Dear Reader (and the super-intelligent psychic chicken who realized he was wasting his talents in Chinatown playing tic-tac-toe with tourists),
This is a very special G-File. What do I mean by that? Well, pull the relaxo-lever on your barcalounger all the way back, and I will tell you.
First, I always hated the “very special” promo-teaser. “Tonight, on a very special Diff’rent Strokes” meant that the cerebral and sophisticated comedy we all knew and loved was going to veer off into something Very Serious. For instance, the episode where Gordon Jump (a.k.a. Mr. Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati) played a pedophile who was trying to molest Arnold and Dudley was “a very special Diff’rent Strokes.”
“Tonight, on a very special Jeffersons” meant that George was going to nobly save the life of a Klansman (because we all know the Klan routinely held rallies in deluxe apartments in the sky — on the Upper East Side of Manhattan). In a very special after-school special featuring Helen Hunt trying angel dust for the first time, the results were horrifying.
“This week, on a very special The French Chef” would have meant we were going to see Julia Child gut the prop master with a paring knife and bake his liver in some phyllo dough because he left the butter out of the pre-tape mise en place, but WGBH in Boston, the PBS station that produced the show, quietly pulled the episode because it might interfere with the pledge drive. With the assistance of an ailing Joseph Kennedy, who sat on the board of WGBH, they quietly disposed of the body.
So, as I was saying, this is a very special G-File. For starters, it’s open to the public and not just the attractive, brilliant, sophisticated super-beings who subscribe to my weekly “news”letter. Second, it’s about money. That’s right: Money. No one at NR likes asking for it less than me, and no one at NR likes spending it more than me. That’s why they don’t let me hold onto the fundraising receipts. They know I’d blow it all on dog toys and brown liquor.
This does raise an important point. NR does not take this fundraising lightly. We aren’t asking you for cash so we can switch to a Hobbit meal schedule with shrimp served at every sitting save second breakfast and elevenses, at which we would naturally have beef Wellington. Seriously, we know times are tight and there are many claims on your resources. We need the money to keep this thing afloat and to carry the torch as far as possible. If it makes you feel better, there’s a giant spool of copper wire sitting outside Jack Fowler’s office that was created when Rich Lowry tried to pry an extra penny from Jack’s fingers.
I’m not going to rehearse all of the ways in which National Review and National Review Online have fought for the cause, brightened your days, and enlivened your nights. I’m not going to recycle all of my previous pitches, not even the threats against my dog — though you’d think Fowler, a guy who reuses actual teabags the way MSNBC reuses teabag jokes, would at least appreciate a little recycling here, particularly since my previous pitches were funnier.
All I’m going to say is that we really do need your help. A lot or a little goes a long way. National Review has always relied on the kindness, not of strangers, but of the folks we consider to be friends and allies — friends of the magazine and allies in our cause.
We take seriously the advice “Never a borrower nor a lender be.” That’s why we’re not asking for a loan, we’re asking for a gift. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try to repay your generosity the best way we know how: by continuing to put out the very best preteen biker magazine in the world conservative magazine out there.
Two years ago, when I would give talks to free-market, liberty-loving groups, I felt like I was speaking to a gathering of catacomb-dwelling Christians in pagan Rome. Obama’s “new liberal order” was here. Eulogies were being written for conservatism everywhere you looked. Paul Krugman was an honored prophet. The tide of history had flushed away the detritus of “market fundamentalism.”
National Review stood athwart that tide of history, yelling “Stop!” Because that’s what we do. And we have you to thank for it. So, please stand with us, as best you can.