Impromptus

Unhelpful news items, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

In my experience, libertarians don’t like it when you imply they are pro-drug, rather than pro-drug legalization. Seeing this news item, I thought, “This won’t help.”

It concerns Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee: “Former Gov. Gary Johnson named CEO of marijuana company.”

In other news, “Duke Porn Star Is Libertarian Group Campus Coordinator . . .

Here was a headline: “Repressed Victorians? George Eliot would disagree.” The subhead read, “The novelist spent 18 months in a house in Wandsworth with her married lover.” (Article here.)

Well, I guess that means she was cool. Nothing stuffy about her! Maybe now that they know she went in for adultery, people will think better of her?

When people say the Victorians were “repressed,” what they really mean, I think, is that they were moral. Which they can’t stand.

What I can’t stand is class resentment, which has long been a staple of the Left, but which increasingly pollutes the Right, I think. Let me quote a writer from the Washington Post:

Mitt Romney said it, and on Monday the Supreme Court upheld it: Corporations are people, my friend.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee was jeered when he made the claim in 2011 at the Iowa State Fair. But somewhere, perhaps in his $55,000 car elevator in La Jolla, the businessman-politician is laughing.

He could be in his car elevator, sure. And more power to him. But he also could be helping people less fortunate than he, not just writing checks but giving of his time, and working with his own hands. Do his jeerers do the same?

By the way, can we expect the Washington Post to make wealth cracks about the Clintons? Or Al Gore?

One more thing: What Romney said at the Iowa State Fair was, of course, 100 percent true. And he was nervy to say it. He is an infinitely better man than his jeerers.

(For the above-quoted article, go here.)

There are people in China who have tried to commemorate Tiananmen Square (the massacre that occurred 25 years ago). Two of them are Chen Wei and Yu Shiwen, who participated in that year’s democracy movement. They were then imprisoned. Afterward, they got married.

Now they have been arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

I will quote a paragraph from an HRIC report. Those initials belong to the group Human Rights in China.

Yu Haiyue, Chen and Yu’s daughter in New York, told HRIC: “The criminal charge the authorities gave my parents is completely ridiculous. They are passionate people with lofty goals, who hope for the positive development of the country. This sends a chill to the heart.” Haiyue added, her father has long suffered from high blood pressure, and he had a stroke over a year ago. Since her parents were taken away, the police have not allowed her to deliver medicine to them, or to meet with them.

Look, why would Chen and Yu even try to commemorate Tiananmen Square? Why don’t they just drop it and “move on”? Obviously, it’s important to them. It should be important to others, too.

I loved something in a Peggy Noonan column. It concerns someone about whom Peggy knows a lot, and has written a lot: Hillary Clinton. “She’s been driven in limousines and official cars almost all her adult life. For more than a quarter-century she has seen America through tinted windows.”

Yes. I thought of something Nancy Reagan once recounted, laughingly. (They often played for her, at dances and so on, “Nancy with the Laughing Face.”) One evening, shortly after Ronald Reagan’s two terms as governor of California ended, the two went out into the driveway and hopped into the back seat of the car. They then looked at each other, laughing. There was no driver. It’s just that, for eight years, they were used to hopping into the back seat of the car.

Do the Clintons ever have moments like that? Tender, laughing, self-aware? They must, right?

It’s well known that Ann Coulter is a provocatrice, a show-woman, a diva. What is maybe less well known is that she can write her hiney off. I was reminded by this column, in which Ann knocks and mocks soccer. Hilarious and smooth.

(Although, as I said in this column, I’m trying to develop a better attitude about soccer.)

On Saturday morning, I was at a gun show in Mason, Michigan. Some of the T-shirts were over-the-top and ultra-Right. Some of them were funny, charming — self-deprecating, too.

I know it’s a cliché to say that the Right has a sense of humor, where the Left doesn’t. But there’s truth in it.

My favorite T-shirt of all concerned the ATF. It said, Alcohol Tobacco Firearms. Who’s bringing the chips?

Another one showed a picture of a gun and said, You can give peace a chance. I’ll cover you, just in case that doesn’t work. (Incidentally, this practically sums up my view of foreign and defense policy.)

Another T-shirt showed a boat in a rising flood and said, Noah: the original doomsday prepper.

Which leads me to a language note: According to a friend of mine, “survivalist” is out and “prepper” is in.

All right, let’s do some ballet. I’m going to make four brief comments, prompted by four productions of the American Ballet Theatre (which just completed its season in the Metropolitan Opera House).

Manon is a ballet that uses music by Massenet — but none from his opera Manon, strangely enough.

Years ago, a musician friend of mine said, “Cinderella is every bit as good a score as Romeo and Juliet, though it’s much less well known.” (Both are by Prokofiev.) I thought that was a shocking statement then. I am less shocked by it now — though I’m not quite “there” yet. Cinderella is no doubt brilliant and profound.

When I was a kid — and a young adult (a younger adult) — I thought that Giselle was absurd. The music, I mean. Perfumed, la-di-da, a joke. When I got older, I realized the joke was on me. Giselle has lasted for a reason. It gets better every year (ha ha). I once wrote about this, here.

Swan Lake? Unstalable. Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her. She, it, is a great work of art. I didn’t realize that when I was younger. I do now, in spades. (The Queen of Spades is an opera by the same composer, Tchaikovsky.)

On the street, in New York, I saw Julie Kent, the prima ballerina. She was walking very slowly. Elegantly, distinctly, and very slowly. On the stage, she floats from one corner to the other at the speed of light, if she wants to.

I thought of something uttered by the great football coach Bum Phillips about his great running back Earl Campbell: “He has only two speeds: flat-out and stopped.”

End with some sports? Some more sports, rather? This note concerns the Wimbledon final: Roger Federer is more gracious in defeat than most people are in victory. And Novak Djokovic? This is more a name note than a sports note: Novak is the last name of many a person, from those lands; as a first name, it’s new on me.

Have a good week, y’all.

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