In today’s Impromptus, I have cause to mention Tampico — two Tampicos, the one in Mexico and the one in Illinois (where Ronald Reagan was born). A reader sent me this clip: the novelty song “Tampico,” sung by June Christy, with Stan Kenton. It is not the best song you ever heard. But as a novelty . . . worth knowing.
In yesterday’s Impromptus, I had a note about conservatives in heavily left-wing areas, such as Boston and San Francisco. A lot of them are closeted, at work. A reader writes,
Funny. The people who are afraid to come out at work all seem to live in those “tolerant” blue states. In Texas, I work for a company owned by a liberal. He donated to Obama both times. At work, no one is in the closet. We have liberals and conservatives and libertarians. We openly discuss politics, and no one gets mad, and no one fears for his job. Imagine that — in the backward, intolerant, red-neck state of Texas.
Also in yesterday’s column, I had a note on graffiti, as an obnoxious and ubiquitous American habit. I also had a post here on the Corner. A reader sent me this wonderful article by Matthew Hennessey of City Journal, “What Vandals Call Vandalism.” It was published just last week. Another reader sent me this news story, from 2007: “Bronx college offers graffiti course.”
Ay, caramba, as they say in Tampico (the one in Mexico, not the village in Illinois, although they may watch Bart Simpson there).
Over on The New Criterion’s site, I have a little tribute to Myron Magnet (whose latest book is The Founders at Home). I introduced him at a luncheon, then wrote up the introduction at the behest of TNC. One of the things I mentioned was the role that Myron, City Journal, and the Manhattan Institute played in the revival of New York. I said,
For 20 years, this city has been something like a Garden of Eden. Under Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, we have had something close to Magnet-style government. And New Yorkers, in their wisdom, have elected someone who is hostile to the very policies that have made New York great in the last two decades. This guy, I’m afraid, will make David Dinkins look like a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute.
In a podcast we did the other day, Myron referred to the mayor-elect as an “ex-Sandinista.” I said, “Are you sure about the ‘ex-’?”
Myron did his work once, and so did the Manhattan Institute at large. They told people what it took to have a decent city, and in fact a magnificent one. Now they will have to do their work again. There are no permanent victories, as the saying goes; but there are no permanent defeats either. Civilization progresses, and then regresses. You have to push the boulder up the hill again and again and again.
I was saying the other week, “If Myron Magnet and Heather Mac Donald could govern New York City, the place might float away from bliss . . .”
Today, a scholar friend of mine sent me a T. S. Eliot quotation: “If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.” We fight “to keep something alive,” rather than “in the expectation it will triumph.”
Finally, a reader contributed this witticism — though it may not be that funny: “Obama sent back the bust of Winston Churchill. Do you think the Brits have a bust of Neville Chamberlain they could lend to the White House?”