dont know about you, but Ive had it with Prince Philip.
Have you heard the latest? He asked a 13-year-old boy one
of his subjects what he wanted to be when he
grew up. The boy replied, like so many boys, An astronaut.
Whereupon the prince said, Well, youll have to lose
weight if you want to do that.
Can you imagine? The husband of the queen telling a 13-year-old
boy he was fat? The man is utterly uncivilized, without heart
or decency. Later, the boy said to the press, I didnt
feel too good about what he said. It hurt my feelings, but I tried
to laugh it off by pretending he was only joking. Of course
he did. Most 13-year-olds would.
I read about this days ago, but my rage has barely abated. Conservatives,
I know, are supposed to be a) defensive of the monarchy and b) scornful
of tender sensitivities. I dont give a rip. I would sock the
old fool, Philip, in the face, if I could.
Over the years, it is true, some of his gaffes have
been witty: not the remark about slitty eyes in Beijing,
but such instances as that in 1995, when he asked a Scottish driving
instructor, How do you keep the natives off the booze long
enough to pass the test? And back in 1981, when his country
was enduring a deep recession, he remarked, Everybody was
saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they
But when a grown and respected man tells a 13-year-old kid hes
fat: Well, Im not sure theres anything worse you can
do. As anyone with an ounce of meaningful human experience knows.
is the home of world beauty queens. The way Romania pumps out gymnasts,
or Russia violinists (though when they thinned themselves of Jews,
they hurt themselves here), Venezuela turns out Miss Worlds and
Miss Universes. The country has some of the most beautiful women
in the world; and they take their beauty seriously.
It was perturbing, therefore, to learn that the latest Miss Venezuela,
going for the Miss World title, has been
enhanced. She has
had a bit of physical preparation, as the seņorita
herself has put it, including artificial breast implants, a nose
job, and some fat off the hips. Yuck. How bad could
she have looked before? Shes Miss Venezuela, for heavens
sake. Thats like being the best speller among Vietnamese-American
If the Miss Venezuelas (Misses Venezuela?) cant do it au
naturel, they shouldnt do it at all. They should step
aside, and let the equally stunning but very different
Miss Icelands shine.
I should always separate the artistic from the political:
but Im so sorry John Cusack is a Bolshevik jerk. Ive
always loved him.
with entertainment for a second: The missus and I watched the other
night King of the Hill, and I was shocked and delighted once
again by its glorious anti-PC sensibility (I mean, anti-political
correctness, not anti-Parti Communiste,
for example, but isnt that a neat coincidence?). The local
schoolteacher is a fanatical environmentalist who indoctrinates
his students, turning them against their parents and making them
little green fascists (greenshirts?). This is just the way John
Stossel reports it! And in a mock court also a kangaroo court
environment-offending defendants have to swear
on Harry Potter books, because, as one girl explains, were
not allowed to have the Bible in school.
Yeah, I know its wrong to judge a TV show for its politics,
or political undertones; and King of the Hill is a clear
achievement, left-right aside. But still
it makes The West
Wing slightly easier to swallow.
The compensating, avenging quality of Fox Television rests not only
with its news.
Steyn, in a recent column, gave me a flashback. He recounted the
famous story told by David Frost, the veteran TV interviewer. Frost
was doing his celebrated series of interviews with Richard Nixon,
who said to him, before one taping he must have been trying
to make small talk, in his usual awkward way So, did
you do any fornicating over the weekend? I remember that,
many years ago, I was watching one of the talk/variety shows, either
Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin. I was about 13, I guess. Kristy McNichol
whom I adored was guest co-host, and one
of the guests was David Frost. He was not the first guest; there
had been one on before him, probably some actor, and he was sitting
on the couch (or whatever) with Kristy. So Frost tells this story,
about what Nixon said. The audience, of course, gasps. And Kristy
McNichol who wasnt much older than I was leans
over, with a quizzical expression, to that first guest, and whispers
what apparently is a question; the guest whispers back a reply.
I assumed that Kristy was asking what fornicating meant;
I was wondering to. I cant remember how much later it was
that I found out. I hope I went to the dictionary immediately (though
I doubt it).
Strange story: both Frosts and mine.
United States is trying to have struck, from the big Anti-Racism
Conference being staged by the U.N. in South Africa, the notion
that Zionism equals racism. Actually although this is surely
wrong of me I hope the old, noxious notion stays in. It would
help to discredit an affair that must, for all the usual reasons,
that politicians make compromises, and sometimes drastic ones, and
I long ago lost my innocence about politicians and principles. Still,
there occasionally occurs something that delivers a shock. I am
thinking now about Hillary Clintons extreme pro-Israel views,
manifested in the Senate and in New York, the state she represents.
Only two seconds ago, it seems, she was one of the most prominent
pro-Arab, anti-Israel figures in the United States. There wasnt
much room between her and, say, Edward Said. And now she makes Ariel
Sharon look like a faggot (to paraphrase Frank Rizzo).
(It just came to mind: my apologies.)
As I say, Im no naïf. But how can people effect such a jolting
and speedy shift? Dont they suffer whiplash? And why do others
(i.e., the press and the public) let them get away with it?
If only Hillary Clinton could have run for the Senate from Dearborn,
Mich., she could have stayed true to her principles.
word about Bill: The other day, of course, he opened his post-presidential
office in Harlem. He thereby conformed to his truest pattern: When
he is in need of validation or consolation, he makes a beeline for
black people. And they grant him a warm embrace.
You will recall that Clinton first wanted to place his office in
Carnegie Hall Tower, one of the swankiest, priciest buildings in
midtown Manhattan. But congressional Republicans, some of the public,
and even the media squawked, and Clinton turned tail, announcing
that he would move up north, to Harlem. This was the brainchild
of Rep. Charlie Rangel, who also happens to be the guy who thought
up Hillary for Senate (basically).
Rangel was on hand to greet and hail Clinton at the office-opening.
This was an event staged like a campaign rally, reminding us that
Clinton is still engaged in the permanent campaign
even after the presidency; even unto death, one presumes. Nothing
in the mans life can take place without political trappings
and political purposes.
I saw a photo of him at Katharine Grahams funeral, in the
National Cathedral (where Woodrow Wilson is buried he is
the only president interred in Washington, D.C.). I thought: He
must have ideas of what he wants his funeral to be, the old rascal.
Hes probably got it all planned out, or is considering the
options it will be the last campaign rally, presumably. And
he will be revising, spinning, to the end.
The office of the presidency is, to be sure, an immodest one
but that is why someone modest should fill it.
other day, I was sitting around, lamenting Rudy Giulianis
departure from the mayors office. All the good he has accomplished
can be so easily reversed by a leftist Democrat. But here is Rudys
greatest gift, even apart from the massive reduction in crime, the
restoration of civilization to New York, and so on: He has forevermore
put the lie to the assertion that New York City is ungovernable,
that the city can never be safe, that it can never be healthy and
decent, that it can never be a joy to live in. We now know better.
Mayors and other politicians of the future might say, There
is nothing to be done. This is the way it must be, latterly. You
will have to accept it. And citizens will be able to say,
in return: No. You are wrong. Giuliani proved you wrong. We
know what is possible. We have not forgotten.
Thats what Giuliani has done.
I tell you what is my favorite news photo of the recent period?
It is the one that shows Ayatollah Khomeinis grandson strolling
with Fidel Castro in Havana. The Iranian is wearing an imams
garb, the Cuban is dressed in his fatigues. It is all so fitting
disgusting and perfect. Disgusting and perfect.
a little rule, which I will let you in on. I wont at
least I try not to refer to Castro as Fidel.
This convention drives me crazy, and it drives many democratic Cubans
crazy as well. The casual use of the first name masks the evil the
man has done. It presents him as a friendly and mild character.
We would never refer to Stalin as Joe (unless we were
Harry Truman); and the world doesnt call Pinochet Augusto
(how about Gus?). I may not be able to do much, but
at least I can refuse to call the tyrant of Cuba Fidel.
Saddam Hussein, it is true, we call Saddam. How did
that start? I always thought it was to distinguish him from King
Hussein (who is a whole nother subject, as we say in
my family). And do you remember how the first President Bush deliberately
mispronounced that first name, saying Sodom? The boys
in psy-ops apparently told him it would bug Hussein (Im back
on the Iraqi). I would call Saddam Hussein, but its
too late for that, and would be confusing.
the subject of appalling dictators: Did you hear that Kim Jong Il,
oppressor of North Korea, is taking the train to Moscow,
where he is to meet with Putin? The train! In 2001. From Pyongyang
to Moscow! You think the tall-haired tyrant is skeered to fly? But
then who, among the worlds journalists, will sit down and