Was reading an article about the final night of the Hillary campaign — or what ought to be the final night — and was struck by this line: “The Clinton campaign ordered 70 boxes of Domino’s pizza . . .”
Took me back. Years ago, Domino’s pizza was verboten on the left: the target of boycotts and abuse, including in movies and other popular entertainment. Why? Because the owner of Domino’s, Tom Monaghan, was pro-life, and contributed to pro-life causes.
Some righty friends and I took to calling Domino’s pizza “pro-life pizza.” And, hey, it’s not we who politicized it: It was the other side, which politicizes everything, including a ham sandwich (or rather, a pepperoni pizza).
Anyway, Monaghan no longer owns Domino’s, and the Hillary campaign is ordering Domino’s pies. You’ve come a long way, baby (or something).
‐Few weeks ago, Ron Liddle had an interesting article in The Spectator. (Here, but a subscription is required.) It was titled, “A Century From Now, We Will All Be Appalled That We Allowed Abortions At All.”
As a leftie, I had always been persuaded that abortion on demand is the right of every woman, with no arguments brooked. ‘Persuaded’ is perhaps the wrong word; the rights of a woman to do whatever the hell she liked with her foetus was simply not something open to negotiation or debate with someone in possession of a penis, even if it was quite a small penis like mine. [Good grief: Ron Liddle = Ron Little?] But a dark foreboding nonetheless gnawed away at me — much as, on a personal level, it gnawed away at many of the feminists who advanced this totalitarian no-surrender hypothesis. It is still, if you are on the feminist Left, an unchallengeable shibboleth, which is why the debate today is so fraught — the god-botherers on one side, the liberal Left on the other.
I may be wrong about this, but it strikes me that in a century or so, or maybe even less, we will be appalled that we allowed abortions at all. I do not mean that we should not allow them now; it is merely a suspicion that the advance of our knowledge about the life of a foetus, coupled with an improved ability to prevent conception, will mean that we will be mystified as to how such a primitive and brutal procedure could have become state-sanctioned and commonplace. I can see politicians in 2108 erecting monuments and offering apologies to the unborn dead — divorced from the reality of where we are now, and why.
And so on. As I said, interesting . . .
‐Some weeks ago, I wrote that I was shocked that Brigitte Bardot was being prosecuted. She was being prosecuted for inciting hatred against Muslims. What she’d said was, “I’ve had enough of being led by the nose by this whole population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing their ways.”
And for that she was being prosecuted? I thought this was madness. And now she has been convicted — for something like the fifth time (on similar charges).
Look, I know France is a free country, and I know that Canada is a free country. But . . . are . . . they . . . really? If you can’t say what Bardot said, without being prosecuted and convicted, how free is the country in which you live?
And I’m curious: Are Muslims in France ever prosecuted for their hate speech? Or are they incapable of such speech?
‐I don’t think I’ve ever written about horse owners: but, for Carlos Juelle and Jose Prieto, you would have to make an exception.
Here is an article from early May, entitled “From Castro’s jails to Ky. Derby owners’ box.” Let me give you the flavor:
Few, if any, have traveled a more improbable and circuitous route to the Kentucky Derby than Carlos Juelle and Jose Prieto. The Cuban émigrés’ journey to the owners’ suite at Churchill Downs traces back nearly four decades to hard-labor camps and a maximum-security prison run by Fidel Castro’s communist regime.
Juelle, a 68-year-old semi-retired business executive from Rolling Hills, Calif., and Prieto, a 78-year-old medical practitioner from Glendale, Calif., are the owners of Gayego, the winner of the prestigious Arkansas Derby. . . .
Juelle, the more outspoken of the two men, [frames] the experience in political terms. “It’s all a dream, and it’s what this country is all about,” he said.
Juelle and Prieto are in a unique position to appreciate the rarity of what has happened to them and to savor the experience, in large part because of the horrors and hardships they endured after the Cuban revolution in 1959. . . .
Prieto spent . . . five years in a Cuban prison, waking up each day to the grim realization that this could be the day that he would be taken out and shot.
“I was very quiet,” Prieto recalls when asked if despondency ever gave way to panic. “Because I knew that I was fighting for the freedom. I think I was ready for that.” . . .
While Prieto was languishing in prison, Juelle was enduring a different form of harassment. In 1968, he and his wife, Magali, applied for an emigration permit after realizing that, under Castro’s policies, they would have almost no say in the education and upbringing of their two young children.
The government’s response was to force Juelle to resign his accounting job and spend the next 21 months working in a series of hard-labor camps. . . .
In conversations with friends, family members, and reporters calling to congratulate him on making it to the Derby, Juelle can’t restrain himself when he speaks about his adopted country and the opportunity he was given to work hard and dream big.
“I think God gives you the strength to go through the difficult times,” he told this reporter, shortly before he departed for Kentucky on Tuesday. “And then you think of the beauty of this country that opened their arms to welcome us and told us, ‘It’s in your hands. How much can you do? How far can you go?’”
I think you will probably want to read the whole article. And you certainly don’t need any commentary from me . . .
‐Here is a truism: Sometimes the people you’re trying to help, discourage the hell out of you. What brings this to mind is an interview on Baghdad TV, featuring an Iraqi restoration expert named Miqdad al-Baghdadi. You’ll find the interview at MEMRI, here. And let’s get the flavor:
Baghdadi: Another very dangerous element is Judaism. The Jews look for any historical evidence that will establish their rights in the region. . . .
Even in the studies they are conducting in Jerusalem, and in the Cave of the Patriarchs, they are trying to find any evidence . . .
Interviewer: To support their claim that they existed in the region.
Baghdadi: Yes. Something that would prove that they existed and were people of culture, but every buried document they excavate shows that they have always spread corruption.
Interviewer: This has been their nature throughout the ages.
Yeah, up yours, pal.
And we are reminded, once more, that Iraqis are far from immune to Arab diseases . . .
‐You want an even more discouraging interview circulated by MEMRI? I didn’t think so, but let’s have one anyway — one given by Omar Sharif, the lovable actor. Or the actor I once interpreted as lovable. He gave an interview to al-Hayat TV, where I’m sure he thought no American could hear him. But this is the gift of MEMRI: We can hear such things.
A brief excerpt:
Omar Sharif: The American policy is completely wrong. It is a large and rich country, with great possibilities, and everything, but they don’t understand what is going on in the rest of the world. They just don’t get it. I lived in America for a long time. Only 10% of all Americans have a passport. In other words, 90% never left America. They may have gone to Mexico or Canada, because they don’t need a visa or a passport to go there. 90% of them don’t know . . . You show them an unmarked map of Europe, and ask them where France is, and they don’t know. Ask them where Italy is . . . Okay, Italy they know because it looks like a shoe. They don’t know anything. They are ignorant.
Yeah, bite me, Omar. I’ll put the geographical knowledge of Americans — however slight it is — up against the geographical knowledge of your fellow Egyptians any day. Hell, how many Egyptians can find Cairo on a map? How many Egyptians can read? I will also put the worldliness of Americans — however slight it is — up against the worldliness of Egyptians any day. We can do the percentage of passport possession, too.
I say again, Bite me, Omar, you ungrateful . . .
‐Okay, that’s enough of biting people. I think we’ll have one more news item — one more discouraging one — then wrap ’er up. Two years ago, I wrote an article comparing the Shining Path, the erstwhile terror group in Peru, to today’s “insurgents” in Iraq. (A break for an advertisement: You can find that piece in this book.) At the end of the piece, I noted that many feared that Shining Path would come back — that they were just biding their time.
Last weekend, I saw this, awful, chilling headline: “Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas on the rise again.” (The article is here.) Yes, this is the way it is with these people: You have to keep at ’em, and at ’em, until they’re dead — and then you have to stare hard at the grave to confirm that they’re dead. And then you have to keep watch over the grave . . .
‐Feel like some music? Have a “recordings roundup,” published in the New York Sun. Under consideration are the violinist Nicola Benedetti, the Belcea (String) Quartet, and the composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (say that five times fast).
‐Concerning an Impromptus, a friend wrote me the following: “Seeing how you feel about the French Revolution — and I couldn’t agree more — I am surprised — very surprised — that you went all misty-eyed during the Marseillaise. What symbolizes that hateful revolution more than this militant hymn? It gives me the willies. Anyway, had to get that off my chest.”
My answer: “I know what you mean — but I divorce the anthem from its origins. I don’t think Revolution at all. I just think France, basically — plus, I like the anthem as music. Did you ever see Casablanca? I think, not the Revolution, but Casablanca. I think of it as more an anti-Nazi song than a Revolutionary song! Music, and other things, so often come unmoored from their origins.”
Besides which, the Marseillaise was written against Prussian and Austrian armies, then adapted for Revolutionary purposes.
Okay, kids, I know you got McCain fundraising to do — or should I call it anti-Obama fundraising? — so I’ll knock off now, and see you soon.