Impromptus

An evergreen title, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

I was on the subway, and the car was crowded. I wasn’t snooping, but I couldn’t help noticing that a guy was reading something. An article in a magazine, I believe. I couldn’t tell what the publication was. But the title of the article was “Yes, It’s a Racial Thing.”

And I thought, “You know? That could be the title over almost every article written and published.”

According to this article, there is a “sharp rise” in the number of French Jews leaving for Israel. I should not make light of this issue — but I am, for a second. France will lose in multiple ways. Israel will gain in culinary awareness and general hauteur.

Bet the French Israelis will miss the bread.

Ho-hum: Anthony Daniels, a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple, has written another brilliant, illuminating article. (I guess brilliance does illumine, doesn’t it?) This one is about the need for the evenhanded application of justice. He has a phrase in there that arrested me: “brutal leniency.” The leniency granted to murderers and other horrible criminals can indeed be brutal.

That is a phrase I have a feeling I will be quoting for some time.

There is another phrase that will be of some use. I found it in this article, headed “Female giraffe born at Cincinnati Zoo, needs name.” The mother is Tessa, who has a “mating partner.” See what I mean about usefulness? Often, you don’t know whether someone is a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, mistress, hook-up-ee, whatever. “Mating partner” is almost perfect.

For many years, we righties have talked about the later-in-life experience of George McGovern: He opened a bed-and-breakfast in Connecticut. He found that taxes and regulations were killing him. Why did the government have to be so bossy and clumsy? “Heh,” we said.

Well, we can give the McGovern example a rest and turn to David Bonior, a former Democratic leader in the House. As I learned via this John Miller post, Bonior is a restaurant owner, or trying to be. He said, “It took us a ridiculous amount of time to get our permits.” Etc.

Heh.

Here is a story: “Company stopped from accepting abortion waste.” The story opened, “County commissioners gave final approval Thursday to an order to stop an incinerator in Oregon from receiving medical waste until procedures are in place to ensure no fetal tissue is burned to generate power.”

Why? What ever for? If an unborn child is essentially “a meaningless blob of protoplasm,” and an abortion is essentially like an appendectomy, why the squeamishness? I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about human beings, right?

Right?

Via this article, I learned what Senator Elizabeth Warren says in her new autobiography — about her reaction to first meeting Ted Kennedy. “After pushing the button for an elevator, I put my forehead against the cool, stainless-steel wall in the twenty-fourth-floor lobby. And then I started to cry.”

Okay, here we go: “Politics so often feels dirty to me — all the lobbyists and the cozy dealings and the special favors for those who could buy access. But as I stood in the lobby outside Ted Kennedy’s office, I felt as if I’d been washed clean.”

You know, I’ve never liked it when the Left says, of some conservative politician, “He scares me.” But I have to say: This woman is in the U.S. Senate? She had a teaching position at Harvard? Does she know anything at all about Ted Kennedy?

Holy Moses.

Another day, another slur on Clarence Thomas — actually, the same old slur: “Uncle Tom.” That’s what a Democratic congressman, Bennie Thompson, said specifically. I know that Justice Thomas is a very tough man. But I wonder whether this slur, no matter how many times it is repeated, ever loses its sting.

Michael Steele once said to me, “I have tough skin. I’m an elephant, you know” (i.e., a Republican).

My guess is, white people have only a vague idea of the price that black conservatives pay. These conservatives are some of the bravest, most daring, most longsuffering, most independent-minded people in the country. They are an example to everyone, of any color or philosophy.

I have been on a kick lately against wind power — a vanity project of the Left, as I see it . Recently, I learned that the Obama administration is funding three offshore wind projects. They will cost up to $47 million each. A single turbine will cost $11.75 million. The cost of the energy produced will be $2.1 million per megawatt.

Maybe the administration could just pay our many unemployed to blow on people?

Rick Brookhiser pointed me to this article in the New York Times: which says that golf, which boomed for many years, is now on the decline. “People under 35 have especially spurned the game, saying it takes too long to play, is too difficult to learn and has too many tiresome rules.”

What perfectly modern sentiments.

Instead of saying, “Look, this is our game, and a lot of us have liked it, for generations,” some golf authorities are “thinking outside the box” — or, if you prefer, dumbing down the game. They’re making the cups the size of manholes. They’re inviting people to take mulligans, tee up the ball in the fairway or rough, and throw the ball out of the bunker. In other words, they’re inviting them to cheat.

People have been doing this for years, without a special invitation. I used to play with a guy who did two of the above-mentioned things — tee the ball up in the rough and throw the ball out of the bunker — while he was competing with you for money.

Anyway, the Times article quoted the president of the U.S. Golf Association, Thomas J. O’Toole Jr.: “We think the charm of the game is a single set of rules, but we applaud strategic thinking that brings people to golf. We shouldn’t be narrow-minded.”

That strikes me as a perfectly sensible attitude.

I was in Dallas and saw a bumper sticker on a pickup: “Drill for oil on American soil.” A sign you weren’t on the Upper West Side of Manhattan anymore. Also, the same truck had a Gary Johnson 2012 sticker. (He was the Libertarian presidential nominee.)

Also in Dallas, I saw a statement, etched outside the Morning News — I think I have copied it correctly: “Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question.”

Blow me down. (And no carping, please, that there are often more than two sides to a story. More often, there are two main ones, I think.)

Care for some sports? We’ve already had the golf item. Hmmm, how about this: an obit. “Edgar Laprade, the Hall of Fame Rangers center of the 1940s and ’50s who was known for his playmaking skills and his gentlemanly behavior on the ice, died on Monday at his home in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was 94.”

Is that legal? Gentlemanliness on the ice?

Here’s a bit of music — a post (longish) on Kristin Chenoweth, the Broadway star, at The New Criterion. She gave a concert at Carnegie Hall, with a sprinkling of special guests, including the opera soprano Deborah Voigt.

Care for a great name? Well, I have a macabrely interesting name. It comes in an article forwarded to me by a reader. The paper: the Circleville Herald, in Ohio. The headline: “Hitlers were county pioneers.”

There was a George Washington Hitler. He had a son, a dentist, Dr. Gay Hitler.

Anyway . . .

I wish to recommend an article, by Leon Wieseltier. I’m not sure I have mentioned Wieseltier in this column since shortly after 9/11 — when he did some of the best writing of those days, in my opinion. I have not read his publication, The New Republic, for some years. I gave it up for reasons we could get into. (I believe I have, at some juncture.)

Someone sent me this article: “The Inconvenience of History: Obama abandons another country to its fate.” It’s about Ukraine (and us). I read it with an upwelling of gratitude. What it says is in sore, sore need of being said.

Okay, back to lighter fare, for a quick ending: I saw a traffic cop, who made a rather weak, unemphatic call at an intersection. His hand signal was half-hearted, uncommanding, and unconvincing.

I thought of something a basketball ref told me a long time ago: “You have to sell the call.” In a way, conductors — orchestra conductors — do too. And so do traffic cops.

Thanks for joining me today — shortest lil’ bullets on record? — and talk to you soon.

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