An amazing performance, &c.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright


Chafets quotes Ailes a lot, and you can’t blame him: Ailes is a “quote machine,” as I say in my review. A fount. He ought to be on camera, I think, rather than off. He’d be a star commentator. He’ll have to settle for running the network, I guess.

Let me give you a few Ailes specials: “Every time I needed a job, I had to go to a rich guy.” He has nothing against the poor: It’s just that they don’t have jobs to hand out.

The way he helps minorities, he says, is by providing opportunities. “I don’t wear pins or ribbons but I do give out jobs.”

He donates to a variety of charities, including religious ones: Catholic charities, Jewish charities. He’ll give to Muslim charities too “if they disarm.”

This one, I really love: You know all the talk about “entitlements”? Government checks and the like? Special privileges? “You are either American or you aren’t,” says Ailes. “Living here is the only entitlement you need.”

That ought to be in Bartlett’s: Living in America is the entitlement.

Did you see this story? “Major League Baseball has created a task force that will study how to increase diversity in the game, especially among black players.” I think of sports as the last bastion of meritocracy: Either you can play or you can’t. Athletic excellence knows no color. Same with music.

A task force on diversity in baseball? Really? Is that necessary? Can America give skin color a rest, ever?

Several years ago, I was going to mail something to a friend in Salzburg. He said, sighingly, “It’ll probably end up in Australia.” Austria and Australia are perpetually confused.

Which is why this story is so amusing: Wallabies are loose in the Austrian countryside. Really. Amazing.

Shall we have a little language? There’s a lot of Brit-speak I don’t know, and Boris Johnson taught me something new in a recent column. Of the Qataris, he said, “Their airport has just run out of room, and they aren’t faffing around with some study into the options — they are building a new one, right on the sea.”

The Internet — the almighty, omniscient Internet — told me that faffing means “dithering” or “fussing.” Nice.

I learned something from a Michael Wright column too: “to winkle out.” The author spoke of a “former budget minister given to winkling out the kind of slimy tax-dodgers who hide their wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts.”

“To winkle out”: “to force from a place or position.”

Wright’s column is about France, and he writes,

When I telephone my friend Clément Bresard-Billet, a young management consultant working in Paris, he surprises me by announcing that he is planning to move to Australia next year. “Our model is finished,” he explains. “I find it hard to imagine a future here. France is like a patient in intensive care. The family dreams there’s still a bit of life in the old bones but, secretly, they all know it’s the end.” Many of his Parisian friends, he adds, are planning similar moves.

All God’s chillen got anecdotes. Let me give you one of mine: A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with a French friend, a businessman who took his company to another country in Europe. I said, “How do you think Hollande is doing?” (François Hollande is the new president of France, a Socialist.) My friend — a very measured, sensible man, and apolitical, as far as I can tell — said, “France is doomed.” He said it again, to make sure I had heard correctly.

Let’s end with some music. I don’t have any criticism for you, but I have a tidbit of a kind. Every month, the New York Philharmonic runs a couple of Q&As in its program booklet. The Q&As are with members of the orchestra. This month, one of the interviewees is Na Sun, a violinist, and a native of China. She is asked about her “most memorable moments with the orchestra.” She answers, “Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Lorin Maazel and Opening Night 2006. Standing and playing the National Anthem was a special moment for me — my first job in America!”

I thought that was kind of neat. Thanks for joining me, dear readers, and catch you soon.

To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.


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