53m53s — Signoff. (O valiant hearts.)
Before commencing, I want to thank Paul and Mary Gottfried for last weekend's H.L. Mencken Club conference, which went exceptionally well — and which was, Paul told me, oversubscribed. This was the club's tenth annual conference, and I was glad to see it such a success. Congratulations to Paul, and thanks to all who attended.
I was surprised at how many Radio Derb fans I met at the conference, and even more surprised at the number of people who wanted a solution to the brainteaser at the end of my October Diary on VDARE.com. The actual answer to the brainteaser is 116.644986 degrees; or if you want to get Babylonian about it, 116° 38' 41.95?. I shall post a full worked solution at my personal website in a day or two.
OK, on with the motley!
02 — Trump Disgruntlement Syndrome. You have of course heard of Trump Derangement Syndrome. That manifests when, in conversation with someone, you say something approving of our President, and the party of the second part turns purple and starts shouting while lurching from side to side, with steam coming out of his ears.
I don't of course have Trump Derangement Syndrome. One year on from Trump's election victory, I'm still offering up libations in thanks to the gods that we got him and not the other one.
I am, though, afflicted with a distantly related condition. A character in one of P.G. Wodehouse's stories observes of another character that, quote: "I could see that, if not disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled." Well, Trumpwise I am that character. I'm not quite ready to declare myself disgruntled with President Trump, but I'm far from being gruntled.
To put it slightly differently, I am teetering on the edge of Trump Disgruntlement Syndrome.
That is of course much milder than Trump Derangement Syndrome. Given the alternative, I think the result of last year's election was a wonderful thing.
And in the ten months Trump has held office, many good things have happened. The stock market's up, we got a conservative Supreme Court justice, and people who know about federal regulations tell me the administration is working wonders in that zone. We have Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department … although, if persistent rumors I'm hearing are well-founded, perhaps not for much longer.
Along with these good things that have happened, there is a corresponding number of bad things that haven't happened. Plus, we haven't got into any new wars.
I happily acknowledge all that. I acknowledge, too, that — to adapt a remark of Dr Johnson's — when a man is working the campaign trail, he is not upon oath.
Still there is a dismaying gap between Trump's words, that so cheered and encouraged us last year, and his actions, which in some cases directly contradict those words.
Case in point: the President's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.
Just to refresh your memory: General John Kelly was DHS Secretary until President Trump tapped him to be White House Chief of Staff following Reince Priebus's resignation at the end of July. That left the DHS post vacant. A civil service lifer … I beg her pardon: a Washington veteran, has been keeping the seat warm this past three months.
General Kelly recommended his own DHS Chief of Staff to be the new DHS Secretary, and President Trump followed the recommendation. The appointment as DHS Secretary needs confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Wednesday this week the nominee appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the appearance was painful to watch.
The nominee is 45-year-old Kirstjen Nielsen. Under questioning by committee members, she said that Trump was just kidding about building a wall along our southern border. Quote from her: "There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea … There's a lot that we can do with technology to secure our borders." End quote.
How about the so-called Dreamers: illegal aliens given two-year working visas and relief from deportation by Obama via executive order? Trump promised to rescind that order. What does the nominee think?
Quote from her, in a pre-hearing written document, quote:
Congress has a clear constitutional policymaking authority to change immigration law in order to develop a permanent solution for those individuals that were [DACA] recipients. If confirmed, I will stand ready to work with Congress to provide any technical assistance needed towards a permanent, legal solution.End quote. Executive summary: She favors amnesty.
At the hearing itself Ms Nielsen said, when asked about the Dreamers, quote: "We owe it to them to find a permanent solution," end quote.
We owe it to them! It's our fault they're in such a pickle, so we owe it to them to set it right!
If indeed we owed the Dreamers anything, surely we've paid off the debt with the untold billions we've spent on them by way of education, health care, law enforcement, welfare, and other public provisions funded by U.S. citizens through taxes. Our own Ed Rubinstein has estimated the tab as 750 billion dollars — three-quarters of a trillion. Why do we still owe them?
In fact we never owed them anything in the first place. They're in a pickle because they broke our laws. Yet President Trump's nominee thinks we owe them. To the contrary: they owe us. They owe us an apology for breaking our laws, and they owe us restitution of the money we've spent on their public provisions while illegally present in our country.
I can't improve on Ann Coulter's observation, tweet: "Other than being very pretty, Trump's DHS nominee Kirstjen Nielsen is Chuck Schumer," end tweet. I can't improve on the second part of that, anyway. The first is open to dispute. "Pretty" is not a synonym for "blonde," though a surprising number of people of both sexes seem to think it is.
What on earth was the President thinking when he agreed to this nomination? Ms Nielsen's views are totally contrary to the clear positions on border security and amnesty that — does he not know? — got him elected.
You have to think that the President just doesn't really give a fig about the National Question. If he does give a fig, this nomination is a very peculiar way to show it. Was Janet Napolitano not available?
As we go to tape here, the Senate committee has not yet voted on Ms Nielsen's appointment. We're expecting a vote to confirm early next week. Then the entire Senate gets to vote.
If you care about the National Question, call your Senator and urge him to vote no on Kirstjen Nielsen.
It's in the news because President Trump has gone off on a long trip to foreign parts, business not pleasure. He set out last Friday, November 3rd, and returns this coming Tuesday, the 14th. In those twelve days he's taking in five countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Here, if you don't mind, I'll just insert my habitual grumble about the "the"s. The Philippines, the Netherlands, the U.S.A., the U.K., the Czech Republic. Let's drop the "the"s, for crying out loud. They're a nuisance.
They seem gradually to fall off anyway, by process of natural linguistic evolution, the way hyphens in common words get dropped after a few years.
In my lifetime we've dropped the "the" from the Argentine and the Lebanon, and the Ukraine is right now morphing into just Ukraine. The loss of Czechoslovakia and the creation of the Czech Republic was a step backwards, though; and the natural linguistic falling-away is too slow. We need to speed it up.
Anyone out there in the business of making lapel buttons and bumper stickers, I want ten thousand of each made up saying DROP THE THE!
Sorry, back to the President's junket … diplomatic excursion, I mean.
As a general rule, I'm against this sort of thing. The chief executive of the federal apparatus should stay home and mind the store. For managing our relations with foreign countries we have highly-paid experts, selected and promoted (well, at least in theory) for skills and personal qualities appropriate to that management.
We call them "diplomats," and acknowledge those skills and qualities by using the word "diplomatic" as a general-purpose adjective implying a smoothness, a polished deftness in handling interpersonal difficulties, a talent for pouring oil on troubled waters. While our President has many admirable qualities, I have seen that adjective applied to him … not often …
So I have a strong prejudice in favor of letting diplomats diplome, or whatever the verb is. Every man to his trade, the cobbler to his last and the gunner to his linstock.
Foreign places are foreign. They have different understandings, different ways of doing things. Professional diplomats are trained to navigate those rapids; a layman's canoe all to easily gets capsized.
In the matter of Presidential excursions, I'll allow a few exceptions when particularly dramatic points have to be made: Nixon to China, perhaps Reagan to Berlin. As a general rule, though, I think the great Calvin Coolidge got it right. If memory serves, Silent Cal went abroad in his official capacity only once: to Cuba, on a battleship.
The Coolidge principle should especially apply to a President like Trump, who was elected because of his rhetoric on sovereignty and domestic issues. He seemed to think, as I do — and as people with much better credentials in this zone than mine do — that the countries of East Asia should and can work out their problems among themselves, without any need for our interference.
Yet here was President Trump telling South Koreans that, quote, "we will sacrifice" to keep South Korea a free country.
Why should we? The only threat to South Korea comes from North Korea, a country far poorer and less populous. Why can't South Korea manage its own defenses?
On the campaign trail, candidate Trump said they should, and recommended they nuke up. Now he's coming on all JFK, committing us to "pay any price, bear any burden … to assure the survival and the success of liberty," while people in the millions who couldn't care less about Anglo-Saxon concepts of liberty pour into our country.
Mind the store, Mr President.
As Radio Derb goes to tape here the President has just arrived in Vietnam — in Danang, to be precise: a name that raises melancholy echoes to us sixties survivors, and worse than that to many Vietnam War veterans.
Bygones have become bygones, though. The President's main purpose in Danang was to give a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, one of those big high-level conferences over trade. I'll report on that next week after I've digested it.
Meanwhile, what did the President hope to accomplish in Japan, South Korea, and China? And how much of it did he actually accomplish? I can't speak with any special knowledge about the first two of those places; but China's my country-in-law, and I've been involved with the place most of my life, and writing about it for 34 years, so I'll pass some comments on that part of President Trump's trip. Next segment.
Mike Chinoy, an expert at the University of Southern California's US-China Institute, struck the keynote, quote: "The Chinese have figured out how to play Trump: flatter him. And there's nothing the Chinese do better than wow foreign diplomats." End quote.
I wouldn't myself be that cynical. For sure, our President seemed to enjoy all the fuss. He's not a fool, though, and I can't see any way he was "played" by the ChiComs.
The welcome he got was certainly spectacular, though. The briefing books given to the ChiCom leaders by their own experts all, I am sure, emphasized that Trump is a guy who really responds well to flattery, so they took that as their guide.
And Mike Chinoy is right that the ChiComs play a championship-level game here: They really know how to flatter. Foreigners in China have been commenting on this for five hundred years at least, usually following up their comments with a note about how insincere it all is.
I'll cut the Chinese some slack on the insincerity. Every culture has its own way of lubricating social interactions, and it's easy to mock other people's style of doing it. When a perfect stranger greets me with, "How are you?" I don't assume he is sincerely interested in hearing a catalog of my medical symptoms.
The Chinese style used to be baked in to the Chinese language, and to some degree still is. I have been greeted (in Taiwan, not mainland China) by older people asking, Gui guo shi na guo? — "What is your precious country?" I knew to reply, through clenched teeth: Bi guo shi Yingguo — "My wretched country is England."
The Chinese themselves used to joke about this. Here's an example from Bernhard Karlgren's little classic book Sound and Symbol in Chinese. Quote — and this is a Chinese joke, remember:
A visitor called, clad in his best robes, and awaited the arrival of his host seated in the reception room. A rat, which had been disporting itself upon the beams above, insinuating its nose into a jar of oil which was put there for safe keeping, frightened at the sudden intrusion of the caller, ran away, and in so doing upset the oil-jar, which fell directly on the caller, striking him a severe blow, and ruining his elegant garments with the saturation of the oil.End inner quote, end quote.
Just as the face of the guest was purple with rage at this disaster, the host entered, when the proper salutations were performed, after which the guest proceeded to explain the situation. [Inner quote.] "As I entered your honourable apartment and seated myself under your honourable beam, I inadvertently terrified your honourable rat, which fled and upset your honourable oil-jar upon my mean and insignificant clothing, which is the reason of my contemptible appearance in your honourable presence."
Things aren't so elaborate today, but the general mentality is still going strong. When I got into a spot of trouble in China and had to go explain myself to the administration of my work unit, the whispered advice from all my Chinese friends was: "Flatter the leaders, criticize yourself." I followed that advice and all went well.
So when it comes to flattery, China takes the Olympic gold. For the President and First Lady, they laid it on thick. Quote from the South China Morning Post, an English-language paper in Hong Kong, quote:
Trump and the first lady were greeted by Chinese and American dignitaries as soldiers stood stiffly at attention and a band played martial music … Trump and his wife were then whisked to a private tour of the Forbidden City, Beijing's historic imperial palace, where they clapped along during an outdoor opera. Children in colourful costumes at one point shouted to Trump: "Welcome to China! I love you!" … On Thursday came the piece de resistance, a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People that featured an honour guard of hundreds. The welcome left Trump wowed.End quote.
"Welcome to China! I love you!" Apparently the movie Idiocracy isn't widely known in China. [Clip: "Welcome to Costco. I love you."]
I winced a bit on reading that Trump and his lady had been made to sit through a Chinese opera. If you don't have some preparatory acquaintance with that art form, exposure to it can put you off traditional Chinese culture for life. And which opera was it, anyway? But it turns out that the Trumps only got a short medley of operatic hits, so no lasting harm was done to Sino-American relations.
The President and First Lady even got a banquet in the Forbidden City, the old Imperial Palace, an honor not accorded to any foreign leader since the days of Mao Tse-tung.
Was the President taken in by all this? I doubt it. He has experts on staff, too; he gets briefing books, too.
In fact he played the "flatter the leaders, criticize yourself" game. Not that he actually criticized himself — no, he criticized our wretched country.
His previous remarks about unfair trade practices, he told the Chinese, had not been meant as a slight on their precious country, but on previous American administrations who had foolishly set themselves up to be shafted. Quote: "Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens?" End quote.
There speaks the New York City Outer-Borough Trump, a hard-nosed businessman whose personal catechism surely includes the injunction: "Never give a sucker an even break," and its corollary: "Never blame the other guy for not giving a sucker an even break."
In spite of all that, I think the analysts are probably right that not much worthwhile got done here. The haggling over trade issues will go on as before; China will continue to be unhelpful with North Korea; they'll go on stealing our intellectual property and hacking our security systems as before.
So far as relations with China are concerned, President Trump might as well have stayed home. I wish he had.
05 — Saudi ructions. I'm your China guy, not your Arabia guy. There are weird things going on in Saudi Arabia, but I don't have much idea what they mean. I'll do my best with this; but don't call your stockbroker's emergency line on the basis of any opinions I offer here.
What's happening is, the young Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has had over two hundred people arrested on corruption charges, including many members of the royal family.
This Crown Prince is 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, who according to all the news sources is familiarly known as MbS. As his title implies, his Dad is King Salman, Saudi Arabia's head of state. His Dad was Ibn Saud, who founded Saudi Arabia back in the 1930s, and so is one of the very select company of human beings, along with Philip II of Spain, Simon Bolivar, Cecil Rhodes, Öz Beg (the founder of Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan), and a handful of others, to have sovereign nations named after them.
Ibn Saud had many wives and concubines, and generated forty-five sons. King Salman, the current monarch, was Ibn Saud's twenty-fifth son. His predecessor on the throne was Ibn Saud's tenth son. The guy before that was the eighth son, the guy before that the fifth, the guy before that the third, the one before that the second, and his predecessor was Ibn Saud himself.
That's right: Every single king of Saudi Arabia has been either Ibn Saud, who died in 1953, or one of his sons. MbS, the Crown Prince who is causing all these ruction that are in the news, will be the first monarch of this country since Ibn Saud died that is not one of Ibn Saud's sons.
Since his Dad, King Salman, is 81 years old, and the youngest of the other eight surviving sons is 72, MbS shouldn't have long to wait before the torch is passed to a new generation of Saudis.
But then, those forty-five sons must have generated a whole regiment of grandsons and great-grandsons. That MbS is the only one in this royal multitude that is ambitious for the throne, seems to me statistically improbable. Is that a factor behind these mass arrests? I don't know, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.
Reforming zeal also seems to be a factor. MbS is aware that his country needs systemic change. Ordinary Saudis put up with the extravagance and corruption of all those princes, princelings, and princets while oil revenues were gushing; but that can't go on for ever. The younger generation is restless.
It's all curiously parallel to China. MbS has formalized his plans for reform under the heading "Vision 2030." ChiCom dictator Xi Jinping put forward a similar plan for his country at the 19th party congress last month, promising to achieve "socialist modernisation," whatever that means, by 2035. And hey, Xi has an anti-corruption drive going, too, just like MbS.
And again like Xi, MbS has an eye on geostrategy. The power and influence of Iran has been growing all over the Middle East; in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. There is some old-fashioned history being made here: big, pushy, modernizing nations divided by religious differences, jostling for supremacy. It's like 17th-century Europe. MbS doesn't want his country to be out-jostled by Iran.
Is the U.S.A. going to get sucked in to all this? We already have been, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan apparently for ever, and very likely Special Forces in Yemen and Syria. The issue for us is to try getting un-sucked.
Politically that won't be easy. While the media is all in a frenzy about Russia spending a thousand dollars here, a thousand dollars there, the two really big foreign spenders in Washington are the Saudis and the Israelis, who are both on the same side in their fear of Iran.
Is there any vital U.S. interest at stake to keep us involved in this snake pit? I can't see one. "It's the oil," people used to say; but I haven't heard that for a while. Is it still the oil?
Investopedia reports that as of this month, the world's top five oil producers, in order from the top, are: the U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and Canada. In terms of world production, we account for 15.3 percent, the Saudis for 12.7 percent.
So is Saudi oil a vital national interest for us? If Iran took over the entire Middle East, and had a monopoly on its oil, would they still sell it on the world markets?
I don't know. This is not my field of expertise. I beg leave to doubt, though, that anything that happens in the Middle East is worth the life of a single American serviceman. If President Trump thinks otherwise, I wish he'd give us a clear explanation as to why.
I thought the sexual harassment panic was just last month's moral hysteria, everybody having got bored with the business about statues; but no, this moral hysteria has legs. Every day there's some new guy being given the Two Minutes Hate for copping a feel. It seems set fair to go on for ever.
On this whole topic, I do give free rein to my native cynicism.
For one thing, I'm sure there is a lawyers' ramp in here somewhere. We've been overproducing lawyers for decades, and they're getting desperate for business. The nexus of this sexual harassment hysteria is show business; and showbiz stars have lots of money. Lawyers like money, they really like it.
The thing to worry about is what happens when the showbiz mine is thoroughly worked out. If things go on like this much longer, we ordinary citizens won't be able to tup our wives without there being a lawyer present.
And why am I only hearing about what filthy beasts men are? Women can be filthy beasts, too. As blogger Jim Kunstler has written very pithily, quote (and please excuse the slightly indelicate language here):
Hollywood itself, being the vulgar place it has always been, must be nervously awaiting the inevitable next phase of this melodrama: when various actresses, and other women around the biz, are revealed to be sluts who screwed and blew their way to stardom — not to put too fine a point on it. Surely a few ladies out there have misbehaved in the way that ladies can, trading favors for fame and fortune — or do you suppose that never happens? Or only when men force them to? (Anyway, don't count on hearing about that in The New York Times.)End quote.
Now this new front in the War On Men has advanced into the political domain, with Roy Moore being accused of groping.
Moore is the GOP candidate for the Alabama Senate seat left empty by Jeff Sessions' ascent to U.S. Attorney General, that seat to be filled by a special election December 12th. When Moore was fighting the primary back in September I described him as, quote, "a gem of pure Americana."
Roy Moore won that primary, so he's been running, and polling well, against the Democrat, a colorless leftist.
Then a woman showed up claiming Moore had fondled her in 1979, when he was 32 and she was 14. Three other women then emerged from the undergrowth claiming Moore had come on at them too thirty-something years ago, when they were aged 16, 17, and 18.
For goodness' sake! How hard is it for dirty-tricks operatives from the Democratic Party — or, just as likely, the GOP establishment, who detest Moore — to organize a frame-up like this?
And even assuming these women are telling the truth — which I would by no means assume — why, after nigh-on forty years, should we care? Isn't there a statute of limitations on fondling? If there isn't, there ought to be: accepted standards on male-female exchanges were somewhat different back then. I was around; I know this.
One Alabama state representative has suggested that if these women's stories are true, the women be prosecuted for letting a dangerous guy roam around free for forty years, when they could have brought charges against him.
I'm pretty sure that wouldn't fly in a court of law; but the guy has a point in that Roy Moore has been nationally famous since the early 1990s, when as a judge he hung a plaque of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. If these women had a beef against Moore, they've waited a suspiciously long time to air it.
A poll this week, after the accusations came out, showed Moore's support down but still competitive. I hope he stays the course, and I hope he wins in December.
This harassment hysteria has got people talking about some deep, negative social changes going on, changes in the Western world's courting and mating customs.
Those changes were best caught, I thought, by Daily Mail columnist Jenni Murray, November 8th, headline: Fight for the right to flirt! Jenni Murray warns one of life's innocent pleasures is under threat.
Ms Murray argues that two forces are killing off the minor pleasures of social interaction between the sexes, pleasures like flirting. One force is the sexual harassment ballyhoo, scaring men away from initiating such interaction.
The other is the internet, with easy access to porn, and with the social-dating apps making courtship skills unnecessary.
Quote from Ms Murray, who is in her late sixties, quote:
It was with sadness that I heard a young woman, in a critique of the online dating scene, comment that she's got to the point where she regards every male who approaches her in real life as a potential weirdo.It's all rather sad. A friend suggested to me that we may be headed for the state of affairs described in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera The Mikado where — I won't attempt to sing it, if you don't mind; I'll just read the words of the song — quote:
These worries never troubled me in my youth — we all shared an easy sense of how to flirt without crossing lines that would have left anyone feeling uncomfortable.
Our great Mikado, virtuous man,A terrifying prospect. I think, though, that long before that point arrives, sexbots will have taken over, so that men and women no longer need to have sexual relations at all.
When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby
Young men might best be steadied.
So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered or winked
(Unless connubially linked),
Should forthwith be beheaded …
That'll end the harassment panic; but it'll leave a lot of lawyers out of pocket.
This happens to me a lot. I am therefore going to institute an award for it. The award will have the full name "Radio Derb Most Offputting Lede Award." That's "lede" l-e-d-e — journalist jargon for the first sentence of a piece. However, the award may be informally referred to as the Lach, in honor of New Yorker writer Eric Lach, who perpetrated the following lede in the November 13th issue of that magazine, quote:
Last Tuesday night, at a Democratic Socialists of America Halloween Party, at Hotel Chantelle, on Ludlow Street, Marc Fliedner was dressed as a yellow No. 2 pencil.End quote. I call that quite audaciously offputting. I hope I never find out who Marc Fliedner is, or why he was dressed as a No. 2 pencil; or, for that matter, why Eric Lach thought that a sentence of 27 words needed four, count 'em four, commas. It's the New Yorker, what can I tell you?
Item: Speaking of statues, which I was somewhere back there: You may have been wondering, with all the raging and sputtering over statues of Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, Teddy Roosevelt, and so on, you may have been wondering who, in the minds of goodthinking people, who is worthy of being commemorated by a statue in a public place?
Here's your answer: Marion Barry.
Yes: Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who died three years ago this month aged 78, will be memorialized with a statue in front of the Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation's capital. The Wilson building is home to the D.C. Council, which is the District's legislature.
Barry was elected Mayor three successive times, in 1978, 1982, and 1986. That third term was unfortunately interrupted by the FBI, when they obtained grainy video of His Honor in a hotel room smoking a crack pipe in company with a much younger woman.
He did six months in federal prison for that; but in 1994 the voters of D.C. elected him Mayor again, proving something or other about democracy, or perhaps just about the voters of D.C.
The following year he was deposed by Congress for incompetence. His voters still loved him, though. He was elected to the D.C. Council three more times, and was still serving as a legislator when he died.
So you can keep your Teddy Roosevelt and your Robert E. Lee. Moral midgets like that can't compare with the true giants of American history: towering figures like Marion Barry.
This one I can sing for you. I learned it once for a college choir, and it's less vocally challenging than Gilbert and Sullivan. Ahem. [Sings.]
Well, who's been disrespecting it? Other than me, you might be saying … but if you are, I'll ignore it.
Hong Kongers, that's who. The Guardian, November 7th, headline: Defiant Hong Kong football fans boo China's national anthem. Sample quote:
Hong Kong football fans loudly booed and jeered China's national anthem at a match on Thursday, defying Beijing days after Communist leaders tightened penalties for disrespecting the song.End quote. This is part of Hong Kong's "localist" movement. After 150 years of easygoing rule by Britain, Hong Kongers have lost the habits appropriate to life under oriental despotism. They don't like the communists and would like to stop the relentless erosion of their liberties.
Ahead of the start of an international friendly against Bahrain, which the home team lost 2-0, a wall of screams overtook the instrumental music broadcast over loudspeakers and the fans ended with a cry of "We are Hong Kong."
I wish them good luck with all my heart, but without much hope that they can prevail against the communists. They are, though, paradoxically, living up to the opening words of the anthem they shouted down. In translation: "Arise, you who are not willing to be slaves …"
The Authority has issued a directive to all subway personnel that henceforth in their announcements over the public address system they may no longer address subway riders as "Ladies and gentleman." The directive instructs staff that they should immediately replace that offensive salutation with their choice from a list of acceptable words: "passengers," "riders," or just "everyone."
Transport Workers Union Local 100 member Anthony Staley told the New York Post that, quote: "They are acknowledging that they have some transgender riders. They don't want to offend anyone." End quote.
Perhaps they got complaints from New Yorkers confused about their sex, I don't know.
I do wonder, though, based on my own recent experience of riding the trains, I do wonder if the MTA has also received complaints about the subways being unreliable, chronically overcrowded, rat-infested, and haunted by muttering psychopaths.
But then, what if they have? It's a question of priorities. What could be more important than salving the hurt feelings of trannies? The correct answer is of course: Nothing!
This Saturday is of course Veterans' Day; or in Britain, Armistice Day, which is Veterans' Day and Memorial Day rolled into one. As usual, Radio Derb commemorates the day British-style, by signing out with the Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea singing the beautiful Armistice Day hymn "O Valiant Hearts":
O valiant hearts who to your glory cameThere will be more from Radio Derb next week.
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.
[Music clip: "O Valiant Hearts."]