Last week, there was a Republican debate under the auspices of MSNBC and Politico. I had a memory of the 2008 campaign. Fox News was scheduled to host a Democratic debate. And the debate was canceled, because the candidates wouldn’t have anything to do with Fox News.
Republicans, apparently, were happy to be hosted by MSNBC. But it didn’t work the other way around. Some people say that conservatives are more tolerant of liberals than liberals are of conservatives. Are you one of those people?
I think I am — and more than “think.”
‐You may have heard this: South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said, “God bless that little girl at the Post and Courier. I mean, her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs.”
The you-know-what hit the fan because of Haley’s use of “little girl.” (She was referring to a 25-year-old reporter.) The Associated Press report is here. The governor apologized for her “poor choice of words.” The AP made sure to contact a Women’s Studies professor for comment!
Ay, caramba. No one is allowed to talk in this country. It is the most stifling atmosphere. I wish Americans would grow up. We’re a nation of — come to think of it, little girls. It’s a miracle we ever faced down the Soviets.
(Luck had more than a little to do with it, I’m afraid.)
‐Let’s break for a little language. Did you notice, above, that Haley said “try and”? “Try and create conflict” rather than “try to create”? We had an item about that recently. It is ingrained in our language — wrong, but ingrained.
‐Well, isn’t this special: On Friday, I got an e-mail from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, extending an invitation from the Cuban interests section. Castro’s people are holding a “concert tribute” to the “Cuban Five.” The concert is to be in Washington, tonight, I believe. (The invitation said, “Monday, September 11,” so either the day or the date was wrong.)
The Cuban Five are spies now serving prison terms in the United States. They were convicted of espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. Needless to say, they were afforded every legal protection, including appeal after appeal.
One of the five was convicted for his role in the Castro government’s shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996. Those planes were in international airspace. The attack killed three U.S. citizens and one permanent resident.
The Cuban Five are a cause célèbre of the Free World Left, and, of course, of the Castro dictatorship.
‐Oddly, concerts are not held in Cuba for Alan Gross. He is the American aid worker who is a prisoner, pawn, and hostage of the Castros. I wrote about this case for the April 4 National Review. If interested, go here.
This report from Friday tells us that Bill Richardson, our former U.N. ambassador, has been in Cuba, trying to see Gross. They have not let him. In a burst of candor, Richardson referred to Gross as “an American hostage.” He backtracked on this, but his initial candor is still to be appreciated.
‐A little memory: About a year and a half ago, I got a call from a TV booker. She asked me what I had been working on. I mentioned something about Cuba. Suddenly brighter, she brought up the Cuban Five, obviously believing that they were victims of U.S. injustice. As you know, my view is much different.
And I never heard from the lady again.
‐Let me now say something about, not Cuban Communists, but Chinese Communists. They are an unusual combination: total brutes, monsters, torturers, and murderers who are the biggest crybabies in the world.
They’ve done it again: Mexico’s president Felipe Calderón deigned to meet the Dalai Lama. And the Chinese foreign ministry said that this had “grossly interfered with China’s internal affairs” and “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”
This is what the ChiComs always say. You would think a one-party dictatorship with a gulag wouldn’t be so prissy. They sure aren’t with Falun Gong practitioners and other inmates of that gulag.
The Chinese Communists would be a joke if they didn’t wreck so many lives.
‐Mel Gibson is producing a movie about a Jewish hero — another Jewish hero, one might say. This one is Judah Maccabee. You can read about the project here. There is a lot of upset about what Gibson is doing — from Jews, not from anti-Jews (as far as I know).
I myself am slightly “conflicted,” as moderns say. Let him make a good movie. Let us see.
Aren’t the Jews — “the Jews” — supposed to control Hollywood? That’s what people always say, in tones either direct or indirect. So, it takes Mel Gibson to make a Maccabee movie?
‐With keen interest, I have been following Toby Young’s effort to set up a “free school” in England — essentially a charter school, as far as I can tell. He has had to fight all the people we have to fight here: “The Blob,” as Bill Bennett used to call it — the unions, the professors, the establishment media, and so on. The Left, if you like.
Well, the great day finally arrived: The West London Free School opened. Young wrote about it here. When I heard that the children sang “Wade in the Water,” I was all the more moved.
You mean, the Negro spiritual (as we used to say)? Or is there some other “Wade in the Water”? English hymn?
Either way, I’m moved — and so glad.
‐On a visit to Washington, D.C., last week, I saw two street signs that made me curl my lip. (Not a natural position, despite what you may think.) The first was “Mitch Snyder Place.” Do you remember Snyder, that media darling, who spread myths about the “homeless” and blamed Reagan for their plight?
I also saw “Taxation without Representation Street.” Give me a break, crybabies: Washington is the Federal City, created to be the federal city. If having a congressman is so important to you, move a couple of miles, into a state.
‐I loved something a reader wrote: He was telling me about his adoption of a baby girl from China — and he used the phrase “adoption community.” Then he said,
I thought you’d get a kick out of the term “community.” [I have written about this from time to time.] Ten years after the fact, I still tease my wife about the time she contrasted her job with mine. She was working in a non-profit setting, while I was in “the profit community.”
Don’t we all kind of wish we lived there?
‐Let’s end with a little language. You know, like, the word “like”? I thought it was of relatively recent vintage — late ’70s, maybe. But I noticed something at Lincoln Center last week, when I was covering an unusual New York Philharmonic concert: They were playing West Side Story, with the film unspooling on a big screen behind them.
You know the ingenious words of “Gee, Officer Krupke”? They include “Like inside, the worst of us is good”; “Like we’re psychologically distoibed”; “Like we’re sociologically sick”; “Like be a soda jerker, / Which means like be a schmuck”; “Like the best of us is no damned good.”
These words were written in the mid-1950s, hewing closely to English as it was spoken on the west side of Manhattan (I think). Interesting.
Years ago, a friend and I had a kind of joke. One of us would say, “Like, like, like, like . . .” — when we couldn’t get the words out. And then we’d say, “I’m in a ‘like’ lock!”
Stay out of “like” locks, if you can — and see you later.