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Belgian Elections


OK, it’s not the most interesting headline in the world, but it looks as if it really may be worth keeping an eye on tomorrow’s elections in Belgium.

The Last Empress


Matthew Parris is a well-known, often infuriating and always readable British journalist. He’s almost always at his best when he writes about his former employer, Mrs. Thatcher (see if you can find Return of the Mummy, a laugh aloud funny piece he wrote at the time of the last British election). Now here he is in the London Spectator on a new exhibition devoted to artworks depicting Mrs. T:

“Paul Graham’s giant photograph, entitled ‘8 April, 2002’ is stunning. The portrait is about ten feet high and twice as high as wide, but most of it is black. Lady Thatcher occupies only the lower part of the composition, whose bottom frame chops her off so that only head and torso appear: she has obviously been snapped while walking, and snapped unawares, for she is not looking at us. She is wearing black — uncharacteristically, but this was around the time of the late Queen Mother’s death. The overwhelming colour is black, but her face is pale and has the soft, delicate paperiness of old age. She looks a little stooped. Her glance gives little away beyond exhaustion — and inner strength. The portrait has a sadness about it, but it is not demeaning and she is not undignified. In a way, this is a picture of a magnificent ruin.

The viewer has absolutely no clue as to what she is thinking, what she is remembering, or whether she is thinking or remembering at all. Her expression is inscrutable — or empty.

If I had £10,000 I would buy this picture, but, as it was, I could only stand and stare. It is the best and perhaps the last study of Margaret Thatcher as former empress that will ever appear. In time it will become a feature of books and articles illustrating her later years, and for as long as she is remembered it will be associated with her.

And what is so very poignant is that, were she to visit the exhibition, that photograph would say nothing to her. ‘Well, dear,’ she would say. ‘I don’t much care for that. No colour. Perfectly miserable. Makes me look a wreck. And where are my legs? He pointed the camera wrong. Why didn’t he ask me to pose?’

And she would move on, reaching, perhaps, for a giant handkerchief with which to cover some of the smaller exhibits.”



Chutzpah Watch


Can a householder be sued by a burglar? In Britain, apparently, yes.

Web Briefing: July 23, 2014

The Matrix--a Canadian Writes


A reader in Ottawa, on the Matrix: “John, you’ve alienated yourself from
the rest of movie-going society by arduously bashing Reloaded, the sequel to
The Matrix. Here are the top five reasons why you and other doubtfuls at
the NRO Crew should seriously consider watching it, and providing some
feedback: (5) You and the hard-working NRO staff need a break…outside the
corner. (4) It increases the chances of Bush being re-elected (there is a
fraction of a second clip of the President…nothing like a bit of
campaigning in the theatres). (3) It’ll help the economy in a patriotic
and concrete fashion…enough said (not to mention it will entice you into
buying a brand new Cadillac while you’re at it-courtesy of the car chase)!
(2) There are numerous ‘Hollywood-style’ attempts at applying the Newtonian
and scientific-based Determinist philosophy to Neo’s dilemma in the movie
(Its an affront upon free will…you’d think the libertarians would at least
care to rebut such a rampant ideology). (1) There is a pompously arrogant
Frenchmen (accent and IQ included…or the lack thereof) who makes a
complete fool of himself (which includes cheating on his wife…ahhh, the
morality of ‘Old Europe’).”

Here’s another reason to watch Bride of Matrix, or whatever the darn thing
is called. I was talking with my accountant the other day. He told me that
tax preparation is starting to be outsourced to places like India. “Why pay
50K for a U.S. accounting graduate when you can get one in India for 5K?”
This joins the long list of jobs I keep hearing about that are being
outsourced (I did a Diary note about it a couple of months ago). Pretty
soon there will be no middle-class jobs left in the US. The only thing
propping up our economy will be showbiz, which nobody else seems to be able
to do as well as us. So–support your local movie studio!


Promotional Suggestion


Kathryn: When I was a lad in England, newspapers used to promote themselves
by publishing a smudgy or partial photograph of one of their reporters, then
sending him out round the country. Anyone who spotted him and spoke the
CLAIM MY £100!) got a modest prize. These things used to run all through
the summer: THIS WEEK OUR MAN IS IN BLACKPOOL! How about we try one of
these stunts? I am willing to be the mystery man. THIS WEEK DERB IS IN
MAUI! Come on, how about it? I could use the R&R.



Not a bad idea:

Well I did it. I have been an NRO reader for the last 2 years and have felt increasingly guilty for enjoying all of the talent for free. And what do you know, just as this guilt was building, a young girl showed up at my door selling magazines for her shool fundraising. I am now an official paying subscriber. It begs the questions, is National Review using Global Positioning Technology to find the people like me? Because if you are, it worked.

Beat our radar. Subscribe today.

Happy Birthday


Al Qaeda Attacks Morocco?


Methinks Susan Estrich Makes Sense


She wants the Clintons to shut up. Of course, for the sake of the Dems.

Of my overbearing senator, she says:

Let’s not mince words.

Hillary Clinton is never going to be president of the United States. There is no more divisive figure in the Democratic Party, much less the country, than the former first lady. And I like her. But many women don’t. Even Democratic women. Even working women. Not to mention non-working, independent, non-political women.

I Like The Way This Reader Thinks


An NRO gal e-mailed me about her brilliant plan: She has tickets to FNC’s new show Dayside with Linda Vester and just bought an NRO t-shirt to wear there, so the whole world will know she’s a wise reader! Yes, yes…she’s got it!

Friday-Afternoon Observations...


From a post-exam reader:

I was just watching “The Great Muppet Caper” (last day of the semester) and discovered an overlooked moment of Muppet insight. The gang have just caught jewel thief Charles Grodin red-handed and sweet, earnest Kermit asks, “Why did you do it?” Grodin shrugs and says, “Because I’m a villain.” Plain and simple, no “root cause” nonsense. I’ll remember that line every time someone tries to tell me we should be more concerned about why “they” hate us.

Schumer 2nd Amendment Incoherence


And, from Eugene Volokh, too, in case you weren’t already sold. Here.



I’m pretty sure–and I think I would know–that no names–not even from Star Trek–are prohibited from mentioning here.

Neo Hostility


Catching up on G-File email now. Bizarre amount of hostility from people who think I’m trying to create more labels, split more hairs etc. I wonder if they even read what I wrote since I’m trying to make the case that the neo label is useless and pointless not that we need more labels. Also, getting some nasty email from paleo types who seem more than a bit panicked that the word neocon might lose some of its utility. Just for the record, I’m writing these things because so many readers asked me to. If it’s not something you’re interested in, don’t read it.

Congressional Medal of Honor


The Congressional Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for valor in combat. There are about 138 recipients alive today, and they are the members of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The members travel the country, meeting with America’s youth and promoting American values. CMOHS also provides support to members, their families and survivors. The Society is Congressionally-established, but not funded. We’re holding a golf tournament and dinner banquet to benefit the Society on 24 June at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va. We’ll have at least sixteen Medal recipients attending to golf and dine with the guests. I’m going to emcee the banquet. Talking with these incredible men is something you’ll never forget. Y’all come. , or call 1-888-825-6768 See ‘ya there.

Great Minds Think Alike


“You could never make an -ism out of [Samuel] Johnson’s apothegms. They are
riddled with contradictions and non sequiturs, as Macaulay pointed out in a
brilliant (and mostly sympathetic) essay. …. Same Orwell, whom I also
adore–not for his political philosophy, which was mostly wrong-headed, but
for his broad outlook and scrupulous honesty.”—Derb, The Corner, 5/11/03

“Oddest of all is Orwell’s political program, which seemed coherent at the
time, but which nobody has ever successfully pinned down. Part of the power
and appeal of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four is that, notoriously,
they may be read as supporting the views of anyone from a hardline
Trotskyite to a raging Tory.”—Philip Hensher, the Spectator, 5/10/03.

George Bush Was Right


Being a working mom is “the hardest job in the world.” I’m still not sure why Bush kept saying that on the campaign trail in 2000, but he was right. I’ve spent the day trying to write a piece for another mag and deal with Cosmo and Lucy while Jessica’s fighting for truth and justice at Harvard and it’s been very, very stressful. I don’t think the Federal Government could have helped much, but it’s definitely hard.

Have Ya?


That’s right: We’ll send you 4 FREE issues of National Review at absolutely no risk to you. If you’re impressed by National Review’s superior writing style, analysis, and wit, we’ll send you the next 12 issues — for a total of 16 in all! — for only $19.95. Click here for details.

Girly Boy Cracks Up


I have just got up after rolling around the floor reading a certain female
conservative columnist’s piece on Sen. John Kerry. Samples: “If John Kerry
had a dollar for every time he bragged about serving in Vietnam–oh, wait,
he does.” And where does his money come from? “He has spent his entire
life marrying a succession of heiresses and living off the fortunes amassed
by other men…. do the rest of us need to be lectured by this sponge on
how much we should be willing to pay in taxes?” And she is just clearing
her throat there. If you like
seeing pompous lefties stomped all over by stiletto heels, check out She
Whom I May Not Name.




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