a hundred times.
All this self-pity is just excuse-making. The sufferings of Russian and Chinese people in the modern period were not caused by malicious foreigners. They were caused by the failure of the Russian and most Chinese people — I'll exclude Taiwan — to master the arts of consensual, constitutional government. Instead they gave themselves up to rule by crazed ideologues like Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung.
Just a few other points at random.
So, some fragments of truth there in among the bluster, victimological self-pity, and historical dishonesty.
You could of course say the same of the "democracy under assault" speech that Joe Biden delivered on September 1st with that lurid creepy red-lit background. The two speeches, in fact — Biden's on the first day of September, Putin's on the last — make an interesting pair of parentheses for the month.
On one point at least the two speeches are opposites. In Putin's mind it is foreigners that are the enemy, or some subset of foreigners: "Western elites," "Anglo-Saxons."
Biden, by contrast, had nothing to say about foreigners at all. In his mind it is his fellow Americans that are the enemy, or some very large subset of them. The threat to America, Biden actually said, is, quote, "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans," end quote.
Putin thinks the threat to Russia is from foreigners seeking to dominate her, impoverish her, and destroy her culture. Biden thinks that the threat to America is me, and you, and the other seventy-four-million-plus Trump voters.
That, it seems to me, is a deep and noteworthy difference.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: We race realists have been chuckling all week about this result out of Michigan.
Last year Michigan required all seniors in public high schools to take the SAT, the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Close to ninety-one thousand students took it, so this is a huge sample.
To quote Steve Hsu, who covered this in his blog on Tuesday, quote: "To the uninformed, the results are shocking in a number of ways." End quote. That's putting it very diplomatically, Steve.
Just to orient you here: The median SAT score at good universities is around 1400; at Ivy League universities it's around 1500. The top band shown in the results is up there, range from 1400 to 1600. The bottom band is 400 to 600.
Shocker number one: Percentage of African Americans in that top band: zero. Percentage of whites: four. Percentage of Asians — hold on firm to something steady here — 25.
Shocker number two: Percentage of male students in that top band: five. Percentage of females: three.
Interesting qualification to that second shocker: The lowest band with any significant numbers in it is the one last from bottom, SAT scores in the range 600-800. The percentages down there also lean male, 18 percent to 14. Males lead at the top and the bottom; females lead in the middle ranges, SAT scores 800 to 1200.
Yes, shocking … to the uninformed.
Natural disasters like this don't give opinionators much to opinionate about unless relief efforts are badly managed, which so far they don't seem to be, thank goodness.
They still don't seem to be, but there may have been some intent in the administration that they should be badly managed, or at least very unfairly managed.
A video clip has been going round the internet of Vice President Kamala Harris in an interview saying that, quote:
It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions. And impacted by issues not of their own making.
The interviewer, who was female — in fact the interview was done at the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum last Friday — the interviewer interrupted to say, "and women."
The Vice President replied, quote:
Absolutely. And so, we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity. Understanding that we need to fight for equality but also equity. Not everyone starts out at the same place. And sometimes, we have to take into account those disparities, and do that work.
That sounded as though blacks and women should get priority in hurricane relief. The media have been out in force arguing that is not what the Veep meant.
Reuters, for example, said the clip was taken out of context. Here's the verdict of the Reuters Fact Check team, quote:
Harris was addressing a lengthy question about how to tackle extreme weather events broadly when commenting that resources should be distributed in a way that is equitable. The comment was not made specifically about relief post-Hurricane Ian.
Sorry, Reuters, no sale. Wouldn't the category "extreme weather events broadly" include hurricanes, and in particular Hurricane Ian?
On the bright side here, the fact that the Democratic Party's media lackeys are working hard to neutralize Harris's gaffe suggests that if the administration was indeed planning to preferentially help blacks and women, they're now having second thoughts.
Item: These are tricky times for practitioners of parody and satire.
Back in 2016 a chap in Cleveland, Ohio posted on social media a parody of his local Police Department's Facebook page. He was arrested and brought to trial, but his lawyers argued it was an obvious parody, and he was acquitted.
So far so good for him. He wasn't satisfied, though, and filed a civil lawsuit arguing that his civil rights had been violated. That suit was dismissed by a federal appeals court back in April on grounds of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects police when they reasonably believe they are acting within the law.
Now the guy is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case. Monday this week the satirical website The Onion filed an amicus brief in his support.
My sympathies here are of course with the petitioner. Still, being taken seriously is an occupational hazard for parodists. The old Weekly Standard used to run a regular parody on its last page. At first they just ran it as if it was regular news; but so many people thought it was for real, they had to add a big sign saying PARODY at the top of the page.
What is an obvious parody to Jim or Suzy may be an astounding news item to Steve or Lucy. I'm curious to see what the Supremes do with this case.
Item: Fall is here and the weather is starting to turn colder. After reading this news item, I can only say, "Thank goodness!"
The news item, which I spotted in last Friday's Daily Mail, concerns a new fad, a fad for perineum sunning — exposing your perineum to the sun.
The perineum is, as delicately as I can put it, the part of your body that is between your thighs on the left-to-right axis and between any functional equipment on the front-to-back axis. The perineum is vulgarly know as the "taint," I have no idea why — absolutely no idea, I assure you.
Well, practitioners of this fad point their perineums to the sky and allow the sun to tan them. So I guess if you don't like the expression "perineum sunning" you could say "taint tanning" instead.
Practitioners of the fad swear it has major benefits: better sleep, balanced hormones, more energy, higher libido, and increased creativity. Presumably you also get a nice tan, although not one you can display in public.
Medical professionals, however, are less enthusiastic. The Daily Mail quotes one of them thus, quote:
The reason it's called the area where your "sun don't shine" is because biology and evolution made sure that it was hidden away.
I'll drink to that, Doctor. Bottoms up!
For signoff music I'm going to follow on from last week's Italian theme with a song that's been bouncing around on Twitter recently.
I have to confess I had never heard of this song before this week, although it was released fifty years ago next month and was a huge hit in Europe — well, in Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. I was living out in the Far East at the time, listening mainly to Chinese pop music, so I guess I missed this one. I would probably have missed it even if I'd been home in England; continental pop is kind of a joke among Brits.
I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce the title of the song. It's got a Wikipedia page if you want to look it up: search on the name of the performer, who also wrote the song: Adriano Celentano.
The song is a curiosity because the lyrics are perfect gibberish except for an occasional "all right"; but it's gibberish made to sound like what American English sounds like to Italian ears. I have to admit, it got my foot tapping. Well, see what you think.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
Adriano Celentano, ["Prisencolinensinainciusol."]