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Left Luxury


The British Labour Party is, now, selling Champagne. There seem to be worries that this may shock some of the puritanical folk all too often found on the left of the politics. It shouldn’t. There is an entertaining (and possibly even true) story about one of the Labour grandees (either Nye Bevan or Ernest Bevin, I forget which) of the early post-war years being criticized for being seen to indulge in Champagne with rather too much gusto. Champagne, it was felt, was too elitist a choice for such a supposedly egalitarian politician.

Bevin/Bevan disagreed. “Nothing,” he said, “is too good for the working class.”

In one respect, and one respect only, Stalin seems to have felt the same way. In pre-revolutionary Russia ice cream was associated with the richer classes. In the new Soviet paradise it was decreed that this delicacy should be available for all, and that is why (it is said), up until the mid-1990s at least, it was always possible (in Moscow certainly) to buy delicious, if slightly sinister-looking, ice cream from ladies manning little vendor carts near Metro stations and similar spots all over the city. The cost? A few Kopecks. The taste – delicious, particularly in winter.

Derb De Luxe


That’s typical Derbyshire, that is, a new American always trying to claim that he was indeed one of the huddled masses. Don’t be fooled by his self-pitying depictions of a rain-lashed childhood amid the cobblestones, clogs and class resentment of Northern England. Piccalilli, indeed! The Derb was clearly brought up in conditions of sybaritic luxury. In the flatlands and marshes of East Norfolk we could only dream of such delights (it is, I somehow seem to remember – a one-off treat, doubtless – very good with ham).

For more in this vein, please see the appropriate Monty Python sketch.


Branston Pickle


Let me hasten to inform my fellow Americans that Branston Pickle is popular
only among the effete, smooth-skinned, Frenchified lotus-eaters of Southern
England. Up north, where men are men and women are glad of it, the
condiment of choice is Picalilli, a.k.a. “Lancashire kimchi.”

Web Briefing: August 22, 2014

Art’s Not Smart


There’s a long article in this week’s New York Observer about cartoonist Art Spiegelman and his split from the New Yorker. Spiegelman is apparently preoccupied with producing a new comic strip, In the Shadow of No Towers, which he is quoted as describing as follows:

“Recollections of September 11, 2001, and the feeling of imminent death that it brought with it seen from further and further spiraling distances as we move towards a present where we’re equally threatened by Al Qaeda and my President.”

No further comment necessary.


Imminent Ma Wants Marmite


Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is shortly expecting her second child, apparently has a craving for Marmite. Thanks to reader Kevin Orlin Johnson for sending me this important story. If any readers are intrigued by ‘Branston Pickle’, they should be. It’s delicious.

I note that part of Ms Zeta-Jones’ problems appear to come from the fact that she seems to be based in ‘Los Angeles’, a provincial spot located, I am told, somewhere in the west of this country. Here in Manhattan we face no such problems.

Nypd Blue


Here’s why you can’t win as a New York cop. Deliverymen from a restaurant serving a black neighborhood kept getting robbed in the same building. The police sent a couple of undercover cops into the building, one dressed as a deliveryman from the restaurant. A black teenage thug, presumably the same one who had been robbing the deliverymen, jumps out and puts a realistic-looking fake gun to the head of the “deliveryman” — whose undercover partner, presuming that his buddy is about to be executed, shoots the thug dead. What happens next? Is there a sigh of relief from the community that this crook, who had a criminal record, will no longer be able to prey on their community? No, the rabble gathers to protest police brutality. Dysfunctional ingrates.

Attn West Virginia Cornerites


If anyone out there know how to get into touch with one of the striking West Virignia doctors, please let me know. Thanks!

Tolkien, Smolkien


The GFILE is up. Stop sending me hate mail. For every nasty message I get about the timing of its posting, I will add a minute to delaying the next GFile’s posting. So far, assuming Jonah sends his next file to me by 3 in the afternoon, it will be posted around midnight.

Out of My Hands


If you’re waiting for the G-File — which is long and odd like a Stanley Kubrick movie — take it up with NR-NYC. I sent it in. And, yes, yes, it’s largely about Lord of the Rings. And no, it’s not a review.



Hmmm, 111. That’s about the number of pages I’d read of LOTR before that glorious moment of liberation when I gave one final sigh, threw the book down and ran out of the room, laughing with relief as I finally escaped that dreary realm of hobbits, elves, orcs, stoors, and (if I remember correctly) Carvilles. OK, maybe not Carvilles.

Happy B-Day Jrrt!


Today is J.R.R. Tolkien’s eleventy-first birthday–i.e., #111. As the Tolkien Society reminds us, this is a date of some significance in LOTR.

More British Guns


More on the increase in gun crime in Britain, this time from the London Times. Key extract:

“The ban on handweapons above .22 calibre, which was introduced in 1997 after the Dunblane primary school shootings, forced many legitimate owners to surrender their guns but did nothing to stop underworld supplies.”

Well, there’s a surprise.

Dumb and Dumber


British drug laws are dumb, British gun laws are dumber. Here’s the Daily Telegraph on both topics.

Re: Chilling Effect


Just to be clear on my earlier post, my problem is not with CAIR, but with the cowardly editor who suspended his columnist. If I were a Muslim, I’d probably be cheesed off too by what the guy wrote in his private communication. If he had said something similar about Christians, I’d be personally chagrined. But it would still be wrong to suspend the writer for that opinion. American newspapers are terribly bland, in large part because the men and women who run newsrooms are scared to death of offending approved victim groups.

Confirmation From Norman Podhoretz


Dear Jonah Goldberg:
It’s true that Al Pacino was the Commentary office boy for about a
year–or maybe only six months or so–in 1960 or 1961. The magazine was then
definitely in its leftwing phase, but I don’t think Pacino cared one way or
the other. He was then studying acting and probably took the job instead of
waiting tables. Anyhow, he was good at it: cheerful and competent and
willing to do whatever was asked of him.
I haven’t seen him since, except on the big screen, though if I remember
rightly, there was a time when he told interviewers about having worked
briefly as an office boy at Commentary.
Norman Podhoretz



I’m going through some articles for my G-File today and I stumble on a piece by John Podhoretz from a few years ago. In this article John reveals that when Al Pacino — yes that Al Pacino — was 18 years old he was an office boy at Commentary magazine. I am still having trouble processing this. And, John, if you’re reading this — and I think I am speaking for everybody — we would like more information. Before I can start making jokes, I need to know if this was during Commentary’s radical Left days or during the neocon days. When the latest issue of Partisan Review came into the office did he yell, “Hoo-ah!”?

In The Meantime...


Here’s my latest syndicated column. There’s an unfortunate typo in this line: “How about because Iran and North Korea are different places?” That should be Iraq not Iran. Let’s see if the guys at Townhall are Corner readers and test how long it takes them to fix it.

Late Start


Sorry, got started late today. G-File Decker in five.

Another Victim of Victimization


It has always been refreshing to me that white Southerners have consistently refused to play the victim card, even when caricatured as drooling, interbreeding, redneck thugs. Alas, the Governor of West Virginia has demanded, and gotten, an apology from the University of Virginia for its pep band’s portrayal of a West Virginia female contestant on a parody of “The Bachelor” as an overall-clad, pigtail-wearing, square-dancer who wants to move to Beverly Hills. Said the governor in his apology demand, “[T]his type of performance merely perpetuates the unfounded stereotypes that we in West Virginia are fighting so hard to overcome.” And said that UVa president in his apology, “[We] crossed the line between humor and ridicule that … simple decency proscribe[] …. We respect our colleagues at West Virginia University and also West Virginians generally.” Ugh. One hopes that West Virginians generally can take a joke better—and aren’t as ashamed of overalls, pigtails, and square-dancing—as their governor.

A Chilling Effect


Check out this this press release:


Muslim advocacy group thanks newspaper for quick action

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/2/03) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) said tonight that a Florida journalist who made disparaging remarks
about Arabs and Muslims in an e-mail message has been suspended without pay
for one week.

In a letter of apology to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR), Tallahassee Democrat Executive Editor John W. Miller wrote:

“On behalf of the Tallahassee Democrat, I apologize to all of our readers,
and most especially, to members of the Islamic faith everywhere, for the
intemperate e-mail comments of political writer/columnist Bill Cotterell.
They absolutely do not represent the views and sensitivities of this
newspaper. Worse, they run counter to many of the values we hold dearest,
among them tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness.

“Bill spoke, via company e-mail, in anger and frustration to a reader.
Shortly after he sent the message, he realized his mistake, and he has
since apologized to all of his colleagues for the hurt and embarrassment he
knows he caused.

“‘I was wrong and I am sorry,’ he said in an unsolicited statement to his
editors. ‘My remarks were grossly inappropriate and do not reflect my views
toward Muslim people.

“‘It would be bad enough if my comments reflected only on my own lack of
judgment, but I realize that I have embarrassed the newspaper,’ Cotterell said.

“He said that he should have stopped to consider that people would believe
he spoke for the Democrat ‘rather than just for myself in an emotional and
ill-considered moment.’

“Bill has been a valued and respected employee of the Democrat for almost
20 years. But his actions – even though they were in a private
communication – cannot go unpunished. As of Friday, he is being suspended
without pay for a week.”

“We thank the Tallahassee Democrat for its swift action in response to this
troubling issue. The newspaper’s forthright apology goes a long way toward
re-establishing its journalistic credibility with the Muslim and
Arab-American communities in Florida,” said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.
Ahmad added that he hoped the Muslims in that state could now enter into a
more constructive and reciprocal dialogue with the newspaper’s editorial board.

“We will continue our strong support for the First Amendment right to
freedom of speech. But we also believe that with freedom, comes
responsibility,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad also thanked
all those who contacted the newspaper to express their concerns about
Cotterell’s remarks. “We encourage people of conscience to stand up for
what is right and not to be discouraged by the rising tide of Anti-Muslim
bigotry in our nation,” said Awad.

In an e-mail to a concerned Muslim, Cotterell had written: “Except for
Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They’ve
had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to. OK, they can squat around
the camel-dung fire and grumble about it, or they can put their bottoms in
the air five times a day and pray for deliverance; that’s their
business. And I don’t give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage
while defending itself. So be it.”

In December, CAIR called for an apology from the Tallahassee Democrat for a
Doug Marlette syndicated editorial cartoon, headlined “What Would Mohammed
Drive?” showing a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad driving a nuclear
bomb-laden truck similar to that used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995
Oklahoma City bombing. Thousands of concerned Muslims contacted the
newspaper to complain about the cartoon. SEE:

“But his actions — even though they were in a private communication — cannot go unpunished”?!?! Good grief! Personally, I don’t see what’s so outrageous about the journalist’s words that they required him to be suspended for a week. Is that what 20 years of service gets you from p.c. newsroom employers? I can see how it would make the CAIR faithful mad, but saying just about anything negative about Islam makes them mad. Honestly, these grievance-industry hotheads could hang a jar of fireflies from the end of a stick and chase your average oh-so-sensitive news editor from here to Timbuktu.


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